Hidden Wedding Costs
Having a wedding can be incredibly expensive and there are so many things that you have to account for during the planning process. Unfortunately, there is a good chance that there are things that you may not think of. These are known as the hidden wedding costs. They may pop up on you unexpectedly and if you don’t have the money put aside for it you may not be able to afford it in time for the wedding. Of course, there are ways to get around having these expenses but it is better to be prepared than to have to figure something out last minute. Here are some of the hidden costs you may run into during the planning process.
You may run into your first hidden wedding cost when finding a way to ask your friends to be your bridesmaids. Many brides today ask their bridesmaids to stand beside them on their wedding day with creative gifts, personalized cards, or take them out to a nice lunch or dinner. Even though these costs may appear small, they can easily add up to a number you were not initially expecting.
Another hidden wedding cost can come in the disguise of beauty. You may have already figured in the cost of your professional hair styling and makeup application for the wedding day. You could need more than one trial for each in order to feel comfortable with your look for your wedding day. Other beauty treatments you may want to account for in your initial beauty budget include a manicure, pedicure, spray tan and massage. Be sure to look for deals on Groupon to try and get these costs down!
Brides may also not expect to pay anything for their Bachelorette Party. In reality, they may pay for their own airfare or a part of the hotel bill to help alleviate the costs for their bridesmaids. If you want to avoid any extra travel costs, stay close to home. No matter where you go you and your girls will have a great time.
You will also need to make your marriage legal which includes purchasing a marriage license. Depending on where you are getting married your marriage license will typically cost somewhere between $20 and $100. In most states, you will have to pay to get a copy of your marriage license after it’s been filed. Also, if you are having a destination wedding you will either need to go there a few days before the wedding or make a second trip to your destination to get your license depending on the waiting period. This will include extra travel fees as you will need to stay there longer, eat more meals there and possibly pay another round of airfare.
Also, you will incur various unexpected costs when purchasing the paper goods for your wedding. Many couples believe that the entirety of their stationary budget is spent on save-the-dates and invitations without thinking about what they will need on the day of the wedding. In addition to the pre-wedding stationary you will also need to think about programs, escort cards, place cards, menu cards, and any signage.
When sending out invitations make sure you weigh one first to get the proper price of postage. If it is more than once you will need more than a simple stamp. Some invitations can cause you to pay $1 or more in postage fees PER invitation. Another thing to keep in mind is that extra postage is required for square invitations regardless of weight. You will also need postage for your save-the-dates, RSVP cards and thank-you notes.
Don’t try to match your postage to your invitation theme. This could lead to you purchasing a more expensive stamp just for the design. No one is going to remember the stamp, it isn’t worth it. Stationers don’t advertise the shipping costs for a reason. If you knew then you might choose to go for a simpler (i.e. cheaper) invitation. Try not to blow your entire budget on the postage. Opt for the simpler invitation which will cost much less in the long run.
Some venues require you to solely use their list of approved vendors. In many cases, you will be expected to pay an up-charge (typically 20% or more) if you do not use one of their approved vendors. If you want to use a florist, photographer, caterer, etc that is not on the list you will be expected to pay more for the venue. There are venues that do not require you to use their list and will not charge you more for using someone not on it. Choose a venue that does not have this requirement if you are interested in selecting vendors of your choice.
The venue also might have tables, chairs, and linens but that does not mean that they are included in the site rental fee. Similarly, the location may require an additional price for access to a private garden or wine room. Ask if all items and spaces that you see are included in the site rental fee. You don’t want to run into any unexpected surprises.
If someone other than the in-house pastry chef makes your cake, a venue frequently charges anywhere from $2 to $5 per guest to cut and serve it. It may also cost you if you bring in your own alcohol. You may be charged a corkage fee just to have it served. This could be around $15 a bottle. These costs are typically wrapped into the cost if the cake or liquor is provided by the venue. Ask about cake-cutting and corkage fees before you choose to go with an outside cake vendor or bring your own alcohol.
Rental delivery is also a hidden wedding cost. You may not expect it but many companies charge for distance, labor and number of items rented. In some cases, the fee to deliver your items could cost upwards of $500. Some rental companies do not even include these fees in the per-item costs! Luckily, B.C. Tent has a set rate for the distance which we are travelling. The cost that we give you includes both delivery and pick up. It is also included directly on your quote so you are aware of it. The only thing that may cost more is if you want same day delivery and pickup or want us to come in after hours. Otherwise delivery is set and that’s that.
Another area where you may find some unexpected costs is with the caterer. During sit-down dinners, the caterer charges by the plate with each guest equaling one plate. The caterer will also have to secure rentals and hire servers in order to service your wedding. This can tack on about 20 percent more to your bill.
