Planning a wedding can be stressful. Making sure you are staying within your wedding budget? Now that’s an even bigger headache. With the average wedding in Canada costing between $25,000 to $35,000 according to Weddingbells Magazine, it will also be one of the most expensive events you will ever host in your life. Thank goodness nowadays you can hire all sorts of wedding coordinators to do the job for you, whether they be a full-time coordinator, month-of coordinator, day-of, or simply a wedding consultant. These professionals are the ones that have every last detail mapped out for you from the second he puts a ring on it to the day you leave for your honeymoon. For brides who love planning their own wedding, I highly recommend hiring a day-of coordinator to go over your whole wedding outline with them so that they can handle logistics two weeks prior from vendors to contracts, timeline to execution. It’s definitely an expense you won’t regret!
Speaking of expenses, besides the obvious costs a bride would budget for, such as venue, food, flowers, or decor, there are often details that are being overlooked or miscommunicated between brides and suppliers. To make things a bit easier, here is a list of items that can be just as crucial in terms of budgeting during the stages of wedding planning.
- Bridesmaid Proposals: We all know it’s almost a crime to ask your BFF over text or FB Msg to be apart of your special day, so you are more than likely to be creating or buying something to make the proposal an extra surprise. Although there are a lot of items that you can DIY, little costs do add up so do calculate accordingly! If you are looking for some creative ideas, take a look here for some inspiration.
- Wedding Website: Most couple nowadays like to build a website for their guests to have access to, which I think is a great way to get everyone engaged and to have every piece of information in one spot! Building a website can range between $60 – $500, depending on the style and complexity you wish to see. Purchasing a domain usually cost around $10 for the year (which you don’t have to renew for the next year, of course), and finding a theme or a designer to work with will be those additional costs. If you like to have full control of your website, I would suggest the “drag and drop” platform that Wix or SquareSpace offers. If you are looking to use WordPress, I would suggest looking on ThemeForest to find a theme you like (they have over thousands to choose from)! One thing to remember with the WordPress platform is that the themes are coded by designers, meaning you can only edit the basics, such as colors, fonts, and layout, but ideally what you see is what you get. Generally on your website, you can add a bio of the couple, how they met, how he asked, ceremony + reception information, registry details, and contact information to start!
- Personal Trainer: Depending on the timeline you have given yourself from the engagement to the big day, a personal trainer can help with ensuring you are staying on track with your meals and fitness goals on top of everything you may be juggling in your life. Some trainers are well-known for training clients to go down a couple sizes in a short period of time, which may be something to consider if you are looking to shed a few pounds before your wedding!
- Beauty + Spa: You may have your make-up and hair booked for the day-of the wedding, but don’t forget the pre-wedding essentials. Services such as manicures, pedicures, waxing, tanning, massage require reservations in advance and can add up quite quickly. I know, I know, isn’t it hard being a woman?! A way to save costs, however, is to definitely keep an eye out on daily deals such as GroupOns and LivingSocials.
- Bachelorette + Bridal Celebrations: Depending on what your bridesmaids and friends have planned for you, you may not have to spend a cent! But it never hurts to add that into your budget just in case you do have to pick up a tab here and there.
- Stationery + Postage: You may have allocated money towards the design of your “Save the Date” cards and invitations, but don’t forget you still have to send them out! Postage in Canada costs approximately $0.50c/letter, and you would most likely want to include a stamp inside for their RSVPs. Postage outside of Canada will be a bit more expensive, so do consider that for your out-of-town guests. Additionally, remember that there are still plenty of stationery aspects than just invitations! Programs, escort cards, and menu’s still need to be designed and printed for your guests at the wedding, and are just as significant as the invitations!
- Bridal Accessories + Alterations: Just because you have found the perfect dress doesn’t mean it ends there! Unless you were the model that the designer based their measurments off of, chances are there are alternations you will need to get the dress to fit your body type. Alterations can range between $300-$1000, so budget accordingly! In addition, there are probably a selection of headpieces, veils, and bridal accessories you would want to add to your complete bridal look after choosing your dress.
- Corsages + Boutonnieres: Having worked at a décor company, I’ve realized that there are more than enough brides that assume corsages and boutonnieres are included when they purchase flowers for the bouquets and centerpieces, but that is absolutely false! It’s important to outline every single detail and quantity out in your budget so that you don’t get disappointed when you don’t receive something that you didn’t even order! Boutonnieres are a wedding detail that’s fantastic to have for the reason that holds more than just the appearance. Boutonnieres date back to the medieval times as a token of affection given by a lady to a knight. By sporting the gift proudly, a knight is clearly demonstrating that he is being supported in battle by a lady who adores him.
Month Of / Day Of:
- Final Headcount: Often when couples are planning their own wedding, they forget to add themselves to the final headcount. Let’s not try to make that same mistake…especially if you are planning to eat!
