Wednesday, October 8, 2008

#395: what i am doing without.

or i should say...what i plan to do without.

1) rsvp cards. i mean. everyone has access to a computer somehow somewhere, right?
2) bouquet toss / garter toss. has anyone enjoyed this at all? like, ever?
3) engagement photo shoot.
4) cake cutting. what's. the. point. ok, actually, i might reneg on this one. because i really like cake. so if we're going to have cake, we might as well cut it.
5) program / menu cards. our ceremony and reception will hopefully be held in the same venue. and hopefully the ceremony will be short and sweet. which means the program really won't have much on it. which means we don't...need to have one...?

and just to balance it out, here are the must-haves.

1) father - daughter dance. i loves my dad.
2) writing our own vows.
3) music. makes the people. come together.

i think this may end up shocking some people. WHAT? no engagement photos?? WHAT? no bouquet toss?? WHAT? no menus??

but...what's more shocking than having a $10,000 wedding budget. nothing, really.

so maybe i should lead with that.

"i have a $10,000 wedding budget. oh, and i'm not planning to use rsvp cards."

"WHAT? $10,000???"


nicole said...

all unnecessary. good choices. some are free so those only avoid if you don't want 'em!

Jennifer said...

my wedding is on Saturday. We have: no bouquet toss, garter toss, cake cutting, menu cards, engagment photos planned..but yes to the father daughter dance!

Guilty Secret said...

Girl after my own heart, we ditched all that stuff too. Except cake cutting, which I'm looking forward to with our indoor fireworks!

Anonymous said...

we're just having one a few of our good friends take turns taking pictures for our "engagement photos." if you have a friend who is into photographs and needs to start a portfolio or a sibling or neighbor in high school photography class - that's a good way to save them and give them practice. good choices on what to ditch! if you decide you want those, you can always print them yourself on your own computer/printer.

Adrienne said...

We are having RSVP cards either, and definitely no bouquet and garter toss! All good points.

NotQuiteaBride said...

I don't think this is crazy at ALL! I love the fact that you are bucking tradition and making your wedding your own! Who cares if someone "thinks" you have to do something, you don't!!

Becky said...

Engagement session was one of our first items to go as well...sorta. We decided to take just a little money and buy ourselves a nicer camera and tripod so we can sorta do our own shoots. This way we at least come away with the camera and photos. We're not photographic people at all, in the 5 years we've been together I think we have 4 photos of us. I figured this way we can take pictures in various seasons over the span of 9-10 months and pick the one we really like - it probably will take that long and that many photos to find one we like! Also cutting bouquet and garter and menus.

AmyJean said...

1. And those without a computer have telephones and can do the old style way of calling in their rsvp
2) i am not doing either of those tosses too!
3) you can always do informal and have a friend take pics of you... its really the moments captured not the photog that makes or break the engagement shots
4) I like cake
5)i'm nixing menu cards and party favors - not sure about the program yet, b/c i personally like to read programs since you can add little tidbits about the couple on there - but its definitely not a necessity

Agreed to father daughter, vows and music!

I think you are being very logical and cost efficient! :) Makes sense to me

Heather said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Heather said...

A friend of mine wanted nothing to do with the spotlight. No first dance, no tosses, no speeches. No official "engagement" shots, just pictures they had taken themselves throughout their relationship on their website. She also didn't know about programs until after her wedding, but no one missed them enough to notice. No menu cards, either. She did do a cake cutting, but it wasn't announced, and they slipped off the dance floor to do it. So unless you knew to watch her (which her bridal party did), no one would have noticed.

Overall, it was the best wedding I'd ever been to. And no one cared that these things weren't there. Because what the couple did do is make everyone feel comfortable with their laid back attitude, and by choosing what was important for them to focus on- the people that chose to celebrate with them. The entire experience was truly a reflection of them, and wonderful.

maggie said...

totally agreed about the bouquet toss...the last wedding I went to, my best friend, who is single, ended up in tears after it—making a huge deal of pointing out single women is NOT fun for them!

Anonymous said...

as you get older you see less and less of the tosses at weddings. they're for the younger crowds for sure. when you have 30 single men and women it's fun, but not when you're down to 2 unmarried friends.
and programs schmograms. i've never felt they're necessary and they're just another thing that people feel bad throwing out right away so they wait until they get back to their hotel room.

