Your wedding day will absolutely be one of beauty, majesty, and fun amongst family, friends and loved ones…some of which are sure to get a bit too funky on the dance floor during some Beyonce song, risking injury to themselves and others at the reception. But that’s all part of the experience.

You have one of the moments in life to look forward too. However, it can also be one of the most financially costly days of your lifetime as well. But if you plan ahead, budget accordingly and stick to the script, wedding expenses will be no issue.

Here are six major wedding expenses to budget for.

1) SECURE YOUR VENUES

Stationary and floral arrangements are important, but you can’t really make those decisions without first securing your venues.

The Ceremony: Where will you officially tie the knot? Churches and temples, beachfronts and rustic barns, or maybe you’ll go the Ron Burgundy route and “get married on top of a mountain!”

Wherever you choose to host your ceremony, be prepared to pay a rental fee, and possibly an officiant fee if you’re not super trustworthy of the internet license acquired by your buddy or relative.

The Reception: In some occasions, the venue you choose for your reception may also double as the site of your ceremony. Some other aspects of the reception hall rental to keep in mind is the quality of food (take the official tasting seriously, and keep your guests in mind), the bar, tax and gratuity for the staff working your event, and the date of your event (If you’re on a budget Sundays tend to be less costly than Fridays or Saturdays…even if your guests have Monday off for a holiday).

2) VALUE IN PRODUCTION

Your wedding reception is an event, for which each couple maintains its own creative vision. This event and your concept deserves to be handled professionally and made a reality to ensure you and your guests are left with a lasting memory. Having the right event production group on your team is an essential wedding expense.

Producing a Wedding Reception

Your wedding reception should be managed with care, and there are several criteria that should be met by your event production specialists.

  • Pre-Wedding Walk Through: Your team should require at least one pre-wedding walk through to familiarize itself with the venue layout, so it can provide a unique event design and production plan for your big day.
  • Pre-Reception Set Up: This shouldn’t be a rush job. Your event production specialists need to be coordinating with the venue to get inside for set-up with as much lead time as possible. We’re not talking hours before your guests arrive, but at least a day in advance, and preferably two for testing purposes.
  • Post-Event Tear Down: As much as the set-up is important, the tear down of the event production design is as equally important. You’ll want to secure a team of professionals who depart the venue as efficiently as it entered…No bride and groom wants an additional bill as a wedding present.

3) Making a Memory with Music, Lighting and Special Effects

Your wedding day is one to cherish, and it should perfectly match the creative vision you’ve been dreaming about all your life…So shouldn’t your event production team include you in the design and planning process?

The answer, of course, is yes. Make sure the group you decide to work with is willing to engage in a collaborative design effort that develops your ideas.

  • Music: If you have specific songs that need to be played at your reception, your team’s DJ should be able to create a personalized playlist…The same goes for live bands.
  • Lighting: The combination of dynamic intelligent lighting and uplighting can transform any room into the venue of your dreams, and your event production specialists should be able to meet your needs.
  • Special Effects: Maybe you’ve always envisioned your first spotlight dance as a newlywed couple to occur on a cloud, or amidst a majestic snowfall. The right event production team can make that dream a reality.

4) STATIONARY IS A BIG DEAL

And you thought paper was just for sketching crude renderings of cows, chickens and other farm animals to kill time during boring business meetings. You are sorely mistaken.

Stationary is going to be a big part of your big day, as well as the days leading up to it, and the days to follow.

From the Announcements and save-the-date-cards, to the handwritten thank you notes that will leave your fingers sore and cramped for weeks, and everything in between including official invitations, wedding programs and dinner menus.

Paper will be a major part of your wedding expenses, and don’t forget about postage. It all adds up, so keep an eye on your stationary spend, and maybe skip on the Parisian-imported Benetton thank you cards.

5) FLOWERS…FLOWERS EVERYWHERE

I hope you don’t have allergies, or at least keep a bottle of Claritin handy, because your wedding day will be consumed by flower arrangements from start to finish, making these beautiful bushels of blossoms another major wedding expense.

  • Bouquets: The bride and each member of her bridal party will be equipped with one.
  • Corsages: Corsages may be provided to mothers, grandmothers, great grandmothers, and each member of the wedding party.
  • Boutonnieres: Both the groom and his groomsmen will be affixed with a boutonniere.
  • Ceremony Arrangements: Lush flower arrangements tend to be used to dress an altar, archway or installation.
  • Reception Arrangements: Floral centerpieces don’t just complete the floral wedding experience, some guests actually take them home as keepsakes.

6) CAPTURING THE MOMENT

So, you’ve secured your stationary, found all the perfect flower arrangements, selected your venues, and identified the production team…now it’s time to ensure all the moments you’ve worked so hard to create are captured and preserved by a photographer and/or videographer.

Any documentarian can give you images and live footage, but if you have a particular look in mind, it’s important to shop around and find the right style. Photographers and videographers are artists, all with unique approaches and techniques. Find the one that best meets your needs and creative vision.

Some other aspects to consider while making your decision:

  • Availability: The top wedding photographers and videographers are coveted, so make sure they’re available on the date you’ll be tying the knot.
  • Allotted Time: Photographers and videographers will spend a certain amount of time on site at the ceremony and reception. No more and no less. Make sure the window is large enough to capture all the moments you wish to have preserved.
  • Post-Production & Timeline: Identify the timeline you wish to have the photos and/or video returned to you, and make sure its sent in a format you’ll be able to access.