It's not unusual for an engaged couple to start wedding planning with a certain budget in mind and yet somehow manage to tie-the-knot with a ceremony and reception that greatly exceed the expected cost. One of the ways you can avoid spending more than you can afford on your wedding is to consider the hidden costs that are often responsible for that unexpected and unwanted increase in wedding budgets.
SEE: Have A Princess Wedding On A Pauper Budget
There are many people performing services for your wedding; from the bartender to the hairdresser, make-up artist to waiters, limo driver to DJ, musicians to banquet hall staff, the list of individuals to potentially tip goes on and on. Read your contracts to see which vendors have a tip already included in the price and be prepared to tip those that don't, assuming they do a good job that warrants this little bonus.
It's rare that a wedding dress, even one that's not off the rack, will fit perfectly. Often, dresses must be hemmed and taken to tailors to create the perfect fit. Depending on the style of your dress, the amount and location of beading, lace and other accents, and the amount of time you can give the seamstress, these little alterations can add up to a great big unexpected bill.
Last Minute Guests
Unfortunately, not every wedding guest RSVPs as they should. Unless you're willing to turn away friends and relatives who forgot to RSVP or whose response was simply lost in the mail, then you are going to pay for their meals at the reception as well as their drinks, if you have an open bar. Give yourself a little leeway when determining, based on responses, how much your total will be so you are ready to meet this added cost.
Some ceremony and reception sites will require a couple to invest in liability insurance for their big day. That said, even if they don't get insured, you may decide that your exposure to liabilities is too great during this event and you want this added layer of protection. It's a good idea to look at the cost of this insurance through multiple vendors so that you are prepared to pay it if your wedding locations require it. (To learn more, check out Understanding Your Insurance Contract.)
Some products and services you may buy for your wedding could be taxable, depending on the state you hold the wedding in. If you are in a state that has a sales tax, or holding your wedding in one, make sure to ask vendors if their quotes include taxes.
There are many service charges that your venue may impose if you have their staff help rearrange furniture, clean up the location after the event and host you and your guests if you stay beyond your allotted time. Make sure you have a clear understanding of these additional charges and ask if you can handle your own set-up and break down in order to save.
Out-of-Season Flowers or Food
If you have your heart set on a certain flower or fruit that happens to be out-of-season, your florist and caterer can still make your dreams come true, but at a price. You will be expected to pay a premium for out-of-season items, so when possible, restrict your food and flower choices to those that support your theme and are in season.
When having a wedding around a holiday or widely popular special event, you may find that it's more expensive to rent tables, chairs, chocolate fountains and other popular party gear. You may even discover that your local supply stores don't have these items available and you must pay extra to get the supplies from out of state or town.
The Bottom Line
Your wedding may be a once-in-a-lifetime event, but it doesn't necessarily mean that it must also be a highly expensive, debt-creating event. Plan your nuptials with all of these hidden expenses in mind and hopefully you'll be able to plan a memorable event that doesn't saddle your new marriage in debt. (For additional reading, see Have A Charming (And Cheap) Wedding.)