Thursday, 21 April 2011

Hidden Costs

You’ve got the ring, you’ve set a date and have hundreds of ideas for your Wedding; but do you have any idea of how much any of it is going to cost you? With the average UK Wedding costing around £22,500.00 it’s important to know that you are spending your cash wisely. Not many of us have limitless amounts of cash available that will allow us to have everything that we’ve ever dreamed of. So finding ways to make your budget stretch and work harder for you is paramount to saving some of your hard earned cash. I have met many brides who think they have it all worked out but have forgotten to add in the hidden costs associated with a wedding….
This list isn’t exhaustive, but it will give you an idea of what to look out for .


Surprisingly there are still couples who think that getting married in church is free! No. At the moment it costs £299.50 for a Church of England Wedding. This covers the church ceremony, the reading of the banns and your marriage certificate. If you want choristers, an organist or bell ringing then you will have to pay extra for this. Prices vary according to each church so you need to ask your vicar for a quote as soon as possible so you can factor in these costs.

If you want to have a civil ceremony the costs vary depending on where you live. It’s important to note though that the cost will be significantly higher if the registrar attends your chosen venue to conduct the ceremony, rather than marry you at the local register office. Presently the costs for getting married in Northumberland are £25.00 non-refundable booking fee, £33.50 notice of marriage for both parties, £43.00 for registry office marriage including certificate. A total of £135.00
By comparison you will need to add extra fees if you wish the registrar to conduct the ceremony at a licenced venue currently these fees are
£295.00          Mon – Fri
£350.00          Sat
£405.00          Sun
£455.00          Bank Holiday
You will still have to pay the booking fee and the notice of marriage fees so costs will range from £387.00 to £547.00.

Marriage Certificates cost £3.50 each before the wedding day, but that rises to £7.00 after the wedding and can go up to £9.00 once the register had ben archived. So be prepared; work out in advance who will need copies of your marriage certificates (banks, passport office, DVLA etc) and order them before the wedding. It’s not a huge amount of money but if you need a couple of copies each it’s better to be prepared and keep the cash in your pocket.
You may well have found the dress of your dreams within your budget; however, you need to remember that many brides will lose at least a little bit of weight prior to their big day, which often means that their dress will need to be altered. This can add at least £150.00 on top of your dress and can be significantly more if your dress is an intricate design. It’s not just your dress either, remember to cost in any alterations that need to be made to your Grooms outfit too!
Flowers can take up a large part of your budget but you need to remember to ask if there will be a charge for setting up at your church or venue, usually florists will charge a fee based on the distance they have to travel from their workshop to the venue, but you should check beforehand what their fees are. Also if you are having your floral arrangements moved from the church to your reception venue then you need to factor in this additional cost too. Ask your florist of the charges beforehand so that you know how much you have to spend on the actual flowers.
Choosing stationary for your wedding can be exciting. However, if you decide to have a bespoke design this is going to cost you extra. You will have to factor in the cost of the initial design as well as the cost of each item that you are having made. Remember too to ask if envelopes are included, I have heard of some brides to be getting a nasty shock when the prices of the envelopes were added to the bargain invitations! You must also remember to include the cost of the postage when sending out the save the date, invitations and thank you cards, for a wedding with 100 guests this can add another £54.00 if you send them second class, though this can be much more if you have a large or heavy invitations. If you are sending invitations abroad this will also cost you more so sit down and work this out before you chose your designs.
If you have a number of professionals that will be providing services throughout your special day such as photographer, videographer, musicians etc. you need to remember that they will need feeding too! You shouldn’t feel obliged to provide them with the same meal as you are providing your guests with but you should ask your venue to provide a basic meal for them which could be something simple that will cost about half of what you are providing for your guests. This needs to be added to the final bill.
You should also note that if musicians are being filmed as part of the proceedings they are entitled to ask for a higher fee. You need to establish if this is the case before you book them and get it in writing.
You may think that a booze cruise is a way of saving a fortune on your alcohol costs, but many venues will charge you corkage for bringing your own. Check out the venues policy before you book your ferry trip!
Check what services the venue supplies as standard. If you want something different this is going to cost you. Chair covers, linens, crockery & cutlery soon add up. If at all possible try and work with what the venue has to offer otherwise you will need to add these extra costs onto the venue costs.
Venues can cost you an arm and a leg, but you really need to check the small print to see what’s included in the price. I recently had one poor Father of the Bride who was in a state of shock when he realised that the room hire alone was going to cost £4000, he had assumed that as he was paying £125.00 per head for the guests that the room hire would be included in that price. So please do check. You also need to check if there will be a service charge added some venues can charge up to a 12.5% gratuity on top of the costs. It pays to be vigilant when going through your contract and if you are not sure then ask, ask, ask until you are happy with the answer.
Many venues have minimum price per person, so if say the venue holds 80 but you’re only inviting 70 your going to be paying for an extra 10 guests that aren’t there! It pays to choose a venue appropriate for the number of guests to avoid incurring any unnecessary charges.
If you are having a marquee for an outdoors wedding have you remembered to factor in the cost of securing it? Especially important if it is to be erected a day or so before the ceremony and if it’s somewhere other than your backyard! You should also factor in the cost of insuring the marquee against any damage, either to the structure itself or to the generator, fixtures or fittings, cover can cost from £75.00
Remember to add in the cost of lighting for your marquee? It can be quite dark in there even on a summer day!
Check that coat check costs are included especially if you are hiring an outside caterer.
It’s all too easy to forget to budget for things like underwear, jewellery and thank you gifts for all of your Wedding attendants and both sets of parents! You need to work out what you can afford to spend and include this in your budget.
You should also include a contingency budget of roughly 10% of your overall budget just to cover anything that arises unexpectedly (Yes there is always something you had forgotten to add) and if you are terribly good and don’t use it you can have a nice treat after the wedding !


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