When getting everything planned out for your big day, you might find yourself thinking of your budget as it relates to the more expensive portions of your wedding, such as the dress, food, flowers and other large expenditures. However, it’s the hidden wedding costs that can really blow your budget. Before you get too caught up and take a huge bite out of your savings to pay for an over-budget wedding, make some room for these commonly-missed, smaller costs.
1. Postal Costs
You’ll be sending out your ceremony invitations, shower, and party invitations, as well as save-the-date cards. You might be hit with hidden wedding costs if your invitations or other wedding-related mail weigh too much or are oddly sized. Don’t forget that you’ll need stamps for the RSVP envelopes, too. Postage alone can cost several hundred dollars, depending on the extravagance of your wedding.
2. Service Fees, Taxes & Tips
Before signing vendor contracts, make sure you take a look at the fine print. You should find any extra fees, taxes, and gratuities listed plainly. By reading the fine print, you may find your vendor is expecting you to pay a service fee of 20%, and tacking on an automatic gratuity of nearly as much. You’re probably also going to have to pay sales tax on your food and drinks, too. While the sales tax probably won’t be negotiable, you might be able to get a break on some of these costs if you’re willing to negotiate.
Tips should be given to any vendor that does not have an automatic gratuity in their contract. Some common vendors which should be tipped for excellent service include the entertainment, stylists, florists and officiant. Tipping is considered good etiquette, but may not be appropriate in the case of poor service.
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3. Cutting the Cake
For the most part, venues have moved toward either providing a cake or requiring that you work with a specific bakery associated with the venue. If this is the case, the fee for cutting the cake is already included in the price you were quoted. However, if your venue allows you to bring in a cake from outside, you might find that cake cutting will be handled by venue staff…for a price. Watch out for common hidden wedding costs like this one, which can end up costing $3 per slice of cake served.
4. Reception Item Rentals
Before deciding on your venue, make sure you understand what they provide in terms of tables, chairs and linens, as well as dishes and silverware. If the venue isn’t providing what you want, you’ll have to rent it. While renting is much cheaper than buying everything outright, it’s still pretty pricey. It could run thousands of dollars to make your reception space into your vision of reception perfection.
Unless your dress is being created especially for you, you’ll probably need to have it altered so that it fits perfectly. Unless you’re very lucky, the cost of alterations is not included in the price of your gown. Be prepared to pay at least a few hundred for your alterations, but be sure you make inquiries about alteration costs before buying your gown.
6. Trial Beauty Runs
Some stylists offer a trial run when you contract services with them; but if they don’t, you may have to pony up the cost of a session just to see how everything goes. Although classified as hidden wedding costs, a trial run is a great way to ensure that both you and your stylist know what to expect and what’s expected on the big day. However, these trial runs may cost as much as $100 for each session. To get the most for your money, have a trial run before big wedding-related events such as your bridal shower or bachelorette party. Not only will you look great, but you can also get some real opinions on your look from your friends and family.