One of the biggest complaints we hear from brides is - the wedding went way over budget due to hidden costs. Hidden costs can be a budget buster and is one of the reasons to hire a good wedding planner…we will help you avoid them. But if you are going to do it yourself, here are some key ones to look for:
• Wedding Dress Alterations-While all bridal shops will attempt to get you in a dress that fits you, the vast majority of dresses will need some sort of alterations. Before you order a dress, ask the dress consultant how much they charge for alterations…this charge is typically a couple hundred to several hundred dollars. Remember, you can always take the dress somewhere else to be altered at a better price, or you can try to negotiate some of the cost of the alterations into the price of the dress. Typically, you should budget some of your dress money for alterations.
it doesn’t. Often planners can negotiate some of these fees away. If you are going it alone though, our best
advice is to use a venue that doesn’t charge the fee or spend the time researching vendors on your own.
• Reception Breakdown and Cleanup Costs-Someone has to clean up after the party. Many couples think they can do it with friends and family, but it is amazing how many “friends” disappear at the end of the party before cleanup. Unless you are really sure you want to do it yourself, get the price in the total venue quote from the facility. Keep in mind that if the wedding goes late it might be at time and a half. If you are hiring a full service wedding planner or Day of Coordinator, get them to add this price into their services fee. They should be able to do it cheaper than the venue.
•Reception Band or DJ Equipment-Typically you are paying for time and a certain, minimal amount of equipment. If your venue is extra-large, outdoors, or unique, more equipment and more labor might be needed. Also, if you run long and want the music to keep on, be prepared to pay a higher rate for the extra hours. The key is to ask questions…make sure the DJ is familiar with the venue and understands what they will need. Get everything in
writing and try to negotiate extra charges down. I know I sound like a broken record (pun intended!) but a good
planner negotiating these contracts for you can save a ton of money and headache.
•Postage Stamps-Sure those invites are gorgeous -- but that awkward or oversize invite means you'll be paying extra postage per invitation. Even if it's just 62 cents per envelope that can add up pretty quickly: It's an additional $96 for 150 invitations (and other invites can be as much as $2 each to mail!). Avoid it by knowing your standard mail sizes.
If you're looking to save, consider putting an odd-shaped invitation into a standard-size envelope, so you won't pay extra. Or skip boxed invitations and cards with multiple layers of paper, which can bulk up quickly and cost
more than you have in your budget.
•Officiant Fees-Whoever marries you will probably want a fee or a donation for the church. This can range from $200 to $400 dollars. Make sure you account for this in your budget. Some wedding planners are also certified officiants and you can negotiate that cost into their fee if you use them in a non-church setting.
•Photo and Video Overtime-When you book a photographer you will be paying for a certain amount of hours. If your session is going to go long, either because of late starts, trouble getting everyone organized for pictures, weather, or wanting unique shots at the last minute be prepared to pay $200 or more per hour. A Day of Coordinator or Wedding Planner can save you a ton of money here by getting everyone organized and keeping the show rolling.
•Holiday Weekend Costs-It might seem like a good idea to hold your wedding over a 3-day holiday weekend but be careful…often venues raise the rates over holidays, limit your hours, or add extra costs because they might have to pay staff time and a half. To check on this, ask the venue to quote the price between holiday and non-holiday weekends to see if there is a difference.
•Corkage Fees-Think you might save some money by bringing in your own wine or Champaign? Think again…often venues will charge you an extra $1.50 to $3.00 a bottle. Unless you want a very specific top shelf booze, stick with the house brand and save money.