The first task for the newly engaged is to prepare a budget. This can go hand in hand with setting a wedding date since each can depend on the other. Your South Florida wedding venue, catering and entertainment can take up about half of your budget but it’s the smaller items that can blindside you. Here is a list of overlooked costs that can sneak up on your wallet without the right forethought and planning.
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1. Postage. Include postage costs for any save-the-dates, invitations, and R.S.V.P. cards. Not to mention thank you cards for any bridal showers and the wedding. Be prepared to spend more if your invitations have an unusual shape or are printed on heavy stationary. Double check by having them weighed at the post office if you are unsure.
2. Alterations and Your Veil. In the excitement of finding that dreamy wedding gown, it is easy to forget the cost of alterations when budgeting for your dress. However, it is an essential part of the equation in order to fit well. Alterations can range between $200-$650 depending on the type of fabric, detail work like beading or lace, the bustle and whether you plan to incorporate a bra. In addition, your gown doesn’t come with its own veil so take that into account as well. Veils cost about $100 or more depending on the detail work.
3. Flowers. The cost of beautiful fresh flowers are a given and rightly so but still can give leave you with sticker shock. The typical hand-tied bridal bouquet is about $200. Now multiply that number by the amount of bridesmaids to get an approximate cost, not including boutonnieres, corsages for moms, or table arrangements. For those brides looking for a simple bouquet, a nosegay is your favorite budget-friendly word. And nosegays are just a beautiful, just not as plump full of blooms.
4. Vendor Meals. Not only is providing vendor meals appropriate etiquette, it is most likely stated in your contract with the provider. Many of your South Florida wedding vendors will be working about eight hours without a chance to slip away for a quick bite! Include any meals for the videographer, wedding planner, each band member (and part of their team), photographer (both shooters) in your numbers automatically to the caterer. Vendor meals generally do not cost as much compared to guest meals, but you’ll still have to budget them in.
5. Gratuities. Tipping is a topic many vendors do not discuss. It is a kind gesture yet standard at the same time. However, knowing what is appropriate ahead of time will make tipping the right amount easier on your budget and stress level. Of course, finding out that night and scrounging around for gratuity, or worse, after the fact, is not recommended.
Occasionally, tips are included in a vendor’s fee (check your contract) but generally, they are not included already. While tips can vary from vendor to vendor, a good rule of thumb is to tip 15-20% of the total bill, which will need to be accommodated for in your budget. These vendors include coat check attendants, servers and catering captain, chauffeurs, wedding planner (if applicable) band, officiant, bartenders, and of course, hair and makeup artists.
6. Sales Tax and Service Fees. Read your contracts to gauge whether or not sales tax is included in the price quoted to you by your venue and vendors. Sales tax most likely is not all inclusive of the head count quoted to you by your caterer, for example. Also, be mindful of service charges. Ask questions regarding the price of services and what the services mean so that there isn’t room for any surprises later on.
7. Overtime Costs. Again, review your venue contract to find the exact hours your event will begin and end. This often includes set up and clean up. Be sure to schedule your catering set up and any photography within those parameters—or be prepared to pay if you go over. Allow a little more time on either end just to be safe. In addition, request a written quote for overtime charges from each vendor and your venue.
8. Documents. It’s a minimal charge but vitality important documentation--your marriage license! Along the same lines, apply and pay for that passport if your wedding or honeymoon requires one.
These seemingly minor expenses really do add up and can take you out of your budget without the proper planning.