Although we don't like to think money rules the world, unfortunately, it does. Weddings are unexpectedly expensive to a lot of folks and are increasingly costing more as the years go on. Just a few years ago, an average wedding in the United States was around $30,000. Today, the average wedding is at $35,000 according to a 2016 survey done by The Knot. As wedding planners, we try to save our clients as much money as we can and educate our couples on what's realistic. These are some commonly forgotten wedding costs couples often overlook when designing their own budget.
We put this one first because it's one of the most important parts of your wedding, if not THE most important and required. Application fees vary by location, but can range from $25-$100. Since we're located in Texas, to give you an idea, a marriage license costs $81 in Dallas, $72 in Houston, and $71 in Austin.
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Gifts and welcome bags
Are you planning on asking your wedding party to be a part of your special day in a special way? How much are you planning on spending on each gift? The more bridesmaids and groomsmen you have makes a difference in how much you're going to spend. Are you also going to give them another gift the day-of? Are you going to give your parents a gift as well? How about exchanging a gift with your significant other pre-ceremony? How about welcome bags for your out-of-town guests and having them ready at their hotel? Sometimes a hotel will charge a delivery fee anywhere from $4-7 per bag.
Alterations and accessories
Now, we all have a number in mind how much we want to spend on our dress or tux. Did you max that number though on just the one item? Don't forget to save some room for alteration costs, a veil, shoes, and jewelry.
Photo credit: Devon Jarvis
Engagement, bachelor(ette) party, bridal shower attire
Do you plan to wear something new to each pre-wedding event? Save money by re-wearing something in your closet or to multiple events.
If you plan to use standard size envelopes, this will be easy to calculate. However, you may need some extra postage depending if you decide to go with a square envelope, thicker paper, and/or have multiple inserts such the RSVP card and envelope, directions/map, accommodations card, and pre- or post-wedding events card. Uniquely shaped or heavy invitations can add about $2 each to mail. $2 may not seem like a lot by itself, but if you're sending out 100 invites, that's a $200 increase just on postage! Cut down on the weight and extra stamps by directing your guests to your wedding website instead of having multiple inserts.
Photo credit: Dreamlove Photography
Including yourselves in the final count
A lot of times when we handle our couples' guest list, we notice they forget to include themselves! We wouldn't want to forget a meal for you two or more importantly, somewhere to sit!
It's easy to remember the save-the-dates and invitations, but don't forget about menu cards, programs, escort cards, and if you're having assigned seating, place cards. Save some money by only having assigned tables instead of assigned seats. That way, you'll only need escort cards instead of both escort and place cards. Don't forget table numbers, too! We once attended a wedding as a guest and were assigned to a table, but had no idea which table that was!
Photo credit: Edmonson Photography
Are you having events at different locations and providing your guests with transportation? How about a limo for your wedding party to the ceremony or a send-off car at the end of your reception?
Taxes and service charges
When you get a quote from a vendor, make sure to ask if that's the final price or subtotal. Does it include taxes, delivery and breakdown charges, travel fees, processing fees, administrative fees, etc.? Is your venue or catering team charging a cake cutting fee?
Tips and gratuities
Tip and gratuity are sometimes included in contracts, but if not, set a little extra aside. While tips are not expected, it's nice to show a little more appreciation to the team making your special day happen. Just as if you went to the hair salon and tipped your stylist, your day-of hair and make-up team are also providing a service to you. Often times, we'll have our couples put their desired amount inside of marked envelopes, collect them at the rehearsal, and hand them to the correct vendor before the end of the night on behalf of our couples.
Photo credit: Scott Aleman Photography
For your vendors working the full day or staying for the event, don't forget to feed them. Photographers and videographers sometimes work 8+ hours. Wedding planners are often on-site 12+ hours. You don't have feed vendors the same meal you're giving to your guests, but work with your catering team to see what they can offer for vendors for at a lesser expense.
If you live in the same city as your wedding, are you planning on staying at a hotel the night before or getting a room for you and your wedding party to get ready in the day-of? Are you and your new wife or husband plan to just go home afterwards or stay at a hotel?
Photo credit: Edmonson Photography
Food for the party
Is your wedding party getting ready together? Are you going to provide them with lunch or a light meal? It's going to be a long day for everyone, so make sure everyone eats. This doesn't have to be anything fancy or provided from room service, but you'll at least want some sandwiches, fruit, or something light. Nobody likes feeling bloated and heavy in a dress, or the opposite and feel like they're going to faint because they forgot to eat. While we say the wedding party can find their own breakfast, it's a nice gesture to provide lunch.
Thank you cards
After the big day and the honeymoon comes to an end, don't forget to write thank you cards to those who came to your special day and sent you a gift. These don't have to be special ordered or match your other previous stationery, but make sure to send something.
Whether you want to keep your dress for sentimental reasons or plan to pass it down someday, preservation is the best way to make sure it keeps its color, fabric and shape. Preservation refers to a special cleaning and packing technique. The longer you wait, the harder it will be to remove stains. While you may think your dress looks pretty clean, there could be some hidden ones containing sugar that could turn brown over time. Luckily, The Knot and David's Bridal offer this service where they will send you a mailing kit with a prepaid label and have it back to you anywhere between two to eight weeks. Each service comes with basic insurance, but if you decide to go a different route, make sure to do your research on multiple professionals.
Photo credit: The Knot
While there are a ton of costs to a wedding, we hope you were able to find something in this article you may have forgotten. Comment below if you found it helpful or not!