Top unexpected wedding costs – and how to anticipate them!

Morning everyone! Today on Under the Vintage Veil we’re talking money. One of the biggest budgeting mistakes we made was to ignore the… well, I hesitate to say “hidden extras” because that implies some sort of deception… but on your wedding planning journey you’ll certainly come across costs that weren’t in the original quote, or that you weren’t expecting or didn’t account for.

So, if your budget is a little optimistic (like ours was!) here are some of the top costs you might not have prepared for:

Dress alterations

Unless you are the luckiest bride on the planet, your dress may need a little nip or tuck somewhere. The cost of your alterations really depends what kind of alterations you are having, so these are possibly harder to budget for, but depending on the amount of work, standard alteration costs seem to be anywhere between about £40 for a hem adjustment to £200 for more extensive work.

If you’re paying for bridesmaids / mother of the bride dresses as well, be aware that alterations may be necessary. These are likely to be less expensive, particularly if you’ve bought high street dresses or dresses that are relatively simple to adjust, but to be safe I would budget £15 per dress for alterations as it’s unlikely you’ll need to alter all of them and one may cost more than others.

Three little letters… VAT

Some companies add VAT to their services. Most wedding companies will make this clear. Some won’t. We had a horrible shock with one of our suppliers when VAT was whacked on at the last minute because we didn’t read the fine print.

I’m always very wary of companies that didn’t mention VAT in their initial quote or put it in very fine print on their website. I think it’s important for the working relationship between the couple and the business for there to be complete transparency. The company in question added about £500 to our quote, and while I would have been happy to pay that, I hadn’t accounted or saved for it and we had to find the money elsewhere, leaving a really bitter taste in our mouths.

Before you decide to use a supplier, ALWAYS ask if a quote includes VAT and get everything in writing to refer back to.

You may be feeding your suppliers, as well as your guests. Image © Satureyes

Venue corkage charges

If you’re planning to bring your own booze, beware of the dreaded corkage charge! You may be planning to cut costs with a booze cruise, but venues can sometimes charge around £10 – £12 per bottle. Before you book a venue, decide if this is a dealbreaker for you and make sure you ask about corkage fees.

Meals, accomodation and travel for suppliers

Some suppliers may be coming from further afield and may ask for travel, accommodation or food costs, or to be fed at the venue. Most suppliers will have this in their contract, but make sure you don’t disregard these costs and agree how much is reasonable in advance and in writing to avoid any awkward scenarios later on.

General tips for making sure your budget covers everything:

Always ask for the cost of anything you can think of. Hidden costs can be found everywhere and it’s important to make sure you find out about them before you’re tied into a contract. For example, our back-up ceremony room had a huge piano in it with a dusty cover on top. I said the piano wasn’t so bad but the cover completely detracted from the look and feel of the wedding. As it turns out there was (I kid you not) a “£50 retuning fee” if we chose to have the piano moved. Somewhat naively we had assumed that we were paying for an empty room and those costs were covered. Eventually a compromise was reached and a smaller piano with no cover was put in its place (no idea what happened to the retuning fee) but the idea of extra £50 costs popping up out of nowhere here and there before the wedding was worrying.

Even time costs money – don’t assume your venue will let you in a couple of hours early or let you out a couple of hours late free of charge. We ended up a few hundred quid out of pocket that way as we didn’t realise how long a marquee would take to set up, so make sure you understand exactly how long everything takes before you sign a contract.

Similarly marquees are a hotbed for hidden costs – often things like windows cost a great deal extra and every new item you add contributes to the overall cost and the VAT.

Get everything in writing. Carry a computer / tablet with you and agree costs on the spot. Make sure you email immediately to agree the new costs / costs for new items so that someone can’t go back on a great deal later – and that can happen.

Be pessimistic with your budget and always budget for the worst-case scenario. I’d say go £100 – £200 (if you can stretch to it) over with each supplier. The worst-case scenario is that you’ll end up with extra budget at the end for last-minute goodies!

Most wedding suppliers are completely upfront about any extra costs – but sometimes you do have to go digging to find out if you’ll be paying more than is advertised or quoted. Stick to your guns, make sure you argue with anything you think is totally unreasonable and write everything down to avoid any nasty surprises! Good luck!

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