Now peps, I’m going to be a little cheeky and recycle a post I wrote for my own blog! My reasons for doing this are that I feel very passionate about this post and had some great feedback, and people said how helpful they found it. I have also added two other tips that at the time of writing it hadn’t crossed my mind!
Over the last few weeks, we have been booking our venues and checking that the registrar is free, etc.
Now, I must admit, I’ve never been one of those girls who has put a lot of thought into her wedding. I hadn’t really thought about what kind of wedding I would like until I met James and realized he was the one for me and that I wanted to marry him. Obviously, you have those conversations, “Would you like a church wedding, etc.?” with friends, but as for all the little details, like what kind of dress, colors, where, etc., I can honestly say I hadn’t really given it much though until this last year.
So, I have kind of entered this wedding planning with my eyes shut! Just after we got engaged, I sat down and compiled what I thought was a reasonable wedding budget. It was my rough guess at what everything would cost. I must say I wasn’t far off, and have probably over-estimated the cost of some things, just in case. However, the problem I am faced with is what I like to refer to as “The Hidden Wedding Costs.”
Now, in my wedding budget, I had included things like the venues, the cars, dress, bridesmaid dresses, suits, food, rings, and of course, booze! All the obvious things.
What I hadn’t taken in to consideration, was things like registrar fees (well I had, but I was about £200 out!), corkage (I shall go into this in more detail), glass hire, table hire, chair cover hire, and the list goes on. Now, you may be a savvy bride-to-be who budgeted for all these things. However, I happen to overlook these things when writing our budget.
So, this week, reality as hit me and it just happened to be in the form of the contract for our ceremony venue! Not that it was their fault. I think the contract is very reasonable and I’m happy with it, but in it, it did cover things like corkage. Now, I knew this was coming, but wasn’t quite prepared for at what cost! I think I’d had my head stuck in the clouds thinking it would only be a very small amount!
We had this romantic idea of driving over to France, doing a big booze run and saving ourselves a fortune. Now, looking at the situation, once you add corkage per bottle, it really doesn’t work out that much cheaper! I’ve found through my research over the weeks that the average price you are going to get charged per bottle of wine corkage is around the £5 mark. So, say you spend £5 per bottle on your booze run, and then you’ve got to pay for petrol, van hire and tickets. All in all, you will have spent at least £10 per bottle of wine. Most venues charge that to supply it to you without all the hassle of you going to get it. You really have to think about whether it is really going to be cheaper to supply it yourself, or is it an extra hassle you could do without????
I’ve put together a list of what I personally think are “hidden costs,” but I’m not by any means saying that everyone would have overlooked these costs and a lot of brides-to-be may not have. However, if you’re like me and only thought about the big things, you may find this helpful!
Registrar Fee’s. Be prepared to spend around £300. On top of that, you have your “giving notice” fee. This will be around another £30 each. You then have to pay for each wedding certificate individually, which will probably be around £12 each.
A hint when booking venues and registrars! If your area is anything like ours, you need to get in there quick when it comes to booking the registrar. I would highly recommend booking the registrar before handing over any deposit for a venue. Our area has lots of registrars, but only two books, and it’s the book that is important! So, if you have your heart set on a certain time of day, book it quickly! I missed out on the time of day I wanted, and I’ve booked over a year in advance!
Corkage. This is my massive bug bear! I don’t understand how venues can get away with charging so much per bottle for booze you’ve brought yourself! But it is one of those costs that, unfortunately, you will have to budget for! As I said before, the average corkage cost in our area is £5 per bottle. £1/£2 more per bottle of champagne. Now, even if you are going to serve Pimms as your welcome drink — we’re serving our’s after the ceremony while we have our photos taken — you will still get charged a corkage fee per bottle, and normally the same corkage fee that would apply to champagne. After a few calculations, serving Pimms seemed like the much more sensible option, as even if we’d brought a cheap £2 bottle of Bucks Fizz, allowing 2 glasses per guest, our corkage charges would have been close to £400!!!!!
Which brings me to my next hidden cost. Glass Hire. Now, a lot of these costs may not apply to you, as the venue will supply them, but for us, because our ceremony venue is somebody’s home, this will apply. There are lots of places, like Waitrose for example, that do glass hire for free, providing you cover the cost of breakages, of course.
Table Hire. Now, our reception venue is a village hall. They have tables, but square ones. I’m happy to line these up in two rows and cover with table cloths. Hubby-to-be however, wants round tables, which he says are more sociable, and he does have a point. To hire a round table that sits 8, you are looking at around £10 per table. When booking your venues, check these sorts of things. Ask them what tables they have, if they have table cloths, how many chairs they can supply. Is there somewhere you can put the tables when they are cleared away to make room for the dance floor? As I said, this may not concern you, and it depends on what sort of venue you are hiring.
Chair Covers. Some of you may not be bothered about chair covers, and to be honest, we can’t decide if we want them or not! I guess it depends on what type of chairs your venue has and if you think they need covering up or not! Look to pay around £1.50 per cover, and then they add-on costs for fitting them and travel, depending on what company!
Cutlery and Plate Hire. Another thing that may not concern you depending on your venue! I’m still looking into average hire costs for this.
Cleaning. Check with your venue if they charge you extra to clean away after you or if you have the option to do it yourself. If you can save money doing it yourself, ask some of the bridal party, friends and family if they wouldn’t mind helping out.
Wedding Insurance. I didn’t even know such things existed! And it seems that a lot of venues require you to have before you can book. It’s a good idea and well worth while, but yet something else I hadn’t considered. Look to pay around £33 for a wedding with a budget between £5-£10,000.
Now, these are just the costs that I have come across so far, and although they don’t sound like much when you say, “£5 here, £2 there”, you will be surprised how quickly that adds up into £100, and by the time you’re done, close to maybe a £1000 on things that you may possibly not have given much thought! I shall keep you posted on any other “hidden costs” I come across!
Since writing this post, there are a few other things that I have come across that can dramatically up the cost of your wedding!
VAT (Value Added Tax). Make sure when shopping around for different quotes that you ask if they include VAT and if it will be added on to the total cost. Some companies, depending on size, are not VAT registered, so therefore, it wont apply, but for the larger companies it will, so always double check! Being stuck with an extra 20% of the cost when you didn’t budget for it can causes some major money worries!
Setup fees. This applies to things like chair covers. Now, you maybe pretty artistic and crafty and manage to tie your sash in a fancy bow all by yourself, but some of the less fortunate might not be able to do this. Always check when you get your quote if it includes a setup fee, and if not, ask how much it will be.