Planning a wedding during the winter months has its own unique set of challenges. Cold weather plays a large factor and can often create unexpected wedding expenses for which you did not budget.
As with any part of wedding planning, it pays to be prepared! Let’s take a look at six “sneaky” winter wedding expenses and how you can minimize their added costs – should they make their way into your wedding budget.
Cancellation fees with venues and vendors
We may as well dive right in with the worst case scenario – cancelling or postponing your wedding due to inclement winter weather. As if the emotional burden of this decision wasn’t enough, you are likely also going to have to deal with cancellation fees from your venue and vendors. Depending upon how early you make this call, many vendors will need to charge you 50% or more to cover their loss. Be prepared by being aware of any and all cancellation fees upfront. Also, try and negotiate the terms or consider purchasing event insurance to protect you from a historic storm that no one could have anticipated.
Switching to a Plan B
Another sneaky winter wedding expense is switching from Plan A to Plan B…or C…or D. If you envisioned an outdoor ceremony or cocktail hour, weather may cause you to switch things up and move everything indoors. This means you’ll be using a different space at your venue. Foremost, be sure that this space will be available! You don’t want to be caught without a backup plan. Next, be clear on how much a change in spaces may add to your total costs. You may need to rent more chairs, tables and linens. You may also need to rearrange the ceremony and reception setup to serve double duty. Talk with a professional and gain advice and knowledge before you’re forced with this decision.
Flowers after a frost or once they are out-of-season
If you have your heart set on a very specific type of flower, especially one that is not naturally in season during winter months, be aware that this comes with an added cost. Your florist will likely need to have these flowers shipped in from somewhere else. You also risk winter weather ruining your vendor’s stock of flowers, spiking costs even further or leaving them unable to fulfill your order. Talk with your florist about their policy for such instances. Also, try and be flexible with substitutions that will still look just as nice for a fraction of the cost.
Wasted food and décor for guests who get “road blocked” by weather
Your guests will try their best to overcome any obstacle to join you for your wedding day, but should the obstacle be feet upon feet of snow (whether in your town or theirs), it’s important to understand that at the last minute you may have some empty seats at your reception. This is frustrating because certainly you want them to be there to celebrate with you, but also because you will still have to pay for the wasted meals and rental items.
Depending upon your caterer, it can be smart to underestimate your guaranteed headcount. But be sure they can accommodate a few on-the-spot entrees should you have additional guests show up at the last minute. So long as your caterer can be flexible with the amount of food they prepare, error on the side of caution and low ball your headcount.
Add-on accessories to help keep your venue warm
Though it may be winter, depending upon the month of your wedding and your geographic location, you may still be able to plan an outdoor ceremony or cocktail hour. Some venues have a nice deck where guests can enjoy their drinks and appetizers while taking in the winter scenery. If this is part of your plan, be sure to know the costs of adding a last minute tent, walls and heater, should you need some.
These simple accessories can create a cozy outdoor entertaining space even during a snowstorm. However, renting such items need to be a part of your Plan B. Talk with an event rental professional to get a quote for how much these items cost to rent and how late you can make your decision to rent them.
Last minute purchases for your wedding party and guests
Our final “sneaky” winter wedding expense is all of those last minute purchases that are true for any wedding, during any season. But especially in winter, the costs of buying blankets, wraps, hot coffee or cocoa in mass quantities for your guests can really add up! If these are items you know you may need, start shopping early to get the best prices and to avoid rush shipping charges. Also, don’t risk putting your wedding party in short dresses in December. Start off smart and plan like it’s going to be cold. Make wraps or shawls part of your bridal party presents to get the most out of your investment.
Have you experienced some other sneaking winter wedding expenses you want to share? Leave us a comment!