Wedding Budget Hacks | 3 Little Known Ways Protect your Wedding Funds

3 little known ways to protect your wedding funds
Image by Nancy Ray Photography exclusively for Mountainside Bride

Today, I have for you 3 wedding budget hacks that you rarely find in major blogs and bridal mags. I mean, I know  you’re well versed in how to negotiate with vendors, and yes, you’ve saved some serious coin by securing the perfect venue slightly off season and on a Sunday. Hell, saving money on your wedding was the very first thing you started researching!

But these little-known, but very simple, wedding budget hacks that can save you thousands of dollars and ensure that you have the wedding that you want.

1. Get a Separate {Wedding} Bank Account

Lavendar styled shoot via Glamour & GraceImage from Amy Lashelle via Glamour & Grace

Whether you’re saving up to pay for your own wedding, or both sets of parents plan to contribute, the easiest and most stress free way to manage your wedding funds  is to collect the money from everyone who is contributing and  set up a separate  checking account that is only used for wedding expenses. Buy pooling your money into one account you can avoid things like a “flower coup” precipitated by Aunts Debbie and Shannon, who offered to pay for your flowers but are demanding input and veto rights. (Oh and their taste sucks.)

Also, if you’re paying for the wedding yourself, set up an automatic transfer of funds from your personal account to your wedding account each pay period. That way you save up steadily and stay on budget because you aren’t as tempted to over-extend with credit cards or transfers from your personal account.

Finally, by paying your wedding deposits and bills from your wedding checking account, you’ll stay much more organized with your vendors, and ensure that you get the services you ordered on time and without hassle.

2. Become a Local-vore

Local Wedding foodImage from Fete Photography via Wedding Chicks

You may have already seen this hack, but it bears repeating. You can save a lot of money by choosing flowers and foods that are grown locally and in season.

For eastern Mountain brides, this isn’t a problem. The Berkshires, Green Mountains in Vermont, The Hudson Valley, and Asheville in Western North Carolina all have wonderful local food movements.

For western mountain brides, you may have to do a bit more digging and at the very least just stay in season with your food and flowers. That means no  basil and tomato caprese salad in the middle of February, and no Lily of the Valley in September. Embrace your wedding season.

At best, out-of-season elements will  look weird. At worst, you may as well go out into the back yard, dig a hole, put a pile of wedding money into it and set it on fire. Yeah, good luck with that!

3. Beware of the Plus-Plus and Other Hidden Fees

drink me tag{Image by Elizabeth Anne Photography exclusively forMountainside Bride}

This is one of the most common pitfalls brides fall into and it typically adds a whopping 25-30% to your overall wedding budget, so pay attention, ladies!

Have you heard your caterer say something like: “That will be $25 per person plus-plus.” And in your mind you’re thinking, OK, I have 100 guests so that will come out to $2,500. for dinner. Perfect!

Well, no. Plus-plus refers to the tax and tip that’s automatically added to your bill. The tip is generally around 20% and the tax can run up to 10% when you include local taxes common in destination mountain resorts.

That’s 30% on top!

That’s an additional $750!!!

Now you’re paying $3250 for dinner. And maybe that just blew your budget.

Other hidden fees can crop up and blow you budget quickly. I’m ot just talking an extra $750, but an extra 30% of your budget. For a $20,000 wedding budget, that would be an additional $6,000. For $30,000, it’s another NINE GRAND!!!

Therefore, when reviewing your site and talking to your caterer ask about:

  • setup fees,
  • parking fees,
  • coat check fees,
  • cake cutting fees, which can run up to $3.50 a slice,
  • additional fees for rentals, including tables, dinnerware, linens, napkins, glassware, flatware, and serving pieces,
  • corkage fees,
  • dance floor set up fees,
  • and overtime fees.

If you’re not aware and you don’t ask, you could inadvertently add add thousands and thousands to your reception bill.

Christie Osborne
Christie Osborne has lived in or visited every mountain range in the US. Once a mountain bride herself, she's dedicated to helping mountain brides plan their weddings and find the perfect vendors. She's known in the blogging world for her no-nonsense attitude, and she loves to ski. Follow Mountainside Bride on Twitter Facebook and Pinterest.
Christie Osborne
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Comments

  1. Rogue Bride says

    I got “Plus-plussed” out of 16/17 venues – the worst offender was a winery north of Santa Barbara that “plus-plussed” their F-ing silverware! They itemized every piece, as if they had to hand-craft each individual fork and spoon for the occasion (for the record, they didn’t.) And that was after I sent the winery wedding planner a message that said specifically: This is our budget – can we work within that? Which she completely ignored, and sent us the above itemized list that worked out to at least $5K over our budget. I had to have Rogue Groom do the math on it, because there wasn’t even a proper total at the bottom with all the “Plus-Plussing” happening. And don’t even get me started on their valet parking policy.

    • Christie O. says

      Oh Rogue! I LOVE you. You crack me up! Thanks for commenting ;-)

  2. Ashleigh says

    We got stung with that one, everything we have seen wedding related doesn’t have VAT added so that adds 20% to the cost – we did wonder why everything seemd so reasonable!! xox

  3. Callandra says

    Great post! I love the idea of starting a separate wedding account. I think another good ‘hack’ is to develop a budget before booking anything . So many couples book their first few big ticket items & then realize they are out of $$.

    • Christie O says

      So true! I was just talking to my sister about this. She’s planning a vow renewal. She eloped 5 years ago and is ready for a traditional ceremony. I asked her what her budget is and she said, “What ever things cost, I guess.” That’s a recipe for disaster! It’s all about priorities Baby Sister :-D