Wedding Budget Busters

Even the best of planners can have problems managing budgets when things go wrong or requirements change. There will always be a few incidentals that cannot be avoided, however, we've found that many couples don't factor in some really important expenses in their initial budget. Here are some of the common budget busters:


Guest List

Watch your guest list numbers. This may seem like a pretty straight forward topic but you'd be surprised how easy it is to say yes to every friend who decides they want to bring their latest crush or your folks want their business associates or distant relatives to join as well. The more numbers you have, the less money you'll have to spend on decorations and activities.

There also may be hidden costs for every extra person you invite. Just by adding one or two extras may mean that you need to have a whole new table to seat the guests - this might make the cost per head greater as you now need to pay extra for chair hire, additional tables, linen, food, flowers, stationery, gifts and alcohol.

(We wrote about "Reception Seating Arrangements" which you may also like.}


Guest Transport

Have a good think about how your guest will get around. If your reception venue is not close to where you are holding your ceremony you may need to plan some transport options to help your guests get from A-B. Some brides prefer to leave this up to guests, however, in our experience it is a much nicer and thoughtful option to provide a bus so your guests do not need to pay for additional transport or stand in the street all dressed up trying to hail a taxi. You want all your guests arriving to your ceremony safely and on time. You may also like to offer a shuttle service to a few key drop off points, such as hotels, for the end of the evening. Transport costs can add up quickly so do your research and contact some bus companies for quotes before you set your final budget. 

{We wrote more about creating the "Ultimate Wedding For Your Guests" which you may also like.}



We recommend that you are selective about your favours (guest gifts). Do your homework and decide exactly how much you can afford per guest. You'd be surprised how quickly it all adds up and you've spent $1000 on chocolates before you know it. We have noticed that unless a gift is edible, guests tend to leave them behind. As much as you may think they will love the monogrammed candle, most people will not want to display that in their home or carry it to the after party.

It is also a nice idea if you can make your favour double as a name card, that will save some costs and save the extra labour of placing them all out on the tables. 

{Get more favour ideas on our 'Bonbonniere & Stationery' page}



This is a big one. We recommend to all our clients that they put a huge focus on lighting, such as candles, lanterns, uplighting, outdoor lighting, string lights and dance floor lighting. Lighting may not be the most expensive service but it will certainly add up quickly. The perfect lighting is imperative to set the mood and add dimension to your room. It is what will create visual interest and romance amongst all the flowers and music. Lighting is one of the most common afterthoughts for couples and more often than not left off their budget entirely. 


{We wrote more about 'Style By Candlelight', 'Create A Wow Factor Wedding', 'Styling With LED Candles' and 'Why Brides Need To Understand Light & Colour' which you may also like. See more in our Florals & Interior Styling Page.}


Cost Estimates

Ask for your cost estimates upfront. Your wedding venue may include some items in their package, however they may outsource certain extra items from other suppliers. All the extra items can quickly add up so ask your venue to provide an itemised breakdown of the costs. That way you ca swap and change to fit with your budget and desired look. You may also want to search for your own provider rather than using the venues. You don't want to be surprised to find out that you've paid $25 per chair when you could have outsourced them yourself for $10. 

Misinformation is one of the main reasons a couple overspends. They assume that all providers will provide the same cost or that some items are already included in their venue package. The only way to get an accurate assessment is to ask for all vendors (whether associated with your venue or not) to provide detailed cost estimates. 

{We wrote about 'How To Manage Your Wedding Budget' which you may also like. We also spoke to the experts about prop hire in 'Prop & Furniture Hire: Learn About The Process'}



With the average wedding now costing as much as a luxury car, $30,000-$50,000, it's important that couples have protection against unforeseen instances that could leave them in real financial hardship. If the worst case scenario happens and the wedding has to be cancelled due to injury, illness, severe weather or venue cancellation, wedding insurance not only protects the deposits and payments that have been made, it can also pay the costs involved in rescheduling the wedding to a comparable standard.

As well as providing coverage for major expenses, wedding insurance can cover the smaller disasters that could happen at any time - a last minute drop out by the caterers, band, florist etc, a rip in the best man's hired suit pants, a damaged marquee that you are liable for. Wedding insurance provides a level of protection against these unexpected mishaps, any of which could cost couples thousands, if not tens of thousands of dollars.

{Information provided by expert, Graeme Dean, from Dream Wedding Insurance for our article 'What Is Wedding Insurance'}


Rain Plan

One of the most important things a couple can do is prepare for wet weather. Hire or buy cheap umbrellas so that you have them ready for your guests and your photo shoot. You can find great hire companies who will charge around $10-12 per large umbrella or you can buy them for around $40 depending on the quality and size. 

It is also important to look into wet weather contingencies for outdoor ceremonies, receptions or dance floors. If you are using an amazing hire company it can be hard to get last minute marquees during busy seasons as they are booked out. We recommend just arranging a marquee if you are planning a wedding which could be exposed to the elements. It is a security blanket and peace of mind. It could be a matter of just getting a simple marquee with basic flooring on standby. You will need to make the decision at least a week prior to the event if you are going to put it up or not. Any chance of wet weather and we'd say install it. 

{We wrote about 'All You Need To Know About Hiring A Marquee' and spoke to the experts}


Stationery Incidentals

Postage is a big cost that couples usually forget to budget for. Whether you are doing a simple envelope sized invite or something more extravagant in a box,make sure you factor into the cost of postage. It is quite expensive to send locally and even more to send internationally. Also consider that you may need to send 30% more invites than guests you expect to attend.

Sending out thank you cards and gifts after the wedding can be another costly exercise. Many couples are caught up in the hype of budgeting for the wedding itself and they forget to budget for these very important gestures.

{Get more stationery ideas on our 'Bonbonniere & Stationery' page}


Bridal Party Lunches

The last thing you want is your bridal party passing out halfway through the evening because they haven’t eaten. A recent survey of 400 brides showed that at least 15 percent of brides ordered room service because they forgot to eat throughout the day. Budget at least $10-15 per person for catered lunch or keep costs down by asking a family member to prepare sandwiches.

{Get more favour ideas on our some of the best ways to manage your friends and family at our 'Etiquette' page}


We hope these ideas help you prevent some of those nasty budget busters. 



*Alexandra Gilles is our Director and expert Bridal Coach. Read more about her experience and how she can help you plan your own wedding.

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Image: Jose Villa