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Hidden wedding fees


Hidden Wedding Costs

There's always a point during the planning process when you look at your budget, scratch your head and wonder how the heck you came to that big number at the bottom. And it starts with unanticipated costs.

Wedding Planner's are pros at helping navigate these extra expenses and how to avoid them if possible. One of the many perks of having a professional on-board from the get-go, is their vendor discounts which can also help offset these pesky costs. 

So what did you forget, you ask?! -Let me enlighten you while offering some tips.



One word. Costly. Depending on your dress you can guarantee the smallest adjustment will cost you anywhere from $80 to $120. Tack on another $30 to $40 for dress hoop rentals and petty coats. 

TIP: Bring your wedding shoes to your final fitting. Remember, when your walking in your dress, keep your head up while looking straight ahead. Once you look at the floor your body naturally leans forward and you will trip on your hem. This is really important to remember during your fitting!!!  I've had a bride who hemmed her dress too short because she wasn't informed by the dress maker. Hence a $120 mistake.



Sorry girls, they aren't free :(  And if it gotta ask yourself why! I most certainly wouldn't bypass a trial to save some moulah. So be prepared to pay $65 - $80 for a makeup trial and $80- $100 for hair. 

TIP: Negotiate! Don't be afraid to ask if a portion of the trial cost can be discounted on your final bill if you decide to book their services. 



It may come as a surprise to you, that having your Officiant present to facilitate  your ceremony rehearsal is an additional fee. In Ottawa we tend to see the cost being around $100 to $150. If you have a wedding planner, you really don't need your officiant present. The most important part is physically going through the motions of walking down the aisle to timed music, where and how to stand and important cues. All of this is quite manageable without your officiant.



Be careful what you order! Too often I've seen up-lighting that just didn't make an impact because the room was too big, the lights were too small or the lumens weren't bright enough. All this means you'll have to upgrade what you originally had to actually achieve the look you want.  You could be looking at double the cost. Yikes!



Not every venue provides votive candles on dinner tables. Candles make a huge difference during dinner and provides a nice warm glow later in the evening. Without them your room will look dark and sometimes uninviting. 

TIP: Ask your venue:) If they don't provide them be sure to get a tealight with a burn time of at least 6 hours. Buy extra so your wedding planner can replace them as needed!  Do NOT buy "soy" candles. They wax turns to liquid and keeps the flame super tiny and ever so faint looking. 



Some venues such as the Museum of Nature and the Chateau Montebello require insurance and special permits when using certain spaces. Depending on what's required you could be looking to upwards of $250.

TIP: It should be outlined in your contract but you should always ask. 



Gone are the days when a complimentary tasting was something you always ticked off your list as a to-do. Now days it's just not that simple. Many establishments have embraced the a once annual "group tasting". Places like the N.A.C and the Shaw Center have adopted this method with a ticket fee of aprox. $20 per person. Some banquet halls such as Orcharview Wedding & Conference Center still include a private tasting. 



They're silly. This fee only applies to establishments which play music. It doesn't mater if the radio is being played by the venue or if it's a D.J. Disc jockeys do pay additional royalty fees which does not include Socan. Either way there's no getting around this $50-$120 fee. 



These can add up like crazy! Expect to pay a delivery fee for just about everything, even your cake. On average for smaller vendors we tend to see a $20 delivery fee, for larger vendors like florists, they may include their delivery with their set-up cost- typically $150 +. For time sensitive deliveries for lounge furniture expect $40 for a 9am-12am delivery and $80 and for a "one hour window" between 5pm -6pm, $80. But it doesn't end there! LATE NIGHT PICK UP... anywhere from $150 +. Oh but wait! If you're out of town you may be looking at double. Some vendors require you pay their parking as well. I must stress though, that NOT every vendor has these fees so make sure you ask so your not unpleasantly surprised.



This is a thing. Read your contracts front and back because you could see an increase of up to %10 on your food & beverage order. It's important to discuss locking in your prices before you sign on the dotted line. This increase can be quite costly and unexpected!! 



When your doing your seating arrangements it's important to consider how many people your placing at each table. Most venues have two table sizes, 60" round which seats 8 comfortably and 72" which seats 10ppl. Different table sizes means different linen sizes. If you put a 60" round table cloth on a 72" table for 10ppl, your linen will drop to about 1ft off the ground which leaves you with table feet showing. And obviously there is a price change of about $8-$12.

TIP: Not every linen company has their linens in both sizes so be sure to pick a linen where they have both sizes available.


I love DJ'S that include projectors in their packages! It's a huge bonus and I know they'll have the appropriate necessities. But here's the reality around these pesky pieces of technology. If you have a Mac....well it's 50/50 that your laptop will communicate with the projector. I wish I could say it's as easy as going to Best Buy and getting an adapter, but that's just not a reality. I can't tell you how many times these "after market" adapters have failed me before and during slideshows. And it's not just one thing. It could be as simple as your laptop  knowing that it only has limited resources while running on batteries, thus, will disable all "unnecessary" connected hardware (i.e. your projector). It can even be a case where your laptop isn't able to "shake hands" with the projector. With all this being said sometimes we tend to forget about the "music" component. I know how hard it is time the music properly with slides. Unfortunately projectors don't come with speaker so if your screen is located too far from your DJ's equipment, you'll need to rent a P.A System which can cost an additional $150 buckaroos. 



I wouldn't call this a hidden fee anymore. Most people know about it since the wave of cupcakes, mini cakes and donut alternative hit the wedding industry by storm. Typically a cake service fee is $1.50 per person.

TIP: Some venues may try and get away for charging you for every guest in attendance. Instead ask for only 20 pieces to be dished out on your late-night table, add & bill if more cake is requested. The chances you'll have everyone wanting a piece of your cake is pretty slim. Don't shake your head at me! It's the truth. If you your mom tells you otherwise she's incorrect :) 



Not that there is a surcharge but out of season flowers will most likely be coming straight from Holland. Perfect example! Peonies in season retail at $5 - $8 a bloom whereas off season, if we can get them, they'll be small and $15 a stem. 



We all gotta eat, And let me tell you, after working 12 hours on my feet with another 6 hours to go...a vendor meal is greatly appreciated! A vendor meal doesn't need to be the same as your guest meal. Anything wholesome will suffice. 

TIP: Never seat your vendors with guests. Typically during a meal i'll be getting up and running around cue'ing speeches and fixing behind the scenes problems. This can be very disruptive to your dinner guests if we're sitting at the same table! 



Ahhh yes the secrete behind "Why is wine so expensive compared to the LCBO?". Well here's your answer. Venue's also purchase their wine from LCBO and pay the same price as you and I. They also pay a gallonage fee.  Then of course they would like to make a little bit of profit and voila! Your $14 LCBO wine is now $30. Some venues order directly from wine reps which is an entirely different scenario. The alternative is bringing in your own wine and paying a corkage fee. This can be $10 - $15 per 750ml bottle. If you try and sneak by with 1L bottles then you could be looking at $20-$25 a bottle. 



If you know me, any of my brides can tell you I'm always calling the M.O.H in the am to make sure the bride is eating! It's a standard call I always make first thing. You need good snacks too though right!?! So it may cost you a bit more to get the yummy healthy stuff the bide will be able to stomach. 



I'll be writing a whole blog post about this in the coming weeks so stay tuned! 


So that's it folks! I could go on for hours and I'm sure there are hidden fees I've forgotten to add. The lesson to be learned here is to keep informed and that no question is silly. If you've ever run into a crazy hidden fee we didn't mention feel free to post it below in the comment section. We'd love to hear them!