How To Not Suck At Planning Your Wedding, Part 3: The Costly Little Extras

Wedding Week continues on How To Not Suck! We’ve already talked about the big-ticket items and other major expenses that couples tend to pay too much for. Today, we look at all those additional purchases that can send wedding costs skyrocketing.

So far we’ve covered everything from the venue to the dress to the limo and the cake. Hard part’s over, right? Not exactly.

The little things can add up quickly and bust your wedding budget. Here how to not suck at all those extras.

After you’ve convinced your closest friends to spend hundreds of dollars on dresses and matching shoes and tux rentals, all just to stand up for you at your wedding, it’s tradition to give these people a present. And let’s not forget the flower girls and ring-bearers.


First, remember you can save lots of cash by having fewer people in your wedding party.

If you’re already invested in a big group, sit with your partner and create a budget, then take your time and shop around. Negotiate with retailers for bulk pricing on those earrings that match the bridesmaids’ dresses or the monogrammed flask that’s a common gift for the guys.

And remember, they’ve already said yes to you. With gifts, it’s the thought that counts… or at least that’s what people say.

I never understood this one, but many couples give a gift — in addition to their promise to love and honor and cherish forever — to their spouse.

If money is tight, talk to your partner so you can decide if a gift is really worth the extra strain on your wedding budget.

As we warned you yesterday, choosing invitations with lots of extras means lots of additional postage costs. Maybe a buck-and-a-half doesn’t seem like much, but that’s $300 when you’re sending to 200 guests; money that could be better spent on, well… anything other than postage.

Look for invitations without the extra flair, and ones that fall within certain sizes, to lower your postage costs.

After spending hundreds, or geez, thousands, on a wedding gown, you’re still going to need alterations to make the fit just right. Make sure your bridal salon includes alterations in the price, or look elsewhere for a tailor who can do the job for less.

Yes ladies and gents, certain garments needs special underclothes — and we’re not even talking about the sexy wedding night options. If your dress will need a special bra, corset or other unmentionables, make sure to budget for these rather than to get surprised at the last minute.

Don’t forget the garter and wedding-night lingerie. (And guys, I recommend the “trophy husband” boxer briefs my husband received from, ahem, an admirer last Christmas. Sorry for sharing, babe.)

Rather than buy the bride’s veil, the groom’s cufflinks and other accessories from the provider who supplies the main clothing for your big day, look online for better prices for these extras. Also consider costs for shoes, jewelry and other items.

If your families are hosting a rehearsal dinner or another function — bridal showers, engagement parties, you name it — before the big day, you’re doing to need something to wear. Remember to include this as a line item on your budget.

So you’ve already paid thousands for your venue, the service, the photographer, and so on. You still may need to tip — and it may be customary — for certain services. Make sure to add this to your budget, too. Here’s some conventional wisdom on the topic.

Giving favors to your wedding guests is traditional, and if you aren’t careful, it can add to your wedding budget big-time.

Consider raffling off your centerpiece (to the bride who has been married the longest or shortest or something like that) rather than creating a separate favor. Or DIY with some Hershey’s Kisses in decorative bags rather than paying for specially-printed wedding labels on candy; or lottery scratch-offs under each plate, as a giveaway.

When it comes to your cake, remember the cost of your cake topper is extra. So is a commemorative cake knife and serving spatula. And if you want special keepsake champagne flutes for your first toast as spouses, expect to fork out extra for that, too.

Eek! Imagine spending all this money on a big wedding, and forgetting the one piece or paper you need to make it legal!

Costs vary depending on the state in which you’re getting hitched, so check this list to see what it will cost you and the time needed to qualify.

If you’ve planned an overseas honeymoon, make sure to get your passport well before your departure date, or else you may face extra fees to expedite it. Here’s what you need to know about cost and timing.

We’re sure you don’t expect your soon-to-be-spouse to leave you waiting at the altar, and no one plans for their reception hall to shut down the day before the big day. Consider wedding insurance to cover those possibilities.

Learn more at WedSafe, ProtectMyWedding, WedSure or do a Google search for more options.

Wedding Week continues tomorrow with advice on planning your honeymoon.

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You can read Karin Price Mueller’s stories for The Star-Ledger at, follow her on Facebook, and on Twitter @kpmueller.

How To Not Suck At Planning Your Wedding, Part 2: The Stuff People Pay Too Much For
How To Not Suck At Planning Your Wedding, Part 1: The Most Expensive Steps
How To Not Suck… At Teaching Your Kids About Money
How To Not Suck… At Valentine’s Day Gifts
How To Not Suck… At Merging Your Money When You Marry
How To Not Suck… At Borrowing For College
How To Not Suck… At Saving For College
How To Not Suck… At Pre-Paying For Your Funeral
How To Not Suck… At Making Financial New Year’s Resolutions
How To Not Suck… At Last-Minute Christmas Gifting
How To Not Suck… At Saving For The Holidays
How To Not Suck… At Charitable Giving
How To Not Suck… At Disputing Credit Report Errors
How To Not Suck… At Lowering Your Utility Bills
How To Not Suck… At Home Inspections
How To Not Suck… At Understanding Credit Card Rewards
How To Not Suck… At Getting Ready For Tax Season
How To Not Suck… At Picking A Retirement Plan
How To Not Suck… At Deciding When To DIY
How To Not Suck… At Getting Out Of Debt
How To Not Suck… At First Year College Budgets

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