Managing money is quite often an extremely difficult task. A wedding is no different. There are so many things to plan for monetarily, that it is easy to lose track of how much you are spending. The best way to prevent overspending is to write down all the things you need to budget for and how much you want to spend for them and then check them off as you go along. Here are the main things that I planned for. Although this list is not all inclusive, it may provide a starting point for your own budget.
Accessories- Many accessories go along with the dress that also need to be budgeted for and not forgotten, as they easily are. They include the headpiece and/or veil, jewelry, undergarments, shoes, gloves (if you want them) and, of course, the garter. There are many ways that you can save when purchasing these items. First, headpieces and veils can be quite expensive. If you do not wish to spend that much, you can have one made or try to make one yourself. There are many craft stores that can assist you in this process, and I have known many people who went this route and experienced great results. Also, you could buy undergarments and shoes at stores other than the bridal shops, which tend to charge more for the same products. Look around and compare prices.
Beautification services- You must also remember to plan for the cost of a hairdresser, make-up artist, and manicurist if you wish to have them. These all vary in price and, again, I stress the importance of comparing prices and services.
Groom's attire- Whether you are buying a nice suit or renting a tux, men's clothing can be quite expensive, especially since they usually do not keep their clothing. Malls are the most common placed to find stores that carry men's formal wear, but can be found in other locations. My husband rented his tux from a store in the mall and was very satisfied.
Video- This is also an important keepsake if you so choose. A video can compliment the pictures and allow you to be able to relive every aspect of your wedding because it does go by so fast. As with the pictures, you should look around before choosing a videographer. You should also think about whether you want a DVD or a video. Some companies offer both. DVD's are usually more expensive, but will last longer if taken care of properly.
Thank you cards - These can also vary in cost like the invitations. You can buy the expensive ones that go with your invitations, but I recommend that you buy simple thank you cards from the store. This is because it saves a lot of money, and there really is no reason to go with the expensive cards because they accomplish the same purpose. You will have to write a personal message in both kinds anyway. You can get these cards anywhere.
Programs, etc. - There are other things you can buy in this category, but are not necessarily needed. Some people choose to have ceremony programs that are given to the guests so they will know the order of events in the ceremony and the names of the people in the wedding party. These can be ordered with the invitations so they will look the same, but you can also make them yourself. Also, you can buy matching napkins for the reception and certain keepsakes such as bookmarks. These are also optional and look nice, but if you are trying to save money, it is probably not a good idea to buy these.
Maps- If the reception is not at the same place as the ceremony, you should provide a map and directions to guests, especially if they are from out of town. This will reduce confusion and enable everyone to get to the reception in a timely manner. You can make these yourself quite easily on the computer.
Groom's cake- You do not have to have this, but some people include it in their wedding traditions. It is a cake that is a bit smaller and is usually the groom's favorite kind of cake. If it is not big enough to serve, it usually functions as an accessory to the wedding cake. You can then eat it at a later time.
Flower decorations- If you would like to decorate the ceremony or reception, there are many options. The amount of money that you will spend on these decorations depends on how many flowers you use and how elaborate you want them to be. At the ceremony, you might want flowers on the aisle pews, alter, candle holders, or anything you wish. At the reception, you might want them on each table, and as centerpieces. I did not use real flowers in my decorations, but they can be very versatile and beautiful.
Bridesmaids/groomsmen - Along with gifts for each other, you should also plan on buying gifts for the rest of the wedding party as a thank you for their support. These are usually small, relatively inexpensive trinkets such as necklaces or nice pens, but can be anything that would convey a message of gratitude and would show them how special they are to you.
Bubbles, rose petals, or bird seed - When leaving your reception, it is traditional to have the guests send you off with their love. They used to throw rice to commemorate your leaving for your honeymoon, but that has been discontinued because birds choke on it. Now, guests can blow bubbles and throw bird seed or rose petals. If you would like the guests to do this, you should decide on which one you would like and plan for it. If you choose bubbles, you might want to decorate them with tulle or ribbons. I had bubbles, and they turned out to provide a very magical atmosphere for leaving for our honeymoon at Disney World.
Guest book and pen - It is customary to have the guests sign a book to let you know they attended your wedding. This can be a very nice keepsake that you can look back through to remember your day. You can buy this at most card stores or retail stores. This can also be personalized to reflect you unique personality. I chose a pen that looked like Minnie Mouse wearing a veil. Everyone thought it was cute because it was something that represented me.
Ring bearer's pillow/flower girl's basket - If you are including a ring bearer and/or flower girl in the ceremony, make sure you buy a pillow and basket. The pillow usually has fake rings tied to it because the best man and maid of honor are usually responsible for taking care of the rings. The basket can be any basket that matches the flower girl's dress. You can probably buy a basket at a craft store and decorate it for less than buying one from a bridal shop. That it what I did, and it turned out to be really nice.
Unity candle - Many couples decide to have a unity candle ceremony to represent their leaving their parents to form a new family. If you decide to do this, you will need to buy a unity candle. This is usually a large candle accompanied by two smaller candles. You can buy these at bridal shops and even some party stores. You can also buy one and decorate it to your preference. I got mine at a party store, which was cheaper than the bridal store.
Other things- There are a few other things you will have to plan for such as your wedding announcement in the newspaper, marriage license, gown preservation, and many other little things that you might need to make your day the most special day of your life. Make sure you sit down and try to think of all of these little things, because they can add up before you know it.
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Jennifer Hitchcock, Webmaster
Last revised November 18, 2002
Copyright Jennifer Hitchcock 2002 all rights reserved.
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