Determining your wedding budget is probably one of the hardest steps of wedding planning. It’s something you need to do at the beginning, but how are you to know how much your dream wedding will cost? Today I want to share a few things to consider when setting your wedding budget that you may not have thought of.

First off, let’s be real, money is personal. Money can be stressful…planning a wedding can be stressful. Determining finances with your fiance might be something new in your relationship so there will be lots to discuss. While you want a beautiful wedding you’ll remember for the rest of your life, you don’t want to be in debt for the rest of your life. So all that being said, I can’t tell you how much you should or shouldn’t spend on your wedding, that decision is completely up to you.

At Jen Leslie Events, we have this conversation on Day 1 with our new clients. We respect the fact that money is personal to them, so we never ask what their budget is and don’t track the finances of the wedding unless we are asked to do so by the couple. Of course we’ll provide you with a budget template, tools and tips for the financial side of things, but again, we want to be respectful.

In this post we’re going to share about a few costs you might not have considered before. We’re not going to touch on tipping, as you can read about that here.


Wedding Costs You Might Not Have Considered:

Transportation for your Wedding Party: if your ceremony and reception are at different locations, you’ll need to consider arranging transportation for your wedding party to get to and from each location. If you want to have bride and groom portrait photos, or wedding party photos at locations other than where you’re getting ready and your reception, you’ll need to consider transportation. We always recommend one or two vehicles that can accommodate everyone so no one gets lost, or is late. Locally we love to use Butler Valet or Big Woody’s Limo (pictured below).


Seattle Wedding Planner - Jen Leslie Events - Big Woody Limo Transportation

Photo: Laurel McConnell Photography

Invitation Postage: of course you’ve assumed you’ll pay for the postage of your invitations, but don’t forget that you have to pay for the stamp on each reply card as well. If you’re invitation consists of a mailer box, or is not standard shape and size, or extra thick, you’ll need to pay for extra postage. We always recommend taking a sample to the post office to determine the exact cost prior to mailing all of your invitations. In the grand scheme of your wedding budget this is a small cost, but it does add up at the end of the day.

Seattle Wedding Planner - Jen Leslie Events - Invitation Suite

Photo: Laurel McConnell Photography

Set-up and Tear-down Fees from Rental Companies: while each rental company will charge tax on the items they’re renting to you, don’t forget to inquire about their set-up and tear-down fees. Some companies will include this in the price of their items, while others will itemize it at the bottom of your proposal. If you have a short window of time for set-up (maybe your venue only allows a couple of hours), your set-up fee might be higher than normal. Or if the rental company has to transport the items up stairs, or carry them a far distance, there might be an extra labor charge. Be sure to ask each rental company you work with about all of these unexpected fees so there are no surprises when the bill comes.

Seattle Wedding Planner - Jen Leslie Events - Maplehurst Farm Ceremony

Photo: Linda Kahle Studio

Outside Food Fee: Wait, I can’t have food outside? No, that’s not what this is referring to :). So you’ve maybe heard about cake cutting fees, but let’s talk about outside food fees. Let’s say you want to surprise all of your guests at the end of the night with a late night snack. Dick’s Drive-In or a local food truck would be epic so you plan on doing that. Have you asked your venue if they allow any outside food to be brought in? Chances are in order to do that you’d need to pay a fee. While this probably sounds silly, there is some rationale behind it. The venue/catering company is responsible for the quality of food that it serves, the equipment it uses, and the staff that serves the food. In the Dick’s burger example, the outside food fee could potentially cover the staffing costs to serve the burgers and fries. Be sure to ask your venue/catering company what their policy is so those burgers don’t end up costing you a small fortune.

Seattle Wedding Planner - Jen Leslie Events - Food Truck Skillet

Photo: Kendra Joy Photography

Floral Mock-up: you’ve spent hours searching Pinterest for the perfect bridal bouquet, you’ve met with a handful of florists, you’ve picked your favorite and discussed at length over the phone and in emails about the types of flowers you want at your wedding. Well how do you know exactly what your bouquet is going to look like on your wedding day? Not all florists include a mock-up, but we highly, highly encourage you to budget for a mock-up with your florist. This will give you an opportunity to see exactly what your flowers will look like, potentially on a slightly smaller scale, so there will be no surprises on the big day. This will allow you to be picky. You can analyze the visual by adding or removing colors, blooms or textures as you see fit.

Seattle Wedding Planner - Jen Leslie Events - Bridal Bouquet

Photo: Stacy Jacobsen Photography

Linens: Are linens provided by your venue and/or catering company? Are they floor length? Are they in the colors and style that match your wedding design? While some venues note that linens are included, are those only for the catering tables, bars and cake table, or are linens included across the board? Does that include napkins? As we mentioned in our tablescape post, your linen selection will polish the look of each table and design area. Be sure to talk with your wedding planner about all of your linen options, and inquire with your venue/catering company about what is and is not included. Locally we love to work with Pedersen’s Rental CompanyCORT Party Rental, Creative Coverings and Grand Event Rentals for linens. Nationally we enjoy sourcing from Nuage Designs and BBJ Linen.

 Seattle Wedding Planner - Jen Leslie Events - Sodo Park Wedding

Photo: Laurel McConnell Photography

We hope that we’ve been able to shed some light on some of the wedding costs you might not have considered before today. Talk with your wedding planner about all of these at length, and be sure to ask all of your vendors lots of questions so there are no surprises.

We’d love to hear from you! Please send us a note if you have any questions about some of your wedding costs.