Last year I wrote a post on what we had budgeted for different aspects of our wedding. Our original budget post was created when we were planning to have our wedding at a winery. As you know the winery didn’t work out, then our next venue flooded, so the actuals represent numbers from our third venue at Streetcar Crowsnest. Good news: we received a refund for our deposits from venue 1 and 2. Bad news: there were additional costs from venue 3 that we didn’t project in our original estimates, like rentals and staffing. Good news: we managed to find cost savings in other areas to save our budget.
Now that our wedding has passed I wanted to compare what we had budgeted versus actuals and see how off we were 🙂
Food & Beverage
We knew we were going to spend the most on food and beverage because it was the most important thing to spend money on for us. Our catering came in at an affordable amount and doing a buffet reception helped cut down costs. Another thing to note is that we had to pay a 20% landmark fee for using an outside caterer so the lower catering costs ended up saving us hundreds of dollars compared to if we had gone with another caterer.
Our original estimate for beverages accounted for the fact that we would be bringing in our own alcohol (venue 1) but venue 3 required us to purchase their bar package (open bar, cost per person) which in hindsight probably saved us money considering how much our friends and family drink.
The cost of our venue came in lower than venue 1 and 2 but it was the unexpected cost of rentals that threw our budget off. We had to rent everything and I mean everything, from the tables and chairs, to a speaker’s podium and kitchen equipment for our caterer. Our list of rentals ran two pages long — there was a lot of stuff to rent.
There are two reasons I can attribute to the overage. First, we let go of our first photographer and hired another one. The first guy was lovely but his style just didn’t match with our vibe, which we realized after we did an engagement session with him (another reason why you should 100% do engagement photos!) Two, we asked our wedding day photographer to stay three hours longer than what we had originally hired him for. Everyone tells you dancing photos start looking the same but I’m so glad we asked him to stay all the way to the end because he got some amazing photos on the dance floor! No regrets.
Attire & Rings
We sorely underestimated how much shoes and accessories would cost but luckily made up for it with the alterations — my friend’s mom used to be a dress designer and offered to do my wedding dress alterations. She’s THE BEST. She wouldn’t accept money for her time so I got her a gift at Indigo.
Our miscellaneous budget was a catch all for “all the other things”. Our marriage license was the only cost on there for a while until we had to get event insurance and hire staffing for venue 3, which we originally didn’t account for.
Flowers & Décor
The decor was mostly DIY which I’m glad we did and planned out for. The most important thing about DIY is to keep it real with what you can and can’t do. My parents really helped us out and we did most of our projects over the course of a year so time was on our side. I’m actually surprised we managed to stay on budget since we added more flowers than expected but our florist gave us a great price for everything and we were able to stay on track.
So, funny story….kind of. We had a midnight boat cruise booked for after our wedding and rented a shuttle bus to transport our guests from the venue to the Harbourfront where the boat was docked. Everything was going great up until the boarding where I slipped, banged my head, and had to be taken away by ambulance with a concussion. This actually happened on our wedding. I haven’t mentioned it on this blog but figured it would come up at some point. So yeah, that happened. But I’m all good!! They cancelled the boat cruise and we rescheduled it last month and had a blast. So we went overbudget having to pay for two boat cruises. But it’s all good and we can all look back now and laugh – haha!
Favours & Gifts
We were originally going to give out the succulent centrepieces as our guest favours but I selfishly wanted to have Krispy Kreme donuts which ended up being a great idea because they were a hit. This budget also includes gifts for our wedding party.
Our DJ had great reviews on WeddingWire and his rates came in way lower than what we had averaged for a wedding DJ. We got a good vibe after meeting with him and hired him on the spot.
Hair & Makeup
This was a double score because I snagged 2016 rates for booking both my MUA and hair early. Their prices went up in 2017 – the salon now charges almost $30 more per person – so being an early bird pays off.
With the exception of our wedding invites which we hired a local artist to paint images for, I created everything we sent out including our thank you cards. We used an online RSVP saving us the cost of reply cards and return stamps. Online RSVP’s made things so easy to track and I highly recommend it.
Your officiant helps set the tone for your wedding so it’s important to find one that captures your vision. Wayde was the most expensive officiant we reached out to but it was a difference of a couple hundred dollars and is sooo worth having a good officiant.
Just like hair and makeup, we booked Joline early in our wedding planning process and took advantage of her 2016 rates.
Andrew and his groomsmen got hotel rooms at the Sheraton where we had our rehearsal dinner. I originally had an Airbnb booked for me and my bridesmaids the night before the wedding but since moving to a bigger apartment, we decided to crash here since the hair salon was just down the street.
We went from a winery wedding in Beamsville, to an island wedding in Toronto, to a city wedding downtown. All those bumps in the road (plus the one on my head) and I’d say 5% over budget is less than I thought it would be. Go us! Now that the wedding is done we can now go back to focusing on our savings 🙂