In the last few weeks of wedding planning, stress levels often peak as unexpected issues and expenses arise. Though as hard as you try to stick to a budget, plans are often sabotaged by overlooked needs and extras. Considering a wedding can in New Jersey averages around $29,000, there’s not much wiggle room for budgeting mistakes. Plan ahead by making space for these important (and often hidden) wedding costs from consumer expert, Andrea Woroch.
1. Postage. Oversized and awkwardly shaped invites can cost up you to $2 a piece to mail. Skip the fancy boxed invitations and bulky, multilayer cards to keep postage costs down. Don’t forget to include postage for save-the-dates, RSVP and thank-you cards in your budget, too. For those inviting 150 guests, you’re looking at over $200 in just postage alone! Consider e-vites for less formal wedding-related festivities like the engagement party and bridal shower; they’re faster, easily customized and much cheaper!
2. Overtime. The band, deejay, caterer, photographer, videographer and wedding planner design a contract based on a wedding schedule and includes a maximum allotment of time. Go over and they’ll charge you roughly $250 per hour for every hour they work overtime. Give yourself a cushion to include extra time for possible delays and negotiate a free additional hour or discount if things go over.
3. Tax, tips and swipe fees. Taxes, tips and credit cards fees can add up quickly. Make sure bids from vendors include these additional costs before making your decision or finalizing your budget. While paying with plastic is a great way to earn rewards and miles, know that vendors will push credit card fees on to you. So it’s important to weigh the rewards against the fees or inquire if there’s a cash discount. Finally, it’s important to factor service tips into your budget. Etiquette suggests you tip vendors including the deejay, limo driver, servers and band members anywhere from 10% to 20%.
4. Photo prints and album. Even though you paid the photographer in full and even pre-ordered your wedding album, you’re likely going to want to print favorite images for yourself and for friends and family. This will run you hundreds of dollars, so you may want to skip the professional service. Instead, print pictures or albums for family from sites like Snapfish and use coupon codes from CouponSherpa.com to save anywhere from 30% to 60%. Give it as a gift for a birthday or holiday so it doubles as a present!
5. Seamstress. Once a bride picks her dream gown–averaging $1,300–she may forget the cost of alterations and fittings, which can be tremendous. Getting a dress fit runs $500 or more depending on how much work needs to be done. Make sure you search for a seamstress or tailor you trust to get the job done right. Skimping on this cost could result in a botched job, which will cost you more in the long run, both financially and emotionally.
6. Rush fees. With so many details to coordinate, it feels impossible to follow your wedding planning timeline, but procrastinating on certain elements may result in higher prices. For instance, rush orders on a dress cost approximately $500, while expedited passport renewals run $60. Even a baker may charge more for a cake or cookie platter without enough notice, so plan well in advance to avoid this hidden budget-buster.
7. Welcome bag delivery. Such goodie bags a great way to greet guests who traveled long distances to celebrate your wedding. But beware, many hotels charge a fee for delivery—up to $7 per bag. During the booking process, negotiate a reduced delivery charge or request the front desk hand out welcome bags during check in. If all else fails, ask family, friends or your bridal party to make the deliveries on your behalf.
8. Accessories. Brides usually have a dress budget in mind with wiggle room for the veil and shoes, but many overlook other accessories that can add up quickly like a hair clip, clutch, bracelet, sash, garter belt and earrings. Even grooms like to add a bit of flare to their tux and suits! Factor in such accessories in your budget and save by borrowing from friends and family or rent designer items from RentTheRunway.com.
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Andrea Woroch is a consumer and money-saving expert for Kinoli Inc. From smart spending tips to personal finance advice, Andrea transforms everyday consumers into savvy shoppers. As a sought-after media source, she has been featured among such top news outlets as Good Morning America, Today, CNN, Dr. OZ, New York Times, MONEY Magazine, Huffington Post, Forbes and many more. For more information, visit AndreaWoroch.com or follow her on Twitter for daily savings advice and tips.