We know you already know this, but weddings can be expensive—especially in New Jersey. In fact, the average cost for a N.J. wedding in 2020 was $36,600. Sounds like a lot, right? Once you find the perfect engagement ring and get on one knee, the expenses just keep coming and you’ve got to be prepared for them.
Your wedding budget doesn’t bulk up just because of the obvious stuff — dress, venue, flowers and food. It also tends to get bogged down by a long list of seemingly small things that really add up, like the postage for your invitations and the insurance for your rings. Here, thanks to Modern Gents Trading Co., are some more hidden wedding costs to keep in mind when you’re getting ready to tie the knot.
Wedding Correspondence Postage. We know what you’re thinking: A few stamps. What could that cost? Well, if you don’t already know, the current price of a single stamp is 55 cents. Sounds reasonable, right? Sure. But that’s just for standard-sized, rectangular envelopes. Anything square, oversized or unusual will run you at least 70 cents each. On top of that, you need to remember that your wedding correspondence comes with multiple items that require postage. Not only do you have to account for stamps for your invitations and save-the-date cards, but it’s a common courtesy to include a pre-stamped RSVP card for your guests to send back to you to let you know if they will be attending. Tip: If you’re doing the standard save-the-date, invitation and RSVP card, you’re going to want to multiply your guest list—by household—by three for a more accurate postage cost calculation. And be sure to weigh your cards beforehand at the post office to make sure your estimated postage is indeed correct!
Wedding Dress and Suit Alterations. Wedding dresses are generally not made in as many sizes as standard clothes items because they’re made to be tailored for a custom fit to the wearer. When you’re shopping for wedding gowns, remember to budget in alterations for both the wedding gown and, if the groom plans to buy his own ensemble, the suit. The cost of alterations varies widely from salon to salon and how much needs to be adjusted, but it’s not uncommon to spend more than $500 making sure everything fits right. Remember that often it’s the fit that makes the dress or suit look expensive and high-end, so consider buying a more affordable dress and having it expertly tailored to you.
Wedding Rings and All That Comes with Them. If you’re thinking about costs, one option is to go with affordable yet stunning wedding bands. Forgoing the diamond and costly precious metals is a great way to keep your budget in check. On top of the ring costs themselves, you’ve also got to think about hidden expenses associated with the bling, including insurance, sizing, engraving and cleaning.
Venue Security and Insurance. If you’ve opted to get married someplace that’s not a typical wedding venue or events center, you may be required to pay up for extra costs such as onsite security and liability insurance coverage. This is commonly required when getting married or holding events at places that don’t already have their own security and insurance for special events, such as barns, farms, historical residences, museums and galleries. For more information, click here.
Marriage License and Fees. We know it sounds like one of the first things you’d think of when planning a wedding, but the truth is that the wedding license and fees often get completely overlooked until it’s time to head to the courthouse. Every state has a different set of application guidelines and fees. You apply in the state you’re getting married in. For more information on obtaining a New Jersey marriage license, click here.
Getting-Ready Food and Drink. As the bride or groom, it’s your responsibility to make sure your entire bridal party is well-fed and hydrated throughout the day, starting the second they arrive at the venue to get ready. Make sure you budget in breakfast and lunch, as well as a cooler or fridge full of non-alcoholic beverages as well as beer or champagne if you’re OK with your crew drinking while getting ready. Make sure to have some snacks on hand as well, especially if you’re drinking!
Transportation. If you’re not having the ceremony and reception in the same place, making sure everybody can get from point A to point B is crucial to making sure things run smoothly on your wedding day. Be sure to factor in the cost of transportation—whether that is a limo, a party bus or the tip for someone’s little brother driving a minivan—and shop around for good prices.
Tips for Your Wedding Vendors. Remember that many of your wedding day vendors will not only expect their fee for the day, but also a tip on top of that. Of course, tipping is completely optional, but it’s standard to give a little extra at the end of the night for a job well-done. You’ll want to plan a tip for your wedding planner, hair stylist, makeup artist, venue staff, officiant, ceremony musicians, deejay or band, photographer, videographer, limo driver and anyone else who showed up and provided a service. Although tipping rates vary, it’s common to add on 15 or 20 percent for each vendor. When you get down to it, that can add a big chunk to your overall budget, so don’t forget to factor it in! For more on what’s standard in New Jersey, click here for our tipping guide.
When you’re breaking down your wedding budget, it’s important that you get the full picture of what costs what before you start allocating funds. Remember to include these hidden wedding costs in your expense sheet so you don’t wind up over budget when you’re finally walking down the aisle!