When you imagine your ideal wedding day, what comes to mind? Fresh vibrant flowers and the perfect lighting? You may even imagine your runner and the way your heels will feel on the dance floor when you dance with your new husband. Hold onto these thoughts, but don’t lose sight of your goal to keep your perfect day affordable

One aspect of weddings that a lot of couples don’t consider is how small, hidden expenses can add up quickly. And while we want our vendors to be upfront about everything, sometimes fees escape them or they might not mention some that could deter you from booking.

Even though this time can be stressful, remember that after your wedding, you can relax, spending time with the one you love, maybe even find the new, perfect apartment, and start a family.

In the meantime, reduce your stress by knowing how to prepare for the perfect day and saving where you can so you can afford the future you want.

Here are some expenses and tips for saving brides don’t always know about:

Always Keep Track of Quotes, Estimates, and Receipts

Hiring professionals will cut into your budget pretty quickly. Before you hire every professional you can think of, make a list of all the services you need before, on, and after your wedding day. Then prioritize what you must have. Do you need a videographer? You may find you do.

If a few of your guests or bridal party can help other expenditures, like decorating the venue the day before or cleaning up after, you may want to ask. A makeup artist, on average costs about  $100. Maybe your makeup artist friend could give you a discounted price as a ‘wedding gift.’

Hotel Delivery Fees

We’re not talking room service or having pizza delivered to your husband the night before the ceremony. Your venue may come with hidden delivery fees you may not have considered. Did you know that a lot of hotel venues will charge you a room delivery fee to drop off your welcome bags to your bridal party or relatives?

Ask ahead of time so a delivery fee doesn’t surprise you. You can always deliver the welcome favors yourself or ask a bridesmaid to assist.

Always ask your hotel if there are any fees you haven’t discussed or maybe forgot to ask about.

Taxes and Gratuity for Your Bookings and Services.

Make sure that your estimate includes any taxes you can expect to pay. Even though you’re renting chairs and table, you will still be charged sales tax.

Expect to supply your servers, bartender, musician, caterer, hair and makeup, driver,  and maybe your photographer a tip. If you factor this into your overall price, expect it to be about 10-15% of your overall budget.

Cleanup and Breakdown Costs

After the big day is done, your venue doesn’t magically clean itself. Venue staff will have to tidy up the dining area and the ceremony area to make sure it’s ready for the next happy couple. Sometimes venues will only give you an estimate or will keep some of your deposit if your guests make too much mess.

Make sure you ask upfront about these fees or what the expectation is so you’re not caught off guard. This also makes a great reminder for your guests when you say “good night.” Be sure to thank guests for coming and remark about how lovely the venue has been and you’ll hope they’ll help pick up a bit to make the lovely staff’s job a bit easier.

Hiring Your own Baker, Photographer, or Florist can Come with Fees

Most hotel and venue offer packages because they make a little off of the vendors they use. This can be a great way to save money, but always compare costs. If you decide to go with your own baker or florist, inquire with the venue if there is a charge for using outside professionals. Sometimes they charge you if you don’t go with their contractors to recoup the lost cost to them.

There’s also the infamous ’bride tax.’ Sometimes services take advantage of the fact that brides are willing to spend a little extra for the perfect day. When booking services and getting quotes don’t’ mention the word “wedding” before hearing a number. Call your wedding “an event,” then hold your contractors to their original quote.

If you say “wedding” and the price seems to creep up, this may be a sign you don’t want to work with this person. Ask for a quote, if it’s high, counter with your budget. See what they can do for you to maximize your money, rather than letting them ask you what your budget is upfront.

Get Recommendations

If your friend had the most beautiful bouquet you’ve ever seen, tell her. Then ask who did her flowers. You can even ask about price or if the vendor was able to do a payment plan. Some vendors, like florists, will work with you to set up a payment plan. This actually helps them during their slow times.

Ask your friends what it was like working with vendors and if there were any local vendors to avoid problems. The last thing you want is to book a musician that will cancel on you last minute, keep your booking fee, and leaving you scrambling for other talent and paying extra for booking last minute.

Reading reviews of venues and vendors can also help you steer clear of hidden costs and fees. Feeling scammed or ripped off is sure to make someone mad enough to leave a scathing review. Read through the reviews for your hotel to see if others have been tricked into spending extra.

Planning and budgeting for a wedding can be stressful. While you want the best, and deserve the best, make sure you’re not biting off more than you can afford when it comes to the cost. And don’t get caught off guard with hidden fees.

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