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Watch Out! Hidden Wedding Costs Ahead

Posted in: Wedding Planning
Watch Out! Hidden Wedding Costs Ahead

Signing documents that are legally binding is a scary business for many. Planning a wedding is already your Number 1 stressor, and you are thinking: Hey, I’m not an attorney. You’ve been warned to carefully read any contract before you sign and to ask questions. When it comes to booking your wedding venue, what questions do you ask? Read on.

Delivery, Cleanup, and Setup

These charges are often not specified in negotiations, particularly when there is no contract, and even if there is, these details may not be reduced to writing. Ask your vendors about these three costs that may swing the pendulum to another provider in the final decision process.

Overtime Charges

Consider this scenario – You have booked your photographer, videographer, as well your DJ or band for a finite amount of time. What if, at the end of the evening, your guests and the party are still going strong? Maybe your photo session or the wedding ceremony you are capturing for watching on a rainy evening with a bottle of wine requires more time than you’d anticipated? These vendors may tack on additional (and substantial) amounts for overtime. That cost can run normal charge plus a percentage, which should never exceed 50%. What do you do? Add time to your schedule for things like getting dressed and snapping those perfect pictures.

In the Music Field

Your band will bring its own equipment, but should your reception area be extra-large, requiring additional speakers or amplifiers to achieve the appropriate sound quality, you can probably add $$ to your music budget. It is possible to avoid these extra charges by familiarizing your band with the venue and asking why additional equipment is required before signing on the dotted line.

Delivery of Welcome Bags

Chances are this super nice way to welcome your guests to your big event will cost you more money than anticipated if charges for the delivery of welcome bags aren’t factored into the cost of a block of rooms. The charge may be in the $7 range. Ask the hotel their policy on this service—both acceptance and delivery of the gifts—and any associated charges. To avoid or lessen this potential cost, inquire of the hotel if it is possible to have the bags (or gifts) handed out as the guests check-in.

While negotiating with the hotel for the room block, you might also query them about the price of parking. If there is a charge, perhaps you could negotiate a discount for the guests in the room block.

Making it Fit

In most instances, the cost of altering the wedding gown is not included in the price of this most precious garment. They won’t give you the hours of labor required to make it fit. Hemming can cost as little as $100, but for a remake of a bodice, you may be facing as much as $500 or more.

Westward Ho Pony Express

Another charge that stationers frequently do not mention is the shipping cost. Sometimes, these can run as much as the product itself. Before you choose, remember the postage. Heavier or non-standard sizes can make a difference in postage costs, i.e., bulky multi-layer products can cost as much as $2 each to mail.

Location, Location, Location

Some additional charges may apply. You’ve heard this before, but this is a warning to check with your venue to ascertain additional costs over and above the price of the space.

  • Clean up and Breakdown.

    Usually, full-service venues don’t charge for cleanup and breakdown. Opting to rent space only, expect to pay for garbage removal and cleaning, both of which can impact the budget. Think up to $250/garbage removal, and up to $500/cleaning up. Even full-service venues require same-day setup and cleanup. If you plan your wedding on a weekend, or your party runs longer than the night shows, you can expect commensurate cleaning fees. These amounts should be included under Labor Charges in the contract.

  • Professional Approval.

    Some venues have an approved professionals list and require their patrons to use caters and florists from this selection. This can range upwards of 20% fee if you bring in your own cater and/or florist. Avoiding these fees isn’t easy. More or less, your choices are: choose from the list or go back to the old drawing board and pick out another venue.

  • Let Them Eat (Cake), Drink and Be Merry.

    If you choose to have the cake and/or liquor provided by the reception site, the fees for the cake cutting and corkage are traditionally included. Employing a baker not on the list or selecting your own wine can increase the price. These services then fall on the venue’s workers. Remember these people will not only slice and serve each person’s flavorful share, but then must enjoy cleaning the dishes.

    How much are cake-cutting and corkage fees? $2 to $5 per guest for the cake; from $1.50 to $3.00 for every bottle opened by the venue’s staff.

Don’t forget to inquire about rental transports, and remember to budget in tax and gratuities.

About Roof Garden

The Roof Garden is a charming, vintage wedding venue and sophisticated corporate/private event facility located in the heart of The Strand overlooking Galveston’s Historic National Landmark District. Our elegant, signature Galveston architecture creates a warm, inviting atmosphere your guests are sure to enjoy. Learn more about our venue and view facility photos to understand the true essence of the Roof Garden.