What "hidden" costs snuck up on you during planning?

posted 6 days ago in Logistics
Post # 2
Member
433 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2019

sboom :  The big one for me was what they call ‘preferred vendors’. Those vendors always screw you with the price. My venue only had one, a DJ company. In the contract we signed it stated if we used another DJ, we were not allowed to bring in any outside equipment and had to pay them a $400 hook up fee to plug into their system.

Well coem time to give them the payment, they advise me if I want speakers for my ceremony music that is an additional fee. And to keep them for cocktqail hour is an additional fee. And any microphones, you guessed it, an additional fee. 

My easy peasy $400 fee ended up tripling. And there was nothing I could do. Totally infuriating!!!!

So definitely check on those types of fee’s before signing anything!!!

Post # 3
Member
2271 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2018

– Type of venue(s): Restaurant, resort, hotel, park, church, community hall, etc.

It was a ballroom, rented through the city we got married in. It only came with chairs and tables. 

– Inclusive venue or multuiple vendors (did you go with a venue that provided the food, alcohol and service staff, for example. What did it all include?)

Many outside vendors. 

– What fees, gratuities, charges, etc. crept up on you that you hadn’t anticipated when you put together your initial budget? (was there an extra charge for something you assumed was included? Gratuities or taxes? Cost overages? Etc)

I thoroughly read my contracts so I was aware of gratuities/extra charges. Our venue charged for security per hour of our wedding, which was taken from our deposit. We had gratuities added for our catering vendor along with a staffing fee. But all of those I knew about ahead of time. 

– What questions do you wish you had asked that you didn’t? How would asking those questions have saved you time, money or stress?

Ask about any service fees, added in gratuities, etc 

Post # 4
Member
680 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2018

I got married at a hotel which included a lot of things (food, alcohol, staff, etc.) and even came with a built in wedding “coordinator” (I’m using that term loosely, because she really dropped the ball a lot). 

Everyone will tell you beforehand, but it’s still surprising when you learn that (especially with hotels) there’s an extra charge for every little thing. Different chairs? Extra cost. Different table? Extra. Microphone for the ceremony? Extra. You want to use our sound system to play your own music? Yeah, that’s extra to plug in. You have how many guests? Oh we’re going to have to add a bartender and yep, that’s extra. 

I wish I would have delved deeper into my wedding “coordinator’s” exact duties. Because, there really is a big difference in a wedding planner, day-of coordinator, and whatever this girl was. She said she was a certified wedding planner but she was so disorganized my mother was basically my wedding planner. So, the lesson is, if you’re going to put your wedding in someone else’s hands, really do your research and thoroughly feel them out before things get started and you realize your expectations were way too high. The only thing I can say is luckily she was included in my wedding package and I at least didn’t have to pay extra for that 🙂

Basically, my advice would be to visit venues with a good mental picture of what you’re wanting. From there you’ll be better able to ask questions about any extra charges and what that venue can provide you and match it against what you’re needing. 

Post # 5
Member
187 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: Scotts ~ Walnut Creek

Venue: Restaurant, outdoor ceremony on terrace, indoor reception adjacent to terrace

Inclusive: included buffet with three stations, bottomless mimosas and bellinis (brunch wedding), desserts, staff, chiavari chairs and white linens for 50 guests. Colored linens would have been extra. Package was roughly $500 more bc of menu customizations. Loved the decor that was already present so didn’t feel the need to add much. 

Outside Vendors: Officiant – family friend, DJ – friend of D H, Photographer – found on Yelp, she was fantastic, Hairstylist – regular stylist I’ve used for over a decade

Skipped Vendors: Cake – picked one up from Safeway just for photo op purposes, Floral – purchased floral arrangements from Costco to place on tables, Make-Up Artist – don’t wear it 

Extra Charges – none, package was clearly detailed with no surprises. 

Questions – In hindsight I would have asked if the restaurant had a bridal room before committing. Luckily this one did but its something I thought was unnecessary. Relaxed with a glass of champagne plus fruit and cheese platter while getting ready with my sister. 

Everything all together with dresses, alterations, shoes, hair, suit, flowers and cake was roughly $5800. $4500 of which was the venue. A wedding can be as budget friendly or expensive as you make it. We preferred simple and low cost.

Post # 6
Member
4412 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

We went with a blank-slate style venue – privately owned property with a gazebo and an old train hall, so we brought in all of our own vendors.

We also brought in our own alcohol (permitted by the site and contract). The one expense that caught us off by surprise was insurance – since we were providing alcohol, we were also responsible for any incidents caused by it (car crashes, for example, although we did provide shuttles).

Luckily, we were able to add a temporary rider to my parent’s home insurance that made it relatively low cost, but I never would’ve thought of that before. So if you end up providing food or alcohol, make sure you know the laws in your area & any associated fees.

Post # 7
Member
518 posts
Busy bee

– Type of venue(s): Restaurant, resort, hotel, park, church, community hall, etc.
Art Museum, it was the most reasonably priced venue. The cost was the cost there were no hidden fees, plus…ART. None of the others allowed me to have a cocktail hour in a sculpture garden.

