The Bridal Budget….OMG!

If you thought getting the engagement ring and that whole process was expensive….honey, just you wait.

The average wedding cost in the United States is $26,645. Couples typically spend between $19,984 and $33,306 but, most couples spend less than $10,000. This does not include cost for a honeymoon. A gorgeous destination wedding is a fraction of the cost….more on that later.

There is a definite formula for how the typical Southern bride allocates her dollars! Come to our bridal workshops and we will go more in depth on this.

Her side:

Traditionally, the bride’s family foots majority of the bill. Of course, this rarely applies these days, but it’s interesting to note all of the costs that the bride and her family were once held responsible for. They include obvious things like the big dress and accessories and the bride’s gifts to her bridesmaid and groom. A lot of big ticket items fall on that list too like the wedding planner and invitations, flowers, photography, entertainment, reception costs, catering., receptions. groom’s ring, rentals, rehearsal dinner, attendants’ accommodations.

His side:

As for the groom and his family’s traditional expenses, they’re a bit less of a burden. Costs include the bride’s engagement ring and wedding rings, the attire, the groom’s gift to his groomsmen and if wants their attire too, his gift to the bride, all of the boutonnieres and corsages for appropriate wedding party and family members, the officiant’s fee plus accommodation and transportation if they need to travel to the wedding, the marriage license, rehearsal dinner costs, lodging for the groomsmen, and transportation and lodging for the groom’s family and groomsmen

Certain expenses are often overlooked. Beware…..

  1.  Sales Tax – When quoting your budget to a vendor, it’s easy to forget Uncle Sam’s piece of the pie. An extra 6 to 10 percent adds up quickly — especially on bigger purchases — and can create a cost overrun that leaves your benefactors feeling less than joyous. Make sure to check all vendors’ estimates to make sure tax is included in the total.
  2. Gratuities and Tips – Just like tax, gratuities and tips are often left out of the initial wedding budget. Your caterer may tack a whopping 25 percent gratuity onto your bill for the privilege of serving their chicken skewers and manning the beef carving station. It’s in the fine print, so be sure you read over your contracts and estimates carefully. According to some industry insiders, it’s customary to also have tips ready for the band, DJ, photographer, florist cake delivery, hairdresser, coatroom attendant, limo driver, bartenders and servers
  3. Gifts for the Wedding Party – The people that accompany you down the aisle are the most special ones in your life. You’ve got your childhood best friend, your closest friend from college, two sisters and a sister-like cousin, and of course, your two favorite work mates. And don’t forget their escorts, the seven accompanying groomsmen in your husband-to-be’s lineup. They’ve all dedicated a lot of time and probably a good deal of coin to stand up with you on your big day, so all 14 are candidates for a lovely remembrance from you. With the average attendant gift expenditure hovering around $50 a person, you do the math.
  4. Delivery fees – The great part about the wedding industry is its full-service feature. You can have your fairy tale setting delivered right to the doorstep of your reception hall. Sure, we’ll deliver your dress from the tailor – just sign here. Tables and chairs, food and flowers, linens and glassware — anything your heart desires will land in the right place at the right time. But you’re gonna have to pay the people who make it happen
  5. Postage – If you’re hoarding your Forever stamps, a regular envelope will cost you 44 cents to mail. But special envelopes — the kind you’ll probably use to complement your fancy invitations — get an extra surcharge. Tack on stamp costs for the RSVP envelope, and you’re well over $1.00 per invitation, which doesn’t even include the cost of the design and printing of the actual invite. If you want to be really thorough, remember to budget yet another stamp for thank you notes
  6. Overtime – Most fees for wedding services and venues are based on a set amount of time. Your venue, band, DJ, photographer and videographer are all likely to be on the clock, so make sure you understand exactly how long you have and plan accordingly before chicken dancing till the wee hours
  7. Bar Set up Fees – Even when you decide to take cost-cutting measures, there are still hidden fees you can incur. For example, if your venue allows you to supply your own booze for the bar to avoid their costly markup, you’ll probably still end up paying a bar set-up fee or a corkage fee that can quickly eat up all your savings. But the good news is they’ll probably throw in the glasses free of charge.
  8. Guest List – When your aunt’s BFF comes with a husband and three children, these additions to the headcount mean more mouths to feed, more chairs to sit in, more wine to sip, more cars to park, more silverware to eat with and more glasses to drink out of. Because you don’t want to hurt any feelings, the body count can add up quickly. And because many of these expenses are on a per-head basis, the tab is going to reflect that. Get a number in your head, and work backward from there. If that second cousin twice removed needs to go, then so be it
  9. Cake Cutting Fee – One of the last things you think you’ll get charged for is the cutting of your cake. After all, you bought it from a separate bakery, and the cake already cost you a small fortune. The fee is really a provision for the plates and forks, and then the subsequent washing of those plates and forks. Everything costs something, right? Fees can range from 50 cents to three bucks a slice. Consider serving cupcakes instead — they’re all the rage, and no plate is required
  10. Venue add’l fees – It’s important to read the fine print of any venue contract before setting your heart on that location. There are many additional fees associated with almost any venue, from overtime to cleaning charges, and some of these may make or break the deal. For example, that reception hall may require dripless candles that you have to purchase from them — at $5 a pop. Or their lovely white chairs — at $10 apiece. Some even have contracts with caterers that lock you into their menu and service options. So be sure to ask before mentally committing.

