So many bridal guides and wedding planning resources end up feeling more like shopping how-tos – essentially Lucky magazine for the engaged set. Right from the start, wedding planning is framed as being all about what you can buy. Wedding dress shopping! Shopping for a venue! And we’ll admit we’re a little guilty of this cardinal wedding planning sin ourselves. Pearl wedding jewelry? Bridal clutch? Why not?!
But the fact is – and you’ll never hear us disagree with it – that the main matrimonial must-haves for any wedding are the two people saying the vows and in most states, an officiant and witnesses. We say in most states because in a few, couples can act as their own officiants, and in a few others, the officiant is the witness. If you’re having wedding guests, refreshments also fall into the must-have category. Everything else is just pretty gravy. And we do love gravy!
Fact: coordinating table linens at the reception are not a must-have. Matching wedding rings are not a must-have. A sit-down dinner for 100+ wedding guests is not a must-have. Bridesmaids in matching bridesmaids dresses are not a must-have. Wedding favors? Nope. A bridal bouquet? Nope. The father-of-the-bride walking his daughter down the aisle? A mother-son dance? Flowers on the tables? No, no, and nope.
The point is that when you, as you’re planning a wedding, ask yourself “Do I really need…?”, the answer is probably also nope. One way to maximize your budget or just minimize complexity is to prioritize, and when you find yourself asking “Do I really need…? you have just identified areas where you, as the bride-to-be, can do just that. Don’t assume that just because every wedding you’ve ever been to has featured a wedding DJ, a tiered cake, and tulle-wrapped candies that you need to shell out for those things. Conversely, don’t assume that because NO wedding you’ve ever been to has had X, Y, or Z that you can’t.
Like we said, there are very few true must-haves in the wedding planning world. Once you have those squared away, everything else is up to you.