All the Trimmings
click here to jump to start of article
Join Our Newsletter

Get latest articles and videos with Jewish inspiration and insights​




All the Trimmings

All the Trimmings

Five ways to save on your upcoming wedding.

by

So you’re making a wedding. Mazel tov! And by “mazel tov,” I mean “good luck,” as in, “good luck paying for all of that.”

Weddings these days are a multi-million dollar industry. Each. But as the person paying for the wedding, if you even mention the word  “money”, everyone will look at you as if you’d just announced that you wish it was someone else’s child getting married.

Weddings these days are a multi-million dollar industry. Each.

So perhaps you’re looking for ways to save on the wedding that you can get away with. This isn’t easy. Firstly, you don’t really want to cut out things that matter to the bride and groom, because this is their big day, and no one wants theirs to be the wedding where the groom’s father decided there would be no band because he and his friends were reasonably okay at A Capella.

Also, many wedding tips that you read in magazines are not entirely thought out. For example, one article said that instead of buying bouquets and centerpieces, you should find a field of wildflowers and put together your own. What a great idea! Although the article didn’t really say when you should do this. Don’t flowers have to be picked relatively close to the wedding? Who’s running out into a field the morning of the wedding and trying to figure out how to weave flower stems into a circle? (“Check your iPhone!” “Okay, my phone says that this is poison ivy.”)

But there are definitely ways to save money that won’t hurt anybody. Or give them major rashes.

1. REPHRASE THE INVITATIONS -- Let’s put it this way: Most of the people that you invite to the wedding, you invite only so they shouldn’t be offended that they weren’t invited, and they show up only so that you won’t be offended that they didn’t. If you have such a close relationship with them that you’re willing to pay over $50 a plate for their meal (and you don’t even pay $50 for your own plates at home that you get to keep), then why aren’t you close enough to talk to each other and straighten this out?

Of course, the answer is that you really don’t have time to do this with each person you invite, because you’re busy putting together a wedding for 500 people so they won’t be offended. But the main problem, I think, is the invitation itself. Most wedding invitations are copied word for word off 3-year-old invitations that are for some reason still on your refrigerator, and which, in turn, were copied from older invitations that were on those people’s refrigerators, so that all invitations are basically phrased exactly the same, except for the occasional typo. (Mine said “the twenty-seventh fo February”. And finding typos, by the way, is a good way to save on wedding invitations.) Every invitation says that the hosts “request the honor of your presence”, or that you are “cordially invited”, the implication being that you’d better be there unless you have a really good excuse, such as that you’re dead. So I think that invitations should be rephrased to be a little less forceful:

 

But having a cheaper wedding is not just about cutting people out. Here are some other tips:

2. CUT DOWN THE MUSIC – I’m not saying you should cut down the band. But cutting down on the volume definitely won’t hurt. It must save money somehow. I recently attended the wedding of my wife’s second cousin or something, and I looked over at the band and noticed that every musician was wearing earplugs. Do you know how, when your ears are covered, you tend to speak louder? So I think a good way to save some money would be to: A. Stop buying the band ear plugs, and B. Make the volume a little lower. My father-in-law, who himself was wearing earplugs, like the band, suggested that instead of blasting the music, they can just give everyone at the wedding a pair of headphones and let them set their own volume. So I told him that I didn’t think this would save a lot of money, especially once you factor in the wire tanglage of a few hundred people walking in circles for an hour.

3. GET RID OF THE PROGRAMS – We’ve all been to weddings where various friends and relatives walk down the aisle, and you know it’s going to be one of those weddings when they hand out a program beforehand, like it’s a high-school play. But why waste money printing programs? Does anyone see people walking down the aisle and go, “Who the heck is that?” No, we can figure it out: “That’s someone’s grandmother, flanked by someone’s little brother.” The only people who might need programs are the photographers, so they don’t go taking pictures of anyone who comes running down the aisle because he got to the wedding late and is looking for someone to sit with.

“Smile!”

“No, I’m not part of this!”

“You’re not (checking program) the flower girl?”

4. SHORTEN THE CEREMONY – No one likes a long chuppah ceremony. And all those extra people walking down just makes it take more time, which also means that the band and the photographer are going to end up charging for more time, because everyone walks slowly, stops for the camera, and isn’t sure which way to go when they get to the end because there are no signs or anything. It would be far more efficient, if you want to save money, to just have everyone race down at once, with maybe a special prize going to the winner.

5. MAKE FEWER DESSERTS – The caterer usually makes enough dessert for everyone, but not everyone’s there for dessert. Like for example, the people have to get home to their babysitter because they don’t want to pay her overtime just so the whole entire wedding could walk down the aisle two at a time and then cram themselves onto the stage like they’re getting into the ark. Maybe you should mail everyone programs in advance when you send out the invitations, so they can let you know if they’ll still be there come dessert. You should also write what you’re serving for dessert, so they can make an informed decision.

These are just some ideas. But if you pull them off, you will definitely save a ridiculous amount of money.

“This is all we saved?” you will ask no one in particular. “That’s ridiculous!”

Published: August 27, 2011


Give Tzedakah! Help Aish.com create inspiring
articles, videos and blogs featuring timeless Jewish wisdom.

Visitor Comments: 5

(5) David Creek, March 28, 2012 5:19 PM

Jewish Sweet Tooth

A friend of mine praised a wedding where they sent out invitations to the dessert party at the end of the wedding for those that could not attend the small Chupa and meal part of the wedding that was for close family and close friends.

(4) rivky, November 8, 2011 3:20 AM

love these articles by mordichai shmutter

could there be more of these andless of others

(3) Anonymous, August 31, 2011 1:18 PM

Saving on Weddings

Renting gowns is a great way to save on a wedding. Even if the gown was worn once before, it is redone to suit your taste, as if no one else wore it. It is cleaned and pressed. The best part, there is no comparison in price. This is most likely a one time thing, especially for the bride, and while no bride would want to hear this, most gowns look more or less the same. So, truly, it does not pay to buy a Vera Wang for one wearing, unless money is no object, and the gown will be handed down. Also, to cut down on costs, the wedding must run according to schedule. Otherwise, it's paying overtime, and by the time the dessert is served, almost no one is there to eat it, a big waste. The music is ridiculously loud, and a lot of people walk out of the hall, so they don't lost their hearing. Get a smaller band, it will do the same thing, and won't bring on early deafness to the crowd.

(2) Gary Katz, August 30, 2011 5:31 PM

The Jewish sweet tooth cannot be discounted!

As to suggestion 5, my relatives would've been happy with a fantastic sweet table and NO dinner! Besides, 10 years later, not one person will remember what the main course was (unless it's something really unusual, but if it were, it probably wouldn't be kosher). But many people will remember a lavish sweet table. This was actually the case from my wedding, over 16 years ago (even I don't remember the main dish - don't tell my wife)!

(1) Leah, August 30, 2011 3:30 PM

Hysterical!

Submit Your Comment:

  • Display my name?

  • Your email address is kept private. Our editor needs it in case we have a question about your comment.


  • * required field 2000
Submit Comment
stub