Wedding experts share 11 popular trends you shouldn't waste your money on

An ice sculpture of a swan with a red X; Bride and groom with Champagne with red X
Wedding experts believe trends like ice sculptures and Champagne toasts can cost money than they're worth.
Mark van Dam/Shutterstock; evgeniykleymenov/Shutterstock
  • Weddings can get expensive, so Insider spoke to experts to learn which trends couples should skip
  • Doughnut walls are trendy but they can be a waste of money and food.
  • Instead of sending full invitation suites, couples can make a wedding website where guests RSVP.

Skip the Champagne toast.

A bride and a groom hold Champagne flutes with Champagne being poured into glasses
It's unlikely that every guest will drink Champagne.

Marie Kubin, founder and CEO of Rent My Wedding, told Insider that Champagne toasts can put a serious dent in your budget. 

According to Kubin, venues typically make couples pre-purchase Champagne, so they end up ordering more than they need just to be safe. 

"Not all guests like Champagne, so there will almost always be full glasses left on the table and extra unopened bottles," said Kubin. "That's money wasted."

Kubin recommended allowing guests to toast with the beverage of their choice instead.

Balloon backdrops don't always set the right tone.

White balloon backdrop at white wedding venue with tables in front of display
A balloon backdrop can give off birthday-party vibes.
Anastasia Shkilnyk/Shutterstock

Balloon backdrops may seem amazing on Instagram, but Kubin told Insider that they tend to look out of place at most wedding receptions

"You don't want your reception looking like a birthday party," said Kubin. "Balloon backdrops rarely provide an elegant, wedding-worthy look." 

Instead, invite guests to take photos in front of draped fabric or a display of lush greenery.

Doughnut walls can be wasteful and overly trendy.

Cursive text saying "Donut mind if 'I do!'" and a wall of hanging doughnuts with white and pink icing
A doughnut wall is a trend that likely won't stand the test of time.
Irina Lev/Shutterstock

This trend has couples displaying walls of real doughnuts for wedding guests to photograph and nibble on.

"In reality, no one wants to eat doughnuts that have been hanging on a wall for six hours," said Kubin. "Plus, the doughnut wall is so trendy that you'll cringe when you see it in your photos a few years from now." 

If you're set on serving doughnuts, Kubin suggested individually placing them in monogrammed boxes for the dessert table. 

Ditch the wedding favors and go with a photo booth.

Blue boxes with white ribbon in a basket on a table with pink floral decorations in background
Party favors aren't as necessary as some couples may think.

Many couples believe that favors are a required component of a wedding reception when they're often just a waste of money. 

"Favors clutter the table and distract from the decor," said Kubin. "Plus, guests don't want a knick-knack to take home and don't need more food or sweets if you're serving a meal and dessert."

If you don't want your guests leaving empty-handed, consider a photo booth where guests can take snapshots home with them

Food trucks are fun but unnecessary.

Side view of three people in line for food truck with a woman in a black dress ordering and condiments on shelf of food truck next to her
It can be cheaper to serve a traditional meal than book a food truck.
martinedoucet/Getty Images

Cavin Elizabeth, wedding photographer and owner of couture wedding boutique The White Flower, told Insider that food trucks are a costly splurge that most nuptials can do without. 

"No one expects to be fed twice at a wedding reception, so don't feel pressured to bring in a food truck to feed guests again at the end of the night," said Elizabeth. 

An evening wedding reception should typically include dinner, but you can skip the midnight-snack trend.

Most weddings don't need full lounges.

A wooden fence with lights and "Love" decor and a display of seating and pillows in front
Extra seating or a lounge probably won't be a worthy investment.

If you don't think your guests would make full use of a wedding lounge filled with sofas and poufs, skip this expensive trend.

"Guests will use their seats around the reception tables to relax," said Elizabeth. "No one will miss having a lounge and neither will your wedding budget." 

If you do want to provide other areas to relax, consider adding a few outdoor Adirondack chairs or placing extra seating along a wall of the reception room.

It's time to skip printed wedding programs.

Someone grabbing a printed wedding program out of a wooden crate on table at wedding
Printed wedding programs can easily become pricey.
C. Harburg/Shutterstock

Printing out wedding programs is a trend that has been going strong for decades, but Elizabeth told Insider that it's usually an unnecessary and wasteful extra

"Your ceremony isn't a complicated business seminar that needs an itinerary," said Elizabeth. "Having a printed program not only adds to your budget, it's also not environmentally friendly."

You can easily give guests an overview of your special day by posting a program to a wedding website or sending a virtual program on the day. 

A dove release can be anticlimactic and unsafe.

Two doves in a heart-shaped cage with wedding guests filing out of chapel
A dove release will likely be over in a matter of seconds.

Kiana Jepsen, event and wedding manager for Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa, told Insider that releasing live doves or butterflies during your wedding won't get you a lot of bang for your buck. 

"This is a pretty trend, but the truth is that they only last a few minutes at most," said Jepsen. "The doves or butterflies very quickly fly away." 

Couples should also consider the comfort and safety of any animals used in their wedding festivities, as transporting and releasing live creatures can be stressful and even dangerous for them. 

Custom-printed bar napkins don't usually impress guests.

Napkin monogrammed with letter "M" embroidered into it with white flowers
Personalized napkins will probably go unnoticed.
Ana Iacob/Getty Images

Some couples add their initials or wedding dates to bar napkins used at the reception, but the extra expense may not end up wowing guests.

"Printed bar napkins are an expensive detail that is normally barely noticed throughout the event," said Jepsen. 

Using plain cocktail napkins in a color or print that coordinates with the wedding theme may be a cheaper option.

Ice sculptures are messy.

Ice sculpture of a swan with white fabric surrounding area with dining area in background
It's important to remember that even expensive ice sculptures won't last the entire night.
Mark van Dam/Shutterstock

Ice sculptures may seem like a romantic addition to a wedding's decor, but they can be extremely expensive to commission and difficult to maintain

"In reality, ice sculptures are hard to install and tend to melt quickly, leaving a mess," said Jepsen. 

If you like the look of this trend but don't want to end up with a pricey puddle, consider a faux ice sculpture made of plastic or resin. 

Full invitation suites aren't that practical.

Wedding invitations stacked into four piles with red and purple ribbons
A full invitation suite can be a waste of paper.
Sharon Pruitt/EyeEm/Getty Images

Instead of keeping it simple, more couples send full paper invitation suites that include an invite, reception details, accommodation suggestions, and separate RSVP cards. 

"Full invitation suites packed with paper and cards can get expensive fast and aren't very eco-friendly," said Jepsen. 

To save money and trees, you can set up a simple wedding website where guests can access relevant event details at any time and RSVP online. 

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