Tips and Tricks

The Most Overlooked Small Expenses of The Big Day

This blog is the second part in a series with our friends over at Fifty Flowers. To catch up with the first installment, all about how you can save money on the proposal (our fave!) check it out here.

We already know weddings are expensive. Nobody’s arguing that very well-made point.

Expensive, stressful, with lots of details to track - even if you hired the best wedding planner fit for a TLC reality show.

You’ve planned for the major expenses - bar, cocktail hour, the live band. But it’s always the tiniest details, the ones you didn’t think of during the wedding planning process that end up that deliver the most sticker shock.

Wondering what those small (but expensive) special day items are and how to avoid them?

Here’s a list of our most overlooked little details that can be shockingly expensive and how to avoid having to dip into the honeymoon fund for fees that are frankly, just not worth it.

So Much Paper

While we’re riding high in the digital era. Facebook for save the dates, wedding planner apps, wedding websites, and email invites, paper is probably the last material on your mind.

And that’s exactly why you’re in danger of over paying for it. Whether you like it or not, when it comes to the big day, you'll be needin' a lot more paper than you realize. In addition to traditional invitations, save the dates, and thank you cards, you’ll also get effortlessly roped into programs, escort cards, place cards, menus -- and don’t forget about postage.

You may say “yes” to all these paper options on the spot, thinking that they’re just minor details that can’t possibly be that expensive, but before you commit to a forest’s worth of gilded stationery, decide up front what paper products you actually want, before they’re thrown in as add-ons. Keep in mind that the average price for wedding invitations are between $5K-$8K.

Digital invites don’t sound half bad do they? And neither does letting people view the menu or program from their iPhone. 

Ka-ching. We just heard you save a lot of money. Nobody reads the program anyway.

All The Flowers

How much can a few fresh flowers actually cost? After all we’re just talking about a few bouquets and centerpieces right?

Fun fact from my own wedding: My dad got much colder feet when he received the quote for flowers, than when my husband-to-be presented him with the ring he wanted to give me. I’ve never seen a living person turn a paler shade of white.

Just like those pesky little papers, flowers can add up just like that, and before you know it, you’re taking out a loan to pay for all those rose petals.

And they last for what? A day? By the end of the reception you’ve paid a small fortune for your aunts and cousins to take 4 centerpieces a person.

Unless you get wise before the big day comes around and you find your dream bouquets, centerpieces, rose petals and more from somewhere that isn’t your local florist  you’ll probably be shelling out quite a pretty penny. Luckily, we have friends in high places -- and if you have even the tiniest DIY bone in your body, our pals at Fifty Flowers can help you get those Influencer-wedding worthy arrangements, for a fraction of the price.

Otherwise, when you walk into your local florist and see all those beautiful blooms, it can be more than a little overwhelming and when they get their hooks (thorns?) in you, it feels impossible to find those dreamy arrangements anywhere else. PSA: You do NOT need to spend $20K on centerpieces, OK?

Be extra sure to browse what’s available wholesale, ask for locally grown flowers too. You don’t need lilacs shipped in from the South of France. The South of your neighborhood works just as well. And the flowers you buy wholesale (like from Fifty Flowers) they may be even better than that overpriced arrangement you’ve been eyeballing - and for a fraction of the cost.

You Could Have Danced All Night

...If you’re willing to pay those over-time fees, that is

Yup, you read that right. Wanna dance the night away? Then those over-time fees will apply (in most cases).

Of course, every contract is different, so be to sure to read the small print before you sign with your DJ or band (and really any other vendor you’re paying to be there.)

Because, believe it or not, while most people are there to celebrate the happiest occasion of your life for as long as you’ll be there, the ones who are paid are gonna want those extra $$$ when your celebration goes even a little over the invitation time. We’ve had friends learn this lesson the hard way, when their reception lasted until after midnight, but the over-time fees of their band kicked in at just 10pm!

You’re going to have a lot to dance about on your wedding day (mostly that the stress is over!) and you shouldn’t be worrying about whether you’re gonna go over a minute or two (or hour) on the dance floor.

Remember, if your DJ or band hands you a contract that doesn’t keep you dancin’ until the very end - everything is negotiable. Many times if negotiate up front you can extend your hours for the same price.

Small Emergencies

We’re not talking about anything life threatening here. Just the small annoyances that come up and cost a lot more when you’re not prepared on the spot.

Which means, you’re going to want to create a bridal emergency kit. Stocked with all the goodies you’ll need if the unimaginable becomes reality.

Pantyhose, stain-remover, powder, lipstick, bobby pins, ibuprofen, tampons, flats to change into, snacks, coffee, Pepto, band-aids, etc.

Make sure to put the emergency bridal kit together way in advance. Chances are if you do need them, your wedding venue won’t be selling them. Or if they are sold at the hotel convenience store - they’re going to be way more expensive than if you just stopped at Target 3 weeks earlier.

One more tip:

Remember that responsible person who’s going to tell everyone to leave right on time, or take their keys if they’ve had too much “signature cocktail”?

Have them (or someone just like them) get in on building this kit too. Chances are, they’ll think of things you’ll completely blank on. Task this friend with the responsibility of bringing the emergency kit with them on the morning of your wedding.  After all, they’re your responsible person.

Wedding Favors

Your guests don't want a candle, tiny bottle of wine, or bag of Jordan Almonds. Wedding favors are traditionally a way to say thank you to your guests for coming, but hopefully the food, drinks, and cake were good - and that's all they really care about. We're not going to mince words - wedding favors are a huge waste of money. Nobody wants them, they're shockingly expensive (you can go over budget just picking out overpriced gifts for your guests that are bound for the trash the next morning.

Don’t Forget...It’s An Industry

The wedding industry is just that: an industry. Which means wedding vendors want to make money - with upsells, fees, and pretty little extras that boast a much bigger price tag you anticipated!

But that doesn’t mean you have to fork over your last dime.

There’s an entire group of companies out there disrupting this industry who are dedicated to hooking you up with the engagement and wedding of your dreams at the friendliest cost possible!

Bottom line: Don’t settle for what you’re told the standard cost for something is -- or that you must have a certain detail. Because the truth is (thanks Internet!) if you’re willing to do a little research you’ll find exactly what you and your bank account are looking for, and ditch the rest!

To read the next blog in the series, all about how you can have a beautiful wedding on a small budget, visit the Fifty Flowers blog here.

Jenny Beres
Jenny Beres
Jenny is an experienced copywriter and recovering diamond-aholic. She’s been writing for Rare Carat since 2016.