A Wedding Budget to Avoid Surprises

04 December 2014 by National Bank

While wedding ceremonies and the celebrations that follow are times for rejoicing, if you’re not careful, your dream day could turn into a financial nightmare!

Want everything to run smoothly and to avoid unpleasant surprises? Do your budgeting.

Getting started

According to Cindy Laverdiere, a journalist and fashion and beauty blogger, wedding planning should begin 9-12 months before the actual date.

To motivate yourself against making mistakes, you should remember that “getting married only happens one day in your life”, adds Laverdiere, who, when speaking with ClearFacts.ca, was in full preparation for her own wedding.

“As soon as the word ‘marriage’ is mentioned, costas start going up,” she says. “That’s why it’s important to decide what is really most important to you. Is it the dress? The reception? What is your focus?”

Useful tip: Beware of “extras”, which can include an easy extra $200 for flowers on the chairs!

Choose the right formula

When it comes to marriage, there is no limit to the extent that people can take their celebrations. Therefore, it’s important to establish your formula from the outset.

Typically, you have a choice between two basic formulas:

  • Pay for the meal and let your guests give gifts;
  • You ask your guests to pay for their meals and, in return, they don’t have to bring gifts.

By choosing the second option, Cindy Laverdiere points out that “it will not cost you much at all and, for your guests, it will be like eating out at a restaurant.”

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What to include in your budget

Once you have your formula down, it’s time to start working on your budget. Here is a list of expenses that should be taken into account:

  • Alcohol: Open bar or not? To avoid abuse and unpleasant situations, why not offer a discounted bar service to guests after one or two free drinks?
  • Music: Do you prefer a band or a DJ? The costs will vary greatly depending on your choice.
  • Memorable souvenirs for your guests.
  • Wedding dress and accessories.
  • Gratuities: Always find a way to thank the waiters and musicians.
  • Celebration costs: If you get married in a church, the amount may be at your discretion in the form of a voluntary donation.
  • Transportation: If you’re planning a country wedding or a big move to the ceremony.
  • Meals.
  • Photographer.
  • Flowers.
  • Makeup and hair stylist.
  • The Honeymoon!
  • Extras: Always allow for a cushion of 5-10% of the total bill, as there will always be something unexpected.

Guest contributions?

If you rely on financial contributions from your guests, be sure to spread the word so that everyone knows how to proceed.

Cindy Laverdiere notes that one good way to share that information in a classy manner is to ask the maid of honor, or another trusted person, to speak to your guests.

Have you thought of everything?

If you think that you may have forgotten something, don’t worry…everyone does!

For more information:

7 ways to slash your wedding budget

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