Revealed – Sneaky Hidden Wedding Costs

Even the most carefully-planned wedding budget can be blown apart by unexpected costs; but this guide will help you to anticipate some of those expenses and prepare for them.

Flowers.  You’re wise to know what flowers are in season for the month and date of your wedding, and limit your selections to those flowers. Ordering flowers that aren’t in season means you’ll have to import them; and they’ll get expensive.

Dinner rentals.  Be sure your reception venue provides your dinner tables, plates, glasses, forks, knives, chairs, etc. Don’t just assume that they’re included. Ask! If you have to provide them yourself, you’ll spend hundreds of extra dollars for rental, delivery and setup.

Permits.  If your wedding and/or reception will be held in a public park or park district-operated reception facility, don’t be surprised if you get socked for government fees. Do your research in advance, and know what up-front costs you’ll face.

Wedding Wear.  Your costs extend well beyond the price of a gown and some tuxes. You’ll need accessories, jewelry and shoes to complete your bridal party’s ensemble. Don’t be afraid to rent your wedding wear. It’s a great way to save money.

Alterations.  There’s never been a bride in history who has ordered a gown off the rack and had it fit perfectly, both when she bought it and when she needed it. Ask in advance about the cost of moving zippers, fixing hems, reattaching detached beads, and of course, letting out the middle to accommodate those few extra pounds.

Cake Cutting.  Unless you’ve designated someone to slice up your wedding cake and plate it for all of your guests, it’s likely your hotel, reception venue or caterer will do it; and they’ll probably charge a per-slice cutting fee. Ask in advance.

Setup Fees.  Find out whether you’ll have to pay extra setup charges for décor, flowers, music equipment, a portable dance floor, a tent, or anything else that needs to be set up. Don’t assume that setup is free.

Cleanup.  Someone has to clean up the mess, even when you and your family carry out your own centerpieces, flowers, gifts and accessories. Floors must be vacuumed or mopped; garbage must be collected and hauled away; someone must be there to run the freight elevator. Ask how much of the cleanup is covered by your venue contract, and how much you must pay.

Taxes and Tips.  It’s customary in polite society to tip your wedding vendors. This guide will help you calculate your tip expense in advance. Also, ask your venue and vendors what costs are subject to sales tax.

Overtime.  If the reception is going great, and no one’s ready to leave at your scheduled end time, brace yourself for additional costs to keep the venue open, keep the bar open, and pay your DJ or band for additional performance time. Ask in advance, “What would an extra hour cost?”

Plan B.  If you’re planning an outdoor wedding, and renting a tent or arranging indoor accommodations in the event of rain, and the day ends up sunny and warm, you’ll still have to pay for those backup plans.

Weddings typically end up costing more than what was budgeted; but these tips will give you a good heads-up, so you won’t be blindsided and saddled with a lot of unexpected debt. Happy planning!

To learn more about Fourth Estate Audio’s incomparable service, call me at 630.654.4440. I’m here to help.

© Fourth Estate Audio, 2015 – Jay Congdon is president of Fourth Estate Audio, a professional Chicago DJ and Chicago Wedding DJ company.

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