What To Scrimp And Save On At Your Wedding.

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With so many unexpected fees, costs and charges, trying not to blow your budget is one of the hardest parts of planning a wedding. To help you stick to your budget (and keep the hubby-to-be happy), Complete Wedding consulted with leading wedding stylist and planner Eliska Lam, of Ruffles & Bells, to uncover some of the most overlooked wedding expenses.

Be my bridesmaid?

Once he’s popped the question and you’ve set the date, one of the next moves a bride wants to make is to pick her posse. According to Eliska, more and more brides are asking their nearest and dearest to stand by their side with personalised gifts and lavish luncheons. “A lot of modern-day brides are purchasing sentimental gifts or putting on fancy lunches to ask their girlfriends to be part of their special day,” Eliska says. “While it’s a lovely thing to do, just remember these little extras — especially early on in the planning process — can amount to big budgets at the end.”

Beauty treatments

Aside from your professional hair and makeup on the day, don’t forget to account for pre wedding beauty treatments such as spray tans, manicures and massages, Eliska advises. Depending on your level of indulgence, some brides may even opt to splurge on slimming body wraps, luxury day spas and teeth whitening to look and feel their best.

Travel and delivery surcharges

Of all the things couples are likely to forget, Eliska says travel and delivery fees to the wedding location tend to top the list. “If you’re having a wedding outside the CBD, be sure to include a budget for travel and delivery expenses,” she says. “Make sure to mention your venue to all your vendors so they can include a travel or delivery surcharge in their quote. One tip is to book vendors close to your ceremony/reception to avoid paying a hefty delivery fee.”

Buck’s and hen’s parties

Gone are the days when a buck’s or hen’s party consisted of a big night on the town. Nowadays, the final fling before the ring can range from a swish cocktail function in a luxe city hotel to a no-expenses-spared weekend getaway. While each guest is normally charged a set fee to cover expenses, the hen or buck often pays for their fares and then some to alleviate costs for their bridal party.


Many couples don’t realise their stationery budget needs to span beyond save-the-dates and invitations. Eliska says couples also need to think about ceremony programs, table name cards, menus and thank-you notes. “When choosing your stationery package, don’t forget to factor in extra postage fees for bulky invitations — particularly if they contain directions, registry requests, transport options and accommodation suggestions,” she says. “Remember, you’ll also need stamps for your save-the-dates, RSVP cards and thank-you notes. A good way to cut costs on stationery, and do your bit for the environment, is to consider setting up a wedding website.”

Wedding coordinator/stylist

According to Eliska, a lot of brides think they can do everything themselves, only to realise closer to the date that they want to enjoy the day rather than having to run around making sure all the flowers are arranged properly and the seating chart is in its place. “It would be best to include the cost of a stylist or wedding coordinator in your budget from the outset and be prepared for it from the beginning,” Eliska suggests. “After all, it’s your day and the last thing you want is to be stressed out about all the other details when your main concern is to look great and focus on celebrating your new life together.”

Wedding-day fuel

Whether you’re getting ready at home or in a hotel, you and your bridal party will need to eat. Keep it simple with platters of fresh fruit, rolls, cheese and crackers — and don’t forget a few bottles of bubbly! Some brides even opt to go out for breakfast — another cost that can add up if
not accounted for.

Pre- and post-wedding outfits

From the engagement party and hen’s night to the rehearsal dinner and day-after brunch, chances are you’ll want a different dress for every occasion. But if your wedding dress wasn’t enough of a small fortune, wearing a new outfit for every event can definitely break the bank, Eliska warns. “Reconsider the items you already have in your wardrobe, or raid your best friend’s closet, to avoid having to make unnecessary purchases,” she advises. Also, remember to save room in your fashion budget for your wedding-day accessories. Items such as a veil or headpiece, shoes, undergarments or shapewear and jewellery can easily set you back $500 or more.

Vendor meals

Your photographer, videographer and DJ/band will be with you the entire day, and will usually stipulate on their contract to be provided a meal during the reception. Eliska recommends checking with your venue or caterer as they usually provide vendor meals at a discounted rate. Don’t forget to include you and your hubby in the total head count either.

Overtime costs

Despite all the planning and preparation that goes into creating your perfect day, it doesn’t always run to schedule. A late start to the ceremony can result in a reception that runs overtime — just keep in mind you’ll have to foot the bill for any hours outside the contracted time. Sometimes the bride and groom get caught up in party mode, Eliska says. “It’s the best day of their lives and they don’t want it to end so when the time comes to wind down, it’s not uncommon for couples to want to extend the festivities. The venue usually has an option to extend, for a price, but don’t forget your band, photographer and other vendors who will most likely want to be paid on the spot to continue.”

Post-wedding to-do list

If you think your wedding expenses end after you say “I do”, think again. Every wedding budget should allocate funds for post-wedding expenses, including thank-you cards, making extra copies of your wedding photographs and DVDs for loves ones, and cleaning and preserving your gown. The cost of professional dry-cleaning and gown preservation varies depending on the fabric and detailing of the dress, however prices generally start from $500 upwards.

What now?

As much as every bride wants to think she’s got it covered, Eliska says there are still a lot of things that can happen between “will you marry me” and “I do”. “Unexpected guests, power outages, adverse weather and last-minute changes can break the wedding bank,” she says. “My advice is to allocate 10 per cent extra for emergencies so you are well prepared for the unexpected. I’d also recommend brides take advantage of sales and bridal fairs to get the best deals from their vendors and when buying wedding gifts. At the end of the day, if couples know from the beginning how much they have to spend, communicate regularly and make a detailed, prioritised list of everything they need, I’m pretty sure they won’t stray far from their allotted budget.”


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