It’s wedding season!! And speaking from personal experience, planning a wedding can be expensive! The most important thing when planning a wedding is to create a budget. We all know of the big budget line items when thinking about planning a wedding: Dress, food, venue, transportation, etc., but what about those things that don’t come to mind?
Below are 10 Hidden Costs of wedding planning, and how you can combat them!
1. Postage —You would think something as small as postage isn’t a major cost to consider, but 45 cents per envelope adds up! The most common stationary used for a weddings are save the dates, invitations, response card envelopes, and then thank you cards. When I got married, for our response cards instead of including a postage paid envelope, we asked that guests either call or email to RSVP. Also, be careful of the type of invitation you get. Depending on the size and weight, you may end up paying more than the standard postage per envelope.
2. Alterations —If you purchased a dress or tuxedo that requires alterations, be wary of where you go. The more complex the alterations, the heftier your costs will be.My alterations were 25% of the cost of my dress! Some bridal shops do include alterations with the cost of the dress. Ask about this when you are shopping. Try to purchase a wedding dress locally!! If not, you will pay for the cost of alterations AND travel.
3. Wedding Accessories — Earrings, shoes, necklace, bracelet, etc. Give yourself a spending cap for these items and purchase over time so that you are 1. not stressing yourself out weeks or days before the wedding, and 2. so that you aren’t left with a large amount of money you have to spend in a short amount of time.
4. Taxes & Gratuity – The wedding planner has told you that your venue will be $40 per person for dinner. Let’s say you have 125 guests. That’s $5000. The SUBTOTAL is $5000. When you add 9% taxes and 18% gratuity, your bill has increased by $1350 to a grand total of $6350. If your budget is $5000, make sure that includes taxes and gratuity. Consider gratuity for the band and your transportation in the budget as well.
5. Wedding party gifts — Being a bridesmaid or groomsman is more than just smiling and walking down the aisle. Your loved ones are investing money and time to make sure that your day is special. Getting your bridal party gifts are a non-negotiable and they can add up quick! Don’t wait until the last minute to purchase gifts. Purchasing over time will allow you to spread your costs out. No matter how much time you have, start buying your gifts early! There are also great DIY ideas on Pinterest that can lower your costs as well.
6. Decorations — Oftentimes, some decorations are included in the cost of your wedding package, particularly if you are having a wedding at a hotel or banquet hall. Most brides and grooms want to add the personal touch to their wedding, especially if they have a theme or color scheme. Just like #3 and #5 purchase your decorations over time. Find decorations that you can assemble or make yourself to make your special day stand out.
7. Alcohol – Open bar sounds great right? Of course, but it means a big cost to the person who is paying for the wedding. There’s often a lot of debate on this issue whether an open bar is appropriate, right, wrong, etc. Yhink about the group of people you are inviting to your wedding. If you feel that an open bar isn’t necessary, don’t add it to your package. It could save you a couple thousand dollars. A cost effective alternative is a non-alcoholic specialty drink, or a bottle or two of wine at each table.
8. Favors – Favors can become very costly as you have to consider the cost per person. DIY favors can be cheaper but consider the time that will be put in to prepare them. Pinterest is a great resource to find wedding favors that are inexpensive and your guests will love.
9. Back up Plan — Are you planning a wedding outside? It is always important to plan for the possibility of rain. This can become very costly especially if you have to pay for both locations regardless. Consider an indoor location to ease anxiety about weather. If you do plan to have a wedding outside, consider using a venue that also has indoor space. You may only have to pay one total price.
10. Damages —So Uncle Rick drank a little too much and ended up hurling in the hallway, and guess who has to pay for it? You! Damages could be really costly depending on what happens and how much damage is done. Before you sign any contracts for your reception or ceremony location, be clear about what damage charges may incur so that you don’t get any surprises!
For all of you who are getting married congratulations! I hope that my tips are helpful to you as you plan one of the most important days of your lives! Enjoy 🙂