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Wedding Venues...Hidden Fees?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Hey all,

We are in the process of booking the place to have the ceremony and reception.

I am worried about hidden fees. Is there anything that I should look out for as far as things that are or aren't included in the 'package' prices?

Thanks Guys!
post #2 of 8
So far what I have noticed is the hall fee, the decorating fee, chair rentals, chair covers, extra tables. Lots of hidden fees at some places.
post #3 of 8
One place we looked at for our son had some "hidden" costs with the table/tablecloth and someone to cut the cake! Also look for hidden costs regarding decorations.
post #4 of 8
The place we used disclosed everything to us so there weren't any hidden costs.

I know if we had ivory seat covers instead of white, it was more money. When you pay per head, an outside DJ might count also and anyone they bring to help.

Ask about the centerpieces.
post #5 of 8
table cloths/chair cover
sound technician fees (sometimes the venue makes you use their tech)
coordinator fee (different from a wedding planner- they're more commone with church weddings)
unity candle stands if you do that
having your dress altared (that cost me a blessed fortune because i'm so short!)
the dishes/cups you use- you may want to consider getting the nice clear plastic or white plates/cups that are disposable and save yourself some money that way- you can get them in bulk at places like costco and sams club- same for plain white napkins.

also - definitely think about what time you schedule your wedding- if you do the reception after a certain time- people are going to expect a full meal...if you do it earlier in the day you can get away with a cute little cake and punch reception to save $ or a little buffett too. I would do a self serve buffet vs. a sit down one because that way people eat less/etc- the food will add up fast! Consider not doing a wet bar....we did a gourmet coffee bar instead who also did the catering and saved a lot of $ that way but still had a unique drink (we had "wedding gown lattes" etc! it was a huge hit)

consider attending local bridal shows to see different vendors/get cupons/etc

as far as hidden costs go- consider your bridal jewerly, tierra if you want one, veils, shoes, garters,bustier ....it ALL adds up really fast

when your fiance looks at different tux shops- ask them if they will rent his tux for free if some of his groomsmen also rent their tuxes there...we got a great deal on our guys stuff that way.

Don't spend a fortune on your wedding favors- you'll need way less than you think because not everyone stays until the end of the reception (i had soo much left over that i gave all of my left overs to my friend who is about to get married!)

Consider printing your programs on cardstock and designing them yourselves- you'll save a fortune that way!

For me i fell in love with a particular invitation -so i splurged on the invitation only- but we got card stock and printed our own RSVP cards in the same color so that we didn't go overboard on that and also got the nice white envelopes from Office Max and saved $ that way too- so we still had the nice invitations but cut costs a bit. Keep in mind we had to do two sets of invitaitons- one in English and one in Vietnamese....so for the Vietnamese ones we just did those on cardstock.

Consider the cost of stamps- it adds up extremly fast! Do you REALLY need to send out Save the Dates? If not- don't do it and just wait to send out the invitations and let people know about the wedding by word of mouth/etc if you're worried about them saving the date.

Definitely think about getting your Thank You notes from somewhere like Target- i got some really adorable ones from there for pretty cheap!!!

Look into the hidden expenses for potential honeymoon destinations - for a cruise for instance- you have options for different excursions/shopping/etc it adds up!

Some of the most expensive things for us were photos/video- and we didn't even pick out extravagant packages!.....Choose your vendors wisely and don't go overboard on the packages- it gets pricy! Our photographer was recommended to us by a friend- he is a professional and very good but he is also not as pricy as a lot of other ones in our area- he also gave us rights to all of the proofs- make sure you get your proofs! Definitely shop around and find someone you're comfortable with.

If you do offer childcare- be prepared for that added expense- also be prepared to ask parents if their children have any allergies so that you can post signs on the nursery doors. (we had to do that because one of the kiddos was deathly allergic to peanuts and we couldn't chance it). We did offer child care because we had tons of parents /kids invited to ours- so we wanted the parents to be able to enjoy the wedding but also be close to their kids so they were comfortable. It was not very expensive for us to offer that eithor since we got married at a church that already had a nursary.

