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10 Hidden Wedding Costs

May 17, 2012 03:00AM ● Published by Anonymous

1. Wedding dress alterations

Every once in a while, you'll find a store that includes "free" alterations with the purchase of a wedding dress. They're not really free because the cost has been folded into the total cost of the wedding dress, but generally, wedding dress alterations can be pricey, so stores would rather advertise a lower cost for the dress and tack on the alteration fees later. In some cases, alterations are cheap, such as simply hemming the dress. In other cases, it can be hundreds of dollars. Ask the store what would need to be altered and how much they charge. You can often save money by going to a private tailor.

2. Cake-Cutting Fee

This "hidden" cost has been publicized so much that you probably already know to expect it. But in case you're not aware, the cutting fee is typically charged when you bring in a cake from an outside vendor and goes to cover the cost of the extra work the waiters do slicing and serving each piece.

3. Extra DJ or band equipment

A musician shouldn't charge you to bring his or her basic equipment, but you might incur extra costs based on the layout of your venue. If the room is very large or requires a strange layout, you might need more speakers or extra microphones, which you will have to pay to rent.

4. Taxes and gratuities

The base price you're given for the catering is just that – a base price. Ask the vendor how much they require in service charges and taxes, and then add it on for the total cost of your food and beverages.

5. Decorating fees

Here's a true story: A bride wants to cover up the ugly chairs that her venue offers, so she buys inexpensive chair covers and sashes off eBay. She delivers them to the venue and is informed that she can either decorate the chairs herself on the day of her wedding – when she should be getting her hair and makeup done – or she can pay $2 per chair for the staff to do it for her. Guess which option the bride chose? Add it to the bill.

6. Breakdown and cleanup

On the other side of things, while you're enjoying your first night as a newlywed, someone has to be cleaning up the venue (particularly if they have another event the next day). Don't let yourself be surprised by this and ask upfront if there's a fee for cleanup.

7. Postage Stamps

Stick to a normal 4x6 or 5x7 invitation to avoid paying extra for postage. You could also end up paying more if extra embellishments make the envelope bulky. However, you could save on postage by using a postcard for RSVP cards.

8. Vendor overtime

Many vendors such as photographers, videographers, and DJs have a standard five-hour timeslot for weddings, which also happens to be the length of a typical wedding reception. If you tack on an extra half an hour for the ceremony, you'll likely be paying overtime charges.

9. Dance Floor

You won't see this often, but it pops up every now and then. Check the contract of your reception venue to see if you're being charged to use the removable dance floor. Often, it's charged to pay for the time it takes to set it up and tear it down. It's often something that can be negotiated out of the contract.

10. Photo prints and frames

After the wedding, you'll be so excited to see the professional photographs, but you probably didn't think of how much each print could cost you. More and more photographers are offering brides the rights to the photos and a CD of high-resolution images for a set price (or included in the contract), but it can get pretty pricey if you try to buy each print separately, particularly if you want it enlarged. Talk to the photographer beforehand to negotiate a deal for albums and prints.

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