– Inclusive venue or multuiple vendors (did you go with a venue that provided the food, alcohol and service staff, for example. What did it all include?)
The museum is attached to a restaurant and we HAVE to cater through them but it’s rated one of the best places to eat in our city and $20 a person so no problem with me. The venue must provide the alcohol (just beer and wine due to liquor liscensing). The contract includes chairs, tables, and black table cloths (we can change the color at $10/table but we like the black) set up, break down, and security. 

We can bring our own cake that doesn’t have to be from a certified bakery (his aunt it making it), a family friend is doing the music and he comes with the sound system included, and my friend is doing the photography. Not having a preffered vendors list is saving us a TON in the long run even tho we’re still paying all these people a few hundred bucks. 

– What fees, gratuities, charges, etc. crept up on you that you hadn’t anticipated when you put together your initial budget? (was there an extra charge for something you assumed was included? Gratuities or taxes? Cost overages? Etc)
I was not expecting a security deposit for the venue which was an additional $600 to add to the budget. The only other thing that made me go, “What, really?” was the $1 million certificate of liability. It’s required by the venue and I was able to add it to our renters insurance for like $14 TOTAL so that’s covered and I love Liberty Mutual, lol.

– What questions do you wish you had asked that you didn’t? How would asking those questions have saved you time, money or stress?
Not sure, I’m still in the planning process technically so it’s hard to say. My wedding is not for another 3 months and I have maintained contact with the venue and caterer who are very responsive via email. I have learned, though, to not be afraid to just ask. I make sure to proof read my messages so as not to come off as a “bridezilla” and it’s gone well. Example: Our contract is for 99 people total and originally we asked for 99 chairs but then I requested 13 tables with 8 chairs each, plus us, equals 106 chairs so they added the extra 7 chairs at no cost and I credit not coming off as “demanding” the chairs. I just explained why I thought it was the best idea and offered to pay any extra cost it may have brought on.

ETA: When I was originally told that catering was $20 per person that’s all I thought it was but I am also paying for two servers and a captain and can’t remember their hourly wages off the top of my head. 

Post # 8
Member
711 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: A vineyard

The machinery needed for my music was one of the surprises. I had honestly totally forgotten that they would need certain things and a place to plug in. For some reason I thought my soloist would just come and play. No sound equipment needed. Luckily between my soloist and venue they saved the day and came with everything I needed. 

I also didn’t realise how expensive centrepeices were to put together. Or how expensive fresh florals could be. We just rented out some decorations my venue had that looked pretty and made a cute but relatively inexpensive arrangement with electric candles and some silver decorations and that worked fine 🙂

Post # 9
Member
85 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: October 2019

Mine is a villa. It’s all catered for on site but alcohol I can bring my own.

 

The fees that crept up on us so far are for music/entertainment. And legal fees we hadn’t calculated! The biggest fee for us was additional guests!! I had budgeted on 30 people im now at 42 (mainly due to the mother in law kicking off and wanting family id never met there!) Our cost is £180 per person so the extra 12 has racked up quite a bit. Luckily we can take budget from elsewhere (taken from flowers/decor – using ikea and going to decorate myself, hair and make up doing myself now and favours/gifts we are now researching budget options! Or considering none at all!) and have saved harder than planned but it’s still more costs than planned so far, and I still have 9 months to go before the wedding so God knows what else will creep up!!

Post # 10
Member
2008 posts
Buzzing bee

My wedding isn’t for a few more months, but both of my sisters were surprised by:

  • postage (esp since wedding invitations tend to cost extra to mail)
  • parking fees for vendors 
  • cost of room service breakfast the day of the wedding
  • cake cutting fee. One of my sisters had to pay a $5/slice ‘cakeage’ fee!
  • not budgeting enough for wedding dress alterations 
  • inflated delivery charges from rental company for deliveries during specific hours or outside standard delivery hours.  For example, $200 extra to ensure the ceremony chairs are picked up between 8 pm – 10 pm)
Post # 11
Member
1874 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2018

sboom :  I never realized there was a 20% service charge in addition to gratuity for servers/bartenders. I don’t believe this is a “thing” everywhere, but in my city it is and it definitely surprised us and set us back more than we had planned. 

Post # 13
Member
392 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2019

Currently in planning myself, but here’s my experience

– Type of venue(s): Winery

– Inclusive venue or multuiple vendors (did you go with a venue that provided the food, alcohol and service staff, for example. What did it all include?) Venue includes Ceremony, food, drink, service, table linen set up and pack down.

– What fees, gratuities, charges, etc. crept up on you that you hadn’t anticipated when you put together your initial budget? (was there an extra charge for something you assumed was included? Gratuities or taxes? Cost overages? Etc) They’re charging us $200 to set up their own fairy lights which is a bit how-do-you-do, and they’re charging us $350 to use a gazebo for our ceremony. I assumed it was all included in the extravagant price, and was a bit ticked off tbh, as we’re having a winter wedding.

– What questions do you wish you had asked that you didn’t? How would asking those questions have saved you time, money or stress? Is this negotiable? EVERYTHING is negotiable. The price they first give you is basically an offer – never hurts to ask. What’s the worst that can happen?

Post # 14
Member
1874 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2018

sboom :  Right? Every proposal that I got just made me cringe… it definitely made a difference as to what we could and couldn’t afford. I think this is only a requirement in certain US states or something, doesn’t seem too common so I’d never heard of it and was quite shocked!

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