Stone Crandall Photography"> clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

5 Wedding Upsells That Aren't Worth Your Money

Don't get upsold into paying more for rosewood bride and groom placards when reclaimed pine will do the trick. Photo by <a href="">Stone Crandall Photography</a>
Don't get upsold into paying more for rosewood bride and groom placards when reclaimed pine will do the trick. Photo by Stone Crandall Photography

Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.

It's easy to get carried away when planning the big day. One minute, you're talking about minimalism (and maybe a photo booth), and the next you're getting an estimate on a fireworks display outside of a castle. The problem? The sweet siren song of the upsell, tempting you away from your budget.

San Francisco wedding expert Christina Millikin from Glow Event Design says that sometimes it's worth spending the extra money: Guests always appreciate better food and wine at the reception, and some may notice if the table is draped with a higher-quality table cloth. Other upsells are an unnecessary drain on your budget.

1. Chairs
Chair rental can quickly turn into a money pit, but Christina has a few tips. First, skip the chair covers: If you hate the chairs, it's cheaper to rent different chairs. Second, look for a cheaper, simpler chair rental options. "If a Chiavari chair isn't in your budget, get a wooden folding chair." (For those of us who don't speak fluent wedding, the Chiavari —or Tiffany— chair is a popular seating option at weddings which runs $8.50 to $10 per chair. Wooden folding chair rentals, by contrast, cost about $3.50 per chair.) Finally, you may be able to save on chair rental by reusing your ceremony chairs for the reception. If your guests will be out of sight during the cocktail hour, simply arrange for the venue staff to move the ceremony chairs to the reception location.

2. The Upgraded Napkin
Wedding guests may get up close and personal with their dinner napkins, but they are hardly going to see them. According to Millikin, a standard napkin rental will run you about 0.75 per unit, while upgraded napkins are about $2 each. If you have 100 guests, that's a $125 difference for a detail no one will notice.

3. Lighting
For $20 per table, a lighting designer can direct lights to illuminate your table centerpieces, but is it worth the expense? Millikin suggests saving your money on multiple pinpoint lights, and directing your lighting budget to uplighting on the walls of the venue and a solid wash on the dance floor.

4. Invitation Printing
Most couples are presented with four printing options for invitations: flat print, thermography, letter press, and engraving. Thermography and engraving both give you those slightly-raised letters that you're used to seeing on wedding invitations, but thermography is one of the cheapest options for invitations, while engraving is the most expensive. Unless you're a serious stationery snob —not that there's anything wrong with that— save the money and go for thermography.

5. Transportation
A fancy getaway car makes for great photos, but traveling to and from the wedding venue in that car gets expensive: You could easily wind up paying at least $200 each way. Don't be fooled into paying for a full day of car service. Consider taking a car service like Uber to your venue, and saving the swankier ride for your departure.Robyn Hagan Cain
· Glow Event Design [Official Site]
· Where to Get Free (With Purchase) Makeup on Your Wedding Day [Racked]
· All Weddings Week Posts [Racked]