When we got married 10 years ago, my husband and I paid for a live band and we are still so, so, so happy we did. A friend of a friend of a friend recommended this band, the California Honeydrops. They’ve since skyrocketed to quite some fame, but 10 years ago, lucky for us, they were still playing weddings. They were a lot of fun. I totally get that a lot of people don’t think the expense of a live band is worth it, but for us it most definitely was.
Here’s what we didn’t pay for: a fancy venue (we rented a youth hostel), high-end clothes (we paid less than $1,000 total for both his vintage suit and my off-the-rack dress), or a caterer. We did pay someone we knew to cook for us, but it was less than half the cost of a caterer. I brought to the venue a whole bunch of plates and cutlery that I’d bought at thrift stores for next to nothing – the assortment of dishes was a lot of fun! A friend of mine organized into mason jars the flowers I’d bought at the flower mart early that morning. And for dessert, instead of a wedding cake, I asked a group of my friends who like to bake to bring baked goods. We had an assortment of amazing desserts. (And ours was a no-gift wedding, so it felt OK to ask for some favors, like the baked goods.)
I will note: I asked two different friends to take photos and the photos were wonderful. Just amazing. But one of those friends did tell me years later that it was stressful for her, being in charge of my wedding photos. So if I had one thing to do over, I’d have hired a pro to do that, just to avoid stressing out my friends.
I think the most important thing for any wedding is just to do it your own way. Save money where it makes sense for you, and spend on what is important to you. And maybe most importantly, don’t get married until you can afford the wedding the way you want it – that is, don’t put it on credit if you can’t pay it off immediately.