Weddings are definitely an investment, and you might not even realize some of the expenses that contribute to your overall wedding cost right away. So guess what?! I'm here to help! Through planning my own wedding and being around hundreds of them professionally, I have seen lots of logistical details that get overlooked and under-budgeted. Read on to see a great list of things you can add to the "budget" page in your cute wedding planner you got at TJ Maxx and get ahead of the game!
Your amazingly bespoke, gorgeous, sparkly invites are done and in hand, but uh oh! You forgot to budget for the postage! Did you know stamps are now $0.50?!?!?! Your guest list of 300 just cost you another $150 to get your invites in front of them! I totally forgot to budget for this one too so don't feel bad!
MS. TO MRS.
List of things you will deal with to change your name, all of which cost money: changing your drivers license, marriage license, social security card, insurance cards, bank accounts, switching your utilities, finding a spotless lamb, erecting a golden shrine, giving up your birthrights, etc. Luckily, there's lots of online services that can help you with this, but surprise! They aren't free either. bummer.
A well fed bridal party is a happy bridal party! Food, amazingly enough, can be an annoying nuisance on a day when you are crazy busy, but if you have everything prepared ahead of time (including how to pay for it!), you can just sit back and enjoy! If you are getting ready early at a salon, plan to have some things on hand like muffins, fruit, and of course everyone's fav - mimosas! Fast forward to lunch where it's always a good idea to have some snacks hanging out in the rooms where folks are getting ready (I did a few subs cut into 3" pieces). Don't forget to pack a cooler and lots of ice for some beverages - especially if you are taking a party bus from the ceremony to the reception!
Most brides are more than excited to design their invites - but what about the other paper products you will need like escort cards, programs, menus, etc? It's also tradition, and a nice gesture, to send thank you cards out to your guests as well - which means, you guessed it, MORE postage!
Although not necessary, you may want to budget in some money to tip your vendors providing a service for your actual wedding event, including your bartenders, DJ, videographer, photographer, limo driver and catering wait staff. Remember that song that came out in 2004 where everybody in the club was getting tips? It WAS tips there were getting, right? Everyone wants to get tips.
I loooove to treat my brides to coffee, ice cream, or a bite to eat when I meet up with them! But, not everyone is super awesome like that, so be sure to budget some money for when you meet with your other wedding vendors!
I don't mean the actual dress - I'm talking about your bustle and alterations! Even if you don't think you need alterations, you probably do. Your dress was not MADE for your body, so budget just a bit more to get it to look absolutely perfect. And if you have a train, you WILL want a bustle. Pro tip: take along a bridesmaid or a mom to your last fitting and have them learn how to secure the bustle. Nearly every wedding I photograph, no one knows how to secure the bustle and it inevitably ends up looking sloppy, falling out, ripping, or some other not so fun thing.
Rehearsal dinners can be as fancy or as informal as you want them, but there WILL be an expense with it, whether its renting a room at a venue, tips or parking at a restaurant, paper products for a pot-luck style shin-dig, figure out your plan early and think through the details so nothing is a surprise expense! This also goes for your bach parties and showers!!
Sadly, not everywhere in the world is open for you to occupy, inhabit, trespass on, play in, walk through, or photograph in front of. I've learned this lesson (have I? lol) many, many times. If you have your heart set on a location for photos, the next step is to find out who owns or controls that location and see if they require a permit. If it's privately owned, chances are the want a permit and yup, you're gunna pay.
Let's agree to not do the metal boxes of butter mints on each place setting, ok? I love butter mints, and I've repurposed those boxes into magnetic spice containers, but spend your money on something that people will be excited about! Favors have taken an interesting turn in weddings as of late. Some fun ones I've seen include: baby succulents, mini bottles of wine/champagne, custom printed paper bags for the sweets table, or my fav: a piece of paper indicating that a donation to a charity chosen by the couple has been made in the guest's honor. Where to start? With a budget, and then see what fits!
It's likely that your venue will have a parking lot, but have you thought about any stops along the way in between the ceremony and reception? I encounter this a LOT when we travel from location to location for photos. If you are using a limo service, it's likely that they have special parking permissions - but you definitely want to check! If your bridal party is going to be driving their own cars to your photo locations, do them a favor and make sure everyone has quarters at your rehearsal dinner!