Everyone’s looking for ways to bring down the cost of their wedding. So, where exactly can you cut corners? Here are recommendations for purchases to be wary of and areas where you can easily cut costs.
Sneaky Wedding Costs You Don’t Want To Forget About
Yes, you have to pay taxes on wedding goods and services. Disappointing, I know. When budgeting for items like the dress or the food, don't forget to factor in sales tax (which can be up to 9.45% depending on what state you're purchasing them in). In certain states, you’ll also need to pay a service tax (e.g., if you pay a 20% service fee on a $1,000 item, you may also need to pay a service tax on the $200 service fee). To avoid any confusion, ask vendors about the tax policy before signing any contracts.
Gratuity & Service Fees
On top of the cost for a service provided, you can also expect to pay a service fee. For example, your venue might charge you 15%-20% in addition to your bill to cover the costs of servers, waiters, and bartenders. If you pay a service fee, you might also feel inclined to pay additional gratuity on top of that. For vendors that don't charge a service fee, you can provide them with gratuity to thank them for a job well done.
Your Rain Plan
Having an outdoor wedding? Don't forget to consider the costs of your rain plan. If the plan is to set up a tent outdoors in the case of bad weather, make sure to budget for the extra cost of the tent (keeping in mind that you often need to pay to reserve the tent, even if you don't wind up using it). Consider every extra cost that'll come with the rains—from additional staff to more chairs.
Don't forget that the act of making it official costs money! Budget between $60 and $100 dollars for your marriage license.
Delivery and Shipping Costs
Make sure to check with your vendors to determine what kind of delivery costs you might rack up on the big day. Take special note of any delivery fees associated with the florist, rental companies, and entertainers. You may also need to pay for parking so vendors can load and unload easily.
Transporting your guests from their hotel to the wedding ceremony could come with additional costs. Don’t forget to plan for them!
Rentals (linens, chairs, furniture, etc.)
While some venues provide you with complimentary use of their tables, chairs, linens and dinnerware, others do not. Before you sign your contract, determine whether or not your venue provides these things. Otherwise, you'll need to factor in the cost of renting enough items for each guest.
Traditionally, the couple gives a gift to each member of the wedding party, their parents, and any other family members who play a special role on the big day. As a rule of thumb, budget anywhere between $25 and $100 per gift.
Florals and Decor
Most people remember to budget for centerpieces and boutonnieres and bouquets for the couple and the wedding party, but many forget about the extra flowers they’ll need. It's customary for the couple to provide a corsage or boutonniere for the Mother and Father of the nearlyweds, the ushers, the guest book monitor, and any family or friends who read during the event. It's also important to remember the costs associated with the petals thrown by the flower pal and a toss bouquet for the reception if you plan on including these traditions.
It's customary to provide your on-site vendors with a meal during the event. Make sure you budget enough to pay for meals for your entertainment, wedding planner, venue manager, photographer, videographer, and any other staff that's on hand for the evening.
Cake Cutting Fees
Unless your venue is providing a cake, there's a good chance you'll be charged a cake cutting fee. You can expect to pay an average of $1.50 per slice on top of what you've already paid for the cake.
Going Over Contracted Time
Most vendors are contracted for a specific amount of time, and if you go over that limit, you'll pay an additional fee (usually at a higher rate). What does that mean for you? If you're having the best time and want to keep the bar open and the music going for another hour, it'll cost you!
Attire Fittings and Alterations
Clothing alterations are an important part of making sure everything is perfect for your big day. Make sure to leave room in your budget for them. Depending on what needs to be done, you can expect to spend anywhere from $50 to $1,000 on alterations.
If you're paying a flat fee to rent out a space and not a full service venue, expect additional charges for garbage removal (up to $250) and cleaning (up to $500).
Shape, weight, and additional embellishments determine the cost of your wedding postage. The standard rate for mailing a letter is $0.58.For more information, check out these commonly forgotten wedding costs and hidden wedding costs.
Tricks To Cut Major Costs
- Choose a free or low-cost location
- Pick a naturally beautiful location
- Ask a friend to be your officiant
- Avoid renting chairs
- Reuse flowers and decor from the ceremony at the reception. **Remember that there will still be costs for the labor needed to move your decor.**
- Skip fancy printed programs
- Keep everything short and sweet
- Host your event during the day or on an off-peak day of the week
Post-Wedding Costs To Factor In Early On
Even when the ceremony and reception are done, there will still be a couple things to pay for. Here is the list of post-wedding costs you should start planning for now.
- Printing photos and wedding albums
- Thank you notes and postage
- Fee to change your name at the local DMV or Social Security office. You can also purchase a kit if you need help!
- Attire, cake, and flower preservation
Last but not least, if all of these other costs didn’t break the bank, use any leftover money to purchase the gifts you and your partner wanted but didn’t get! Don’t forget that most modern registry providers will offer a discount for anything leftover once the big day’s said and done. You’ll probably be able to get some sweet deals!