Uncovering the Hidden Costs of Weddings
No matter what size wedding you choose to have, there’s a good chance you’ll run over-budget to pull off your dream day. A 2013 survey conducted by theknot.com puts the average cost of a wedding in the United States at just over $28,000.
Of course, you plan and budget for things like the dress, invitations, venue, flowers, catering, photographer and band or DJ. But it’s the hidden costs you might not think of that can really cause your budget to balloon over the top.
To avoid unexpected surprises when the time comes to pay, you need to be aware of these hidden costs of weddings:
You will end up paying taxes on virtually every product and service use. They will add up quickly, especially when many of the costs will already be in the thousands of dollars. Be sure to factor in taxes when determining your overall wedding budget. For example, if you’re planning to spend $3,000 for a dress, budget for at least $3,500 to account for sales tax.
While there may be gratuities already built-in to some of your expenses (more on that in a minute) there will be several other people you’ll want to consider tipping immediately before or the day of the wedding. This includes: hairstylists, limo drivers, florists, musicians, reception attendants, valets and more. Have an idea of who you’ll need tip and how much, and include that amount in the wedding budget.
It’s not uncommon for caterers, country clubs, private clubs and other venues to add vaguely worded ‘service fees’ to their contracts. Generally in the range of 18-22 percent, there’s no set standard as to what these fees cover. In some cases, it’s built-in gratuity for the staff working the event, but in others, it may simply be a fee for administering the wedding. Carefully read all contracts before signing and clarify any fees you have questions about. You may be able to negotiate fees pre-signing, but once you’ve signed, you’re committed.
When choosing save-the-date cards and invitations, take into account not only the price of the cards themselves, but how much it will cost to mail them. Remember that it costs extra to send extra-large, square, oddly-shaped or bulky items – as much as $2 or more per piece. Save by sticking with simple, classic designs that can mail at a standard rate.
Photographers, videographers, bands and DJs all charge by the hour. If you end up going over, you’ll pay overtime fees which can add up fast. Discuss overtime fees up front and get them in writing – they shouldn’t exceed 50 percent more per hour than the regular rate.