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If you're engaged, there's a good chance you've been spending your lunch hours perusing Pinterest. It's easy to get so swept up in the grandeur and thrill of the wedding world that you lose track of what's actually important to you – versus what the wedding industry wants you to feel you need.

When planning a wedding on a budget, it's important to start off right. So when you sit down to write that first checklist of things that need to be borrowed and bought, knock off a few items you may not need at all.

Item #1: Expensive Wedding Rings

Gold wedding rings may be right for some, but you and your soon-to-be spouse may prefer an alternative option that's both more personal and less costly. For example, you could plant a commemorative tree, select rings made from a more affordable material or even get matching tattoos.

Item #2: Alcohol at the Reception

Depending on the size of your guest list, having an open bar at the reception can cost you thousands of dollars. There is nothing wrong with having an alcohol-free reception, particularly if it's during the day.

If alcohol is something you still want to incorporate, try having a single champagne toast, which will cost you in the hundreds instead of the thousands. Then, have a cash bar available for your guests who want to drink after that.

Item #3: A Full-Meal Reception

Receptions have changed with the times. It's now completely acceptable to have any of the following in lieu of a sit-down, three-course meal:

  • Hors d'oeuvre-only reception
  • Breakfast or brunch reception
  • Potluck reception
  • Champagne and cake reception

Item #4: A Groom's Cake

Groom's cakes are sliced up and sent home with guests as a wedding favor. Originating in Victorian England, single ladies were told to sleep with the piece of cake under their pillows to have sweet dreams of their future husbands.

You can see how a second cake means a big expense, and chances are your guests aren't dying to stuff a cake slice under their pillow. Feel free to skip this one.

Item #5: A DJ for Your Reception

If you can find a reception site that will play preselected music for you, then you don't need a DJ. While DJs can add a lot of fun to a ceremony, you can still have music by creating your own playlists and giving staff at the reception site instructions for what playlists to play when. This is a great option for music lovers with eclectic tastes.

Item #6: Printed Wedding Programs

Why spend beaucoup bucks on something your guests will likely throw away the same day? A website can be a more cost-efficient way to let your guests know what's happening where and at what time.

Item #7: A Separate Reception Dress

Your wedding day will go by in a flash. And you just spent a small fortune to purchase that wedding gown. So why waste precious time and money just to change into another dress for the reception? Just make sure your actual gown can be quickly altered (especially the train) so that you don't trip on it as you make your way around the dance floor.

Saying "no" to these seven items on your wedding day means saying "yes" to your budget. You and your new spouse will be thankful the next day, when you wake up with money left in the bank to spend on building your new life together.

This information and recommendations contained herein is compiled from sources deemed reliable, but is not represented to be accurate or complete. In providing this information, neither KeyBank nor its affiliates are acting as your agent or is offering any tax, accounting, or legal advice.

By selecting any external link on, you will leave the KeyBank website and jump to an unaffiliated third party website that may offer a different privacy policy and level of security. The third party is responsible for website content and system availability. KeyBank does not offer, endorse, recommend, or guarantee any product or service available on that entity's website.

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