You have your resort selected, you’ve blocked out rooms at group rates and everyone has purchased their airfare; so now how do you construct a budget for your actual wedding? Hopefully, you have looked at the wedding packages offered at the resort that you have selected.
Many of the basic or free packages do not include a reception, or photography, or even a cocktail party. There are some resorts that offer larger packages with many inclusions, however many wedding couples find that they want only some of the features in the larger packages but not all of them. They often ask the wedding coordinator at the resort if they can substitute a few of the included items that they don’t want with items/services that they do. Sadly, the fine print often says that there are no substitutions. So are you to go with a larger package or should you do a basic package and add in “a la carte” items?
If you decide to do the a la carte option adding in items can require math skills and patience. Patience is needed because many times the resorts do not publish their rates on individual items and going back and forth with a wedding planner can be a hassle and take a lot of time. Here are some tips to make this process easier:
First, write down what you envision for your day. Make sure you itemize key features that you will need to make your wedding dream a reality. So ask yourself these questions: Do you require hair/make up? Do you have a bridal party that would like this service too?
Do you want lots of flowers? Do you want a photographer and/or videographer? Are you going to have a party afterwards? Would you like some sort of music (a DJ, live band, or just a sound system)? Are you doing a sit down reception? Do you want an open bar? Are you looking for any special outdoor items such as a tent, dance floor, or bonfire? Do you know how many guests will be attending? Does your resort charge for ceremony items like an arch, chairs, or fees for using a specific location?
Next, look at the basic package and the more complex packages and see which of your wish list items are included. If they are not included, write down the cost of this wish list item. Add up the costs of the items you require and compare the pricing of the packages. If you are not sure how much specific items might cost, you should send your “wish list” to your wedding planner or destination wedding specialist and have them review things. I usually advise my wedding couples to create their “wish list” from the very beginning of their planning and we can add/subtract items per their budget throughout the months leading up to the wedding. Some resorts require you to prepay for the wedding extra’s at least 30 days prior to your wedding. Prepaying can save you some money due to not having to pay a currency conversion fee when you are at your destination. If you are not sure if you can prepay for your packages and items, simply request this from your destination wedding agent or coordinator. In the Dominican Republic and Mexico, prepaying can save you hundreds of dollars in conversion fees! It makes sense to utilize this savings so make sure to prepay at least 30 days prior. If you are not able to prepay, find out if your credit card charges conversion fees and keep those fees in mind as you prepare your budget.
VIP doesn’t want you drowning in debt due to not keeping on top of the expenses; so if you are in the beginning stages of budgeting or just trying to keep track of costs, I’ve found this neat wedding calculator to be a huge help in staying on top of expenses!
Click here for a Wedding Cost Calculator