Leading up to your wedding, you can expect to be in full-on decision making mode. Will you have a live band or a DJ at the reception? Chocolate cake or vanilla? Small wedding or large? The list goes on.
Since most significant wedding purchases aren't cheap, it's important to choose wisely. In hindsight, married people agree three costs were worth the money: The bride's dress, the wedding cake and photography.
That's according to a recent survey from Novi Financial Inc., which collected 1,000 responses from people ages 18 to 54 who married in the past decade. Participants were asked to rate different costs and share whether they felt it was worth it to splurge on various wedding expenses, such as a professional photographer, videographer, flowers, wedding cake and more.
Of those polled, 56.6% said buying the bride's dress was a good use of their money, followed by 53.1% who said photography and 52.4% who said the wedding cake.
When it comes to wedding purchases married people regret, 48.5% of those polled said wedding planners weren't worth the cost, followed by 36.7% who said videography and 36.1% who said wedding favors. Other popular responses include the champagne toast (35.2%) and flowers (29.2%).
While wedding decisions are personal, it can be beneficial to have an idea of which purchases married people regret to see where it might be possible to cut costs. Over 40% of those who spent more than $30,000 on their big day wish they hadn't spent so much and over two-thirds wish they had done "at least one thing" to reduce the cost of the wedding, the study found.
Whether or not to splurge on certain wedding expenses, such as a wedding dress or champagne toast, comes down to your personal preferences, priorities and budget. Sometimes, that means prioritizing what's important and cutting back on the rest.
"In many wedding budgets, it's about the compromises you make for yourself, and with your partner," Courtney says. "Looking at a given cost as it relates to your overall budget is a great exercise in getting a sense of what you're comfortable with spending,"
Although it's a subjective process, experts agree that you and your partner should be on the same page as you plan.
"Everyone paying for the event (bride, groom and parents) needs to sit down and look at the total wedding budget," Rachel Cruze writes in a post on personal finance expert Dave Ramsey's blog. She suggests breaking the total wedding budget down into categories to determine which portion will go to various expenses, including the reception, ceremony or photography.
"You should set your ratios based on what's important to you," Cruze writes. "Maybe you're willing to splurge on photos, but flowers don't really matter to you. If you care more about one area than another, change up the percentages."
A good place to start is "with the largest expenses first," says Risa Dimacali, a certified financial planner at Novi Money. "As a couple, decide on what's most important to you for your big day," and go from there, Dimacali says.
For more wedding budget inspiration, check out:
- Where you get married matters: Here's how much weddings cost by state
- Here's how much three brides actually spent on their weddings
- Why you may want to consider investing in wedding insurance
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