Nothing can bust your wedding budget like hidden costs or fees. Before you sign off with your selected wedding vendors, it's important to know exactly to what you're agreeing. Now, we're not saying you have to take these contracts to a lawyer, but make sure you read through them carefully to be completely confident in your decisions before you enter into a legally binding agreement. Keeping an eye out for these four contract items can ensure there will be happy campers all around come your big day.
Sales tax, use tax, food tax, and more — there are a bunch of different tax laws and percentages and it varies state to state. It's important to double check if taxes are included or calculated post-purchase when dealing with vendors, as tax on larger purchases add up quickly! If you're using out-of-state vendors, it's especially important to brush up on tax exemptions and state rules and regulations, as sometimes you can save money and other times you'll end up paying more. Either way, taxes should be one of the first items discussed before decisions are made final. Your still-in-the-green budget will thank you.
Many vendors will include a pre-calculated gratuity or service fee, and others will not. Some vendors will mandate it within their pricing, and others will only offer suggested percentages. Either way, it's super important to figure out (and budget for) gratuity before you sign a contract with any vendor you plan to tip. If you disagree with prepaying tips or you feel the accounting is a bit off, speak up before you sign and make it official.
Ask for clarification on any and all terms and phrases that are ambiguous, or are not clear. "Additional costs possible", "Estimated cost", "Subject to change", and "plus set up and delivery" are just some of the red-flags to look out for before you sign on the dotted line. Contracts are legally binding, which means they should be explicitly stated and carefully worded. If there is any room for interpretation, clarify it with your vendors and ensure the contract is re-worded (in writing!) based on what you agree upon.
Vendor Meals, Travel, and Accommodations
With weddings being 6, 8, or 10 hour affairs (maybe even more!) certain vendors that are with you the entire time may expect meals, travel costs and/or accommodations provided for them on your dime. Prior to agreeing to this (FYI — within reason, it is proper etiquette) look into what this will cost you to ensure you stay within your budgets. Most venues and caterers offer vendor meals at a discounted price than your per-person cost, but meals, tolls and travel can quickly add up. Being prepared will make contract time run smoothly and keep your budget intact.