10 Expensive Wedding Traditions You Could Easily Skip

Illustrated By Mallory Heyer.
In 2016, the only hard-and-fast rule of weddings is there are no rules. Want to wear black instead of white? Go for it. Want to skip the hotel blocks and invite your guests to camp out in a field? Do it.

Whatever direction you ultimately choose, the wedding-planning process usually begins with research. And thanks to the internet, the material is endless. Before long, you may start to feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of tasks involved with getting married, not to mention the costs.

The good news is that there are also a lot of things that you absolutely do not need to do for your wedding — despite what you may read in bridal magazines or see on Pinterest.

Ahead, 10 things that you should feel totally okay skipping on your wedding day, whether you're trying to save money, time, or just your sanity.
This month, we're asking you to toss out everything you thought you knew about spring cleaning and give every corner of your life a refresh. The inspiration for a happier, clutter-free you is right this way.
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Illustrated By Mallory Heyer.
Professional Dancing Lessons
According to every rom-com, all engaged couples take professional dance classes to prepare for their reception. But before you rush to sign up at Alvin Ailey, ask yourself one question: When's the last time you went to a wedding where anyone did the waltz?

If you're genuinely worried that your moves aren't up to snuff, watch some instructional YouTube videos while practicing in a mirror. Boom, you can dance.
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Illustrated By Mallory Heyer.
A Large Bridal Party
There is nothing wrong with being flanked by a dozen of your sisters — whether biological, sorority, or spiritual — at all times on your wedding day. But just know it is not mandatory. If you don't have a large group of close friends or a giant extended family, you're not required to pretend that you do just because you're getting married. Having lots of bridesmaids comes with its own special costs (both mental and financial) and having just one or two attendants to help you on the day, or foregoing a bridal party altogether, is absolutely fine.
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Illustrated By Mallory Heyer.
An Engagement Party
If you want to have an engagement party, by all means, do it. But don't get sucked into the idea that you must have multiple pre-wedding events (engagement party, bridal luncheon, bridal shower, bachelorette party, rehearsal dinner, not to mention a morning-after brunch) just because Martha Stewart tells you to. If you don't really have the budget — or the inclination — skip it and never look back.
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Illustrated By Mallory Heyer.
Engagement Photos
I know plenty of intelligent, rational people who have suffered from diamond ring-induced psychosis. The primary symptom is posting 130 professional photos of yourself and your partner blowing kisses at each other on a rowboat and captioning it with something that isn't even a little bit ironic. Please don't do this.* It's making me feel weird.

*Do it if you want to.
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Illustrated By Mallory Heyer.
Send Printed Invitations For Every Event
There is something undeniably nice about sending wedding-related correspondence by post rather than email. But it is also expensive, much more difficult to track, and less convenient for your guests. Don't let my mom anyone tell you that it's tacky to use email invites, particularly for peripheral events (like that engagement party I just advised you to skip). Save the paper for the real wedding invitations.
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Illustrated By Mallory Heyer.
Distribute Wedding Favors
Party favors are a great way to say: Thank you for coming, we hope you had fun, now please be sure to stuff your pockets with this dumb little thing that is begging to be left in a cab. It has our names and the date on it!

Joking aside, even if guests don't really treat your wedding favor as a priceless artifact, these gifts can certainly add a fun, personal element to your event. And if you're comfortable spending, say, $2,000 on 150 tiny succulents, then you should do it. Same goes for mini wine bottles with your faces on the label, personalized pots of jam, or anything that makes you happy. But your guests probably won't judge you if you skip the useless trinket.
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Illustrated By Mallory Heyer.
Hire A Wedding Planner
If you're hosting more than 50 people, booking a day-of coordinator to help make sure things run smoothly is a worthwhile investment (and some venues even include a clause in the contract that requires it). But unless you're the Queen of England or Steve Martin's daughter, you probably don't need to drop upwards of $12,000 on a full-scale wedding coordinator. You can — and it will make your life easier — but you need not.
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Illustrated By Mallory Heyer.
Buy Couples' Stationery
Once again, this is a nice, but a wholly unnecessary (and potentially expensive) touch. You've likely put SO much into planning your wedding. Ordering custom thank you notes emblazoned with your initials and color-matched to your floral centerpieces just doesn't need to be a priority. Sure, you may want personalized stationery for any of number of things once you're married, but if you're losing sleep over this during the planning process, just don't.
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Illustrated By Mallory Heyer.
Serve A Formal, Seated Dinner
Remember when we said there were no rules about weddings? Well, there is one exception: You must serve food. Even if it's not a full meal, guests should be provided with something — anything — to eat after your ceremony. But you can opt for a buffet or even a substantial passed hors d'oeuvres situation. Hell, get a food truck and call it a day. Just because most people opt for a formal, seated dinner doesn't mean you should feel obligated to do so.
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Illustrated By Mallory Heyer.
Have A Fancy Wedding Cake
Yes, there is something appealing about the tradition of cutting the cake. But once you factor in the insanely high price of the average custom wedding cake (like, a few thousand dollars), not to mention the cake-cutting fee your caterer or venue may charge to serve it, cupcakes start to sound really, really good.