Loaf said...

We're not having RSVP cards either. Mostly because we are moving between when we have to send the invites and the wedding, and I didn't want to have folks send the RSVP cards to my mom.

I did decide to splurge on e-photos, but I think it's appropriate to forgo anything that you don't feel you need.

Kelly said...

We didn't do any of the things on your list except the RSVP cards.

I know you are trying to save money, but getting those things in the mail was SO fun! But you are right, if you were having a regular ole party (bday or shower for example), you would not include a reply card, so why had it become the norm for weddings? Who knows.

We actually never even considered doing the bouquet/garter toss or cutting the cake. the meanings of these traditions have been lost, IMO.

Jenny.Lee said...

all good choices in my opinion. we are skipping the tosses as well and a good friend of mine is taking e-pictures for us! we haven't decided on programs but if we do have them then they will be a DIY project.

vanessa said...

Are you having a photog? Because a lot of the photogs I know include a "free" e-shoot when you book them for your wedding. So you may not have to nix that.

We're also forgoing the bouquet/ garter toss, escort cards, cake cutting and special dances. Wedding cake usually ends up tasting gross anyway. They make the actual cake almost a week before your wedding, and spend the rest of the time decorating. stale cake anyone?

We will be doing a menu card just in case people have food allergies that we aren't aware of..

we're also saving money by doing an ipod wedding. I like the idea of making our own "special day" playlist.

casablancabride said...

Cutting out the wedding-lameness doesn't have to be linked to your budget! If you don't like certain things, don't do them. :)

We ditched the rsvp cards and listed an email address and our phone numbers on the invite. It worked fine...I only had to call 4 or 5 people out of 150. We did the bouquet/garter toss but we're pretty young and we had a young group so it was fun. Our engagement pictures are some of my favorite pictures ever BUT we found a photog who was just starting out so she shot them for free and we just paid for the full images on a CD. I think it was about $30. We love cake so the cake cutting was a must at our reception, BUT we had an open house on the other side of the country (yay for bi-coastal weddings) where we just had a dessert buffet including homemade baclava, cake donuts from my favorite bakery, and homemade fudge and sugar cookies. It was delicious and our guests raved about it. We had a Catholic wedding (no mass though) but my family is all Mormon so we had programs so that everyone could follow along. But for a short and sweet ceremony there's probably no need. Good call on that one and on ditching the menu cards. I didn't even think about menu cards for our buffet and no one missed them.

One other thing I could suggest you cut is favors. They're one of those things that no one will miss if they aren't there.

jessica lynn said...

yay to no bouquet toss, no rsvps, and no menu cards!!!

Caroline said...

Most weddings I've been to haven't done bouquet tossing and I've never seen garter tossing. Not doing an engagement shoot either. Maybe I'm weird but I don't find it at all shocking. :)

Mrs X said...

I didn't actually know about a "formal" cake cutting moment at wedding receptions, until I started blog-stalking. I'd seen plenty of pics of the B&G cutting their cakes, but never saw the reception stop to have everyone watch it (and frankly, I still don't understand the fascination).

No bouquet/garter toss here. I've always dreaded that part of the reception.

Our engagement photos are nice. We used a couple for our website, and one at our reception. (Unlike many couples, we don't have many nice pics of the two of us.) None will probably end up in our home, as our wedding photos will trump them in every situation.

As for RSVPs, I was invited to a wedding a couple of years ago that had online RSVP, and a toll free number set up for those who didn't have access to (or aren't comfortable with) the internet.

Heather from the bar said...

Same in's and outs for me, except for the RSVP cards (I love me some invitations. though we are doing them ourselves, and they will be postcards) and although we originally scraped the cake cutting, my FMIL got us a cake topper as a gift so... one small cake for us to top and cut :) Oh, and a catholic wedding means programs are a must... I am thinking about putting a game in them or something :)

Same $10,000 budget. Things just don't seem necessary when you have to decide between either menus or actual food.

Linda said...

Unless you know all your guests are computer savvy, I would rethink the RSVP card. Or give people the choice to call or email.
I didn't want to cut the cake but we wound up doing it anyway. It was a lot of fun. Then we helped serve the cake so we got to interact with our guests more.

laura said...

