As we’re getting closer to the wedding, my fiancé and I have had a few expenses pop up recently that we happened to overlook during budgeting. In my planning and preparation to cover all budget situations I could think of, I’ve read and spent time searching for ‘hidden wedding costs.’ There are lists out there to remember to include everything from tipping, to dress alterations, to wedding licenses. Unfortunately, we’ve had a few hundred dollar expenses come up that we hadn’t planned for and weren’t included on any of the lists I had come across. To help you avoid these ‘surprises’ here’s a few extra things to remember when setting your budget:
Sales Tax on Food
Yep. Kind of a no brainer, but up until seeing a quote from our caterer paying for sales tax had completely slipped my mind! When I’ve asked for meal pricing, even during researching vendors I was always given a per head count price (roughly $20/person). I based my food budget from this number, thinking $20 * 100 guests = $2000 spent on food. It was quite surprising to see just over $200 tacked on to the food bill when you hadn't been thinking about it!
Here’s another one from our caterer, and another mistake on my behalf by making the assumption the per person plate fee included the price to service the food. Looking back now, I wish I would have asked more questions about other costs involved. The caterer had provided us with a plated dinner price, and buffet pricing. I had assumed the price difference between plated vs. buffet was because more service was involved. This ends up being just over $400 for us. When getting estimates from your vendor, ask for a sample quote up front.
Somebody needs to clean the church and run the vacuum after the ceremony. This is $45 at our church.
Breakfast/Lunch for the Wedding Party
I knew in my mind I would need to eat on the day of the wedding (besides dinner that evening) but I hadn’t given much thought to budgeting when and how the rest of my and the bridal parties meals would be. I now plan on making a Starbucks run for breakfast (quick and easy), then having pizza’s delivered to the house while we’re having our hair and makeup done. Three of my bridesmaids are gluten free so it limited my pizza ordering options to a place that offers gluten free crusts (Initially I hadn’t thought of any dietary needs besides my own). Since we’ll also have the photographer, and hairstylists with us, that’s a few extra meals to plan for (And I can’t eat in front of someone without offering!). I’m anticipating about $100 total for the girls and maybe $50 for the guys (they’ll nix the breakfast and just need lunch).
At the reception, vendors such as your DJ’s, bartenders, photographer, ect are working long hours without set breaks. Personally, I wouldn’t want to be expected to function 8+ hours without eating. While planning for vendor meals is an additional expense, I began reading it is etiquette to provide meals to those working 6 hours or more. Having the caterer set aside a few plates for when they can sneak away is nice, but it wasn’t something we had factored in to our head count. From adding up our vendors, we’ll be providing an additional 8 meals (totaling roughly $180). I do plan to ask the caterer if any discounts are given for vendor meals.
Have you found yourself with any additional, overlooked expenses? If so, share below!
Editor's note: Due to the pandemic, some of the general wedding planning advice we share may not be applicable or possible due to restrictions on events. Please adhere to all current regulations and stay safe and healthy! Get more resources for planning a pandemic wedding here.