A figurine of a bride and a groom sits atop a wedding cake during an election party at the North Raleigh Hilton on Tuesday, May 8, 2012. Organizers plan to cut the cake if Amendment One, which would ban gay marriage, passes. (Robert Willett/Raleigh News & Observer/MCT)
We’ve asked the experts to clue us in on their insider secrets for avoiding those little-known financial pitfalls — all those pricey extras that slide in under the radar — and sticking to your wedding budget. Here are their 10 tips.
1. band equipment
Why it’s hidden: The cost of the band includes fees for the musicians’ time and the minimum amount of equipment needed. If your reception space is extra-large, then additional speakers and microphones could possibly be required to project the best sound quality.
The cost: Anywhere from several hundred to several thousand dollars.
How to avoid it: Before booking your wedding band or DJ, clearly explain the layout of the space (or have them check it out, if they’re willing) so the vendors know exactly what they’re working with. If they want extra equipment, have them explain why it’s necessary before you sign a contract or agree to pay for anything else.
2. Postage stamps
Why it’s hidden: Stationers don’t advertise the shipping costs; if they did, you might decide to go with simpler (read: cheaper) invitations.
The cost: Oversized, awkwardly shaped and bulky invitations can cost as much as $2 each to mail.
How to avoid it: Skip the fancy boxed invites and multilayered cards, which can bulk up quickly and cost a lot more than you bargained for.
3. dress alterations and steaming
Why it’s hidden: Most stores don’t include alterations (or steaming) in the price of the dress, and they’re not doing it for free — it can take up to three hours just to alter the bustier.
The cost: A simple hem can be less than $100, but rebuilding a bodice or moving zippers can send the price upward of $500.
How to avoid it: Ask about what the store charges for every alteration you may need before you purchase the gown.
4. Overtime costs
Why it’s hidden: Your band, DJ, photographer and videographer are booked for just a certain amount of time, so if your wedding runs a little longer than you expected, they’ll charge per hour.
The cost: Starting at $250 per hour.
How to avoid it: Factor in additional time for getting dressed and taking photos; that way, you can book your vendors for a realistic amount of time. Get overtime costs in writing (they shouldn’t be more than 50 percent more per hour than the regular rate) so you’ll know what to expect if you decide to keep the party going.
5. Welcome-bag delivery