You've got the big picture — but when it comes to your wedding budget, did you remember all the details? "While couples are perusing Pinterest, they often forget about the small and less exciting, but equally important, details such as stamps and sales tax," says Jaclyn Fisher, owner of Two Little Birds Planning in New Jersey. Plus, last-minute line items have a way of weaseling their way into wedding planning unexpected. "In the beginning, the couple is choosing a date, venue, and vendors, so they aren't thinking about the little details like gratuities and vendor meals."
If you're worried you've forgotten to sock away savings for certain wedding costs, check this list against your budget.
Wedding gown alterations
A wedding dress isn't a complete purchase. "Brides often don't factor in the additional cost of alterations," Fisher says. Before you buy, "ask what type of alterations the shop recommends, as well as an estimated cost, before saying yes to the dress."
"Postage is a perfect example of a small but important detail that is often not thought about ahead of time," Fisher says. You'll need to slap stamps onto your save the dates, invitations, reply cards, and thank you notes. Pro tip: "Couples should take their invitations to the post office to be weighed to make sure they buy the right amount of postage," Jaclyn says.
Just as you would tip a taxi driver or waitress for excellent service, it's expected you show your financial appreciation to your wedding vendors, too. "Gratuities are expected for hair and makeup services, as well as transportation. And be sure to check your catering contract to see if gratuities are included," says Fisher. "If not, it's customary to tip the servers, bartenders, and maitre'd. When it comes to the rest of your vendors, tips are appreciated, especially for the vendors that go above and beyond."
Sales tax and service charges
"Sales tax and service charges can cause sticker shock because when couples get quotes from vendors they often include only the base price," explains Jaclyn. This not-so-fun cost almost always shows up for the first time on a final invoice. "Couples should read their contracts carefully, especially the venue and catering contracts, so they understand the bottom line price," Fisher advises.
If you plan on getting ready in a hotel room, you must book the night before your big day as well as the day-of, doubling your hotel costs. "Couples often forget to factor in hotel check-in time, which is too late in the day to accommodate the bride and groom getting ready," Fisher explains.
"Vendors are working hard and long days, so providing a meal for them is not only the nice thing to do, but it's often expected. Sometimes it's even in their contracts that the couple provide a 'hot meal' instead of the cold cut trays that some caterers and venues offer as their vendor meal," Fisher says. While the cost of each meal will vary, costs will add up quickly when you're feeding "two photographers, two videographers, and 10 band members."