Wedding: Hidden Costs

by - Thursday, September 17, 2015

Planning a wedding is hard. Like really hard. Some days I feel like I should quit my day job and be a wedding planner – as you do – and other days I feel like I don’t know what I’ve let myself in for and maybe I should just quit whilst I am ahead. All in all, it’s been almost a year since I started planning my wedding (abroad might I add) and if I do say so myself, I’ve done a pretty darn good job – considering I’ve done it almost all on my own – and I am quite excited to see how it all comes together on our day - in 6 weeks. HOLY SHIZ. 

In the middle of planning my - uber amazing - wedding day, unexpected costs have kept popping up every now and again which (of course) has had an impact on our budget. I was pretty shocked, and majorly stressed as I couldn’t believe how much of the “little things” I had missed out (especially since I had been releasing my inner Monica Gellar with my planners, spreadsheets and self-made budget planners!)
When us brides are caught up in the moment of putting our childhood wedding dreams into reality, it’s quite easy to forget those little – but oh so important – add on’s which can end up totalling to a large amount. To stop you panicking and stressing out before your big day, I have made a little list (from my experience) of all the extra costs you could forget, so sit back, grab a cuppa tea and have a good ol’ read. Warning, it’s gonna be a big one!
Being the creative person I am, I wanted to ask my ‘man and maids’ in a special way. Of course, my fiancé also wanted to do the same. We made personalised gift boxes for my best man and maids (Post: Here) which you forget costs a lot of money! I got so in my moment decorating cute little boxes, ordering special cards and putting in special little mementos that I forgot how costly it was which of course we forgot to include in our budget. I have a best man and three maids, and my fiancé had a best man and two usher, at around £20 a pop to do a fancy bridal party proposal it all added up and can eat away at your beloved budget.
Alterations are those sneaky little add-on’s that bridal shops forget to tell you when you find your dream dress that is already over your budget. Of course, you need your dress fitted perfectly for you as you want to look the best damn bride ever but you don’t realise the cost of these (especially as sometimes they cost a few hundred!) Luckily some bridal stores may include one or two alterations with the price, but any changes to your dress will cost you and it ain’t cheap. A few options could be buying a dress that has been “knocked” down in price so you’re already saving a few bob, or why not consider having your dress made? I have decided to have my dress made by an upcoming – extremely talented – designer who has made my dress to fit me perfectly, so no sneaky add on costs and also he has been kind enough to include a couple of alterations in the cost. Don’t worry, this option isn’t always expensive as my dress was really reasonable compared to shop prices. If you are local to the Midlands and want a couture custom made dress for your wedding – sounds exciting doesn’t it? – then get in touch with Gurtej from Gurtlamorous as his designs are phenomenal.
Bridal underwear surprisingly is one you will either forget or under budget on. I mean, who would budget for £110 for a small bit of lace from VS that basically just covers your nips (and that doesn’t include the knickers). When buying underwear, you actually need a few sets - one for under your dress, usually something that isn’t really attractive but is more practical for your dress. One is something that will make you look drop dead gorgeous in for the wedding night – ooh lala – and also, don’t forget a nice little set for the honeymoon (ya’no just as something a little extra). Boux Avenue and Ann Summers have some amazing pretty sets at the moment that are not too raunchy and are really reasonably priced.
For the “sensible” sets, I had bought something that wasn’t the best choice for my dress (I chose white but you could see through parts of my dress so you could see my undies – definitely not a good look!) so I now have my honeymoon set as I can keep it for that, and it’s a really cute set so regardless it wasn’t being returned! Instead, I decided to get a Shapewear body, just to give me some more curves where I need them and to make me feel more comfortable by hiding any unwanted bumps. Selfridges has a cracking range and if you’re like me and in need of a backless and strapless nude body they actually have one! Uhuh. Regardless of what you buy, I’d budget for 2 nice sets and a Shapewear piece. You never know what you will want to wear on the day.
I can’t believe people charge so much for make-up and hair trials, this is just to see what you want for your day! Hair and Make-up trials can cost as much as 75% off the price on the day. I think it’s ridiculous and so expensive - Thank god my cousin and bridesmaid is an amazing Hair Stylist and MUA – uhuh! check her out - so when looking ask them about offers. Do you get to keep the make-up after? Do you get the trial and the day application for a set price? Will they do your maids or mum at a discount?
Alternatively, you’d be better, popping into somewhere like MAC or Bobbi Brown and asking them to do a make-up trial - but don’t mention it’s for a wedding as they charge more – just play dumb and say you’re wanting to try a new look, just take photos with you. The average price is around £50, but you get at MAC for example, you get a voucher (equivalent to the cost of the appointment) to spend on products so it’s not all that bad. You can even pick up some bits to use on the day. Another option to save even more money is to do your own make-up (surprisingly this is quite popular nowadays) especially if you’re going for a natural look that you usually do yourself, why pay someone to do what you can already do? Whatever you choose, don’t forget to keep note of the costs and compare prices with different stylists before booking.
This one I can more or less guarantee you forgot. Postage fees. The approximate cost for a 1st class stamp is 62p and 2nd is 53p. If you are sending out 100 invites then that’s at least £53 on postage (yes I used the easiest example haha), if you are shipping abroad like I had to then postage fees are a lot more. To reduce costs, consider sending invitations in bulk envelopes. Or you could make it really personal by going to people who are local to you and hand delivering the invitations. Another shipping cost that you may forget (if like me, you’re getting married abroad) is the cost to take your decorations and little bits abroad. Rather than paying for extra suitcase allowance – which is stupidly expensive – can you post a parcel abroad? Do you know someone in the area you are getting married or is your venue happy to accept the parcel for you? If so, a few days before you fly out, you can then post your parcel and collect it when you arrive.
