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Wedding Expenses Checklist

beach-wedding-ceremony$34,800.

That is the average cost of a wedding, according to a survey conducted by bridal resource, The Knot.  If that figure leaves you speechless – and more than a little scared – you’re not alone!  But remember, this figure is driven up by lavish nuptials costing $50,000 and more.  People can, and do, have lovely, unforgettable weddings for less.  Regardless of your specific budget, however, it is important to create a wedding essentials checklist to keep costs from spiraling out of control.  It can also help keep your emotions from spiraling out of control by giving you increased peace of mind.  So, how do you start?

At the beginning, of course.  Take a look at your budget and how much you have saved for your wedding.  Traditionally, certain parts of the wedding and ceremony have been paid for by the bride’s family, while the groom’s family assumes other financial responsibilities.

If you have family that is willing and able to help, this is what is traditionally paid for by each side:

Bride:

  • Groom’s engagement ring
  • Gifts for groom and brides’ attendants
  • Groom’s tuxedos and accessories

Groom:

  • Bride’s engagement ring
  • Gifts for bride and groomsmen
  • Boutonnieres for groom, fathers, grandfathers, and groomsmen
  • Corsages for mothers and grandmothers
  • Bouquets for bride

Bride’s Family

  • Invitations
  • Announcements
  • Postage
  • Wedding stationery
  • Bride’s gown and accessories
  • Flowers and décor for ceremony and reception
  • Flowers for bridesmaids
  • Ceremony location fee
  • Wedding reception location fee
  • Food and beverages
  • Photographer/videographer
  • Transportation rentals
  • Entertainment for reception
  • Wedding cake
  • Engagement party

Groom’s Family:

  • Officiant’s fee
  • Marriage license fee
  • Rehearsal dinner

If you notice, the bride’s family has a long list!  This is a “traditional” list that may be too outdated for modern couples.  But if you do have family who are eager to help, this can give you direction. The bride’s family does not have to pay for all of the items on the list, but if they could take care of, for instance, the flowers or the wedding cake, that is an expense you can check off your list.

Next, when you have an idea of what resources you have, and what others are going to contribute, you can start nailing down specifics.  Find a wedding budget checklist format online that you can print out.  They are widely available, but here is a good one.

Take a look at each expense and cross off those that do not apply to your wedding.  For instance, if you are having your best friend do the photography, you do not have to worry about that fee (though a nice gift would be a thoughtful gesture).  Likewise, if you plan on doing your own hair, makeup, and nails, you can cut those off the checklist immediately.

Next, it is important to do some preliminary research, and this is why people start planning their weddings a year in advance!  How much are typical reception venues in your area?  How much are typical dresses, cakes, flowers, and professional services (photographers, DJs, etc.)?  How much will your officiant charge?  Call around, look at your local wedding supplements, or go to area bridal shows to get a sense of how much things cost.

ProjectWedding has a great expense checklist on which you can enter in your zip code.  It displays the average overall budget for your area, as well as a breakdown of expenses.  You can delete subcategories that do not apply to you, add those that do, and record what you have spent thus far. The breakdown by category and subcategory can help you keep spending in check and even cut down on extraneous costs (Can you eliminate a full bar?  Can you have a backyard BBQ in lieu of a formal rehearsal dinner?).

Having a wedding that fits your preference and your budget is possible.  You just have to plan, prepare, and keep your expense checklist updated!

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27 Facts to know about your Engagement in 2017

Congrats! You or a close friend or family member got engaged.  Now you're curious what was the engagement like for everyone else? Was yours normal?  Here's our roundup of everything (lots of fun and important facts) you need to know about your engagement.

Wedding Engagement Facts

 

  • Most Brides spend 7-12 months planning their wedding
  • 75% of Brides will get an engagement diamond (25% won't!)
  • 61% of guys consult with their girlfriend before buying their ring
  • 27% of Brides call their best friend immediately after they get engaged
  • The cost of an average engagement ring: $5,229
  • 69% of Couples take engagement photos
  • 37% of Brides were completely surprised
  • 46% announce their engagement via Facebook
  • The average diamond ring is 1.4 carats in total
  • This year, 2.5 million weddings will happen
  • The Average Engagement is 18 months
  • For First Time Brides, the Average Bride is 25, the Average Groom is 27.5
  • The Average age for remarried brides is 34 and 37 for remarried grooms
  • 33% of Wives will get a Wedding Planner or Conusltant
  • 20% of Brides reserved their new married name online before they got engaged
  • The most popular month for weddings is June
  • Spending between $2,000 and $4,000 on the engagement ring makes a bride 2-3 times more stressed than spending between $500 and $2,000
  • Spending more than $20,000 on the wedding makes you 3.5 times more likely to get a divorce than spending between $5,000 and $10,000.
  • Spending $1,000 or less on the wedding is significantly associated with a decrease in the likelihood of getting a divorce. In particular, as compared with spending between $5,000 and $10,000 on the wedding, spending less than $1,000 is associated with half  the likelihood of divorce.
  • A study from Emory University shows that the pricier the ring, the more short-lived the relationship is likely to be

