15 Unexpected Costs Couple's Forget!

Here are 15 costs most couple's forget to factor into their budgets!  

1. Pre-Wedding Costs: From using a cute, creative way to ask your bridal party to be in the wedding, to beauty treatments and parties, to most important, the marriage license, these are all costs that come up prior to the wedding people can forget about. Most bride's remember to budget for their day-of hair and makeup, but forget about trial hair and make-up appointments, mani/pedi and spa treatments. The most important pre-wedding expense to budget for is the marriage license, which can cost anywhere from $50-$100.   

2. Paper Goods: You know all about the save the dates, invitations and RSVP cards, but have you budgeted for your day-of stationary? Will you want programs outlining the timeline for the day? You'll need seating assignments for the guests to find their tables. Are you going to want menu cards? You will also need thank you cards for all those presents you'll hopefully receive and don't forget about postage!

3. Getting Ready: Will you be booking a hotel room to get ready in? You'll often need to book the room for two nights to be able to have it to get ready in the morning of the wedding, plus it can be a good place for you and your new spouse to stay the night of the wedding. You will need food for the day-of while your getting ready. Something simple, but filling, such as sandwiches, fruit or cheese and crackers and lots of water! Emergency bridal kits are big now, either the bride, one of the moms or the maid of honor can be in charge of these. Also, many people forget things the day-of, especially the boys! Keep that in mind when budgeting for the day just in case someone forgot to pack their shoes or cuff links!   

4. Fashion: Alterations, undergarments, accessories, bridal party day-of outfits, all things couple's tend to overlook when putting their budget together. Almost all members of the bridal party will need alterations on their outfits at some point, especially the bride and groom. You want your dress and suit to fit perfectly the day of, so make sure to set aside some money for any and all alterations you may need. You can have as many or as little accessories as you like, but common ones to remember are hair accessories, bridal shoes, jewelry, cuff links and garters. Wedding veils are also an extra expense. A classic trend is to have matching robes or tank tops for the bride and bridesmaids to get ready in the day-of. Great for photos and can also be used as your bridal party presents.  

5. Pre-Wedding Attire: You may need new outfits for all the pre-wedding festivities, like the bridal shower, your bachelorette party and the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner. This is an optional cost, you may have some great outfits for all of these in your closet already, but it can be fun to buy new outfits for these specifically, so think about that when planning out your budget.   

6. Transportation for Guests: If your venue does not have ample parking, shuttling will be a necessary expense. If it does have ample parking, but your guests are staying at the same location it could be a good alternative to having them all drive to the venue. It's a good way to make sure your guests arrive on time plus will keep guests who indulge in the alcoholic beverages safe.

7. Unexpected Guests: Keep in mind that sometimes guests who RSVP no will show up unannounced or a single guest will bring a friend or date without telling you. This is annoying (and rude) yes, but should be anticipated by planning a few extra meals and place setting. Chat with your caterer about this possibility.  

8. Gifts for Family & Bridal Party: You will have lots of hard working and helpful family and friends (hopefully) helping you throughout the wedding planning process, so don't forget to budget in the expense of getting them a nice gift as a thank you for all their help.

9. Favors: Favors are not a requirement these day. Most guests won't even notice if you don't have them, but they should be factored into the budget in case you chose to include them in the wedding. On average a favor can cost $2-$8 or more per person. There are ways to save on favors though, including a DIY option if your crafty or having one favor per couple rather then per person. Another thing to remember is favors get left behind a lot so if you want to make it worth your money have a favor they can use at the wedding, like a food or beverage item. 

10. Day-of Coordination: If your venue does not come with a wedding planner or you haven't hired one separately to help with the planning, a day of coordinator is a must these days. No one wants to be stuck dealing with vendors and timelines the day of the wedding, so hire someone to take care of it. It can run you anywhere from $500-$2,000, so budget that in as well. 

11. Vendor Meals: Many vendors require you to feed them the day of, including the coordinator, DJ or band and photographer/videographer, so make sure you count them in the final head count for the caterer. Also do not forget to count yourselves in the final count as well, many couple's forget this.

12. Lighting: Whether it is required at your venue or just an extra touch you want to add, you will almost always need extra lighting. This can include lighting the dance floor, a chandelier over the alter or candles on the tables, keep this in mind when planning your budget for the day-of.  

13. Decor Other then Flowers: You will more then likely need some kind of signage at the wedding, including pointing people in the right direction of the venue or directing them to the different areas events of the day will occur. Other decor can include a bar menu, tulle on the ceremony chairs, non-floral centerpieces or cute signs on the head table.  

14. Back Up Plan: No matter what time of year you get married (though more commonly a problem January-April and September-December) there is always the chance you will need a back up plan. If your venue has no indoor options, this will include renting a tent or providing umbrellas. Tents can be very expensive, so make sure to look around for pricing and how far out you will need to think about reserving one.   

15. Gratuities/Taxes/Service Charges: Check over your contracts as they come in to see who adds on gratuities and what the taxes and services charges will be so you can plan ahead of time. Don't know who to tip and how much? Read through our previous blog for great advice on who/how much/when to tip vendors! 