Consider decorations for your cake table, the stage, other tables, wreaths for the doors,etc- it ALL adds up fast!

Make what favors/decorations you can- it'll save you $ in the long run. I'm a lisenced florist- so i did all of my reception flowers in nice silks to be able to make them ahead of time (do them my way), and also cut costs tremendously. Now i had my friend's shop do our fresh flowers for the ceremony/etc because it would just be too crazy to be putting fresh flowers together right before the wedding so that saved me stress and $ for me to do part and him to do part I loved it too he did an amazing job! I also got a pretty huge discount since we were both good design friends.....look around see who you know, see who might cut you a good deal but also do quality work.

We didn't have a band at our reception- we had a dj. The dj was actually one of the dispatchers for the police dpt where my husband works (he does it on the side) he cut us a huge deal and did an amazing job! We didn't have a soloist for the ceremony- but i did insist on an organist- because he was new to the area (just left new york) he only charged what their normal organist would (not much) so we also saved that way!

Also- if you do premarital counseling- they will tremendously discount the cost of your marriage lisence. We did premarital counseling with my pastor (because we honestly wanted to) but that was a nice perk!

Look into different venues- we thought for sure we had ours picked out several different times but things kept changing! We wound up getting married at my sister's church. They even gave us the member discount for renting the place- so we got to rent both the reception area and the santuary at a discount- it worked out really well and we also felt very comfortable there.

Don't forget the extra cost of your makeup,teeth whitening strips, hair appointments (definitely do a trial up-do!!!!!), hair spray, extra bobby pins, spray tanning,etc that you might need. It all gets pricy!

Have you guys thought about transportation after the wedding? We honestly didn't think we needed a limo or anything extravagant- so we just drove our own SUV home.

Don't forget about your cake topper eithor- that's another added expense as is having your flowers preserved after the wedding should you choose to do so. (if you do want a really cute topper though- www.topperswithglitz.com does an AMAZING job!)
Also don't forget something to cut the cake with (i wound up finding a really cute cake cutter set (you'll need one for the bride and groom cakes) at Garden Ridge (a craft store) very cheap- but it looked nice though!!!

Don't forget toasting flutes! Don't spend a fortune on them! I found a gorgeous little set at Gargen Ridge for ..........$1.99!!!!!!! They were all crystal and looked soo fancy- but were really inexpensive! I was so proud of those

You also have the costs of the ring pillow, flower baskets, baskets for your programs/favors. I got my ring pillow and flower baskets on sale at Davids Bridal ,but what we did with the baskets is if found some really cute baskets and then got white spray paint and painted them. Now they are perfect in our new home too!

Also remember the cost of the rings and getting your nails done if you get them fixed up.
post #6 of 8
I'm right there with ya We've been looking so hard for a venue, but everytime we think we've found the perfect place... out come the extra costs they didn't advertise. My only advise is to not be surprised if the cost changes if your booking awhile in advance, because the cost of everythinf seems to be going up, and nobody wants to commit to a price. Beware any 'liability' papers as well, they could say things were damaged that really weren't.
post #7 of 8
We are also looking at venues and stuff, we dont want to pay $100 a head for food and alcohol per person so we are going to this other fancy place, putting $2,000 on the tap, and then its $15 per head for cocktail food.
The Venue even told me i can bring my own decoration, i have already bought so much for the engagement party that i'm going to use it at the venue.

i am budgeting for a $5,000 wedding which is really really hard considering the original price rounded up to nearly $20,000. Yup I am expensive and I will be having half a princess wedding!

I am going to bridal stores tomorrow to try on wedding dresses, and get mine booked for australia in the style and colour i want YAY! iam getting the cheaper dress for $200 but the original dress i wanted was $2,000.

Also i would advise that each month you buy something or pay for something, this way its not a huge lump at the end.

I am also doing all the DIY invitations and stuff so its going to be much cheaper in the end.
post #8 of 8
Just ask what is included, what isn't included, and what sort of things they recommend you get on top of what they provide. The place we hired told us the sort of things we'd need to organise ourselves and were very helpful.
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