 

Sources
WeddingPaperDivas
TheKnot
Emory University
Brides Magazine

 

Three Ways You Will Break Your Wedding Vows

Insights from Wedding Favors Unlimited's Wedding and Marriage Advisor - Dr. Peter Pearson of The Couple's Institute.  Having counseled more than 10,000 couples over 30 years, Dr. Pearson is a world-renown expert in helping couples resolve issues and create strong, loving relationships.  

You spent hours…maybe even a lifetime thinking about what your wedding vows may be.  Have you thought about how you will break them?

I love wedding vows because they reach for our highest self.  And the irony is that if couples could keep even 90% of their vows, divorce lawyers would be out of business and the self-help industry would grind to a halt.

However, to live your vows means you have to be running at your best everyday. Which is impossible. You have a better chance at finding Pokemon or spotting a unicorn.

So I wanted to share three ways you will break our wedding vows with heavy influence from the lizard brain.  If you didn’t catch our last article on what the lizard brain is, check it out here<link>.   Otherwise, the easy way to describe the lizard brain is the 5yr old version of yourself that acts on feelings and instincts, completely unregulated by personal and social norms. (very good description)

Reason #1Your Wedding Vows are Impossible to keep.

No matter how well intentioned you are, some of your vows are written for today…and impossible to keep tomorrow.

Here’s an example of a common vow: “I will never try to hurt you just because I am angry.”  Here’s the problem:  Even the Dalai Lama, with his enlightenment still says he has a problem with anger.   We all have this problem and to try to say we’ll ‘never’ hurt someone else is impossible to keep.  Our instincts are to react to threats and often times our instincts get ahead of our rational brain…and we get angry and strike out in ways that hurt our partner.

Another example: “I will always communicate openly and honestly

Here’s the problem: Inherently, honest communication requires some risk of being vulnerable.  If you say the truth to your partner, do you honestly know how he will react?  What if you tell him you really don’t care for football anymore…and that was one of the reasons he married you?   Or that his mother has some habits that really annoy you. The lizard brain deplores vulnerability

Another example: “I promise to give you understanding and comfort in whatever the future may bring.”

After counseling over 10,000 couples, I’ve learned that many couples, deep down inside, keep score.  The lizard brain within you keeps score on what is given and what’s received.  And if that equation is unbalanced, the more distressed your relationship becomes.   When your relationship is under a lot of stress, it’s tough to give comfort and escape the undertow of the emotionally painful past

Reason #2: When you believe your marriage is permanent,  you’ll get lazy.

The lizard brain within you spends most of its life wanting (and sometimes getting) maximum rewards for minimum efforts. We take our partner for granted, stop expressing appreciation, stop taking initiative to keep the relationship vibrant and stop taking emotional risks to grow the relationship. And then complain we are in a lifeless marriage. This especially happens with conflict avoidant partners who approach disagreements like Superman to kryptonite.

Because you entered into a permanent arrangement, your lizard brain is going to take advantage of the situation, and simply let you dismantle your vows because...your partner isn’t going anywhere.  We ALL get lazy.  The question is, will you consciously fight laziness?

Reason #3You cannot predict the future.

The problem: Reality is subject to change without notice. Change is inevitable.  But you didn’t write in your vows: “These vows may change”.  So at some point your reality will be in conflict with your vows.

The only thing predictable about life is that circumstances change, we change, our partner changes – for better and worse. I heard a comedian say, “After we got married I said I would apply the philosophy of not going to bed mad. But after 8 months of no sleep I changed my mind.”

Nobody goes through life avoiding being mugged by failure or rejection – it is only a matter of how often and how severe. How we respond to the lizard reflex reactions of self-protection, withdrawal, and blame will determine the quality of your individual and marital life.

Drama triumph and darkness are baked into every marriage –because we are human with the two different brains the lizard brain and the visionary brain that really strives to make things better.