Tips for Tipping, Who, How Much, and When?

Confused on who to tip and how much to tip them at your wedding? No worries, below is some great advice on which vendors you should tip and how much!

First a few tips on tipping:

1. If you're using a wedding planner, they are responsible for delivering the tips and final payments to the vendors. Not using a planner? Ask the best man or one of the father's to distribute them. All tips and payments should be calculated and separated into different envelopes.

2. All tips should be given in cash.

3. No single person should get more then $150.00.  

4. Tips should be given just before a vendor leaves, this way you can determine how much to give depending on how well they performed their service for you. 

Who to tip & how much to tip them:

Limousine Drivers: 10-15% of the bill, unless it is over $150.00. For example, if your bill is $2,000 then 10-15% of that bill would be $200-$300 and is not necessary.

Valet Parking Attendants: $1.00 per car, prearranged with a supervisor depending on how many cars should be arriving. Place a sign out letting guests know the tip has been taken care of.

Wait Staff: Most contracts include the tip, but if not, 15% of the total catering bill is tipped. Wait staff do the hardest physical on your wedding day. 

Bartenders: 10% of the total liquor bill, presented to the head bartender or divided equally among the total number of bartenders who worked the full evening. Make sure a tip hasn't been added to your contract already. 

Makeup Artist & Hair Stylist: 15-25%, depending on the quality of service

Wedding Planners: Wedding planners likely won't expect anything; however, if yours did a great job you can always offer a token of your appreciation. Non-monetary thank-yous like professional photos of the wedding for their portfolio can go a long way too. The amount of tip is really up to you and how you felt they performed. 

DJ: $50-$100, if you have multiply DJ's split it in separate envelopes. 

Photographer & Videographer: If they own the company, the tip is optional. If they are an employee then $50.00. 

Officiant: Tipping them is unnecessary and bad etiquette. If you wish to make a financial contribution to their church, you can do that separately. 

Florist: You don't need to tip the florist for making your arrangements but you can tip them an extra $5.00 per delivery location (3 locations=$15.00) or $10-$20 per stage member in one lump sum, for set up and delivery.  

Hopefully this gives you a general idea on who, when and how much to tip your vendors at your wedding. It is really up to you and how you feel they performed their services when deciding how much to tip.  






What's Trending for 2016 Weddings?!

It's a new year and that means a whole new round of wedding trends! Time to explore some of the great new ideas popping up!

1. Metallic Everywhere! From the invites, to the bridesmaids dresses and even the table linens, metallic is the new, trendy look for 2016 weddings. Metallic colors can go with any time of year and can blend in well we almost any color palette. It adds elegance and whimsy no matter what the theme of the wedding. 

2. Wedding Dress Styles! Tea length gowns are big this season. Illusion necklines, keyhole backs and V-necks are also huge trends for bride's in 2016. The biggest trend for bridal gowns seems to be original/unusual styles. Bride's are showing off their personalities more and more in their bridal gowns. 

3. Hand Written Invites! Handing writing your invitations can add a wonderful personal touch to the day. Custom paper is big this year also and can help represent the couple in a number of ways (think invites shaped as iconic buildings or states). A fun alternative to the normal invites. 

4. No Travel Destination Weddings! Can't afford to have your wedding in your favorite city? Not a problem! This year's trend is to bring your favorite destination location to your current location. You can incorporate elements from special places through decor, music or food. Eiffel Tower centerpieces, Moroccan food or Irish step-dancing are just some of the ways to highlight your favorite places without the travel expenses. 

5. Naked Cake! More delicious and unique than it sounds, naked cakes are a HUGE trend in 2016. Naked cakes are unfrosted or partially-frosted cakes, decorated with flowers or berries. They add a beautiful, rustic look to the wedding and will be a fun talking point for your guests. 

6. Lights, lights and more lights! The more lights the better in 2016. Couple's are adding as much lighting as possible to their special day. From chandeliers to strings and bulbs to hundreds of candles, people are getting creative with how and where to hang their lights. 

7. Bright Colors! Warm color pallets will always be trendy for weddings, but 2016 is all about bright and vibrant color pallets! Think reds and oranges and yellows. You can add a splash of color here and a pop of color there or have the whole wedding covered in bright hues!

8. Garden Flowers/Unconventional Flowers/Non-Floral Centerpieces! Flowers are expensive. A great way to save money in 2016 is to head to the farmers market and pick up whatever is available. You can have fun making the arrangements and save some money. Unconventional flowers, such as succulents, ferns and herbs, are big this season as well. Another great way to save money on flowers? Don't use them. Having a non-floral centerpiece, like candles or pictures, is unique and cheap. 

9. Table Alternatives! Round tables are becoming a thing of the past. Couple's are now leaning towards using square, rectangle and even banquet tables for their wedding's. Farm tables are another great alternative. They are beautiful all on their own, saving you money on linens and elaborate centerpieces.  