Typically the budget for the band or DJ includes fees for the musicians’ time and the minimum amount of equipment they will need. Depending on the size of the event space, the band or DJ may need extra microphones and speakers which will increase the cost of the band. The cost could end up being anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. Before booking the band or DJ clearly explain the layout of the space so they know exactly what to expect. If they need extra equipment ask them why prior to signing anything or agreeing to pay for it.
Many DIY brides think that they will not need any help on the day-of their wedding. Unfortunately, they discover last minute that they actually do want to be able to enjoy their day instead of working on it and choose to hire a day-of wedding coordinator. A day-of coordinator can cost anywhere from $500 to $2,000. Even if you think that you can handle it all yourself, it may be best to factor it into your budget just in case. That way, you’ll be prepared if you decide you need one or you’ll have some extra money in your pocket if you choose to go without.
Some couples also think that they will not need a videographer at their wedding, believing that the photos will be enough. Then, the month of the wedding they realize that photos are not truly enough and they will need a videographer. Videographers can cost anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. Budget a videographer in from the very beginning so you don’t get too big of a surprise when you decide you want a videographer to capture your special day.
You will also want to factor vendor meals into your budget. You’ll want to make sure that those helping to make your day special are well fed. This includes the photographer, videographer, DJ/band, event coordinator, and their assistants. This cost could be a few hundred dollars depending on how many vendors you need to feed.
You will also need to tip your vendors. If your vendor is also the business owner a tip is not required but it is a welcome bonus. Some vendors such as the venue or caterer may already include gratuities in the quote so be sure to check your contracts before divvying up the tips. Make sure you tip the bartenders, servers, valets, coat check attendants, officiants, makeup artists, hair stylists, the cake delivery team and the limo drivers.
Another cost you may not expect is sales tax and service charges. Many people are already aware that a majority of things in life are taxed. Make sure the tax is included in the quoted price or you may get a surprise on the final bill. Another charge that you may not factor into the budget is the service charge. This is not the same as gratuities. It is not distributed to tipped employees and is typically the charge for administering the wedding.
If there is a “plus plus” next to any price on the quote that means that you will also need to add service and tax to that number. This could mean that as much as 30% could be added to the base cost on the final bill. If you pay the bill in one lump sum you can help lower the overall price. Add an extra third of your total costs to your budget for tips and taxes.
There are also many hidden costs when it comes to your fashion budget. Most likely you will need to get some alterations to your dress unless you are extremely lucky. Alterations are not typically included in the cost of the dress. Some bridal salons offer a flat rate for alterations but many others charge per each alteration. A simple hem is usually less than $100 but if you need the bodice completely reconstructed the price could be greater than $500. Ask what each alteration will cost prior to choosing the gown.
Make sure you save money in your budget for accessories. Your veil, shoes, undergarments, and jewelry will cost around $200 to $500 or more. One way to cut this cost down is to make your veil or jewelry your “something borrowed.”
You may also forget that you will need cute dresses for all of your pre-wedding events. You’ll need something for the engagement party, bridal shower, bachelorette party, rehearsal dinner and day-after brunch. Save money here by re-wearing dresses that you already own. It is not necessary to buy a new dress for every occasion just because you’re the bride.
When booking the hotel for your wedding night you may want to consider booking the night before as well if you and your bridesmaids are planning to get ready in the hotel. You may not consider this before the wedding but most hotels only allow you to check-in during the afternoon when you will need the whole morning to get ready. They will not guarantee you an early check in. To be safe, you should book the room for two nights. You’ll also be able to check in the night before and not have to worry about getting to the hotel in the morning.
If you’re not getting ready at home, it is incredibly easy to forget something and need a last-minute replacement. Start your packing list at least a week prior to the wedding. Have someone you trust look it over to ensure that you don’t forget anything.
Welcome bags are a nice touch when hosting out-of-towners. They may include handwritten welcome notes from the bride and groom, fresh fruit, bottled water, a schedule of events, brochures for local attractions and a map of the area. The hotel may also charge for distributing your welcome bags. This cost may be up to $7 each. This fee can sneak up on you as most hotels don’t even factor in a welcome bag delivery fee when you block rooms. They also may not mention the rate unless you ask about it and just add it to your final bill.
The hotel could also charge a fee for holding the welcome bags if you drop them off before guests arrive. Ask about the hotel’s policy on receiving and delivering welcome bags to guests’ rooms during the booking process so you know what to expect. It may be cheaper if you have them hand the bags out as guests check in. If you don’t want the additional charge you can distribute them during the rehearsal dinner.
