Tips to eliminate last minute budget busting

As you sit down to prepare your vow renewal budget, it’s easy to remember the large categories, such as the venue, catering, flowers, cake, and, of course, attire. However, there are certain things that often get overlooked and can add up to an unpleasant surprise if not planned for properly. Here are some of the most common expenses couples overlook that you should include in your budget.

1. Tips

Before you sign any of your vendor contracts, make sure that they specify whether gratuity is included. Tips can add up quickly at a rate of 15-20 percent of your vendor contracts if unplanned for and not included. Generally, vendors who own their businesses don’t expect tips. It’s also not necessary to tip your officiant. However, when it comes to the reception venue, you should ask the site manager about the policies for tipping the waitstaff, bartenders, coat checkers, powder room attendants, and parking valets. Many catering companies already include tips, which they divide up between the workers, but you’ll want to verify this with them as well. If tips aren’t included, expect to pay between 15 and 20 percent of the total catering bill. Also, those who deliver the flowers and the cake should also be tipped between $5 and $10.

2. Cake-Cutting Fee

If you’re bringing in a cake made by your own baker, the reception site may charge you a cutting fee that will add up to be about a dollar per slice. Keep in mind that most reception sites won’t charge a cake-cutting fee if you order directly from their cake vendor.

3. Corkage Fee

Because alcohol is very lucrative for venues, most places will try to deter you from bringing in your own wine by charging a high corkage fee. If you’re planning to buy alcohol from outside, ask the venue what the corkage fee is. Typically, you may charged an additional $10 to $25 for each bottle that’s opened, which likely will eliminate any savings you were anticipating, if not end up costing you more.

4. Parking

Your guests shouldn’t be responsible for any parking costs. Ask the reception site what the parking costs are and budget in the adequate amount for validations, as well as tips for the valets.

5. Overtime Fees

Make plans for wrapping up your party at the time you have agreed upon with your vendors or be prepared to pay a significant overtime fee. Be sure to ask your reception site what the rules are if you go over your allotted time and make sure any overtime costs are clearly spelled out in all of your vendor contracts. This way you can plan accordingly how to wrap up the evening or how much additional cost you can expect to pay at the end of the night.

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