Brides Dish On Their Biggest Budget Mistakes (So You Don't Make Them!)

We asked recent brides to share their biggest money mistakes.
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We asked recent brides to share their biggest money mistakes and — more importantly —what they would do differently today. Here's what they said:

1. "I didn't have a proper budget outline, mostly because I initially envisioned my wedding as a 'simple' affair. I had a checklist in my head consisting of my major vendors, dress and honeymoon, and I thought I was set. I should have written out a budget for everything, consulting other brides to ensure I had everything covered. If I did that from the beginning, there would have been no surprises and I could have avoided some extra tears." —Ava, Spring, TX

Photo courtesy of Fairmont Mayakoba

2. "I spent a lot of time drawing up a budget for big-ticket items, such as flowers and catering, but I forgot to factor in small items like bar napkins and cups, and those things really added up. I also waited until the last minute to purchase those items, so I was caught off guard when I realized how much I'd have to spend. As a result, the wedding total came out a lot higher than I anticipated." —Kelly, Corpus Christi, TX

3. "I tried to plan the wedding from start to finish over the course of four months. I did not have much time between a down payment or deposit and the final payments. Over a more extended period of time, our wedding choices would have been much more affordable, alleviated quite a bit of stress and allowed me to manage the budget much more efficiently." —Christina, Lexington, KY

4. "My biggest mistake was selecting a venue that was too expensive. I only visited five locations, and I fell in love with the last one we saw. In looking at the different venues, I noticed that they were either inexpensive (but I hated the location or décor), or they were really expensive. Since I knew I'd be devoting a lot of the budget to the venue, I thought why not spend a little more for the place I love. Looking back, I'm certain I could have found a middle ground." —Katy, Montclair, NJ

5. "I did not shop around enough for a photographer. I found one and we liked her work, so we booked right away. Our pictures were beautiful, but after seeing other friends' wedding photos, I realized we could have paid a few thousand less for the same quality." —Katie, Joliet, IL

Photo Credit: Elizabeth Messina Photography

6. "It didn't occur to me to price out alterations. As I bought my dress from a major retailer, it just made sense to have them alter it, and I scheduled my fitting the same day I ordered the dress. Ultimately, I ended up paying 25 percent of the cost of the dress just to have the hem taken up, as well as a 'designer dress fee' because of the brand I'd bought. I let the rush of the moment push me into making a spot decision." —Lori, Frederick, MD

7. "My biggest budgeting mistake was the florist. Though my flowers were gorgeous, looking back, I see they were overpriced. I wanted calla lilies and found these beautiful purple ones called Picasso lilies. There was a miscommunication somewhere along the line and I thought we'd be getting a floral arrangement in a small basket for my flower girl. Instead, we got a bag of petals, which we couldn't even use at the church since it didn't allow petals to be tossed." —Melissa, Hanson, MA

8. "We decided to make our invitations ourselves because we thought it would be a fun project that would save us money. At the end of it all, we spent hours coming up with a design, trying it out, failing, coming up with a new design and going back and forth to various stores for supplies. Don't get me wrong, the invites turned out awesome, but I would have spent a little more time researching stationery companies and comparing the prices of the printed invites versus all of the materials we bought separately." —Sarah, Chicago, IL

Photo Credit: Dana Grant

9. "We wanted to give worthwhile and meaningful gifts to our parents and bridal party, and ended up spending way more than we originally wanted. To avoid this, I would say shop early and shop often. Do not wait until the last minute. Take advantage of big sales and Black Friday deals." —Kathryn, Columbus, OH

10. "To show appreciation for guests who took time out of their schedules to travel to our wedding, I spent two solid evenings packaging salt-water taffy into little Tiffany-blue paper boxes that I assembled, complete with a Tiffany-blue ribbon. Many guests left them on the table at the end of the reception and I ended up taking 20 of them home! "—Kristine, Milwaukee, WI

11. "Our biggest mistake was that once we got to the finish line, we totally blew off our budget and let a flurry of incremental expenses trickle in. We tripled the amount we budgeted for our rehearsal dinner because we wanted to get the celebration off to a great start. We should have anticipated about 10- 15 percent in overages because there will always be some unexpected costs or financial decisions you'll make when emotion, not logic, gets the better of you — which it often does." —Angie, Lawrence, KS

By Daniel P. Smith for Bridal Guide

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