I Spy With My Little Eye… Hidden Costs!

hidden costs

 Nirav Patel

Do you ever have that moment when you’re in a restaurant and a waiter asks you whether or not you want tea or miso soup, and you say yes without realizing you’ve just added an extra 3 bucks to your tab?

Yeah. I have those moments all the time. That’s why my wallet currently hates me.

And I’m pretty sure you, at some point during planning your wedding, have figured out that there are all these really annoying hidden costs associated with everything, from your venue tacking on really useless fees to cake-cutting fees (really? Really?? To just cut cake??). You initially planned out your budget to be around 5-20k, and would conveniently section off your

I’m going to play a little game and rattle every (legitimate) hidden cost I can think of and tally them up at the end. Here’s hoping that I break 50!

hidden costs


hidden costs

Brushfire Photography

  • Mandatory gratuity on ALL costs. I heard it can go up as high as 32.5%. That was not a typo, and if that doesn’t give you an aneurysm, I don’t know what will.
  • Licenses to get married on the beach and other areas. That’s an actual thing.
  • Using other areas that have not been explicitly rented out (eg. kitchen, fireplace, etc.).
  • Increase in overall price due to seasonal demand.
  • The cost of setting up equipment as well as renting out equipment in the first place (eg. tents, tables, linens,
  • lights, sound equipment, whatever you need)
    • Tents themselves aren’t that expensive to rent, but the floor will definitely cost you some ice.
  • Overtime charges — this applies not just to extending your wedding past the end of your reservation, but to the rest of the vendors who are still present at your wedding such as your DJ, band, servers, etc.
  • Fees for the service. This includes the waiters, bartender, people in charge of setting up, someone in charge of coat check, and even more. You might have to pay either a flat fee or an hourly wage.
  • Cleaning fee. This is a big one and can range from $100-$500.

So how do you get around these costs? Unfortunately, some of these costs will be unavoidable, so you’ll have to make sure to factor them into your budget. However, to make sure that the costs are minimized as much as possible, make sure you read EVERYTHING that they give you regarding reservation information, whether or not that’s the information packet or the contract itself. Make sure that before you put ink on that paper to make sure that all charges are laid out so you get an accurate guess of what costs are going to be like.

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Fun and Easy DIY Wedding Decorations


D. Lillian Photography

If you’re an avid Pinterest user or self-proclaimed DIY-er, then this post may just be for you. Now, it goes without saying that there are some things in your wedding that you can DIY and some things that you should never ever DIY. In case you’re having trouble remembering which is which, we have a post for that too! But, lucky for you, decorations ARE one thing that you can DIY, if you feel up for the challenge. And if that’s the case then do we have some DIY wedding decorations for you!

If you do choose to DIY some or all of your wedding decorations, it might be best to keep a few things in mind. For starters, think about the venue. A DIY wedding is probably better suited for a smaller, more intimate ceremony and reception (think small backyard wedding) rather than a grand ballroom wedding with 200+ guests. Do you really want to spend your wedding planning time making paper garlands to decorate an entire ballroom? My guess is no.

Think about seasons. Continuing with the paper garland idea, paper garlands are probably better suited for spring and summer weddings rather than winter weddings. Especially if you have an outdoor wedding. The last thing you’d want is for the rain to wash away all your hard work.

Remember to plan ahead and take your time. Don’t expect to be able to create all of your decorations in one night. Don’t leave them until the week before the wedding! Test and evaluate your project before you commit to the final product.

So, if you’re still up for a DIY wedding (or semi DIY wedding), then check out this list of DIY wedding decorations for ideas and inspiration!



Marianne Wilson Photography


Giuli & Giordi Photography


Green Wedding Shoes


Michelle Gardella Photography

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Win a Hand-Carved Stamp from Stamps by Sachi!


If you knew me (like, knew me to the point of my questionable morning beauty routine), you’d know that I have an obsession with rustic aesthetics and crafts. I have twine from my mom’s herbs & spice rack, craft paper from the Dollar Store (the cheaper, the more quaint I always say),  and put flowers in old pasta jars for crying out loud — how can I not love being all rustic and cutesy in my home?!? When I imagine my wedding, I think what gets me really excited is the thought of being able to design my invitations from scratch. But I also know that when I want thicker cotton-grade paper, the costs are going to go up — which means that I need to cut back on some parts of my dream invitations.

