Thursday, October 13, 2011

Wedding finances

So how much does a wedding cost? And people always say that there are last minute expenses, but if you are a bride you aren't really sure what they are. Here is an approximate list of what we paid (in Canadian dollars) and what we learned. This list may not be complete as some people buy things that others do not think are necessary. But here is how I viewed it.

The necessities:
  1. Marriage license: you will need this. Expect for it to cost between $100 to $200. The price is regulated in each province and state. Mine was $122.
  2. Reception: depending on how you do it, budget it at about $50 per head. This may or may not include the price of the room before the meal.
  3. Officiant: again, it depends but count on about $200 for the officiant and the church unless you live in a city and you are having a wedding at a cathedral or basilica. You may also have to pay for the officiant and the ceremony venue separately.
  4. Musician: this could run you at between $100 to $300 for the ceremony. If you have an organist and a musician, this will double.
  5. Photographer: count on $800 for the lowest packages (ceremony and photo shoot) and then it will go up.
  6. Photo venue: you may or may not have to pay a fee for your photo session location.
  7. Wedding dress: start your budget around $700. Mine was $1100 and it included alterations, storage, rebeading and steaming. 
  8. Hair and make-up: I didn't have my make-up done, but I did have my hair done professionally. Expect for it to cost between $100 and $200.
  9. Attendant gifts: depending on what you want to give your attendants, you should always give them something. If you spend $50 on each attendant and you have three girls and three boys, this is $300.
  10. Paperterie: programs, invitations, thank you cards, and any other paper items that you want to use like signage, menus, name cards, etc. The paper costs money but you don't need to buy invitations made for weddings as they cost 10 times as much. If you make it yourself, you will save tons of money. The average price I found for buying paper items was $900-$1200 whereas mine was less than $300 for everything.
  11. Flowers: depending on which flower package you choose, this will run you from $300 to $1200 or more.
  12. Transportation: how will you get from point A to point B? I rented a limo which cost $800 for the day. You could also rent an antique car or have other options. Expect for it to run you between $500 to $1000 for the day.
  13. Decorating: after you decide on how you want to decorate the church and reception (or more venues) you have to go about paying for it through a decorating company or you do it yourself. I kept things extraordinarily simple because my venues spoke for themselves and didn't need decorating. I paid about $100 total for decorating.
  14. Favours for guests: again, this will depend on your wedding theme or colors. I made candies and gave them out in decorated Chinese takeout boxes. We made them ourselves and it cost about $250 for the ribbon, boxes, paper, maple syrup, filling and wax paper.

Some items you may already have:
  1. Shoes to wear in your wedding dress: wear a pair of comfortable shoes. You will be on them all day until the reception. They should match the dress but you don't need to spend a lot of money on a new pair of strappy sandals. 
  2. The groom's attire: it depends, of course. Some men rent their suit, but we got lucky. The groom will need a suit, shirt, tie, and shoes. It is possible that he already has some of this. 
  3. Accessories: the jewelry that the bride wants to wear, a shawl if it gets cold, and a purse to carry around that day.
  4. Manicures: all girls love manicures and pedicures but we have an army of beauty products at home. You could do them at home to save money or spend about $40 per person. It's up to you.
  5. Attendants clothing: we were lucky that we didn't have to pay for the bridesmaid's dresses or the groomsmen's tuxes. I did buy ties for the guys so that they all had the same color tie but we saved money here. Some people want to buy all of that for their party (I did at first) and that is fine.
  6. Make-up: also listed below in unexpected expenses but you might already have good make-up that you can apply yourself for your big day. I did but I did buy a long-lasting lipstick and waterproof mascara.

The unexpected expenses:
  1. Food for the day of the wedding: that is, breakfast, lunch and a snack. Is it made at the house? Are you getting something on route? Or are you buying a veggie tray and taking it with you?
  2. Also, Food, in general: you will eat during your meetings with the vendors if they are at a coffee shop. During the wedding week, keep a couple $20s in your wallet to cover this.
  3. Long-lasting make-up: I thought that my regular make-up was good enough but believe me, get the long-lasting lipstick, waterproof mascara and eyeliner. Use blush and foundation. The point isn't to look super made-up but for it not to fade.
  4. Photo development: is your photographer developing your photos or do you get a CD of photos that you have to develop? I put aside $200 for that.
  5. Scrapbooking: well, you might not be into scrapbooking but if you are, you might want to consider the following items: a scrapbook (or two, or three) for the wedding, scrapbooking paper, scrapbooking stickers or embellishments, acid-free pen for journalling, and the photos.
  6. Cash bar at the reception: that was for everyone else, right? No. It includes you too.
  7. Honeymoon night: where are you staying? do you have a hotel room? And if you booked one, you still need to feed yourself while you are there too.
  8. Gas in the car: you'd be surprised how this takes up money while you are going around running wedding errands. 
  9. Bachelorette Party: depending on what you have planned, you may buy food or other items. I spent $350 at my bachelorette party--I won't say on what.
  10. Craft items: if you are making things yourself, you may notice that you keep buying double-sided tape rollers, acid-free pens, and other items. You may also need scissors, an eraser, pencils, glue dots and other craft items.
  11. Postage: you will need stamps to send most of your invitations and then again for your thank you notes. Depending on how many you are sending, this could set you back at least $100. You may also want to note that if your invitation package is heavy with lots of paper in it, you may have to weigh each one of them as the stamp might not be enough.
  12. The Bride's Kit: any of the items in the bride's kit that you don't already have (or, can't find and don't care if you buy another one).

The extras:
  1. Travel: do you have to fly to and from your wedding? We did so plane tickets were a factor along with additional expenses like meals and taxi fare.
  2. Spa treatments: you can indulge in a spa treatment before or after your wedding day. Some people do: I wish that I had.
  3. Gifts for your parents: our gift to our parents was a slideshow with photos that we had scanned from their photo albums but you may want to buy something special for your parents on this day.
  4. Hair and make-up for your mom: I paid for my mom's hair and make-up on that day so that she didn't have to stress about it. She looked really great too!
  5. Manicures and pedicures: as I mentioned above, you may already have some of these items in your arsenal of beauty products. If not, you, your girls and your mom could all go for manicures and pedicures. Expect for it to set you back at least $50 per person but it's a really nice treat. It helps you destress too!

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