Weddings just wouldn’t be the same without the special people you get to share them with. Unless you’re eloping to a private island for two, one of the perks of having a wedding in the first place is getting to share your joy with the friends and family who have supported you along your life’s path.
You want to honor your nearest and dearest by including them in your wedding party, but don’t stop there. The wedding party is one often-overlooked source of wedding expense that can catch brides and grooms off-guard. Plan for wedding party expenses ahead of time so you can make sure your wedding budget covers everything comfortably.
Dressing the Participants
When you want your wedding to look a certain way, what do you do when one of the participants can’t afford the outfit you need? Either get ready to compromise your perfect vision, or get ready to foot the formal wear bill. Even though you may give your groomsmen, bridesmaids, flower girls, ring bearers, and other participants months of advance notice, some members of your wedding party are nearly certain to miss the fashion boat.
From medical bills to car repairs, financial crises spring out of nowhere even for well-meaning friends, and your fiancé’s deadbeat brother won’t be able to save the money to rent a suit even if you give him a year. If being surrounded by picture-perfect wedding participants is important to you, you’ll need to allot money for your own outfit and a few emergency funds as well.
Don’t forget the cost of boutonnieres and corsages. Even for bridesmaids and groomsmen who are paying for their own formal wear, the cost of accessorizing them with flowers falls on the couple getting married. Depending on the type of blooms (or other adornments) used, plan on anywhere from $5 to $45 each.
Even if you’re planning on a small, informal wedding, you can’t skimp on manners. Acknowledge the people who help to make your special day possible by giving them meaningful thank-you gifts. This is an inescapable tradition when it comes to the wedding party itself. The bridesmaids, groomsmen, and other people who are giving you their time, arranging parties in your honor, and often traveling long distances and renting expensive clothing for the occasion deserve a gift in return.
For many couples, this means covering the cost of the wedding party’s formal wear. It often takes the form of jewelry, flasks, or other accessories. However, to keep your budget within reason, it’s fine to acknowledge your loved ones in less material ways. Just make sure your gifts are meaningful and personal. If you’re using cards or bags to present the gifts, don’t forget to budget for those, too.
Travel Funds for Friends and Family
You can’t imagine saying your vows without your sister there, but what happens when she unexpectedly loses her job three months before your wedding? Emergencies happen, and you want to leave enough in your budget to cover the essentials when no one else can–even if it wasn’t part of the original plan. You’ll be happy you opted for carnations instead of orchids when you’re able to buy Sis’s plane ticket on a moment’s notice.
By leaving room in your budget for wedding party expenses, you’ll ensure that you won’t get caught off-guard when the inevitable mishap or two arises. It’s easy to remember to budget for the obvious expenses, like the officiant and venue. Keeping your friends and family in mind when planning the budget, however, ensures that you’ll be surrounded by only love on your big day–not financial stress!
James Gray has a life-long interest in politics, travel, the environment, and global affairs. He works in IT but his heart truly beats for the written word.