Weddings are already expensive celebrations and sticking to a budget while getting hit with unexpected fees can be extremely challenging. When booking your venue and picking out your cake, the last thing on your mind is whether or not there's "hidden fees" associated with these services ... And I don't blame you, trust me, I was blindsided early on in the planning process. So with that being said, today I want to share 7 of the top wedding expenses that are sure to creep their way into your budget and how much they cost on average.
SETUP, BREAKDOWN & DELIVERY FEES
So you've picked out your dream cake, flowers and all of your rental items but how are they going to get to the venue and who is going to be responsible for setup and breakdown? Most vendors charge a delivery or setup/breakdown fee and honestly, it's totally worth it. The last thing you want to do on the wedding day is get to the venue and realize you forgot to pick up the bouquets or even worst, having to rent a Uhaul and designate a family member to transport all of the centerpieces and other rentals to the wedding site. Simply budget somewhere between $50-$300 in fees for each vendor.
SALES TAX & SERVICE FEES
Oh yes, taxes ... right when you thought you were getting away with something. Although some vendors include sales tax into their package prices, some don't. Caterers are one of those ... when they give you a per person cost, be sure to ask if the quoted price includes sales tax and service fees. The average sales tax you'd be looking at in the US (of course this varies per state) is 6-7% and service fees (which usually pay for catering staff) range between 18-22%. So for a 150 guest wedding, you're easily looking at an additional $5000! Can you believe that?
This is definitely a sneaky one. Many couples send out Save The Dates which means if you have 200 guests, you're probably sending out somewhere between 80-100 cards at about $0.49 each. But wait, there's more ... don't forget about your formal invitations. Remember those 80-100 you plan to send? You expect to receive that many RSVP's back, right? Well, not only do you have to purchase one set of stamps to get them shipped out, you now have to get enough for the return envelopes and keep in mind that the bulkier the invitation, the more your stamp will cost. That's about $150 or more added onto your overall stationary tab. See how quickly things start to add up?
Although many bridal boutiques and dress shops offer in-house alterations, it's not a FREE service. The average cost for wedding gown alterations can range between $100-$500 depending on the amount of work needed so my best advice would be to order the size that best fits you at that moment. I know our weight may fluctuate as the wedding date approaches, but if it's not much and you purchase the right heels, you may be able to avoid paying for a hem and keep alterations to a minimum.
I talked about this in a previous post and I repeat, PLEASE FEED YOUR VENDORS! (They'll be extremely thankful, I promise.) Remember you only have to feed the vendors who will be providing their services during the reception such as your wedding planner, photographer, videographer and entertainment staff. Talk to your caterer and see what options they have. Sometimes they will charge you less to provide vendors with a boxed lunch (usually a sandwich with chips and a drink) as supposed to paying full price for that filet mignon or truffle mac and cheese your guests get to enjoy ... YUM!
Yes, this is a THING! As if your 5-tier, Pinterest worthy cake wasn't pricey enough right? Although I've never actually worked with a caterer that did charge a cake cutting fee, make sure to get clarification on this matter BEFORE signing any contract. Some caterers will charge you as little as $2 per slice to cut your cake so again, if you have 200 guests ... that's way more then you bargained for and definitely NOT worth it.
This right here is why everyone should have a wedding planner or AT LEAST a day coordinator. Let's say you didn't hire any help and things are running slightly behind (which happens). The bride is taking longer than expected to get ready, your cocktail hour ran a little later to ensure you got all the photos you wanted from your photographer, somehow your toasts turned into an open mic session and everyone wants to say a few words ... I mean the list goes on. So if all of those things are running behind, guess what else is running behind? Your grand exit which means your venue, planner, DJ, photographer & videographer now have to stay later then what was stated in the contract. On average, this will cost you an extra $100-$250 more per hour, per vendor. But if you have an awesome wedding planner, they'll know where to make adjustments on your timeline to make sure this doesn't happen.
Now that you've got some awareness around hidden wedding expenses, I hope you head straight to your budget spreadsheets and begin making some adjustments to help avoid any hiccups tin the few months leading up to your wedding day. =)