Ditto, except we are doing programs,
our ceremony is going to be super short, no readings, no serenades.
but I thought the programs would be a good way to introduce everyone to our wedding party.
the programs include a little picture of them and a short note about how long we've been friends and where we met.

I figure that can be a good conversation starter for the reception.

Skeeta25 said...

Im along with you. Im not doing RSVPs or programs. My e-photos came with my photogs chceapest package. Thats kinda cool cause Im like the young lady above- me and my FI have NO photos together after over 5 yrs.. like 3 photos. (so sad) Otherwise I wouldnt do the e-photo.

You can do menu cards. You can print one per table and put it in a photo frame or a small card holder. Or, like at a buffet, you can just put the frame or the name of the food on the buffet table. Thats like 10 or less peices of paper.

Not doing father daughter dance, I have a dad and a stepdad who will be there and Im not going to choose or do both.

I didn't think twice about the garter and bouquet toss- that was a NO BRAINER. Thanks but no thanks!

Great ideas- you are totally normal!

Alexis said...

Your list is really similar to ours. The online rsvp worked out great, even the older, perhaps not to comfortable with computers guests. They either got it ok, or we just had our parents give them a quick call to check. We weren't going to do a toss either but had some good friends getting married the very next weekend so we got a cheapie garter from Michael's and I whipped up and extra bouquet and we just threw them at the lucky couple and had a good laugh.

Beckie said...

I agree with Linda, unless you are positive your guests are computer savvy, consider listing some alternative way like your phone number to RSVP by. My friend tried to save money by not sending out maps/directions and just adding a little slip of paper with thier website that had ALL the information. She got swamped with complaints from guests about not knowing or having computer access and had to buy direction post cards. NOT FUN! As long as you have an alternative for the older guest you should be fine... I agree with cutting unnecessary items, they won't be missed :)

Molly said...

Our engagement photos were given to us for free as a gift. We are NOT doing the bouquet or garter toss. As a matter of fact, I'm not even wearing a garter!

My wedding is 2 weeks from tomorrow and I know I've spent the time on the things that are important to me. I think your list is great!

Rachel said...

I'm right there with you, except I would say keep the cake cutting. It doesn't cost anything, it's cute, and everyone loves cake. You don't even have to do the cake feeding, if that's the part that weirds you out. For some reason, I get oddly emotional when I watch a couple hold the knife together and slice into the cake.

African-American Brides said...

These are great ideas! I'll tell you a secret- MOST of your guests are not on the Knot or the Wedding Channel. They don't know or care about menu cards or half the paper products being pushed to brides today. I didn't have professional engagement pictures or bridal portraits (a Southern thing) either! I never ever needed them. My SIL took our engagement pics in my MIL's backyard. That was all we needed. With digital cameras, there is almost no reason to pay for engagement pictures. I have to say that some of the older people will probably be looking for the tosses. But, I personally think you're on the right track!

Anonymous said...

1. I recommend keeping the rsvp cards. I LOVED coming home and finding little green rsvp cards in the mail every day. It was an unexpectedly special thing leading up to the day. And people wrote sweet notes on them that I'm so glad to have.
2. skip it.
3. skip it.
4. we served mini-cupcakes instead of a conventional cake. 3 flavors that rocked and people went nuts for. Carrot cake/cream cheese, lemon poppyseed/vanilla, brownie cupcakes/mocha. omg they were so awesome.
5. skip it.
So much of this stuff is so conventional and you seem not very. If you feel you can live without and won't miss it then don't do it! I didn't do it and I'm so glad.

Kimberly said...

i agree on all accounts. i haaaate the bouquet toss ceremony and am not doing it @ my wedding and cutting your 1st cake together as a couple? as if we're going to be jointly cutting cakes together in the future? meh.

Courtney said...

What a delightful find your blog is! I'm planning a $10,000 wedding too (well, we're shooting for under, but that's our top-end), and living in one of the most expensive cities in the US. Vendors look at me like I'm CRAZY when I tell them the budget we're working within.

I'm excited to catch up on your blog!

JoJo said...