Interested in chatting with Dr. Pearson? Feeling antsy about your upcoming event?  You can reach him at The Couple's Institute

Five ways wedding vows will save your marriage

Wedding Vows

Five ways wedding vows will save your marriage

Insights from Wedding Favors Unlimited's Wedding and Marriage Advisor - Dr. Peter Pearson of The Couple's Institute.  Having counseled more than 10,000 couples over 30 years, Dr. Pearson is a world-renown expert in helping couples resolve issues and create strong, loving relationships.  

#1 - Wedding Vows are an antidote to your worst self

You’re mean. You’re picky. You hide the truth.  All of us have done this as some point. And most of us are secretly ashamed of our worst selves. But there’s no way to act perfectly all the time.  Why?  Because Mother Nature gave our brain two systems: The limbic system aka the lizard brain and the prefrontal cortex, aka the visionary brain.  And every single day, you’re in a constant struggle between the two.  What are these two brains?

The lizard brain is selfish and wants benefits and rewards without much effort or risk. When it doesn’t get its way, the lizard brain can and will pout, punish, preach, get profane or prickly. It shows up when it feels a threat, pain, or fear. It does the nasties not because it is mean but it feels it is not going to get something that it deems important. It is terribly self-protective and in the heat of a conflict it doesn’t think about the consequences of being nasty or withdrawn – it just wants relief as soon as possible.

The visionary brain acts differently. This part of the brain that is responsible for being patient and inspirational.  It tries to be peaceful, positive, persevering, prudent, penitent, purposeful, and loving. It’s the side of you that loves others and gives without looking for anything in return.  It envisions happiness in your life and the the lives of others arounds you and works on growing love in the world around you. Wedding vows come from the prefrontal cortex – this is the part of the brain that is responsible for being patient and inspiring.

Wedding vows are great antidotes to the lizard brain – many couples indirectly recognize the negative influence of the lizard brain when they write vows such as  “I will never try to hurt you just because I'm angry or tired. I will always work to be worth of your love, and accept that neither of us is perfect.”  Include vows that recognize your worst self and how you’ll make an effort to counter your lizard brain.

#2 Wedding Vows force you to think about your values and what values are important to you

For most couples, the only time in their lives that they reflect on what is important to them is when they are in the process of seeking a mate or a job.  Most couples stop thinking about this as soon as they get married or hired.

But wedding vows force us to rethink what is important and what we value.  Vows force us to recognize that we need to appreciate each other on a regular basis.  Wedding vows let couples hear why they are chosen, and fulfill their need to feel wanted and appreciated.  Vows such as “Your creativity and talent inspire me.” tell our partners what is important to them.  One of our favorite quotes comes from Mother Teresa: “There is greater hunger in the world for appreciation than for bread.”  Writing vows that cement why you want and appreciate your partner can help reinforce what’s important to you.

Newly married couples often come to couples’ counseling saying ‘tell us how to communicate!”  In my experience, the skills are relatively simple, the hard part is that couples don’t have the will to apply them. They don’t have a big enough “why” that gets them beyond the lizard brain.  The vows are our way to emphasize what values are important to us when things are bad. Making a promise to “be strong in difficult times” helps guide us when relationships hit rough spots.

#3 Wedding Vows can be our personal and relationship GPS in times of duress, disappointment and disillusionments

No relationship is perfect.  We know this because no one marries an identical twin and few people would choose to marry a personality clone of themselves. You’ve probably already had more than one disagreement by now, and there will more than a few in the years to come.  

What vows do is they tell us how we will treat our partner when they are less than their stellar self.  Vows tell us what do and how to be.  Each line will tell us what is the ‘ideal’ behavior and and why we think that’s an ideal to act. Here’s an example of one that describes the kind of person they want to be:  “I want to be curious and caring when things get difficult.” Vows help us reflect on all the different roles we play for each other

#4 The vows make us reflect on all the different roles we play for each other

Friend. Companion. Lover. Travel Partner. Teacher. Co-parent.

This is just a handful of the many roles you will play for your partner during your marriage. Both partners will not only play these roles, but also learn from each other the best way to live out these roles in a way that makes the other happy.  

One of the most important roles you’ll play is one of trusted partner.  Vows profess trust, that you’ll each be there for each other.  And Trust is the foundation of a relationship that flourishes. For example, your vows may include phrases such as “I promise to be strong for you” or “I promise to hold you up in times of trial and challenge, and to support you and our marriage with all I am and all I can give.”  These vows impose a binding trust that you’ll be there for each other, through all sorts of situations

#5 Vows help us explain and remind us why we are with someone

Wedding vows are derived from our best and highest self. We go outside our personal self-absorbed bubble, our lizard brain, where the focus is on maximum gain with minimal effort.  Instead, wedding vows rely on our visionary brain to help us explain who we are and why we are with someone.