The answer to getting that aesthetic without sacrificing quality?

A: Stamps

The possibilities are limitless with stamps and your wedding paper, and you now have the opportunity to win a custom hand-carved couple portrait stamp of your very own from Stamps by Sachi! Sachi is a super cool gal who used to be an art teacher in Japan, so you know her stamps are the real deal just by looking at the attention and care that’s put into her work.

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After Your Wedding: Who to Thank and How


Darek Smietana via Confetti

I remember after my own wedding feeling overwhelmed with gratitude – for the people who came, for my parents’ help in the months and weeks leading up to it, for our wonderful officiants, for my husband’s aunts who played the piano and sang during our ceremony, and my grandmother for making my wedding dress. I could go on and on, and even now I still feel I should thank them all again for making our day so special!

Like most brides, I was planning to send thank you notes for the gifts we received, but I knew those would take more time and it might be a few months before our guests received those. In the days and weeks following our wedding, I was so grateful that people had come to help us celebrate that I wanted to send a little token of my appreciate. In the blur after our wedding, I wish I had had a reminder of who to thank and when after the big day was over. I’m not sure anything could have helped convey exactly how overwhelmingly grateful I was for everyone who helped, but at least it would have given me a good place to start!

wedding party

Focus Photo Inc. via Wedding Chicks

Bridal Party

You likely thanked them in person on the day, and perhaps before your wedding, but your list of little thank you’s can start with your bridal party. Start by sending them a quick text message from the airport on the way to your honeymoon, and follow that up when your return with a handwritten thank you note and a few printed snaps of you and your girls.

If options Printic had been around, it would have been a great option – you just download the free app to your phone, then choose photos that Printic sends directly to whomever you want. It’s inexpensive and fast and will put such a smile on your ‘maids’ faces while you zip away on honeymoon!


Brumley and Wells via Magnolia Rouge

Parents and Grandparents

One of the best ways to thank parents and grandparents is to get photos printed for them quickly – they want to show their friends and family who couldn’t make it to the wedding well before you get your photos back from your photographer.

Consider putting together a little printed album from Instagrams of the day that your parents can see a little sooner, and you can even include a message in the front with thanks for their help! Artifact Uprising has beautiful options for soft cover books that won’t take you long to compile from your phone photos before you have the professional ones in hand.

Officiants and Vendors

We had officiants and vendors who went above and beyond to help make our day perfect, and now that I’ve been working in the wedding business for a few years, I know exactly how much it means for them to hear your gratitude once the day is over. We sent handwritten thank you notes and a sweet treat to each of ours, just to thank them for going the extra mile.


Bryce Covey Photography via Style Me Pretty


Your wedding wouldn’t have been the same without all of the people who came on the day to watch you tie the knot, and we all know just how hard and expensive it can be to make it to a wedding. We had friends and family come all the way from Ireland and California to Maine! And we couldn’t have been more grateful that they went to all that trouble and expense.

We sent handwritten thank you notes for each gift we received, but that took a few months to accomplish. I wish we had done something to say thank you that was separate from the gifts and a little sooner after the wedding. We recently attended a wedding and a few weeks later, the bride sent a handwritten note just to say thank you for coming. It was so sweet and exactly what I would do if I could turn back time!

A Few Thank You Don’t’s

Saying thank you can almost never go wrong (who doesn’t love a thank you?!), but keep a these few tips in mind:

  • You don’t want to wait too long to send this type of impromptu thank you, within a week or two.
  • Handwritten notes are more special than email, but for this informal type of thank you, do whichever you have time for in the busy weeks after your wedding.
  • The idea is more to give an extra dose of gratitude, so remember to keep notes heartfelt and not formulaic. If you feel yourself getting tired of writing them, put them down and pick them up when your mind is fresh!

Do you have anything special planned to thank people who helped you make your dream wedding come true? We’d love to hear your ideas for creative ways to thank everyone who helped and made that day special!

em_westbrooks_175Emily Westbrooks is an American-born writer and blogger based in Dublin, Ireland. She is the Online Editor for Confetti Magazine, one of Ireland’s top bridal magazines. She also writes her own lifestyle blog, From China Village, where she chronicles her adventures in Dublin, travels around Europe, DIY projects and Irish design. She shares her home with her husband, one cat, and four sassy chickens!