Whether you’re having a big bash of a wedding or a more intimate celebration, getting married costs a significant amount of money. Regardless of the kind of wedding you want to have or the number of guests you’re inviting, you’re going to have to put extra effort into planning to keep everything within the budget.
One of the best ways to do that is to avoid extra charges for your wedding, be it for the catering, the venue, the décor, or any other aspect of your big day. Here are some of the most common extra or hidden wedding charges and how you can avoid them.
Making sure that your dress fits perfectly is extremely important; you don’t want to end up getting dressed on your wedding day and finding out that your dress doesn’t fit you right. Most bridal gown stores do not include the cost of alterations into the price of the dress because not everyone will need them. That said, ask the store about alteration costs before you buy the dress.
Rental companies can charge customers repair or replacement fees if they cause excessive damage to the rented items—or perhaps lose them entirely. Most venues or catering companies include linens in their packages, but if you want a particular type of table linen for your wedding, you can find a separate linen rental company that offers the items you want.
It’s often impossible to end a wedding with the table linens perfectly clean afterward. You will likely not be charged a fee if someone spills gravy or red wine on the linens, but make sure you read the company’s fine print regarding the types (and extent) of damage that are covered by their damage waiver. This way, you can avoid nasty surprises if the rental company charges you for the stain that your tipsy auntie made during the reception.
You probably want to enjoy the moment for as long as possible—it’s your wedding day, after all. But keep in mind that every hour of your event equals thousands of dollars on fees. This includes the charges from the venue, the catering, the photographer, the videographer, and the DJ.
If you want to avoid incurring overtime fees, add extra time for getting ready and taking pictures. This way, you can book your vendors for more accurate time frames and avoid getting blindsided by all the overtime fees if you happen to lose track of time. It also helps to know how much they charge for overtime (and make sure it’s included in the contract) in case you want to extend your wedding day.
Most vendors will offer the first few trials for free. However, if you keep making changes, you may end up with extra fees on your final bill. To avoid this, ask your vendor how many changes they allow before they start billing you. Stick to that number of changes, and make sure that your instructions are very clear so that you don’t have to keep making revisions over and over again.
Yes, you will still be incurring costs even after your wedding day is over. Full-service venues may include clean-up costs in the quote, but always ensure that you ask upfront and read the breakdown of costs that they provide you. If you’re only paying for the venue itself, expect to pay a few hundred dollars on garbage removal and clean-up labor.
Most vendors do not include gratuities for their services, which means that you have to set aside at least a third of the total cost of your wedding for this type of expense. Moreover, if you see ‘service charge’ on the bill, that does not mean gratuity. It is the fees that the venue charges to cover their own costs of hiring venue staff; the tips for the workers and professionals that you hire are separate.
Almost everything in this world is taxable, including wedding costs. The taxes for your event will depend on how much you’re spending and the state where you’re getting married, so be sure to check with an accountant (or calculate the taxes yourself, if you can) to find out how much you will really be paying for the entire wedding.
As you can see, weddings come with so much more expenses than the basics that we tend to focus on—and this is not even a complete list! To keep your special day within the budget that you and your future spouse set, be aware of the extra charges that you might incur and be proactive in avoiding them.