Also, don’t let your bridesmaids starve when they are getting ready with you the morning of your wedding. Have bagels and fruit available for breakfast and a platter of sandwiches for lunch. You will most likely want a bottle of champagne for the morning and afternoon as well. It’s time to celebrate and you will want to enjoy it with all of your girls. Just be sure to take these costs into account when creating the budget. You will want to expect even the smallest of costs.
Many of the unanticipated costs you will run into are associated with your guests. A number of your guests will be drinking at your wedding. If a guest becomes too intoxicated to drive home you will need to ensure that they can safely get there. It’s a good idea to include a bus from the event to the hotel in your budget to be prepared. This way, guests can enjoy themselves without being too worried about getting home.
Another unexpected cost that you will run into in relation to your guests is unexpected guests. Most likely guests who RSVP’d “no” will show up, a friend will show up with an uninvited plus one or your cousin will bring her kids even if you explicitly told her that not kids were invited. Plan ahead by ordering a couple extra entrees.
Make sure you also include yourselves in the final count. The bride and groom do not eat for free at the wedding. It is quite often that the bride and groom forget to include themselves in the final guest count. Try not to make this mistake so that you will actually get a meal on your wedding day!
You may also not think about purchasing presents for your parents and other family members. You’ll want to get your parents something special to show how much they mean to you. This could be an engraved frame, a vacation, a personalized platter, jewelry, etc. Many couples also purchase small gifts for grandparents and siblings not included in the bridal party. To prevent the unexpected, purchase these gifts early so you don’t get surprised by the expense later on.
More hidden costs will be discovered when decorating the reception space. You will most likely want to have some form of lighting at your wedding. One of the simplest forms of lighting, up-lighting can cost around $1,000. Though expensive, up-lighting can add the perfect pop of color that your wedding needs. If you’re having an outdoor wedding you should consider hanging bistro lights, chandeliers or lanterns to ensure your guests can see.
You may only think of the floral arrangements when creating your décor budget but you should set aside around $25-$30 per table for non-floral decorations you may need. You could want candles, specialty linens, flatware, table identification elements, etc. If you do not account for these you may have to drastically change your budget later on. If you want to add any additional elements such as lanterns or vintage décor rentals you should put aside as much as 40 percent of your total décor budget for these pieces. To save on flowers in this scenario, try to choose in-season blooms. Always overestimate how many items you will need. You don’t want to find out during the wedding that you did not purchase enough items or that something broke and you have nothing to replace it with.
Ensure that you have a back-up plan in case the weather does not cooperate on your wedding day. If you plan on getting married outdoors, have a tent on stand-by in case of rain. Also, when booking the tent rental consider planning on a floor as well. If it rains hard the day before and the ground is a mess, not only will your heels sink into the ground but your dress may also get dirty.
Your venue may also charge a fee for the setup and breakdown of the event. A full-service venue will not charge for these things but if you’re paying a flat fee to rent only the space then you should anticipate extra charges for trash removal which can cost up to $250 and cleaning which can cost up to $500. Expect to pay time and a half for labor if you get married on a weekend. If the party goes into the next morning you may have to pay extra charges for late-night pickup and cleanup. Read the contract carefully to prepare for this fee. The setup and breakdown costs should be included in the labor charge.
Another unexpected cost that will show up on the day-of the wedding is the overtime charge. If the party doesn’t stop at the previously agreed-upon hour there are multiple overtime costs that you will face. Be aware of how much it will cost for the extended use of the venue, DJ or band, servers, photographers and videographers. Make sure you factor in additional time for getting dressed and taking photos so you can book your vendors for a more realistic time frame. Get all overtime costs in writing so you know what to expect if you keep the party going. These should not be more than 50 percent more per hour than the regular rate.
The wedding costs don’t end after the party’s over. Set money aside ahead of time for thank-you cards, cleaning and preserving your gown and making prints of your favorite wedding photos. Add a few hundred dollars to your stationery budget to print pictures and thank you cards. Book the appointment to preserve your gown in advance to possibly save some money. Your bridal retailer may also have discount deals or coupons that they can share.
If you have already included all of the above items in your budget then you are one budget-savvy bride! Even though you may already be ahead of the game by including these hidden wedding costs, you should still set aside 10 to 20% for any other expenses that pop up. You will have that money set aside so that you won’t have to scramble for it at the last minute.
By being prepared for the unexpected, you will have an even better chance of your wedding going off without a hitch. Be prepared to ask questions to get the answers you need and don’t be afraid to buy more than you need because you may actually need it on the day-of.
For more tips and wedding fun, make sure to check back every Wednesday at www.bctent.com/blog or subscribe on the right to have our blog articles come straight to your inbox!
Got a suggestion for our next #WeddingWednesday blog? Share it with us and maybe we will write about it!