Truth About Alaska Weddings: Costs That Can Blow Your Budget
Updated: Nov 3
We were quoted along with other national wedding planners in two different articles about "wedding hells" and unexpected expenses: with the www.TheStreet.com and www.CBSNews.com. Follow those links to see our quotes, but don't forget to come back and read the below blog post which details the advice we gave in full.
IT TRULY IS THE LITTLE THINGS:
Little things add up very, very quickly. Be realistic about your budget. Pay for the things that matter most first, and then buy the little things last.
Yes the custom cake topper off Etsy was only $25.00 and the matching flower girl dresses were only $45.00. Then you added on $50.00 gifts for all the groomsmen and bridesmaids. AND then you decided to add corsages for your grandparents and your favorite uncle.... and then the next thing you know you have just added another $3,000.00 to your costs for hardly anything at all.
We see this all the time and people are always asking us for tips and tricks for cutting the budget.
Here is our professional advice:
Ultimately, if you want what you want, then you have to pay for it.
You have to choose what you are going to say yes to, and what items that will get scratched off the list.
It helps to identify your priorities and then say no to all of the little things that don't really matter.
As part of working with our clients we have a budget worksheet that lists over 400 items people often buy over the course of wedding planning (usually a process that last well over a year)
Over the course of a year or two it is easy to buy a bunch of little things. The expenses are so small they don't even seem worthy of your attention, but when you add it all up. The cost is staggering!
NOT HIRING A WEDDING PLANNER
A professional and seasoned event planner can help you stretch your budget, and advise you on where and where not to spend your money. There have been many times I have helped clients save the entire cost of my services and more!
But how? Here are just a few examples:
- In addition to negotiating pricing, I have also introduced my clients to other vendors who offered a better product for less cost. There are plenty of exceptional and professional individuals offering great products, who don't have as big of an Instagram following and not as well known.
- I have helped my clients find ways of using the same decorations, but moving them around throughout an evening so that they get the most use, driving down the costs of flowers and decor.
In this photo after the cake was cut, my team and I moved the cake table and reset the backdrop for a photo opt from decorations that had been at the cocktail hour and flowers from the ceremony.
There have been many times that I have helped clients save the cost of my services and more!
- I also know the reality of what things costs and what to expect! I help my clients BEFORE they get entangled in hidden costs, hire vendors who seem cheap but don't include key things that will just have to be made up elsewhere (in fact, increasing the costs.)
- And so much more! Since this isn't a book and I have to keep the length of this blog post reasonable, let's chat in more detail if you want more examples.
There are a lot of hidden costs that you may not think of, but us professionals we think about them all the time. When you hear the words "hidden costs" you probably think that vendors are burying fees, or being dishonest in some way. I see a lot of invoices and I can tell you that everything is pretty straightforward.
The real hidden costs is - what you don't know.
OUTDOOR WEDDINGS - AN EXAMPLE OF HIDDEN COSTS
I like to use the example of outdoor weddings because they are really popular here in Alaska and across the nation. Many people think because they have pulled off a successful summer BBQ with ease that surely they can invite their closest 200 friends to a park for a fun shindig and it only involves hiring a band and bringing a couple extra BBQs.
But what people don't think about is all of the extra costs when you are basically building a venue where there was none.
Such as: port-a-potties, tents, tables and chairs. Then there is bringing in water for cleaning and for people to drink because people can't drink signature cocktails all night. Then there you are - you just spent $10,000.00 or more and you don't even have a wedding yet!
You just spent $10,000.00 or more and you don't even have a wedding yet!
THE CHEAPER CATERER
Many times going with the cheap caterer, doesn't mean reducing the cost of food, it means reducing service. When I meet people and I tell them that I am a professional wedding planner, they love to tell me what they did wrong at their wedding. I have talked to many a disappointed DIYer who didn't realize that the cheaper caterer meant they were basically getting a giant take out order.
The caterer doesn't provide any staffing or any dishes. They are just going to bring the food and leave.
So there you are - now you have to rent all of your own dishes, silverware, cups, chaffing dishes and serving utensils. You should have just gone with the slightly more expensive caterer because you just spent twice the money and 3xs the effort.
Or maybe you go the disposables route. Many people think guests will just buss their own tables. I can tell you this isn't true. Ever.
You need someone to clear the tables, collect the garbage, restock the coolers with ice, refill the food, and on and on. You may not notice these little things when you are hosting a BBQ in your backyard, but the work load is significantly amplified when you are talking about 100 or more people.
The work load is significantly amplified
when you are talking about 100 or more people!
If you don't take anything else from this post, just remember: there is no silver bullet, magic wand toting fairy godmother to pay your credit card bill when it is all over. You are the one who has to set a budget, decide what is and isn't important to spend your money on and stick to the budget.
Are you looking to have a wedding or special event in Alaska? We would be honored to assist you in your planning and design process. To get started - fill out our Event Intake Form. Can't wait to meet you!
MEET REBECCA AND SARAH
We are: planners, memory makers and purveyors of joy!
Our events are a true reflection of our clients, as well as the best vendors Alaska has to offer. We work with you to find that perfect scenic Alaska venue, find the best most delectable local foods and drinks and coordinate a party to remember.
We specialize in one-of-a-kind weddings, inspired by the love stories and adventures of our incredible couples. Both Sarah and I love working with joyful, adventurous, fun-seeking couples who want to create an incredible Alaskan experience for their big celebration. Planning a wedding is an exciting time full of emotions and ideas!
Wedding planning is also a time of challenges and stress because balancing your ideas and dreams with timelines, details, the needs of family and friends, budgets and the rest of your life…is not always that easy to do.
This is where we come in