When you begin planning your wedding, having an overall budget in mind will help you make decisions smartly. You do want to give yourself (and your vendors) an idea of what they are looking at financially. A high budget to you may be $100,000.00 whereas to another person it is $300,000.00 or more. It would not make sense to have a $25,000.00 band and a $3,000.00 invitation for instance. When clients come to a planner there is most always a learning curve regarding the nature of what things truly cost and what dollar gets you what for your money. Weddings are expensive, be it $50,000, $100,000, $150,000.00 or $500,000.00 or more. However, you do not want to regret your choices and that statement means different things to different people.
I have compiled the following list, in efforts to help you along if you are going at it alone!
Don't forget to account for.....
1. Gratuities! Sure you will be tipping the servers with the catering company you have hired, but most likely you will also be giving a gratuity to the day of staff members with the event planner, the musicians, your catering manager, the drivers of your contracted vehicles, etc.
2. Transportation! In most cases, your main event will not be taking place within walking distance from your guests hotel accommodations. You do not want to be worrying about your guests drinking and driving. For peace of mind, you really must have mass transportation unless perhaps your celebration is taking place in the city. Additionally, you and your fiance may want a gorgeous car just for yourselves, in order to have private time before and after any church ceremony and en route to your reception.
3. Bridal Party Gifts! These are the family and friends you have chosen to stand with you when you take your vows, so you’re going to want to show them some love for being there for you on your wedding day! Nowadays there are so many clever options for bridal party gifts; no more standard money clip for the guys. With so many choices at all different price points, you’ll be sure to find something for every friend! You can also gift them activities, like a night on the town seeing a show together when you get back from your honeymoon, group day at the spa, etc.
4. Jewelry & other accessories! Not every woman is lucky enough to have amazing jewelry passed down from her mother or grandmother to wear on her wedding day. In this case, you’ll have to find your own new and gorgeous pieces to make your very own on your special day! Also consider your clutch, shrug, shoes, etc.
5. Welcome Bags! Preparing welcome bags for your guests who are staying in hotels is a wonderful gesture. Many of the people who are staying in the accommodations put aside for your wedding have traveled a bit to be there. It’s nice for them to have snacks and activities in their hotel room as well as a list of things to do in the area in the event that they are not aware of local attractions. Also, people don't necessarily hang onto or remember your invitation. Including an itinerary for the weekend of activities is a smart choice.
6. Postage! This expense may seem nominal and in most cases it will be, but there have been some event and wedding invitations that have had postage over $2 and also, many invitations mailed overseas. In these rarer occasions, well over $1k has been spent on postage.
7. Food for the Day Of! You hear it time and time again-you want to make sure that you eat something before your wedding ceremony and party begin! There’s a good possibility that the day of the wedding you’ll be getting ready with your bridal party and other family members, so that’s a lot of mouths to feed. Not to mention, the men will want something to eat as well!
8. Breakfast for the masses! Most obviously you may have already accounted for the day-after brunch but this is not as easy as it seems sometimes. When you have a large guest count at a hotel they sometimes will charge a service fee or room fee if many people are attending a brunch that might otherwise be complimentary. Sort this issue out at the time of creating your rooming block, so save you the aggravation down the line. Also, if you are hosting a private brunch, it is very hard to keep this guest count down to only family. There are those rare weddings that have a good 75% of guests in attendance...thats a lot o' coffee and eggs!
9. Favors! Much like the welcome bags, you’ll want to show a token of appreciation for your guests joining and celebrating your special day with you! There are so many great and creative wedding favor options available, but much like many other things, the price will add up quickly depending on the amount of guests you have. If you are going the route of making a donation, you do want to choose something that is relevant to you and your loved ones. Often times people over analyze this while planning. There is the school of thought that people are being pretentious, while also making a charitable donation! If you genuinely support the cause and it is relevant to your family, then make that donation.
10. Day of paper! Sure your invitations are lovely, but what about your menus, ceremony programs, seating cards if you go the traditional route and tags or what have you on favors? You want all the elements of your special day to be cohesive. Don't forget the 'day-of paper' otherwise known as your DOP.
10. The unforeseen! You have not completed your planning yet! There may be a thing or two, or three or four, that catch your eye while planning! Could be a conversation piece, a custom napkin, an ornate seating assignment board, what have you. Point being, we always take a small chunk out of the budget to account for this. Also, when you begin planning you may not have known how much you love flowers and you need that extra pile to add to the pretty! The possibilities are endless when it comes to unforeseen needs, so plan ahead with a 'rainy day' fund for the wedding!