10. Food Options/Craft Beer/Dessert Alternatives! Dietary restrictions are on the rise so it is important to offer options for your guests. Gluten free, vegan or lactose free, to name a few. Most caterers are good about working with you to create a menu that will please everyone. Craft beer is booming this year and makes it the perfect time to incorporate it into your big day. Bring the beer garden to your reception! Big in 2016 is alternate dessert options. People are moving away from just having wedding cake (or from having the cake at all). Donut bars, make your own sundae stations and cupcakes are very in trend this year.   

11. Candid Shots & Videography! Posed wedding photos are great, but what's big this wedding season are the candid shots. Mom wiping away her tears, dad seeing his little girl in her dress for the first time, or a stolen moment between the couple. These are the real moments that make a wedding special. Want to relive your big day over and over? Videography is the best way to make that happen. Most videographers will cut together a highlight reel of the day and give you the raw footage.   

What Questions to Ask When Visiting Potential Wedding Venues!

Choosing a wedding venue can be incredibly difficult and frustrating. These 11+ questions will help in narrowing down the perfect place to hold your special day!

1. Is this venue available on the date/month/time of year I want? This should be the first question you ask any venue. If it is not available when you would need/want it there is no point in moving forward with discussions. If you don't have a specific date in mind, ask them what dates are available. This will give you an idea of what time of year to start thinking about having your wedding. 

2. Can I afford this venue? Sticking to your budget is important. Do not put a $12,000 venue on your list if you can only afford $8,000. Besides being a waste of time, it will break your heart if you fall in love with a place that you ultimately cannot afford. 

3. What is the capacity of the venue? Can this venue fit all your guests? Does the price change depending on how many people you invite? This will help you decide if the venue is in your budget still. If you fall in love with a place that cannot fit your size party, are you willing to cut down on the guest list to get your dream venue?

4. How much is the deposit? It's always good to know how much money you will need to spend immediately to secure your date. This goes back to sticking to your budget. Find out when it is due and how you can make the payment. 

5. Is anyone else inquiring about your date? It's always helpful to know if any other couples are looking at the venue for your same date. Venues book up fast and this will give you a good idea about how much time you have to make a decision. You should ask if the venue is willing to update you if anyone becomes interested in your date so you can have first pick.

6. Does the venue have a prefered/required vendors list? Most venues will have a preferred vendors list and some will have a required list for certain vendors. Catering, if not already provided at the venue, is usually the one venues require you use from their list. The venues have spent years finding the best possible vendors to work in their space and with their requirements. In the end, they just want the vendors that will be the best for both of you. 

7. What is the venues cancellation policy? Things happen, weddings get cancelled or moved for all different reasons. Find out how much you will lose, how far in advance you can cancel or if the venue is willing to move your date if needed. 

8. What is the alcohol policy? Beer and wine only? Speciality cocktail? Open bar? Find out the restrictions, who provides the alcohol (the venue, the caterers or BYOB). Ask if you need to provide insurance or if the venue is covered. Also see if you need to hire bartenders or if they will be provided. 

9. What are your rules for decorations? Almost all venues have rules when it comes to how you can decorate their space. How can you hang things (tape, tacks, nails etc)? Can you use candles? Who is required to set up and tear down decor and tables? Finding this out ahead of time will help in knowing if the space is going to be right for the look your hoping for the day of your wedding. 

10. Who is on site the day of the wedding? Does the venue have their own coordinator? Is there an onsite supervisor that can answer questions the day of? Are you allowed to hire a coordinator? You need to know who will be in charge the day of your wedding and who can answer questions along the way.

11. General Questions? Is there ample parking on site? Can you shuttle people in? What is the bathroom situation? Is the venue handicap accessible? What is the rental length and how much time for set up and clean up? When does music have to be shut off? Are there backup plans in case of weather?

Eight Great Tricks to Make Wedding Planning Easier!

1.     Number your RSVP cards. Each number corresponds to a certain guest or family. This way if it comes back filled out wrong or illegible you will still know who is coming. 

2.  Make a new email account specially for wedding planning. This way no email gets lost or forgotten about and they are all in one place easy to pull up.

3.  Using thank you postcards can help cut down on the amount of envelopes used. It’s also a cute way to showcase one or more of your favorite wedding photos.

4.  Write your thank you notes as gifts arrive. Most people send their wedding gifts early through the mail these days. A great way to cut down on the amount of thank you notes you have to write after the wedding is to write them as the gifts arrive and send them after the big day. 

5.  Attend a bridal show/fair. These offer great access to vendors and usually include lots of free giveaways.

6.   Tiny weights inside the hem of the bridesmaid’s dresses or veil weights will help them from flying up on a windy day. 

7.  If your wedding day is going to be a hot one, make your programs double as fans to keep your guests cool and informed. 

8. Make sure your coordinator (or whoever is handling things day of) has ALL the vendor's information. Phone number, email, name etc. This way if someone is late or some problem arises they don’t have to bother you or your family for their information. Most coordinators also like to be able to reach out to vendors prior to the wedding.