It’s really easy to think about your wedding budget in the BIG ticket items: the venue, the dress, the flowers, the food and drink, etc. But it’s all the little things that can really add costs and throw your budget out of whack. Before you find out that you have to dip into your savings to find thousands of extra dollars for these unexpected costs, take a look here for some of the “hidden” fees that you may have forgotten to add to you budget!
- POSTAGE. We know that engaged couples make many, many trips to the post office! Save the date cards and wedding invitations often need more postage because of their size and weight. Stamps also need to added into the budget for each guest’s save the date, RSVP, and Thank You card.
- SERVICE FREES, TAXES & GRATUITY. Make sure that you read the contracts carefully. For example, in the catering contract, you will likely have to pay HST (13%) on the food, booze, services, etc. Additionally, you may be required to pay a gratuity fee (20%) for the wait staff and bartenders. This could add as much as another $1,300. Add the gratuity for 6 waiters and 2 bartenders ups the cost to you to $2,000. That is an additional cost of $3,300 to the budget. Not chump change.
- TIPS. If gratuity isn’t included in your contract, etiquette dictates that you give most of your vendors a tip of some type. While the specifics will depend on the number of vendors you use and which contracts include a gratuity, most couples should plan to tip the photographer, videographer, florist, musicians/DJs, driver, officiant, wedding planner/coordinator and the makeup artists. (Again, this should be a minimum of 15-20% of the fee.)
- CAKE CUTTING FEES. Most venues either provide a wedding cake or require that you work with one of their preferred bakeries. If you are allowed to bring in your own cake, they will probably charge a fee for their staff to cut it for you. Be prepared to spend between $1 – $3 per slice to have the venue’s staff cut your cake.
- TABLE, CHAIRS, PLACE SETTINGS. Before you book your venue, determine what they are providing in terms of furniture and dishes. Depending on the venue, you may find yourself with folding chairs and no frills, long tables — you may want to upgrade to more comfy chairs with covers and smaller tables with beautiful table cloths. There are many variations on linens, place settings and glasses. To upgrade for your “dream” wedding, may add hundreds or even thousands of dollars to the bottom line.
- WEDDING GOWN ALTERATIONS. Most brides are not fortunate to purchase a wedding gown that fits perfectly off the rack. Plan to add an additional $200-$400 (and more if the gown has multiple layers, beading or train alterations) to the cost of your gown. Make sure that you know what these costs are before you hand over your credit card for the purchase.
- HAIR & MAKEUP TRIAL RUNS. Most brides choose to have a “test-drive” of the hair and makeup for the wedding day. After all, you want to look gorgeous and make sure that your veil can be successfully attached to your head without your coiffure falling down. You also want to make sure that you and your makeup artists are on the same page for your wedding day. It can cost up to $100 plus HST and tip for each trial run. We really suggest that you have your trial runs on the day of your shower or engagement photo session — if you’re paying for the look, do put it to good use.
- TRAVEL & ACCOMMODATIONS. It is quite common for the engaged couple to stay at a hotel the night before the wedding. Often the bridesmaids will stay overnight with the bride. If you are doing your wedding out of town, you and your fiance may make multiple visits there to meet with vendors or select your venues. Make sure that these costs are factored into your budget.
- PACKAGING & LABELS. When thinking about your wedding favours, make sure that you account for ALL elements of the gifts. For example, a bottle of maple syrup might cost $50 at the local market, but the mini jars, paper labels, calligraphy pen that you need to fancy up your favours may add an additional $50. Pricing out the favour packaging before making a decision could really help you decide on your favours.
- SHIPPING. Being a modern bride, you research and shop online for your wedding. Bigger retailers often give deals on shipping while the smaller retailers (those selling decor, packaging, or paper products, etc.) often can’t offer the same deals. Pricey shipping is common. When you research the online retailers, make sure that you keep track of what the shipping costs are — they can add up quickly.
What has been the biggest budget shock in planning your wedding? Let us know in the comments section below!
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