Your wedding budget is so important that it’s one of the first things we recommend doing once you’re engaged. You need a set budget before you can really start planning because every decision you make is going to be based on your budget. This means the more detail your budget has, the better. You don’t want to forget something important or have unexpected costs come up a few weeks before the wedding. Here are some common items couples forget to factor into their wedding budget.
Gratuity is a big-ticket item that couples often don’t think about until they get close to their wedding day. This is a mistake because gratuity can go into the hundreds, so you definitely want to plan for it! Typically, you’ll be tipping 15-20%, but it does depend on the wedding vendor. Check your contracts first to see which of them, if any, have gratuity included. Sometimes caterers, alcohol services, and transportation will roll gratuity into the cost. If you’re wondering how much to tip, we have a handy guide for you!
If you have simpler invitations, your postage costs shouldn’t be too much, but you should definitely still include them in your wedding budget. More complicated invitations will most likely require extra postage. Things like weight, thickness, and size impact how much it’s going to cost you to mail each invitation. If you’re unsure exactly how much it will cost, your stationery designer can help you figure it out. If you’re working on your invites yourself, take a sample to your local postal office and ask them how much it’ll cost to mail each invite. Depending on the invite, don’t be surprised if they tell you it’s going to be $3 per invite.
Yes, you have to feed your vendors! The good news is that many caterers typically have lower rates for vendor meals, but you’ll want to ask them. The amount you’ll need to budget depends on how many vendors you have. You’ll typically be feeding two photographers, two videographers, a wedding planner (and possibly an assistant), and a DJ (who also might have an assistant). Keep in mind if you’re planning on a large band or having a photo booth attendant, you’ll need to feed them too.
Wedding party gifts
Odds are, you’ll want to get a gift for your wedding party. They’ve put so much time, money, and love into your wedding that it makes sense to give them a gift. This doesn’t need to be a huge gift, but it should be something personalized or meaningful. Include this in your wedding budget from the beginning, and you’ll be thankful when the time comes to purchase everything. If it’s already on your radar, you can also take advantage of major annual sales, like Black Friday.
If you’ve got a lot of out-of-town guests, you may want to put together welcome bags for them. These welcome bags can be given out by the hotel you’re blocking off, and they often contain small things like a handwritten note, a local treat (think maple candy or saltwater taffy), toiletries, and perhaps a list of things to do and restaurants to go to. This is a nice touch, and it’s not too hard to put together. It can add up fast, though, so be sure to budget it from the beginning.
Your wedding budget should be as comprehensive as possible. The more detail you have, the easier it will be to make sure everything is accounted for. If you’ve got a wedding planner, they can help you figure out everything and make sure you haven’t forgotten anything. It’s always better to find out you don’t need something than to find out you do!
What does your wedding budget look like?
Erin Lafond is a blogger with ample experience writing about weddings. She planned her own wedding and got married in October 2019. She lives in New Hampshire and loves a casual wedding with luxury details.