Wedding planning should be fun, but we frequently hear brides say how overwhelming it is. The last thing we want is to have brides wishing the day was over before it even happened! From our experience and listening to friends, family and previous brides, we put together a list of 5 Things Brides Wish They Knew while Wedding Planning. We hope a few of these tips help to make the wedding planning process enjoyable!
More Guests = Higher Costs
We always tell brides to think long and hard about their guest list. Make an initial list then slowly trim down the potential guests. We know it can be tough, but the costs exponentially grow with the more guests you have. There are so many additional costs other than food and beverage that often get overlooked. More guests mean more tables, which mean more linens and chairs to rent, more centerpieces needed, more place cards, menus, table numbers, invitation suites and postage. The list can go on and on! The easiest way to cut back on your budget is to decrease the number of invited guests. Check out our tips to cut the guest list if you are struggling!
You will hear it more than once while wedding planning… make a budget before starting to look at venues and vendors. Once the guest list is made, knock out the budget. We often see couples over spending on their venue right out of the gate and feel strapped when it comes to hiring other vendors.
On Average Couples Spend:
- 45% Reception: venue rental, food & beverage, rentals (linens, chairs, etc.), cake/dessert, service fee
- 10% Music & Entertainment: band/DJ, ceremony musicians
- 10% Attire: dress, tux/suit, accessories, hair & makeup
- 10% Photo & Video: photographer & videographer
- 10% Flowers/Décor: personal, ceremony and reception flowers, lighting, draping, additional décor
- 5% Ceremony: church/location rental, officiant fee
- 5% Paperie & Guest Details: invitations, save the dates, postage, place cards, menus, favors, transportation, valet, welcome bags
- 5% Miscellaneous: planner, gifts, etc.
Add On Venue Fees
When selecting your venue, make sure you understand all of the costs and potential add on fees. A few things we often see:
- 4-hour Reception – 1 hour for cocktail hour and 3 hours for dinner & dancing
- Many people want to add additional time. Be sure to ask the cost of adding an additional hour to the venue rental & alcohol package.
- Service Fee – There is usually an additional 15-25% fee that typically isn’t included in the alcohol package or food selection price. When you see the bottom line number on your proposal, don’t be shocked by the additional fee. 15-25% on thousands of dollars adds up quickly!
- Rehearsal Fee – Are you having the ceremony and reception at the same venue? Not every venue includes a rehearsal time. Make sure you ask about this when touring venues! Sometimes there is an additional rental fee.
- Furniture Rental – Most venues include basic tables and chairs, but not all include or have specialty furniture. Check to see if they have cocktail tables, 3’ or 4’ round tables if you are doing a sweetheart table or need a cake table, in-house chiavari chairs, etc. Some places have them in-house with an additional fee, some include them with the rental fee and for some venues you might need to get them from a rental company.
- Cleaning Fee – With most venues, you won’t need to worry about cleaning after the reception is over, but that’s not always the case for all of them. Make sure you understand the cleaning procedure after the reception and if there is an additional fee if the venue handles the clean-up.
Last Call Time
This one comes up a lot! Many venues close the bar 30-minutes prior to the end of the event due to their liquor license rules. Before you spring for the additional hour on the bar package, check with the venue! It might be worth saving a few hundred dollars for the 4-hour package and closing the bar while guests find their seats and bridal party introductions happen or extend the event to make sure you get in the full 5 hours of the open bar.
Don’t Feel Pressure to Do XYZ…
Don’t fall into the wedding planning trap of feeling like you HAVE to do something. Friends and family members will have their opinions about what you should and shouldn’t have at your wedding – key word, YOUR wedding. If you don’t want to provide favors to save on the budget, then don’t. If you don’t want to have a bouquet toss, but your besties think you should, don’t listen! It’s your wedding, so be comfortable making decisions that will make you happy.
Photo: Karla Korn Photography