Many of the vows are about the “why” of being together, which can be pretty darn important.  The German philosopher Frederick Nietzsche once said, ‘He who has a why can endure any how.’ Knowing your why is an important first step in figuring out how to achieve goals that excite your imagination – together and individually.

Together you will create a life you enjoy living (versus merely surviving!). The why in your vows gives you the courage to take the risks needed to get ahead, stay motivated when the chips are down, and move your life and relationship to a more challenging, and more rewarding trajectory.

This process of reflecting about what our partner means to us usually stops sometime after wedding and then doesn’t reappear until one person is bitterly disappointed by their partner.  

By using your vows to record why you are marrying someone, you can rely on it to remind you why you’re willing to overlook breakfast dishes in the sink, instead of your partner putting them away.

Vows help explain our vision of who we want to be and what kind of relationship we want with our partner.  They ultimately remind us all the best reasons we are with someone. Reminders that will echo through the rest of our lives.


Interested in chatting with Dr. Pearson? Feeling Antsy about your upcoming event?  You can reach him at The Couple's Institute

Bulk Wedding Favors and Programs: Secrets from Large Weddings

Bulk Wedding Favors

The trend nowawdays is to leave behind a momento that lets them savor the memory of your very well-planned, beautiful event.  It can be a permanent momento, like a wine-bottle opener, or something more temporary, like a tin of mints or a favor bag full of your favorite chocolates. But with so many guests, how do you get bulk wedding favors?

Other couples will ask “why should I get wedding favors?”.  Here’s what most of your wedding guests experience:  The go home, after great food and wine and fall asleep.  But a week later, they see the box of mints, or use the stemless wine glass and smile at the memory of your wedding weekend. That’s where your favor plays a role.  Sure some of your guests will eat their entire box of wedding favor chocolates, and their neighbors, when they sit at the table.  But the vast majority will take something home and nosh on it before the evening is out.

How to Buy – There are two ways to buy cheap bulk wedding favors:

1)Go to Costco or Sam’s club and assemble it yourself, or

2)Look for a bulk wedding favor provider.   Don’t be fooled by pricing tricks where they undercharge a sample but charge you a lot of money if you buy more than 50. (Check out 101 Unique Wedding Favors here) Be sure to compare prices for the number of items you’re actually going to buy.   What’s more is that there is usually a bvenefit to adding on an accessory or two that can go in the box with the wedding favors.  Here are a few examples:  Cake Toppers, Cake Serving Sets, and Gift Mail Boxes

Wedding Card Holders

 How to Display – You’ve got your cute, and potentially delicious bulk wedding favors now.  How to display them?  Our Favorite:  A table just dedicated to the favor.  Now you might have a grandma or aunt that might take more than one.  But more likely, it’ll make for an impressive piece of décor, rather than a side-note.

Bulk Wedding Favors

Photo Credit: http://www.houzz.com

Another alternative? At each place setting.  This is where 75% of brides place their wedding favors.  And even on the table there are options.  You can arrange them as part of the centerpiece, put them at the top of the plate, or put them on the actualy plate itself.  Our recommendation is to put it on the plate only if it is a non-edible item. Otherwise your guests might think the favor is part of the gift…and the magic of eating the favor a few days later…is gone.Bulk Wedding Favors

Programs

For big weddings, most couples have a vague sense for how long things take.  A ceremony will take an hour, or 15 minutes. A cocktail hour will take 45 minutes.  But have you figured out all the little logistical details?  Here’s a few that most brides don’t get right…and

Paper Hand Fans Printed Programs Bulk Wedding Favors

  • Programs - If your guests have to move more than twice, you’ll need a program. For example. The ceremony is in one location, cocktail hour is another, dinner a third room and may-be an afterparty.   All of this needs to be spelled out somewhere or else granny and Uncle Joe are going to be running late to the next event.  It can be as simple as a program handed out at the ceremony, or a board on display during the cocktail hour. (See 28 Unique Programs here) Which leads us to why events tend to run late:
  • Moving Herds-  Most folks don’t take into account the amount of time it takes to move 100, 200 people from one room to the next.  Are they all taking one set of stairs?  A bus?  Our rough rule of thumb is that it takes 5 minutes to move 50 people IF you have 200 people, you should assume it’ll take them 20 minutes to move somewhere else and be settled in.  So from when cocktail hour ends, to when you want to do your bridal party introductions, assume 20 minutes for people to move and get settled. What are they doing in between? They’re going to the bathroom, making phone calls, Playing Pokemon.  Moving people takes time, and if you have elderly folks, they need as much time as you can give them

 

Photo Credit: Place Setting