4 Costs You Definitely Don’t Want to Overlook While Planning Your Wedding

Budget balancing: Don’t forget these biggies!
Honolulu Weddings table
Photo: Courtesy of Roy Nuesca Photography


The thought of dropping 20k on a big party could (and should, tbh) make anyone do a double take. You’re spending more than a quarter of the annual median household income on a party, after all. Household income. As in, the median amount in Hawai‘i that feeds, clothes and sustains a house full of people. That deserves a little extra thought.


Which is why budgets are your friends, especially when they’re accurate, thoughtful and comprehensive. After all, forgetting some financial doozies while you’re blissfully hiring a luxe crepe truck would be a bit of a mood-dampener, right? Nip that in the bud and check out these commonly overlooked line items. Then pencil them into your spreadsheet now.


1. Mistakes

D.I.Y. gals, listen up. You can totally make those hand-dyed napkin favors for every guest, or those hand-lettered escort cards on watercolor linen paper. You totally can. We believe in you! But unless you’re a professional napkin-dyer or letterer, guess what? There will be mistakes, and they’ll often be pricey, thanks to that gold-leaf you insist on using, or the luxe linen napkins you’ve selected for dying. Don’t take on projects unless you give yourself a rounded-up budget with healthy room for fudge-ups. And, before buying all your materials, do a trial run on a couple of pieces. You don’t want to be left with 180 linen napkins after realizing two tries in that it won’t come out the way you envisioned.


Photo: Courtesy of Christine Clark


2. Postage

You’ve crunched the numbers down to your calligrapher’s fee, so you think you’re all set, but don’t forget postage. With your stunning-but-huge 6-by-8-inch invites, four inserts on 110-pound cardstock, linen envelopes and gold-foil addressing, you’re looking at parcels that need considerably more stamp-power to get to their destination. Multiplied by 200 guests, it adds up. Did we mention the prepaid postage you’re expected to include on RSVP cards? An easy way to keep things reasonable in the digital age is to send guests to your website for travel details, parking, accommodations suggestions and a digital RSVP option. Even if you don’t want to email the entire packet, opt for lighter paper weights and smaller sizes. Trust us, your guests won’t feel scrimped on just because their invitations aren’t the size of a poster.


3. Your look

It’s easy to overlook the seemingly inconsequential price for your crystal bridal belt. However, if you don’t account for all the ensemble accoutrements, from shoes to tiaras to veils to nylons to fancy-ass underthings to reception shoes, you’ll find your budget has taken a nosedive into the red. Plus, if you’re counting on getting your gown tailored to fit you like a glove, alterations can easily cost a cool $500(!). The solution? Make a mini attire budget beforehand and learn to compromise. With the big picture in mind from the get-go, you can make an informed decision, like affording a Monique Lhuillier masterpiece by compromising with heels from T.J. Maxx.


4. Tips

Some vendors include gratuity in their contract and invoice, so check before you make a game plan for the day. If, for example, your caterer doesn’t include tip and you want to add the go-to 15 percent to the cost of food, mentally add it in yourself. Suddenly way over your budget? Renegotiate your menu, as you would when anything’s out of your price range. Maybe chop off one or two items, ask your caterer for slightly more affordable alternatives, or, if you’re getting desperate, see if your guest list can use some trimming, since the food bill is determined by the headcount. Note: This only works if you haven’t sent out invites yet!