SP: 10 ‘essentials’ you DON’T need for your wedding

SP: 10 ‘essentials’ you DON’T need for your wedding

wedding essentials

Planning a wedding? Of course, budget is everything – but a lot of the ‘must-haves’ are things you can really do without. Here’s what I think you can cross off your wedding shopping list (and save!).

1. An engagement ring. Gorgeous as they are, I don’t care about diamonds that much. I’m a pretty simple gal when it comes to jewellery and my platinum band is all I need. In my book, the stress of having to find another $5000-10,000 for a big rock isn’t worth it when you’re planning a wedding.

2. Wedding cars. Vintage mobiles can look cool in the photos, but worth the $2000 price-tag? Not so much – especially when you consider how few people see the cars. My dad ended up driving me and the bridesmaids in his 4WD, while a friend picked up Mr Chick and his family. No biggie!

3. A really expensive dress. My dress cost a bomb and it was gorgeous. But looking back, I wish I’d considered more options (like vintage stores, Ebay or overseas dressmakers). A friend who got married in a drop-dead gorgeous gown later confessed to me it cost her $150. She sent her measurements overseas and they sent her the finished dress. Smart girl.

4. All that extra printing. You DO NOT need save-the-date cards, wedding registry cards, RSVP cards and so on. Get the invite beautifully printed (or create a cost-effective one yourself) and add as much info as you can to it, or keep it simple and do a wedding website for all the other info if you have overseas guests coming. Otherwise people can call you to ask questions. So old-school, I know.

5. Bonbonerie. Seriously, step away from the personalised M&Ms. 

6. A super-posh venue. You’ll find everything from elegant ballrooms like the one at Melbourne’s Bell City, to harbourside school halls like the one I got married in. But don’t get roped into spending a fortune on a venue; it’s the vibe you create at the reception rather than the surroundings that matters. I met Mr Chick at a surf club wedding and it’s one of the best weddings I’ve ever been to.

7. A formal cake. Although we did have a cake made, it didn’t cost a fortune. So save money by getting a cake-making rello to whip one up, opt for a selection of  mini cakes, cupcakes on a stick or a big cupcake tree – it’s a fun way to dish up dessert AND will save you heaps of dosh! 

8. A sit-down dinner. I’ve never forgotten the food at my friend Jacqui’s wedding. It was catered, but served in fancy takeaway boxes with forks and chopsticks and we sat on a grassy knoll overlooking Vaucluse. It was such a casual, beautiful meal and a good way to save bucks.

9. A band. Wedding bands can set you back $1000-3000, whereas a carefully created playlist costs nix. Let’s face it, when everyone’s a bit tiddly and kicking their shoes off to hit the dance floor, no one cares if there’s a band or not as long as the music’s good.

10. A florist. I spent hundreds on flowers and I didn’t even like my bouquet in the end. So my tip would be to go to Paddy’s Market and buy flowers you love, rope in a creative friend to help do the table settings and pull the bouquets together. Easy, beautiful and way cheaper.

Over to you, RC readers… Any other wedding day ‘must-haves’ you actually don’t need and wouldn’t miss? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!

Freelance journo, blogger, self-appointed advice-giver and co-author of Get Lucky. If you've got a dating or relationship issue, feel free to ask a question. (PS. You can also find me at The Mama Files and Letter To My Ex).


  1. Aran 7 years ago

    What we did without… guests! As HH (Handsome Hero) and I had both been married before, we ‘uninvited’ everyone including family and close friends to our special day. Instead, our witnesses were the Wedding Coordinator and a bartender called Peter Pan, and we were married on a beach in Mauritius. The day was so special, as we got to spend it completely together, without giving a flying champagne flute about anyone else! Oh, and added bonus – I wore my wedding dress 3 times as we followed up our wedding day with 2 huge reception parties in England and New Zealand. Bliss.

    • Author
      Rachel 7 years ago

      It looked like an awesome day. So glad I was there for the after party though 😉

  2. Cyndie 7 years ago

    I know what you mean about the engagement ring. I wasn’t keen for Mr Slimalicious to spend a fortune…
    On the wedding car, I’m with you, there will be no fancy car at our wedding! I’m hoping we can borrow my sister car as it is quite new, it just a medium size basic car, black, I will decorate it with flowers and ribbons. I ordered my dress overseas, custom made, it cost me $300. It’s gorgeous, the fabric is perfect and the quality of the stitching is absolutely fine – it will last ONE day for sure, and it’s all I need 😉 No wedding bands for us, just a DJ (in France DJ also play the MC role). For the flowers, I agree, I’m hoping I can do that too. For us wedding cake is included in the price per head for catering. Despite trying to be money savvy where I can our wedding bill still is $20K. Ouuch!

    • Author

      Sounds like you’ve got it down to a fine art Cyndie! You were clearly more savvy on the dress thing than I was, even though I love my dress I do feel I got railroaded into it a bit at the time. I know exactly what you mean about the $20k pricetag – feels HUGE for just one day… but a day you’ll never forget I promise you.
      Cannot wait to see the photos 🙂

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