- Pre-Wedding Bridal Wear: Both of you have your wedding attire ready for the big day, but what about the rehearsal dinner? It’s something to definitely keep in mind if you are looking to look your best on your last day of being a “single” lady!
- Wedding Day Meals: We have all seen the chaos that can unravel the day of the wedding, ensuring all your bridesmaids, family, and friends are fed throughout the day can really help tone down the hangry comments and glares!
- Day-Of Preparation Venue: Make sure you have a place to get ready at on your big day! Whether that be your house or an AirBnB, or a hotel room, book it in advance so you don’t leave it till the last minute.
- Limousine Transportation: To avoid taking public transportation or driving to your own ceremony, I highly recommend the bride and groom to book their limousines early on, especially during the summer season when they are the busiest.
- Vendor Meals: This is an important item to have on your list! Vendors that are working at your wedding for a long period of time, such as the DJ, photographer, or wedding coordinator, do ensure that you have incorporated them into your final headcount. The last thing you want to have to deal with is a starving and unhappy employee working hard to make your dreams come true on your big day!
- Wedding Favors: Although favors usually range between $3- $5 per person, it can be tough finding something you actually like at such a low price. I highly recommend doing your research to see what companies can offer in bulk that you would like to give to your guests at the end of the night. However, there are a lot of DIY options on Pinterest nowadays that you can create, even if you are not the most crafty! If DIY is something you are considering, I would suggest looking into scheduling that in your timeline to ensure you have ample time to complete them.
- Wedding Guestbook + Portraits: If you are looking to have portraits blown up of you two at the reception, order them early and write down the measurements so you can find an appropriate frame and easel for them. That goes for the guestbook too! If you want your guests to leave a message for you at your wedding, shop around early to find one that you like. There are many styles and types in store and online that range from $30-$150. Alternatively, you can also DIY or have a card box instead.
- Valet Parking: Depending how fancy your wedding may be, valet parking is usually a charge that can be included in your contract with the venue that the guests would appreciate.
- Back-Up Plan: There’s a saying we always abide by as an event planner. The Murphy’s Law states “if something can go wrong, it will“. Pessimistic, right? But it has happened on many occasions and is sometimes beyond your control, which is why it’s always best to have a back-up plan just in case. For example, if you are planning to have an outdoors wedding, calculate an outdoors tent in your budget just in case it rains! There might be a chance your DJ has food poisoning last minute, so you may have to book a second one. Include a sufficient amount in your budget as a safety net in case something does go wrong – trust me, you’ll thank me later!
- Forgotten + Broken Items: As aforementioned, it can get chaotic on the day-of the wedding, so there could be a high possibility something was broken or forgotten at the hotel room no matter how many times you have ticked off your checklist. Your maid of honor may have to run to the mall last minute to grab a pair of earrings or purchase something blue. Allocate a small amount to those items and it will save you from a migraine!
- Sale Taxes + Gratuities: Often couples forget to add these tiny details at the bottom of their spreadsheet, but they make a big difference in total after they have been calculated in. Make sure you double and triple check the amount of gratuity you have signed for in your contracts when adding that into your budget! Generally, minimal gratuity in Canada is 18%.
- Overtime Costs: If your ceremony or reception ends up running late, remember that your entire schedule gets pushed back. Therefore, there may be a possibility you have to extend your time at the venue, which could have a cost. From there on, it can be a domino effect since most of your suppliers would have to stay later as well.
- Thank You Notes: After things have settled down, thank you cards should be sent to your guests to thank them for attending and for their gifts! Once again, consider postage in your costs (but no need to get that extra stamp… unless you are looking to have a pen pal lol!) You may also want to add a personal touch by enclosing a photo or two from the wedding with your card.
- Prints + Albums + Keepsakes: Speaking of photos, there is a high possibility you will want to print every photo that was sent to you by your wedding photographer after your wedding. Then you will probably have a strong urge to start putting together your wedding album and/or scrapbook from dawn to dusk. Factor that into your wedding budget so you won’t have to put it off and can get started right away!
- Honeymoon: You may be budgeting your honeymoon separately from your wedding depending when and where you are going, but it’s always nice to add that in your spreadsheet just to have a safety net!
As you can see, there are a lot of intricate details involved in the wedding budget that may be overlooked and can cost you and your hubby an arm and a leg in hindsight. It is best to lay everything down from the beginning and get someone else to look over your budget breakdown before you dive in to signing contracts. A great tool to use is The Knot’s Wedding Budget Calculator. By signing up, you will get personalized recommendations on what to spend and how much it would cost. Oh, did I mention it’s free? Another one is this spreadsheet created by BrideSide.
Happy Wedding Planning, future brides!
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