The Best-Laid Wedding Plans

It’s hard to stay on budget when planning your wedding-expenses can get away from you as you strive for the “perfect day”. Use the following savings secrets to keep your best laid wedding plans from going awry.

  1. Try not to make quick decisions.
    Impulsive decisions can lead to canceled contracts and returned items which in the end can cost you quite a bit of money.
  2. Get it in writing. Read every contract thoroughly and search for hidden costs. Keep a copy of everything for future reference.
  3. Accept help.
    If family or friends offer their help, don’t turn them down. You don’t have to carry the burden of planning your special day all on your own.
  4. Don’t over-order.
    Order only as many announcements and invitations as you will need, or consider using a computer to print your own.
  5. Be unique.
    Hold your wedding during off hours or on an off day. Instead of planning a Saturday night wedding, try a Tuesday night or a Saturday morning.
  6. Negotiate.
    Don’t be afraid to ask for discounted packages and negotiate everything. For example, when purchasing bridesmaids’ gowns, ask the bridal shop if it is possible to receive a group discount.
  7. Know your flowers.
    When purchasing flowers, choose arrangements that are in season, not exotics. Order plenty of greenery to increase flower volume in bouquets. Also, miniature flowers usually cost less then full size varieties.
  8. Consolidate locations.
    To save money, time, and hassle, have the ceremony and reception at the same place.
  9. Do a “dress rehearsal”.
    When purchasing your gown, save on alteration fees by having the shop order to your exact measurements. During your fittings, make sure you wear the same undergarments you will use during the wedding to ensure a proper fit and eliminate last minute charges for alterations.
  10. Comparison-shop for musicians.
    Compare the musicians’ or DJ’s fees per hour as opposed to a flat fee. Also, review the contract carefully and question overtime charges.
  11. Save on photography expenses by ordering all prints and videos together.
    Request a discount for ordering in bulk. To supplement the pictures that are taken, have disposable cameras on each table at the reception for guest to use.
  12. Use the following WIFE.org Wedding Budget Worksheet to keep track of your wedding budget and actual costs:

WIFE.org Wedding Budget Worksheet

PDF Download as PDF
Ceremony
Location Fee $ $ $
Clergy Fee $ $ $

Subtotal:

$ $ $
Reception
Reception Hall $ $ $
Equipment Rental $ $ $
Meal $ $ $
Soft Drinks/Coffee $ $ $
Alcohol $ $ $
Bar Services $ $ $
Place Settings $ $ $
Linens $ $ $
Table Service $ $ $
Tables/Chairs $ $ $
Party Favors $ $ $
Disposable Cameras $ $ $
Gift Attendant $ $ $
Gratuities $ $ $
Valet/ Coat Check $ $ $
Valet/ Coat Check $ $ $

Subtotal:

 $  $  $
Apparel
Bridal Gown $ $ $
Alterations $ $ $
Headpiece/Veil $ $ $
Shoes and Accessories $ $ $
Groom’s Ensemble $ $ $

Subtotal:

$ $ $
Photography
Engagement Photos $ $ $
Wedding Photos $ $ $
Bridal Photos $ $ $
Extra Prints $ $ $
Negatives $ $ $
Albums $ $ $

Subtotal:

$ $ $
Videography
Wedding Video $ $ $
Duplicates $ $ $
Titles $ $ $
Editing $ $ $

Subtotal:

$ $ $
Music 
Ceremony $ $ $
Reception $ $ $

Subtotal:

$ $ $
Florist 
Ceremony $ $ $
Reception $ $ $
Bride’s Bouquet $ $ $
Tossing Bouquet $ $ $
Bridesmaid’s Bouquets $ $ $
Maid/Matron’s Bouquet $ $ $
Corsages $ $ $
Boutonnieres $ $ $
Preservation $ $ $
Delivery & Setup $ $ $

Subtotal:

$ $ $
Bakery
Wedding Cake $ $ $
Cake Knife $ $ $
Cutting Fee $ $ $

Subtotal:

$ $ $
Stationery 
Announcements $ $ $
Invitations $ $ $
Thank-You Cards $ $ $
Place Cards $ $ $
Pew Cards $ $ $
Matches $ $ $
Napkins $ $ $
Wedding Programs $ $ $
Calligraphy $ $ $
Postage $ $ $

Subtotal:

$ $ $
Gifts
Bride $ $ $
Groom $ $ $
Bridesmaids $ $ $
Ushers $ $ $
Flower Girl(s) $ $ $
Ring Bearer $ $ $

Subtotal:

$ $ $
Dinners & Parties
Engagement Party $ $ $
Bridesmaids’ Dinner $ $ $
Bachelors’ Dinner $ $ $
Rehearsal Dinner $ $ $

Subtotal:

$ $ $
 Miscellaneous
Limousine $ $ $
Decorations $ $ $
Rose Pedals $ $ $
Dance Floor $ $ $
Tent $ $ $
Marriage License $ $ $
Bridal Suite $ $ $
Guest Book & Pen $ $ $
Ring Pillow $ $ $
Toast Glasses $ $ $
Flower Girl Basket $ $ $
Blood Tests $ $ $
Wedding Consultant $ $ $
Wedding Software $ $ $

Subtotal:

$ $ $
Jewelry
Bride’s Ring $ $ $
Groom’s Ring $ $ $

Subtotal:

$ $ $
Honeymoon
Flight $ $ $
Accommodations $ $ $
Sight-seeing $ $ $
Meals $ $ $

Subtotal:

$ $ $
Grand Total $ $ $

Excerpted from the book  It’s More Than Money-It’s Your Life: The New Money Club for Women by Candace Bahr, CEA, CDFA and Ginita Wall, CPA, CFP 

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