Answers to the hidden costs (posted prior) which can save you $1000-$4000 depending upon the size of wedding. Hope it helps! Sign up for my free newsletter found on my website, for more helpful tips!

1. Avoid the extra hourly photographer’s charge by: KNOWING how long everything will take. Stick to your schedule for everyone’s sake (think about the possible “rubber chicken” if you don’t.) Still…. Ask, “Is there a fee if we run late?” You never know what they will say, but it takes the surprise out of the equation and could save you about $250 per hour over time.

2. Avoid the extra DJ/Band charges for the extra equipment by: letting them know the dimensions of the room prior to signing the contract. This way they shouldn’t have to add extra equipment to fill the room properly. Ask, “are there any other costs we’ve not discussed?”  Confirm what the final bill will be and save approximately a $250-$750 surprise.

3. Avoid the hidden charges for Invitations & extra Postage by: asking the stationers up front about shipping costs. Also ask, “Is my invitation envelope “standard” postage?” Be sure to consider all paper (directions, registry, notes) you may add in the envelope. Calculate the weight so you are not surprised in the end and save a $100-$500 shocker. If you are really good, consider the “thank you” cards while your at it.

4. Avoid the cake cutting fee by: going with the site’s cake. They’ll likely be able to accomplish your vision. If you’re set on your own baker, then find out what the fee is before you sign a contract with your venue. Don’t allow yourself to be surprised by an extra $300-$700.

5. Avoid being surprised by wedding dress alterations by: Before you purchase the gown, ask what their charges are for every alteration needed. Alterations are usually more expensive in the store. Find out what a local seamstress charges before you go gown shopping and avoid a possible couple $100 – $1000 added on.

6. Avoid the surprise of a coat-checking fee by: asking about what the coat checking standards are. Give them a good estimate of you total guest count. They may have union rules that could dictate the number of workers that are required (and the amount they get paid). Ask about the potential cost up front and if their is gratuity expected after. Possibly save $100-$250.

7. Avoid delivery fee charges from rental companies by asking if it includes delivery. Compare the less expensive chairs, linens, and other rentals the companies that include the delivery price in the “per item” line. Although one company may seem cheaper the more expensive company with no delivery charge could have a less expensive bottom line.

8. Avoid the service charge on the hotel bill for delivering the welcome bags  by: asking if there is a cost for receiving and delivering “welcome bags”. If so, ask if you can hand them to the clerk to be given when your guest is at the counter checking in….or you can always hand them out at your first meeting, usually the rehearsal dinner.

9. Avoid being surprised by taxes by considering the taxes as you go. When you are getting quotes, get the whole price (tax, shipping/delivery, set up/break down fees). If you pay the entire bill upfront, your vendor may consider a significant discount which will help to cover these costs. If you can, go for it!

10. Avoid the surprise that the “service charge” is not the “tip”: If they fail to mention the “service charge” ask them about it. Also ask them straight up if they will automatically factor in a gratuity. Basically, ask them what the final bill will look like when all is said and done. Ask, “please include all possible charges” and save hundreds.

FINAL NOTE: All in all, the recurring theme is to ask, ask, ask!  Get the bottom line, not the first line item. Get a real picture of each vendor’s final bill so that there will be no surprises. As the saying goes, “Rob from Peter to pay Paul” if you have to. You can compromise here and there to get what’s most important to you, but just don’t be surprised!