Who do you call when you need insight on a relationship, your career, or just a hard-to-navigate situation? Your mom, your best gal pal, your fiance? Regardless of who you run to, there is nothing like receiving insight and guidance from someone who has gone through a similar experience, right? The same goes for wedding planning! We polled some recently married Pittsburgh ladies and asked them to help all of YOU! Boy did they answer! They sounded off on the various ways they saved money, areas on which they splurged (and don’t regret one bit), and things they wish they would have done a little bit differently. We rounded up the best of the best tips to make your wedding planning experience just a little less stressful. Trust us…you’ll definitely want to heed this wedding planning advice from former Pittsburgh brides!
Ways to Save Money
“I bought bridesmaid gifts when they went on sale around Black Friday, and I spaced it out so I wasn’t buying all gifts at once.”
- We chose a ceremony location that didn’t need any additional decor. The space was beautiful the way it came!
- We were VERY selective with our guest list, cutting out extended relatives and friends we hadn’t talked to in a year or more. Our bridal party was only four on each side as well.
- We chose a venue that was inclusive of linens, chairs, etc. so we didn’t have to spend extra on rentals.
“I decided up front what was important and what wasn’t. Important things were photos, inviting all of my loved ones, and throwing an awesome party. Not important was spending an excruciating amount of time trying to ‘be different’ and things that would just be thrown away.”
- Since our ceremony and reception were both in one location, we saved a ton of money.
- For favors, we made homemade limoncello and bottled it ourselves.
“We used heirloom items (cake knife, toasting glasses) when we could, which made them that much more special.”
- Lots of Pinterest and internet searching for good deals and ideas!
- I picked shoes that I could absolutely wear again.
- I also used a lot of Etsy templates for printed signs around the reception. We had them printed at a local print shop, which saved us hundreds but still made the venue look top notch.
“We had a BYOB venue which definitely saved us a ton!”
- One of my bridesmaids and I created most of the decorations and favors with the help of her Cricut machine!
- Rather than renting chargers, we purchased them for less than the rental fee and resold them after the wedding.
- We got creative with catering and served one dual entree instead of offering entree choices.
“We only invited the people most important to us. If I hadn’t seen them or talked to them in two years, they were not invited, regardless of if they were family.”
- Our family and friends made all of the cookies for our massive cookie table.
- I helped my bridesmaids save by picking dresses Calvin Klein black cocktail dresses from Macy’s. They were super cute, under $100, convenient, and ACTUALLY re-wearable!
Splurges That Were Totally Worth It
“Honeymoon! It’s a one-time thing so live it up and go somewhere where you normally wouldn’t.”
- Flowers! I love flowers so I didn’t care how much the bouquets were.
- My dress!
- We splurged on our caterer, which was so important to us. We are your typical Pittsburgh “foodies” and we wanted everyone to have an amazing meal.
“Our videographer! I wanted every second on video so I could relive it. We got a highlight video, plus a DVD that included messages from friends and family and full day coverage.”
- We had fireworks!
- Our photographer was expensive and SO worth it.
- Valet parking for our guests
“We ended up spending money to have another person there to set up the cookie table, and we rented the displays for that. This way, no one had to be there to set up. That was 100% worth it.”
- High quality invitations
- The band! It just brings a different element to the wedding – a higher level of entertainment for all guests, even those who are unable to dance or don’t like to.
- It was important for us to have good food, so this was our biggest expense.
“We definitely splurged on our flowers, and it was worth it. THEY WERE STUNNING.”
- Our DJ! Totally worth the money we spent!
- Photography. The pictures are our keepsake from the wedding so, we wanted to make sure we had photos that we loved and were our style. Worth every penny.
- I splurged on my dress and shoes, which I definitely don’t regret.
“Bartenders! I can’t express how important it is to have an appropriate ratio of bars/bartenders to guests. I never wanted my guests to wait in line; I wanted them on the dance floor! I paid for two extra bartenders and upgraded to double bars from single.”
- I splurged on extra labor to have someone set up and take down the flowers at the end of the night so that my family could enjoy themselves. The fees are worth the happiness of my mother-in-law and mother.
- Hair and makeup, as well as a nice hotel suite to use the night before and night of the wedding.
- Photography. We are so in love with our photos that I find myself looking through them daily.
“A videographer and day of coordinator were huge points of contention between me and my husband. But they are EASILY the things we are most glad we spent money on. “
- Linens that really helped make the space pop!
- I paid for my girls to have their hair done. Why should they have to pay so much money to be part of MY special day?
- We spent more on the venue than we originally planned because it had everything we really wanted all in one place.
“Don’t skip a chance to have a videographer; worth every penny! Photos are great but videos really capture the emotion.”
Don’t Make These Same Mistakes
“Fewer people. I haven’t heard from a lot of people since the wedding. I should have gone with my gut and not invited them.”
- I wish I would have splurged more on linens. I know some people don’t notice but I did.
- A smaller bridal party. I spent too much money on gifts and hair and makeup for them. I felt overwhelmed getting ready.
- I would have had a day of coordinator.
“I wish I had not let a family friend do our flowers.”
- We probably didn’t need to have top shelf liquor, but rather just an open bar with the basics.
- I honestly wish I spent even more on flowers to make the atmosphere just perfect.
- Wearing heels was a horrible idea. I knew I’d switch to flats for the reception, but I got my dress altered for my heels. Dumb.
“My only regret was not hiring a videographer as I do wish I could look back and watch the day!”
- I regret having a larger bridal party. It was expensive to buy gifts for them and several of them were out of obligation, not because of a personal connection with me.
- I wish we would’ve splurged more on the cupcakes. We had someone we know make them and while they were ok, I wish we would’ve spent more money and went with the well-known bakery nearby.
- The only thing I would have done differently is rent tuxes through a local store rather than Men’s Wearhouse. We had issues with sizing on the tuxes, a lot of guys had to make multiple trips to the store, and my husband was missing his pocket square.
” I would’ve just spent the extra $1,000-1,500 on the photographer I wanted.”
- If I could do it all again, I would maybe go with somewhere that we could bring our own food and drinks, or maybe somewhere that was all-inclusive and had decorations there for us. Tearing everything down at the end of the night and getting everything together wasn’t the romantic end of the night I had planned!
- I wish I didn’t do selected meals for my guests. I wish we went with a duo plate. It would have been easier and cheaper and still looked just as nice.
- I regret having such a large affair. I wanted my wedding to feel like a huge event that everyone wanted to come to – and they did! But I didn’t ever talk to so many of themr again or they did not invite us to their wedding just eight or nine months later. I think I spent close to an extra $3,000+ on people that didn’t really matter to me. I advise all brides to reallllly look at that guest list.
“The biggest mistake I made was not speaking up about our card box! I didn’t like where they placed it and unfortunately, cards ended up being stolen. I recommend getting a card box with just a slot on top to avoid anyone reaching in. Having a not-so-super-pretty card box is better than lost gifts! Also, put the card box in the reception area to have as many eyes on it as possible. On that note, always give checks in wedding cards!”
- I regret not getting a videographer, or at least having someone film our ceremony and the speeches, just like everyone said I would.
- I wish I would have been more present during the day. It was very much a whirlwind day, and I don’t think my husband and I relaxed until almost 9 p.m.
Notice how many brides do not regret spending a lot on photography…or how many wished they would have hired a videographer!! While you gotta do what works for you, we hope it’s helpful to get inside the head of a bride who has already been there! If you’re a former bride and have some advice not mentioned, comment below!