Creating a realistic budget should be one of the first steps a newly-engaged couple take. But even the best budget won't work if you leave things out! We've put together a list of the top 10 most overlooked wedding costs:
- Postage - Wedding invitations come in every shape and style these days. Just remember that square wedding invitations and thicker paper stocks create a heavier package, which means more postage. Your invitation envelopes can range from a regular stamp (currently 45 cents) to a 2-ounce stamp (currently 65 cents) or even more. If you invitation is square, add on a little more too. A 2-ounce square envelope will be 85 cents currently. Plus, remember that all of your response card envelopes need a stamp too! For 100 invitations, budget at least $150 for postage.
- Wedding Gown Alterations, Steaming, and Dry Cleaning - You've found the perfect gown. But does it fit exactly perfectly? Chances are, probably not. Depending on the type of work to be done, and the style of your dress, alterations can run from $100 to $600 or more. Most brides spend an average of $350. Some gown shops or seamstresses will include steaming your dress just before the wedding to get the wrinkles out. If yours didn't, add another $50-200 for this service. And once the wedding is over, you'll want to clean and possibly preserve your wedding gown; this service generally costs $150-300.
- Sales Tax - Almost everything you purchase, rent or contract will have sales tax added. Be sure that you calculate this into everything, including your food and beverage charges.
- Welcome Bag Delivery - Most hotels charge between $1 and $10 to deliver welcome bags to guests' rooms. If you plan on using this service, figure that amount into your budget.
- Vendor Meals - Your photographers, videographers, and wedding planners will be with you for 8+ hours on your wedding day. They need food. In addition, your band or DJ's contract may require a meal. Most venues or caterers have special pricing for vendor meals that typically don't include the hors d'oeuvres, salads and desserts. Be sure to ask when you are talking about menus!
- Overtime Fees - It's been an awesome party, and you just don't want the night to end. Your wedding planner or the venue's banquet captain comes to you and asks if you'd like to extend the reception. YES! But wait. What will it cost? You'll most likely have an extra rental fee from the venue, charges to pay the service staff and bartenders to stay longer, plus overtime fees from your band, DJ, photographer, videographer, and wedding planner.
- Delivery and Setup Fees - All the beautiful table linens, centerpieces and chairs that you ordered need to get the venue. Be sure to factor in delivery fees! And be sure to ask who will tie those pretty chair sashes. If your venue coordinator or wedding planner won't do it, you'll need to pay someone to do the setup.
- Gratuities: Some wedding professionals include a gratuity in their contracts. Others will leave it to your discretion. Be sure to read your contract carefully, and make a list of people you will need to tip the day of the wedding. This list might include limo drivers, hair stylists, makeup artists, officiants, and musicians.
- Favors: Those cute little favors you found on Etsy that are only $4.00 each? Those add up to $600 if you have 150 guests! Have your wedding planner put together a list of options in different price points to find something your budget will like as much as you do.
- Parking/Valet Charges: Many resorts and urban hotels have parking charges, whether your guests use valet or self parking. It's my philosophy that the hosts should pay for parking, not the guests. If your venue doesn't offer parking, you may want to rent spaces in a nearby parking garage for your guests. Nothing is worse than having half of your guests late to your reception because they couldn't find parking!
I hope you have enjoyed reviewing this list of most commonly overlooked wedding costs! Happy budgeting...