It’s all those pricey extras that slide in under the radar. The experts’ clues on their insider secrets for avoiding those little-known financial pitfalls and sticking to your wedding budget.
Why it’s hidden Stationers don’t advertise the shipping costs; if they did, you might decide to go with simpler invites.
The cost Oversized, awkwardly shaped and bulky invitations will most often run you as much as $2 each to mail.
How to avoid it Skip the fancy boxed invitations and multilayer cards, which can bulk up quickly and cost a lot more than you bargained for.
2. Wedding Dress Alterations and Steaming
Why it’s hidden Most stores don’t include alterations (or steaming!) in the price of the wedding dress, and they’re not doing it for free — it can take up to three hours just to alter the bustier!
The cost A simple hem can be less than $100, but completely rebuilding a bodice or moving zippers can send the price upward of $500.
How to avoid it Ask about what the store charges for every alteration you may need before you purchase the gown.
Why it’s hidden Your band and limo are booked for just a certain amount of time, so if your wedding runs a little longer than you expected, they’ll charge per hour.
The cost Starting at $125 per hour
How to avoid it Factor in additional time for getting dressed and taking photos; that way, you can book your vendors for a more realistic timeline. Get overtime costs in writing (they shouldn’t be more than 50 percent more per hour than the regular rate) so you’ll know what to expect if you decide to keep the party going.
Why it’s hidden Even though these aren’t exactly hidden — we all know that there are taxes on almost everything — most couples don’t think about how much they’ll end up owing during the planning process.
The cost This will depend on the total amount of money you’re spending as well as the location of the event (taxes vary in different areas).
How to avoid it There’s no getting around paying taxes, but paying the entire bill in one lump sum can help lower the overall price. A safe bet: Tack on an extra third of your total costs to your budget for tips and taxes.
Why it’s hidden If you use the cake or booze provided by your reception site, the charge is typically wrapped into the cost. Going with an outside baker or vino can raise the price. Why? Because your venue’s workers are responsible for slicing and serving each piece, then cleaning the dishes. This means more work for their staff!
The cost From $2 to $5 per guest for the cake; from $1.50 to $3 for every bottle the venue opens
How to avoid it Calculate the cake-cutting and corkage fees before you decide to go with an outside source for either.