A flawless wedding demands attention to detail, and we’re not talking about the details you lovingly curated from Pinterest or your own personal style. The details we’re talking about are not always fun. But these are the details that can make or break yours and your guests’ experience. They can also make or break your budget.
When you are not aware of the most important details to keep an eye on, you can and most likely will make mistakes that can lead to you going over budget or not having the stress free wedding day you anticipated. After all, that’s why we professionals exist.
Today’s your lucky day though, cause we’re sharing these 5 mistakes and how to fix them with you.
1. Finalize your guest count before venue shopping so you don’t have to start all over once you realize your guest list is too big or too small for your dream space.
It’s easy to get excited about your new engagement and wedding planning. And one of the first things you’ll keep hearing you should book is your venue. And yes, while booking your venue should be at the top of your checklist, there is one step that should come beforehand. Establishing and finalizing your guest list.
When you skip the crucial step of creating an accurate guest list, you can end up booking a venue that doesn’t fit all your guests and have to cut your guest list or worse, lose your deposit as you now will have to book a bigger venue.
We often see blogs and planners quote that 10-20% of your guests will send their regrets. This is in fact not true, you cannot count on this when planning a wedding.
Before budgeting and venue shopping, talk to all parties who will be contributing to your guest list and ask them for their final lists. This way you know what your max capacity could potentially be and book your venue accordingly without losing money or sleep on how to make everyone fit.
2. Not budgeting for all the small wedding items that can add up quickly.
Most couples go straight to the big ticket items when creating their wedding day budget: wedding dress, venue, food, flowers, photographer, entertainment, etc. And while these big costs do take up a large chunk of your budget, it’s the many smaller costs that can sneak up on you and send you over budget by hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
Here’s a list of commonly overlooked budget items:
- Postage for invitations
- Thank you notes
- Wedding rings
- Hair and Makeup
- Wedding Dress Alterations
- Cake topper
- Marriage License
- Printed items (menus, table numbers, programs, bar signage)
- Vendor Meals
- Wedding Party getting ready food
- Post Wedding dress cleaning / preservation
- And venue required permits
- Vendor Gratuities
- Pre or post wedding hotel room
To avoid this, take a closer look at your budget to make sure you’re including everything from the big ticket items to the overlooked smaller budget items on the list above. If you’re missing anything, add it on now so there are no budgeting surprises.
3. Waiting until the last minute to buy your wedding dress can result in additional costs that quickly add up.
Wedding gown shopping is a very different experience from running to the mall and picking up a new cocktail dress. Not only is dress shopping a special one-of-a-kind experience, but it’s one that can take time.
Yes, some brides ‘say yes’ to the first dress, but most ladies visit multiple salons before finding their dress.
And once you’ve found the dress, depending on if you’re buying ready made or from a salon, it can take 6-8 months for some dresses to be made. And remember there’s still time needed for alterations after receiving your physical dress.
When you wait until the last minute to choose a dress, rush fees of an additional 10-15% just for production of the dress, plus additional rush alteration fees can add up quickly putting your dream dress now over budget.
To avoid extra costs, give yourself plenty of time to dress shop and find your wedding day gown. If you have a short timeline, consider a ready made, off the rack or online dress that requires less alterations and doesn’t require rush fees to be made.
4. Take the time to thoroughly review all vendor contracts and quotes so you don’t miss any hidden fees or worse sign off on the wrong date.
Wedding vendors are often working and quoting multiple clients at any given time and details can get lost. Some vendors excel at being organized and tracking the details, while others are artists and a bit less tidy with the details. When important details like rates, dates and more are overlooked, it can result in unanticipated additional costs and extra time.
For instance, what if you sign your contract for the wrong date with a photographer and on your actual wedding date they’re already booked? You now either have to have every other vendor change date or spend time looking for a new wedding photographer.
This is why it’s important to always closely review any vendor contracts and quotes you receive. Check that all names, dates and locations are correct as well as hours of service. Reconfirm that hours of service match your wedding day timeline so you don’t incur any overtime on your wedding day.
5. Forgetting to Ask Your Venue About Hidden Fees
Hidden fees are one of the planning details that most planners are super familiar with, but couples can struggle to understand and account for. Things like service charge, tax, gratuity, overtime and more can quickly add up to thousands of dollars and throw your well planned budget off whack.
To avoid this common mistake, ask your venue the following questions so you can rework your budget as needed before signing on the dotted line.
- Ask for estimates with all fees included. Does your estimate include all additional charges like service charge, tax and gratuity?
- Is gratuity optional or required? If optional, what is your suggested gratuity amount for your staff?
- Additional Overtime Fees. Are there any additional fees for staff for overtime if we go over a certain number of hours?
- Ask about additional logistical charges. Are there any additional charges for logistical items? Parking permits, valet, lighting, sound etc?
- Establish your guest list first. Wait on venue shopping and budget building until you know exactly how many guests could be attending your wedding. The gust list directly impacts both venue and budget decisions.
- Remember to budget for the small stuff. Items that may sound small and insignificant to your budget can quickly add up to a significant amount. Make sure to include commonly overlooked items from our list above to keep from going over budget.
- Don’t wait to go to dress shopping. Depending on the dress you fall in love with, it can take time to be ordered and made. And this doesn’t even account for alteration time needed too. Nobody likes to pay rush fees when they didn’t have to, so start dress shopping early.
- Thoroughly review vendor quotes and contracts. Vendors are people and people make mistakes, so take the extra time to make sure all quotes and contracts match up as well as important information like date, location, hours of service and your names.
- Finally – Ask about hidden fees. Extra fees from venues and caterers can quickly add up and put you over budget. To avoid this from happening, ask that all potential additional fees are included in your estimates whether they’re optional or not so you can budget accordingly.