Saving Your Budget: Planning for unexpected wedding costs

When planning a wedding, the budget is the first, and possibly the most important, decision made. Budgets are set so that there is no doubt how much money can be spent on each portion of the wedding: whether the flowers or the band, the limit is set. What about all of the little costs that sneak in under the radar, though? Here is a list of wedding costs that aren't planned for and can certainly break the budget.

Postage Stamps. Unknown to most brides; the beautiful, personalized stationeries that they pick out costs extra to mail. Oversized or oddly shaped invitations can cost as much as $2 each to send out. Instead, try to stick with more simple invitations. They will be just as beautiful, but will only cost you a stamp to mail.

Overtime with the Photographer/Videographer. When most couples set up agreements with their photographers, they don't realize how much time they really need for their whole wedding day. If they end up going over on time because the party runs late, many photographers charge as much as $250 dollars per additional hour. Make sure to allot yourself enough time in your contract, and check how much their over time fees are.

Gratuities. Many people think that the service charges include the tipping for the wait staff at the reception. In reality, the service charge is just to pay for the staff, not tip them. As tips are usually 15 to 20% of the reception/catering cost, it can be pricey. When you sign your contract with for your reception hall/caterer, figure the tip into your budget. This way you won't be broadsided with the amount later on, down the road.

Cake Cutters Fee. When you book a reception hall, usually they will provide you with a cake from their own bakery. If you decide to use an outside bakery, there will typically be a cake cutting cost. This is because they not only need to cut and serve the cake, but they also need to clean up afterwards. The cost is usually around $2 to $5 dollars per guest. To avoid the extra charge, go with the reception hall's bakery. Usually they will work with you so that you get the cake that you want, and the cutting cost is wrapped up in the package.

Dress Alterations. When you buy a wedding dress, the store doesn't tell you how much they charge for alterations. Sometime a bride wants a dress almost completely remodeled, and the fees can become astronomical. Ask the bridal shop how much the alteration costs are when you buy your dress. If they are too hefty, you can usually find a private seamstress for less.

Band or DJ Equipment. Many times when you get a price from a DJ or Band, they are pricing the cost of the musician and minimal equipment. If they need to bring extra speakers for the venue size, it can cost hundreds of dollars more. Before signing a contract make sure to explain the layout of the reception to them well, bring photographs if possible. That way the band or DJ knows what equipment they're going to need and can include the additional fees for you to see before you ever sign.


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