Excellent cuts. We're avoiding both tosses as well and haven't really decided about the cake cutting. I vacillated about the programs, but ultimately decided to make them just so people have something to read during the ceremony. We're having a vendor-free, $3000 wedding (yes, it's possible!), so I want to reward my helpful fam and friends as much as possible!

Peonies and Polaroids said...

Good choices! I don't get engagement photos at all, rsvps can be pretty but are completely unnecessary and I really don't get the bouquet toss. What's the point?

We spent about £4000 and it was fab. It can definitely be done. We skipped favours and live music which were the main things that were 'missing' and saved us some money. And we had family do the catering, I can't tell you how much that saved ! said...

You kinda need to know who's coming and who isn't though... Do online RSVPs.. this will save you the cash and a headache!!

Kristy - Where's My Damn Answer said...

I have a cousin who did their engagement photos in a photo booth at the mall and they were SO MUCH FUN. My Mom still has the photos on her fridge.

You could do something like that and create a page on your blog to host an "announcement" and send an email out to everyone - doesn't cost anything except the money to take the photo in the booth in the first place.

As far as RSVP - do it online too. Utilize the free stuff as much as possible.

erica said...

1) are you nixing this because of the postage costs? why not add cheap vintage postcards (readily purchased on ebay) with the invites?

2) bouquet toss/ garter toss? seriously? so glad i didn't do that. i mean, my bouquet was expensive, why would i want to throw it at someone?

3) meh. what about photobooth engagement photos?

4) the cake. it was there, we cut it, end of story. should have gone with cupcakes, the restaurant cake wasn't very tasty.

5) programs are super cheap and easy to make yourselves. i liked our program because we included a favorite poem by frank o'hara. it's also a nice way to explain culturally significant customs.

re: favors
personally, i'd love a large glass jar of lemon drops that guests can scoop and stow in glassine envelopes if they'd like a little something for the road. or whatever.

PurpleLime said...

In this day and age RSVPs are a little wasteful. Even my grandparents are online, so having people email you or having an RSVP button on your wedding website just makes so much more sense to me. For the few other people who aren't online they can just call you anyway :)

The rest of them all seem like good choices too. I think engagement pictures are nice, especially if your photog does them as part of your wedding package for free, but I've seen several couples rush to get them done like the week of their wedding. What's the point then?

I really don't think people will notice these things are missing unless they've recently planned a wedding or something and would be making comparisons. Aside from the cake cutting and maybe the bouquet toss (which I think is becoming less common) I wouldn't notice.

Kelli said...

My hubby and I also had a $10K budget. We thought it was impossible, but it was not! We had a beautiful day full of fun, beauty, laughter and love... in the end, that is all that really matters right!?! Oh yes, and you and your dress! Don't get too attached though, I would definitely recommend planning a Trash the Dress shoot for once you get back from your honeymoon.
Good luck planning,

Anonymous said...

I'm Australian and an avid reader of (mainly American) wedding blogs. I must say, American brides seem to spend a great deal of money on favors for your wedding guests or even more OTT, gift packages to your out-of-town guests. Australian weddings sometimes feature chocolate-type favors but only the incredibly wealthy would even think of giving a Martha Stewart-esque hamper with personalised bottled water, jams from the groom's grandmother's village orchard and journals covered in the same silk dupion as the bridesmaids' gowns. If a bride does choose to create DIY favors and endless stationary items (candy bar menus - yes, I can see it is a marshmallow) then you are only doing it for yourself because you love being cratfy. It is a lot of work and money and will not really make for a more enjoyable wedding or marriage. So yes - ditch the favors & all the stationery items mentioned. Don't get me started on the American tradition of an inner

amber {daisy chain} said...

why not do your own engagement photo shoot like Emily form EmilyStyle? Those photos were beyond adorable and they just had a friend take the shots but they styled it the way they wanted. Sometimes I think people get more creative when they have less to work with...

Robin said...

Great choices. (Garter toss=ew.)
RSVP cards not needed. Include a phone number to call for those without email.
Program or menu cards are also not necessary. We had them because we had a bilingual wedding and it helped people to follow along during the parts they didn't understand. For the menu "cards," I just printed up a couple of them to stand by the food (buffet).

