Every couple has a few wedding-day regrets, I'm sure. I may have more to report after our actual wedding, but at 3 weeks out, these are some things I wish I'd done differently, budget-wise.
Choices I wish I'd made differently
* The dress. Yeah, I know, I just said this came in under budget. But I feel like I could have spent even less and been happy with what I had. I also wish I'd looked into having a dress made. I think this could have come in even further under budget without compromising anything that was important to me, but I got a bit swept away with the idea that my dress had to be THE BESTEST MOST PERFECT DRESS EVER. It doesn't. It just has to be special, and pretty, and something you like, not something that changes your entire worldview.
* The invitations. I like them a lot, I really do. But to be perfectly honest, I don't love the card stock-type paper the printer used (I'm a paper snob), and the stressful communication problems weren't exactly barrels of fun either. Had I increased my budget in this area by 15-20%, I could have gone with a more experienced and reputable letterpress vendor, one that would have used better materials and wouldn't have had me tearing my hair out. But you get what you pay for.
If I had to do it again, I'd probably go with my first love: White Aisle flat-print invitations. Yes, they're flat printed, but the luxurious paper and stunning designs more than make up for it, and I would have saved a fair chunk of change over the letterpress set. The lesson here: don't let anyone, especially wedding magazines and wedding blogs, talk you into thinking that something you love somehow isn't "good enough" for your wedding. If you love it, go for it! And the second lesson: if something is really important to you, it's OK to splurge a bit on it, rather than stress yourself out by trying to find the "perfect look" for less. Cuts in cost almost always come with a corresponding cut in quality or service. (Caveat emptor and all that.)
And really, that's it. I'm completely happy and at ease with everything else we chose, financially speaking. Econo Boy and I set our original budget based on what parents said they wanted to contribute, and on what we felt comfortable contributing from our own coffers. I'm happy to say that we're still cool with the final numbers (even if the catering bill does give me hives).
What about everyone else? Any advice to pass on to the newly-engaged?