Yes, tipping is a standard practice to. “TIP” stands for ” to insure prompt service. So, yes you do tip several vendors in recognition of good service

Wedding Planner

Wedding planners won’t likely expect anything, but if yours did a great job, you can always offer a token of appreciation. (Note: Non-monetary thank-yous like professional photos of the wedding for the planner’s portfolio can go a long way too.) About 50 percent of couples do tip their planners—typically those with more opulent weddings.

Protocol:

Optional

The Standard:

10–20 percent, up to $500, or a nice gift

When to Tip:

The bride should hand off the envelope at the end of the reception, or she should send a thank-you note with photos or a check after the honeymoon

Wedding Hairstylist and Makeup Artist

This is one area where a gratuity is definitely expected. Tip between 15 to 25 percent just as you would in a hair salon, and consider giving a little extra if there’s a crisis, like one of your bridesmaids has a meltdown over her curls and it requires a redo at the last minute.

Protocol:

Expected

The Standard:

15–25 percent, depending upon the quality of service

When to Tip:

Tip your beauty stylists at the end of your service.

Wedding Delivery and Setup Staff

Slip a few dollars to anyone delivering important items to the site such as the wedding cake, flowers or sound system. If a lot of gear needs to be brought in and set up (tents, chairs or porta-potties), the workers deserve a tip too.

Protocol:

Expected

The Standard:

$5–$10 per person

When to Tip:

Drop off cash envelopes the day before the wedding to the catering manager so the person accepting deliveries can turn the tip

Wedding Ceremony Officiant

If your officiant is affiliated with a church or synagogue, you’re often expected to make a donation to that institution. If you’re a member, you’ll probably want to give a larger amount than if you’re not. However, if you’re getting married there and they’re charging you to use the space, feel free to give a smaller amount. Tipping the officiant, both nondenominational and denominational, is also appreciated.

Protocol:

Expected (depending on officiant)

The Standard:

Donate $100–$500 to the church or synagogue, and for the officiant, an optional tip of $50-$100

When to Tip:

Most ceremony fees are required prior to the wedding. Otherwise, have the best m

Wedding Ceremony Musicians

If you worked with a mini orchestra to come up with the perfect score for your service (and they pulled it off flawlessly), consider showing some monetary thanks for their talent. However, you probably don’t have to tip the solo church organist who was required to play.

Protocol:

Optional

The Standard:

$15–$20 per musician

When to Tip:

Ceremony musicians should receive a tip at the end of the ceremony

an pass the cash envelope at the rehearsal dinner if the officiant is in attendance.

Wedding Photographer and Videographer

You’re not expected to give your shutterbugs any money beyond their normal fees. But if the photographer or videographer doesn’t own the studio, consider tipping each person (or give a certain amount with a thank-you note to disperse to staff).

Protocol:

Optional

The Standard:

$50–$200 per vendor

When to Tip:

Tip your photographer and videographer at the end of the reception

Wedding Reception Staff

This type of staff includes the on-site coordinator, maître d’ and banquet manager. A service charge (typically 2 percent) is almost always built in to the food and drink fee, so check your contract. If the gratuity is not included, tip as follows.

Protocol:

Expected

The Standard:

15–20 percent of the food and drink fee (based on labor, not the cost), or $200–$300 for the maître d’

When to Tip:

If it’s covered in the contract, the final bill is typically due before the reception. Otherwise, have the father of the bride or best man hand the envelope to the maître d’ at the end of the reception, since you’ll need to know the final tab to calculate the percentage

Wedding Reception Attendants

When it comes to bartenders, waitstaff, parking, bathroom and coatroom attendants, the rules of tipping are dictated by your contract. If the service fee is included, consider doling out extra only if the service was exceptional. If it’s not included, ask ahead of time how many attendants will be working your wedding and calculate on a per person basis.

Protocol:

Optional, based on contract

The Standard:

10–20 percent of the liquor or food bill to be split among bartenders or waiters respectively, $1 per guest for coatroom, and $1 per car for parking attendants

When to Tip:

Although tips are traditionally passed out at the end of the event, alternately, you could distribute them at the beginning of the evening to encourage all the workers to give you great service

Wedding Reception Band or DJ

Whether you hire a 12-piece swing band or a single DJ, tipping musicians is completely optional, depending on the quality of the job and how willing they were to follow your ideal playlist. Don’t forget about any sound technicians they bring with them too.

Protocol:

Optional, yet preferred

The Standard:

$20–$25 per musician; $50–$150 for DJs

When to Tip:

The best man should tip the musicians or DJ at the end of the reception

Wedding Transportation

Again, check your contract, as gratuity is usually included. If it isn’t, plan to tip provided they show up on time and don’t get lost.

Protocol:

Expected

The Standard:

15–20 percent of the total bill

When to Tip:

Tip transportation pros at the end of the night or after the last ride. If you used a separate company for the guest buses, designate a bus captain to hand the driver a tip, otherwise this duty falls to the best man