And yes yes yes to the vows! And music! (But don't rule out an iPod DJ...I designed our playlist and just had a friend set it up and push play!)

Jen said...

We didn't have RSVP cards either - which worked out great. Instead, everyone emailed their rsvp to and I got to write a personal note back to each and everyone with some thoughts about why it means so much to us to have them there and any extra details they, specifically, might need to know.

Karin said...

Well, I've never been big on weddings and haven't even attended that many in my life (my fiancee hasn't attended a single wedding in his life!). So we had very little ideas about what usually is done in weddings.

We have no

- engagement rings (we only want to wear one ring each which we will exchange at the wedding);
- any kind of acknowledgement of the engagement itself (beyond us two, I mean);
- rsvp cards (not a tradition here anyway);
- menu and program cards;
- favors;
- band;
- dancing;
- decorated car;
- co-ordinated bridesmaids outfits (also not a tradition here anyway);
- tossing of anything.

We have
- relaxed atmosphere;
- long dinner and very good food and wine;
- time to talk with everyne who attends our wedding;
- good background music from beginning to the end from a dj friend;
- a musical performances from two talented people;
- two days to spend with our guests.

I'm in Europe but my budget in USD is approximately 10 000.

Indeed Americans seem to spend a lot of money on the smaller details of their weddings. Our budget is actually not considered a small budget for a wedding around here. Pretty much everyone does a lot of DIY projects (for example invitations are almost always self-made).

megan said...

Just started reading, as I am also trying to throw a wedding in the same budget. And we will also be bucking all that stuff too - add to that list placement cards (like who sits where), and a cake (we are making our own cupcakes).

Aerin said...

My sister's garter toss was HILARIOUS! My BIL was DJing, and he cleared the dance floor, put my sister at one end and her groom at the other. He announced that the groom tonight was Top Dog, and so had to get the garter like a dog. Everyone loved it, though it helps when everyone's a little drunk. It was so much fun that I'm planning on keeping that one, but might nix the bouquet toss and let whoever wants a crack at the garter onto the floor, single, married, guy, or girl.

RSVPs will definitely be online/phone number. We're trying to be eco-friendly as well as cheap ($10,000 budget here too) and I'll just lose them before they can get recorded.

We're not cutting the cake. We are, however, cutting the giant cookie (with my sister's serving set, really no point in buying that one).

We haven't decided about engagement pics yet. We kind of want them, but we specifically want them at Disneyland, so my fiancé is supposed to be checking to see if we can get into the park before it opens (we both used to work there, shouldn't be hard). Then we figure it will be easy to find a good photographer who will work for cheap for the shot at seeing Disneyland before it opens!

~a of SkanksForNothing said...

God Bless you- my new mentor of a $10k wedding. I don't think I can get through the next 9 months without your words to keep me going!!! I live in a world of $30k-$50 weddings and I hope these people will still be my friend after coming to my frugal affair.

Gale said...

My daughter and I DIYed a lot of her wedding. She had a "station" dinner from a fantastic chef, a DJ, a fantastic photographer, etc. She decided what was important to her and FI and what was not. They had the ceremony and reception in the same place. It was not cheap, but had a lot of built in decor (a salvage store in Chicago that rents out to private affairs in the evening). However, we had to do very little "extra" decorting. I made the runners for the tables and chairs they provided. We hit all the post Christmas sales last year and made our own centerpieces. We got tons of Christmas tree ball decorations in her wedding colors of eggplant & fushia and heaped them in the bowl which then became the rememberance for the guests. Her sister was living in Hong Kong and bought bolts of fabric for the runners and also Kashmina shawls at less than $1 apiece. Grocery store flowers were added. She borrowed her elbow length ceremony veil and I made her reception veil from Russian netting. Her yummy pumpkin spice cake was made by an independent baker out of her own house and was spectatcular (White chocolate frosting, fuschia & purple clear sugar decorations and a gold dome. She set a budget for her dress and DID NOT GO OVER IT. Her bridesmaids chose any dress, any length in any shade of purple or fuschia. She did have a florist (who again worked out or her house) make the bouquets using the various shades to pull it together. I could (and have) gone on and on, but most importantly WE HAD FUN PLANNING AND DYIing.