Creating a budget that includes all of the most commonly forgotten wedding costs can help you to avoid last minute problems and make big savings.
Start with a wedding budget
A thorough, realistic budget is the best tool for preventing forgotten, unexpected and unnecessary costs from sneaking up on you during your wedding planning.
Work out how much you can afford to spend in total, make a list of everything you need to sort then decide how you'll divide your wedding budget.
Try to make your list as detailed as possible, and ensure that you set aside enough for each item. Recently married friends, wedding magazines and websites are all good sources of advice.
Suddenly realising that you forgot to budget separately for the bride's shoes, veil or accessories after you've spent your money on an expensive dress is exactly the sort of stress you want to avoid as your big day approaches.
You should also look at prices or ask for quotes early on to ensure that the money you set aside for each cost is realistic.
Wedding costs everyone forgets
However carefully you plan your budget, there always seems to be something extra that needs to be organised and paid for before the big day arrives.
Here are some of the most frequently forgotten costs - make sure you remember to include them:
Registration costs to make your marriage official including giving notice, registering your marriage and the marriage licence
Stationary and postage costs for sending save the date cards, invitations and thank you cards.
Accessories and alterations to suits and dresses for the wedding party.
Including the bride and groom in the head count for the reception.
Favours, thank you gifts and tips.
Extra charges on your bill from venues and suppliers, including delivery fees, corkage, VAT, overtime and service or cleaning charges.
Printing and framing photos, and buying wedding albums.
Deciding what to spend
Once you have a list of everything you need to pay for, you can start deciding how much you want to spend on each item. The way you do this should depend on your overall budget.
If money truly is no object, you can simply start arranging - think of using a cashback credit card so you get a little extra back on your spending.
If, like most people, you have a set amount of money to spend on your wedding, perhaps from your savings or a parental contribution, you should start from this upper limit and divide it into portions for each of your expenses.
You can easily create a spreadsheet, or adapt a general expenses template, to monitor your spending. Keep track of any overspends, which you should try to make up for by spending less on other items, or underspends, which will give you more to spend elsewhere.
If you're trying to keep costs to a minimum then prioritise your list into must-haves and maybes so that you can make sure you can afford the aspects that are most important to you before paying out for things that are 'nice to have' but not essential.
Avoiding unnecessary wedding extras
If you are working with a limited budget, it's possible to make some cuts to the normal list of wedding necessities.
For example, if you can choose a venue where you can hold both the service and the reception, you might be able to get a better deal, and you can also cut down on transport costs.
Weddings held out of peak season or on any day other than a Saturday will usually be cheaper because there's lower demand so this is worth investigating.
It can also be a good idea to look closer to home for your venues, since you can avoid high travel costs or needing to pay for overnight accommodation.
You might also be able to cut down costs by limiting the number of guests you invite - either in total or just to the wedding breakfast. Having a buffet and/or a pay-for-your-own-drinks bar can also help.
You can always give people the chance to celebrate with you at a distance with a live online broadcast of the event, no matter where the wedding takes place.
Another good way to cut down on your costs is to consider doing more of the work yourself or asking friends or family to gift their time as a wedding present.
Why pay for ready-made wedding favours when you can put together something more personal at half the cost? Why spend your wedding day in an anonymous hotel when you have a huge garden where you could put up a marquee and celebrate in a place that means something to you?
Minimising unexpected costs
To give yourself a little leeway make sure you set aside an amount to cover unexpected costs, ideally about 10% of your total budget.
If one of your suppliers lets you down, an unexpected guest turns up, something is broken or turns out to be unsuitable, or the weather forces you to change your plans, you need to have some emergency funds available to deal with it. Another option is to take out wedding insurance to cover some of your major expenses.
It might not be possible to avoid all unexpected costs, but at least you can be prepared for them, and if it turns out that you never need to use this money, it can give you something extra to spend on your honeymoon.
The wedding price hike
Another particularly sneaky cost that you might not expect when you set out your wedding budget is the sudden bump in prices that can occur as soon as you mention that you're ordering for a wedding.
It doesn't matter if you are ordering flowers, a cake, or transport, as soon as suppliers find out it's for a wedding, they often assume you can easily be coerced into spending more to make your day perfect.
One of the best ways to avoid this sneaky extra cost is to tell some little white lies and order things for a "party" rather than a wedding.
It might not work if you want a traditional tiered wedding cake, but if you are looking for something less conventional, or ordering something non wedding specific, it could help you to get some lower prices.