Top 8 Most Common Wedding Budget Items Couples Forget

When it comes to your wedding budget, you likely considered the costs of all the main wedding components: your wedding photographer, your wedding venue and catering, your wedding attire and accessories, and your wedding decorations and floral arrangements that bring your wedding to life. However, there are 8 common wedding budget items that many couples forget to consider when planning their wedding. We have listed them here so you can accurately estimate and budget your wedding from the start.

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1. Transportation 

If you, your wedding party, and your VIP guests are staying at a hotel or other accommodation that is not where your wedding ceremony or reception is located, don’t forget to plan for transportation to and from the venue. This way, you all can sip champagne while getting ready without having to worry about how you and your loved ones will get to the wedding on time. Consider also providing transportation for out-of-town guests who may be less familiar with the area.

Top transportation options you may want to include are a vintage car for the bride and her father, a sporty getaway car for the bride and groom at the end of the night, buses or shuttles for guests, and town cars or limos for family members. Transportation rentals and services quickly add up, so be sure to budget for them early on.

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2. Lighting

Budgeting for additional lighting is extremely important, especially if you are having an outdoor or tented wedding. We like to think of lighting in terms of three different categories. The first is decorative or specialty lighting. This includes chandeliers and pendant lights and market or fairy lights, all of which create a romantic and whimsical environment. 

The second category is ambient lighting. This includes directional lighting such as pin spots for your reception tables that highlight the decor, cake, and florals. It also includes wash lighting that illuminates a particular space such as the dance floor, bar area, or entry to the tent. And it can also include up-lighting, which can add dimension to a space by highlighting furniture groupings or accent tent legs. 

The final category is general lighting, which includes pathway lighting for guest safety, as well as practical lighting for kitchen tents or rented restrooms. Even if you’re getting married at a venue where some lighting is available, make sure to ask what is included. Depending on your design, you may want to budget additional funds for one or all these areas.

3. Electrical and Electronics 

Understandably, electrical elements are not at the forefront of your mind when it comes to wedding budget items. However, this can quickly become a top priority if the power goes out during your wedding because the power supply wasn’t sufficient. Most venues provide outlets, but if you are having an al fresco wedding or have a band, specialty lighting, and outdoor catering, you will likely need a generator to support the additional electrical requirements, too. 

While your band or DJ will likely provide speakers for the reception, don’t forget to budget for a high-quality sound system and specialty microphones for your ceremony. The last thing you want is for your guests to not be able to hear your wedding vows because there are no speakers, or worse, have a microphone stand in between the two of you in all of your wedding ceremony photos. Including specialty microphones, such as lavaliers that clip onto your clothes, and speakers for the ceremony and toasts is not only a wedding budget item that will pay for itself but will also improve the wedding experience for you and your guests.

4. Gratuities 

When you budget for your wedding vendors, it is important to consider the cost of tipping those vendors as well. In some cases, vendors will add gratuity to your invoice. However, the majority leave the option of gratuity up to the couple, or whoever is paying for the services. While gratuity is not required, it is a kind way to show appreciation for the work they do. When it comes to tipping, industry standards vary based on the type of service a vendor provides. Once you decide how much gratuity you want to give each vendor, include the cost on your list of wedding budget items.

5. Additional Meals

Speaking of caring for your vendors, it is important to budget for hot vendor meals and non-alcoholic refreshments for the day of your wedding since most of your vendors are at the wedding location for the entire day. Vendor meals are typically priced less than guest meals, but they can quickly add up depending on the number of vendors. When adding up vendors, be sure to factor in all your band members and any sound techs, your photographer (and potentially second photographer) and their assistant, videographer (and assistant), and of course, your planning team. And be sure to let your caterer know about the additional meals as well as any allergies. 

Whether or not you go through your venue or caterer, you may also want to provide additional meals for the bridal party when you are getting ready. Something as simple as a light breakfast or lunch with mimosas or bubbles on the side can be a nice addition to an already exciting day.

6. Weather Plans

If you are having an outdoor ceremony, reception, or both it is important to include a weather plan in your wedding budget. Whether that is renting a tent to provide a covered area should it rain during your ceremony or purchasing parasols or handheld fans to help guests stay cool during a summer wedding, these additional items are easy to forget but are important for your overall guest experience.

7. Attire Alterations

While the hope is your dream wedding dress fits perfectly, this isn’t always the case. Fortunately, many bridal shops provide alterations for dresses and tuxedos at a cost. For most wedding designers, you’ll need to build in six to nine months for your dress. Because of this lead time, there is a chance your body may change and your dress will need additional alterations. To be on the safe side, plan your final fitting one month before and no less than two weeks before your wedding day, but be prepared to pay extra for these alterations. And don’t forget to budget for pressing your dress, too!

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8. All of the Extra Details 

Regardless of how well you plan each wedding budget item, extra costs always seem to arise out of nowhere. Because of this, it is a good idea to budget an additional ten percent of your overall wedding budget as a cushion for extra items, such as a solid surface catwalk for the ceremony if you decide not to walk on the grass or something as crazy as a snow machine, as I did for my own winter wedding. While not everyone needs a snow machine, admittedly, you’d be surprised how many couples forget to add practical details like heaters in the winter or cooling systems in the summer once the wedding planning begins.

Plan all of Your Wedding Budget Items with the Help of HauteFêtes

Your wedding is an investment that requires detailed planning and budgeting. At HauteFêtes, we understand that managing all the little details can quickly become overwhelming. When couples hire us to plan their wedding, we not only ensure the wedding weekend is ideal, but we help plan and manage every aspect including your wedding budget. From start to finish, we collaborate on every aspect of your most important day. Find out more by contacting us today!

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