Chances are, if you're like most couples, you have a budget you need to stick to in order to make your dream wedding a reality. But do you really know where the majority of your money will go and how much an average wedding costs? Are you aware that hidden fees can eat away at your budget? If you answered no to either of these questions, read on.
The majority of a couple's wedding budget will be spent in five areas: wedding and reception venues, the wedding dress, decorations, party favors and entertainment.
According to BRIDES magazine's annual American Wedding Survey, conducted in July 2011, the average cost for a wedding is $26,501; of that amount, $13,367 is for the reception.
Here are some more average wedding costs:
- Wedding dress and accessories, $1,870
- Gifts for each other, the couple's parents and their wedding party, $1,342
- Engagement and wedding rings, $6,142
- Flowers, $1,426
- Video/photography, $3,367
In today's modern society, most couples are paying for these bills themselves. Sticking to your budget is more important than ever but don't let unexpected fees burst your budget.
Avoiding Hidden Costs
Hidden costs may catch you off guard if you are not careful. The most common areas you'll find hidden fees are the bridal dress, the venue and the post office.
The cost of a wedding dress does not usually include the cost of alterations. These can cost the bride hundreds of dollars. To save on the cost of alterations, don't be afraid to use your own seamstress instead of the ones employed by the bridal salon.
Don't forget to also budget for the cost of hair and make-up, not only the stylist you hire but any hair and make-up trials you have before making your decision.
There are plenty of hidden costs involved with your venue. For the wedding venue, if you are incorporating any cultural or religious accessories into the ceremony, you'll need to buy your own. They are not provided. If you're having an outdoor wedding, the cost of a rainy day tent is extra.
For the reception venue, there may be charges for decorating, setting up, administrative costs and parking. You might also be charged for food and bar service. Finally, there may be additional charges if your receptions goes beyond your allotted time limit.
Mailing out save-the-date cards, invitations and wedding announcements? While you may have budgeted for the cost of printing and envelopes, did you think about stamps? Depending on how many cards you'll be mailing out, the cost of postage can add up quickly. Many couples are cutting costs by sending out electronic notices.
So how do you avoid these hidden costs? Ask plenty of questions up front and if possible get the list of fees in writing before paying. Budget extra money knowing you'll have fees to pay. And, finally, don't be afraid to shop around and negotiate for a better price.