It is no secret that weddings are expensive. In 2016, the average cost of a wedding in Indianapolis was $28,374.00 , slightly higher than the national average of $26,720.00. Many times, the financial commitment of throwing a large scale event for at least 100 guests can become stressful as forgotten wedding costs are overlooked, causing many couples to either blow their budge or use all of their contingency funds. Before signing any contracts, it is important to discuss with vendors all cost and fees associated with their hiring. This can include details like overtime, and cleanup. It’s easy for these fees to add up and surprise you later on. These are the 10 most common costs that we have learned many couples tend to overlook.
- Postage stamps
Everyone knows that it costs $0.49 to send a letter with first class mail through the United States Postal Service, but wedding invitations tend to cost much more than that. Stationers don’t advertise shipping costs, and with many wedding invitation companies selling al a carte invitation pieces it can be difficult for them to calculate exactly what you’ll be sending. Regardless, oversized, uniquely shaped, heavy or bulky invitations can cost you about $2 each to mail.
- Wedding Band Equipment
One would think that when you hire a band that it includes the equipment too, and typically it does. However, the cost of the wedding band includes fees for the musicians’ time and the minimum amount of equipment needed for their reception performance. If your reception space is exceptionally large, or has multiple spaces, additional speakers and microphones could be required for the best sound quality. Many times, couples that are hiring a band for both their ceremony and reception music will require additional speaker setups so that there is a seamless flow of sound from one location to the next, namely cocktail hour.
This can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars extra to a few thousand depending on the wedding’s need. Before you book your wedding band, or even your wedding DJ, clearly explain the layout of the space(s) you’ll be using on your wedding day. Bringing a room layout can help if you aren’t sure how to describe it. It gives your music entertainment exactly what they need to know. Trust the professionals!
- Welcome Bag Delivery
Not every wedding will have hotel room blocks filed with out-of-towners coming to celebrate, but for those that do, welcome bags are a great gesture to show guests how valued their attendance is to the couple. Especially considering it requires travel arrangements to be there. During the booking phase, when you’re researching hotels for room blocks, ask about the hotel’s policy for receiving and delivering bag to guest rooms. It may be free to pass them out at check-in, but in some instances any time something is delivered or handed out upon arrival. It can cost up to $7 per bag. Some hotels even charge a fee for holding the welcome bags once you drop them off before guests arrive.
- Rental Transportation
No, not renting a limo. Although, they are wonderful for transporting wedding parties together, especially when multiple photography locations are used for wedding party portraits. Instead, we refer to the cost of delivering (transporting) rental items like ceremony décor. Many rental companies don’t include the cost of delivery In their rental cost. It’s often listed as a separate item on the rental proposal. As the rental company what their delivery fees are up front. Also, be sure to inquire if their delivery includes delivery into the venue. Surprisingly, we have actually worked with vendors selected by our clients that only included delivery to the curb of the venue and not into the actual venue itself, which sadly results in additional labor fees for the client due to the drop-off location that the vendor would use.
- Wedding Dress Alterations and Steaming
Many brides know that their dresses will need to be altered, but the costs of alter such intricate pieces are often unknown and vary greatly depending on the dress. The more beading and lace, the higher the costs. A simple hem can be less than $100, but if a bodice needs to be rebuilt it could cost over $400. Some stores will include basic alternations like hemming in their services, but many times the alternations needed go beyond that. A great wedding dress retailers, and a talented seamstress or tailor, will be able to give you a price list for most of their work and can usually provide very accurate estimates. However, don’t forget about steaming the dress before the walk down the aisle!
- Cake Cutting and Corkage Fees
Many catering companies include beverage service in their catering packages like Kahn’s Catering does, but for those that want to provide a special bottle of wine, or all of the alcohol for their reception, corkage fees usually apply and those costs can greatly add expense to your reception costs. Why is this? By providing your own beverages for our beverage service revenue is taken away from the catering company in terms of product but they are still required to service the product and use their liquor license to hold liability for its use. While this may not seem like a big deal, it can add $15 or more per bottle used to your costs.
Additionally, cake cutting tends to follow the same idea. Some caterers include custom cakes in their wedding reception packages, like the custom buttercream wedding cakes offered by Kahn’s Catering. However, for those that choose to use their own baker or if you’re choosing a caterer that doesn’t include a cake, the cost of cake cutting is for the cake cutting service. Staff are responsible for slicing and serving each piece, then plating and cleaning plates used for the service, which equates to more labor hours and service items. On average cake cutting costs from $2-$5 per guest. Be up front with your caterer and ask about those fees if that is an interest of yours.
- Cleanup and Breakdown Costs
Many couples spend so much time planning the actual day they forget to budget for what happens when it is all over. While a full-service venue, like our exclusive venues, won’t charge you for these things, if you’re paying a venue only for their space rental, additional charges for things like rubbish removal and cleaning can add several hundred dollars or more to the budget. Many venues require same-day setup and clean-up to accommodate for other events. So be sure to read your contracts because if you don’t have your items removed by a certain time, additional fees could amount on top of that. It’s also important to reference this with your vendors as well. Many times florists will either require that you return all vase and décor rentals to them the following day, but you may need to have the florist pick up their items the same night of your reception if you cannot take the items yourself.
- Non-Approved Professionals
Some venues require you to use a caterer from their preferred list and going off that list could mean tacking on a fee so you can have the vendor you want. Our exclusive venues don’t allow outside catering, but some of the venues we are preferred at do require the use of a pre-approved professional, such as ourselves. Using a non-approved vendor can at times add an extra 20% or more to venue cost. Most often the approved professionals involve the caterer because they work most closely with the venue to execute events, however this at times applies to florists and music entertainment as well.
- Overtime Fees
Every vendor that you book for your event will be booked for a certain amount of time. While there are some fantastic vendors out there that don’t set time limits, most do because it affects their bottom line. So if the wedding runs longer than expected, most often the couple is charged per hour for their services after they have reached the time specified in their contract. Every vendor has a differing amount, but if you consider the overtime fee for the venue, the music, the photographer and videographer – the costs can add up to a few hundred dollars per hour. Be sure to get your overtime fees in writing so you know what to expect if you choose to keep the party going.
- Taxes, Gratuities and Service Charge
These aren’t exactly hidden fees, but they are certainly overlooked fees. For some vendors, a gratuity is customary (but keep in mind it isn’t required!), such as for your music entertainment. However, the venue and caterer traditionally use a service charge that you may not have factored into your initial budget. Most often we see couples create their wedding budget and know what they are willing to spend per person, but they forget to factor in the tax and service charge. There is no getting around paying taxes, but estimating an additional 1/3 of your total costs to your budget for taxes, gratuities and service charge can help you be most prepared for the expense.