You’d think chair covers would be included, but not all venues include these or the ones that are included might not be to suit your theme or taste. Chair covers can cost anything from £2-£8 per chair cover to purchase or even around £3-£5 for hiring. Make sure you check this with the venue, or are you able to negotiate to make sure the chair and table covers are included? Would they allow you to bring your own? The ones included with our venue costs were not suited to my taste, style or the theme of the wedding. Instead we have asked for the venue to leave the chairs coverless, and I have sourced my own from eBay. If you think about it, people who purchase chair covers will never need to use them more than once, so you can pick up some quite cheap just to do its job on the day. I picked up 50 lace chair sashes for £35 including postage (as there wasn’t a lot for them to charge for as its just dainty lace) and that will do the trick!  
I can’t believe I actually missed me and my fiancé off our dinner list! Of course we would still be eating, but for the budget we forgot to include ourselves. The meal is usually the most expensive part and usually varies between £60-£100+ per head so missing even you and your fiancé off can be another surprise that could be avoided. Depending on numbers, some venues will actually give the bride and groom their dinner at a discount or even for free! So it’s definitely worth checking so you can see if any pennies can be saved.
Okay, so I am trying to put it nicely by ‘extra’ guests. But what I am actually trying to say is people who didn’t get invited but decide to turn up anyway guests. I can’t believe this actually happens but we have been to weddings where guests have brought a plus one when they wasn’t given a plus one. Or even people who RSVP no may still turn up – yup this actually happens! – fortunately for me, having a wedding abroad means we shouldn’t (we hope) get any surprise guests. If having a do for the UK though I’d just include a couple of extra plates in your budget, I’d also ask them whether you are able to get the cost per plate returned should some guests not turn up either, then you can also potentially save some pennies.
Are you having a autumn wedding but really want daffodils in your centre pieces? Florists will charge a fee for sourcing seasonal flowers out of season so its important to check what flowers you want for your wedding and consider the date you are having your wedding. Could you get artificial flowers for the centre pieces instead to avoid additional fee’s? We want lavender in our wedding flowers, but in Spain especially in October it’s difficult to source, but by paying an additional fee we could add these to our centrepieces, however as we were adding “more business” to the florist by having them make our bridal bouquets and button flowers then we were able to get this included as he was making extra money from the add-on’s.
Insurance is something that everyone forgets. Whether it be wedding insurance to protect you from losing any money (usually only available for UK weddings) or whether it be an extra insurance premium that needs to be paid for booking your amazing wedding entertainment, it all adds up! We had a little surprise as we didn’t realise that hiring our own wedding performer was going to cost an extra 175 as you have to pay a premium insurance to the venue, this was on top of the performers fee’s. So it’s definitely worth checking whether these type of fee’s are added, if so can you avoid them by having a wedding performer that’s booked through them? It’s worth considering – however we are happy to pay our fee as we still wouldn’t change our wedding performer as he is amazing!
If you’re not getting married in a hotel/stately home, the accommodation for the bride for the night before can be anything up to £300 for the night! Some venues will include a “get ready room” for the bride but might not necessarily include the night before stay, so get reading those T&C’s. If you’re needing to book your night before room, try book well in advance to get some great offers. Luckily for me, we are staying with my family and my fiancé’s family also has a villa so he can just bugger off for the night before haha. However, if we wasn’t staying with family we would have only just thought of this now and it’s quite short notice to be booking a bridal suite for your last night of freedom.
Does anyone even notice wedding favours anymore? I bet they would if you forgot though. Wedding favours are actually really expensive, on average between £1.50-£5 each depending on what you want. So if you have 50 guests, that’s at least £250 on a few little sweets that people won’t even eat. Can you save money by making DIY favours? Is there something different to your usually champagne bubble bottles or jelly beans in a jar that could save you money? If you are having a candy cart, do you really need to add a jar of sweets as a wedding favour? As our wedding is in Spain we have thought of something appropriate to the location and the type of wedding we are having, so we decided to buy silk fans for everyone to cool themselves down in case it gets too hot. Having sourced these from a Chinese supplier on eBay we was able to find 50 for less than £35 which was about 70p per favour. WIN!
You finally thought your wedding was over and that you can get back into your normal spending. But no. There are still a few things that you will need to shell out for after your wedding. Little things like remember your P’s & Q’s in the form of thank you cards may seem little but they add up, sending thank you cards is a must do in wedding etiquette but you don’t need to spend a fortune. Can you make these yourself to make them cheaper? Is there an option to create a bulk thank you to lower your costs? Also, if you are having a wedding abroad and are planning a do in the UK – remember to budget for it! This is one of the things a lot of people forget to include – myself included – and a simple party in the UK with a small buffet can still set you back nearly £1000 depending on the number of guests.
I hope these tips help prepare you to the essentials and help you stay in budget. Don’t worry if there’s a lot in this post that you believe you’ve missed, we’re all human and we forget things. I forgot a lot of the above which is why I wanted to write this post.
Did you have any hidden costs in your wedding? Is there something that I’ve missed that others will find helpful? Pop a comment below and share your tips :)
*Disclaimer: Images used in this post have been sourced from Pinterest. 

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