Creating a wedding budget is already one of the most challenging parts of planning a wedding. Am I right? How in the world are you supposed to know how much everything costs, and how are you supposed to know if you are accounting for every detail? After all, you have never planned a wedding before. Well, don't you fret my friend! Today you are in luck because I am sharing my VERY detailed (and customizable) wedding budget spreadsheet, and am also sharing 15 of the most unexpected wedding costs that couples DON'T budget for. Between these two resources, I have NO doubts that you will be able to keep you budget in check. Are you with me?
1. Pre-Wedding Day Costs.
Don't forget about all those fun pre-wedding events, such as your bachelor/bachelorette party, engagement party and bridal shower. Since these aren't associated with the ACTUAL wedding day, they tend to be left off the budget. Unfortunately, they can add up quickly, so don't forget to keep them in mind when setting your budget.
Along the same lines as the actual pre-wedding events, are all the little things you are spending money along the way. Think new outfits for all those events, and the money you are spending when you 'pop the question' on your potential bridal party.
2. Wedding Day Stationery
When it comes to stationery, save the dates and invitations are the two main things that come to mind. While those may be the most important pieces of stationery, don't forget to account for all the stationery needed on your wedding day. You will need place cards or a seating chart to guide guests to their seats, a menu showcasing the dinner options, tables numbers, and programs showing the ceremony details. Many couples also add additional details, such as welcome signs and signature drink options. While these don't sound like a huge expense, they can add up quicker than you realize and should be accounted for from the beginning.
When you budget for your save the dates and invitations, don't forget about the postage. Postage is going to add over $.50 to each save the date, and over $1.00 to each invitation (if you are including an RSVP envelope). If you are sending out 100 invites, that is an additional $150 you may not have accounted for.
While most couples remember to get gifts for all the people that supported them through their wedding planning journey, most couples fail to budget for it. It may not sound like a huge expense, but if you plan on spending just $20 on each parent and your entire bridal party, that can add up quickly.
5. Day of Coordinator
While many couples think they can handle all of the planning on their own, they often over look one little detail: Who is going to set up all their DIY projects and run the day? As the bride and groom, you will be busy getting married, and your close family and friends should be enjoying that with you. Don't fall into this trap of adding a large unforeseen cost at the last minute; budget for it from the beginning.
6. Vendor Meals
You know all those people you hired to bring your day to life? Well, they need to eat! This will include vendors such as your photographer, videographer, DJ and wedding planner. Be sure to check the contracts, as many vendors require a hot meal as part of the service.
7. Gratuity + Service Fees + Tax
This just may be the biggest unexpected cost of a wedding. Most caterers and hotels charge a service fee and tax on top of the per person cost they are charging you. The service fee covers things like their day to day operations, equipment repairs, office staff, etc. Be sure to budget for this, as it can be as high as a 25 - 30% fee. If you are lucky, this will also account for gratuity, but don't count on it. Many contracts specifically specify that their service fee is NOT gratuity.
In addition to the large service fee for catering, you need to also account for gratuity for your vendors. Most vendors should be tipped (if they do a great job!), and many couples forget to add this into their initial budget.
Not sure how much to budget for vendor gratuities? That's completely understandable! Check out our blog post about Tipping Etiquette Here.
8. Wedding Dress Alterations + Steaming
You just went dress shopping, found the PERFECT dress, and the price tag is right at your budget. Sounds like a no brainer, right? Wrong. Purchasing a dress is only ONE of the costs associated with your attire. Once you order a dress, chances are it is going to need to be altered, stored, and steamed prior to your big day. The bad news: each of those is an additional costs. Be sure to factor this into your 'dress budget' from the beginning, so you aren't unpleasantly surprised later on.
9. Wedding Bag Delivery
Providing your guests with welcome bags is definitely a nice touch, but the costs can add up quickly. Many hotels will charge a fee to have those gifts displayed in your guest's room, which can range from $1 - $7 per room! In order to avoid this fee, have the hotel present your bag at check in, or simply hand them over to your guests at the rehearsal dinner. Problem solved.
10. Cake Cutting + Corkage Fees
You've got to love extra fees... If you choose to purchase your cake through a bakery (as opposed to through your hotel or caterer), you may be presented with a cake cutting fee for them to cut and serve the cake. This can range from $1 per person to about $5 per person.
Along a similar note, if a hotel or bartending company will allow you provide your own alcohol or bottles or wine, there is often a corkage fee associated with it. This price can range drastically, so be sure to have this discussion with your bar provider PRIOR to signing any contracts.
11. Hair and Makeup Trials
Nobody wants surprises on their wedding day, and every bride wants to ensure she looks stunning on her wedding day! In order to get the piece of mind that you are going to love your hair and makeup, you will need to do a trial before hand. This will allow you to test out that hair style you have been eyeing, and will ensure your makeup looks perfect. Once again, this is an additional cost to add to that budget.
12. Setup, Delivery and Breakdown Fees
Believe it or not, many vendors charge additional fees for setup, delivery and breakdown. This could include anyone from your florist to your venue to your rental company. Always ask about these potential fees prior to signing a contract. You don't want to get hit with those unexpected costs at a later date and not be able to do anything about it.
13. Accommodations the night BEFORE your wedding
Booking accommodations the night before your wedding serves more of a purpose than strictly giving you a place to sleep. If you plan on getting ready at a hotel, this will give you access to that room all day, instead of having to rush to get ready after your allotted check-in time. This will be a huge stress reliever, I promise!
14. Food for your wedding party the DAY OF the weddings
Chances are your bridal party will be showing up bright and early on your wedding day. Now comes the question, what will they be eating and who will be feeding them? Didn't think about that did you? Now you know. Don't forget to budget for some snacks and beverages for all those people that will be with you through the entire day. Remember, hungry people are not happy people, and that's not what you want on your wedding day.
15. Overtime Charges
What happens if you wedding runs late or if you decide to add an extra hour at the last minute? Many vendors will charge a fee much larger than their normal rate for these last minute additions. Also, be sure you have someone to assigned to pick up at the end of the night, as many venues will charge a hefty fee if everything is not cleared out by a specific time. Be sure to keep this in mind as begin to plan the timing of your day.
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