Your wedding day should be one of the happiest days of your life. But with all of the expectations that you and your soon to be spouse have about the day, it can certainly be very stressful trying to plan the big event. In most cases, this event has added stress due to the fact that this is your first big expense that you will face together.
Determining the budget and creating a wedding costs checklist is a great way to get the most out of your budget and not end up with surprise expenses that add to this exciting but busy time.
Start At The Beginning
It is important to understand that you will be spending money from the first day of planning and that all of those nice little extra items can add up. Be sure to start your checklist with pre-wedding costs such as gifts for bridesmaids. These might be small mementos or even just a nice girl’s dinner out to ask for their help with your wedding but it will cost something. And another evening out for the bachelor party and bachelorette party will have a price tag attached to it. These events can be enjoyed locally and that greatly cuts down on the cost but for an out of town weekend or even just a night, many times the bride and groom to be end up chipping in to cover the cost of the celebration. And finally, don’t forget the cost of the marriage license. Not only will you need to pay to file the document but you will also need to purchase a copy of it for your records. If you are planning a destination wedding, be sure that you completely understand the process and timeframe for getting a marriage license in that locale. Some locations require a longer time frame and you might need to travel there a few weeks before the wedding to get the documentation completed.
Postage and Paper Goods
It can come as a big surprise that the cost of postage could be as much as a dollar or more per invitation but the weight of high quality paper often requires additional postage. And you will need to consider that each invitation will require three stamps at the very minimum; one for the save the date card, one for the invitation and one for the RSVP card. You will also need to plan ahead to be sure that you can get all of your printing ordered without having to pay expedited rates. You will need save the date cards, invitations, RSVP cards, envelopes for all of the cards, place cards and menu cards.
Gifts and Favors
Having gifts for the bridesmaids and the groomsmen is a pretty standard tradition. But many couples like to extend the gifts to include parents, grandparents and siblings. It is a very thoughtful idea but be sure that you either budgeted enough time to create affordable small gifts or that you have budgeted enough to purchase gifts if you are planning to include family as well as the wedding party. Favors for all of the quests can be something as simple as sweet treat, a mini bottle of alcohol or a home décor piece. Again, remember that even the most affordable favors add up when you will need one hundred or more of them.
Setting the mood at your reception will take more than a few flowers and a nice meal. Most venues will ask you to provide your own music and sound system, any special lighting that you want for highlighting guests, the cake area or a dance area, and of course the meal. In addition you will need to consult the venue to see if they provide the tables and chairs, any themed covers for the chairs, linens for the tables, and possibly center pieces. Also confirm with the caterer that they will be providing all place settings, glassware, cutlery and serving utensils. It can seem very overwhelming to picture creating your reception in an empty venue but never assume that anything comes with the venue. Be sure to walk through the entire event many times in your head to be sure that you have included all of the items that you will need for the big day.
Fashion and More
You know that you will be purchasing a dress and there will be a suit or tuxedo but don’t forget all of the other items that you will need. Your wedding is only one part of this several day event. You will want to plan an outfit for the rehearsal dinner, an outfit for a breakfast that you might be hosting for out of town guests on the day of the wedding, your full wedding attire and then possibly an outfit to wear later in the evening if you think that you will want to change out of your wedding clothes. All of these outfits will add up especially when you are planning for two people. And as a just in case line item on your wedding cost checklist add in an amount for alterations a week or so before the wedding. The best plans can go right out the window when you are planning a wedding and it is not at all uncommon to add or lose a few pounds as the big day approaches. Plan ahead so that you can be comfortable and fully enjoy your day. If you don’t need to spend money on alterations then think of it as bonus money for a splurge on your honeymoon.
Check Your List Often
Creating a wedding costs checklist is a great way to help you determine a budget and stick to it. A list will also help you to feel less stressed as the big day approaches. Make your list and refer to it often so that you can relax and enjoy all of the days of excitement leading up to your wedding day.