The Single Biggest Mistake Brides Make When Planning Their Wedding Budget

wedding costs
Photo by Tamytha Cameron Photography

The single biggest mistake you’re most likely to make when creating a wedding budget has nothing to do with underestimating the price of your wedding dress or wedding shoes or even your wedding food. While wedding catering costs overall can be surprising to couples planning their wedding, one of the biggest costs brides and grooms leave out are taxes and service charges. Yup! Boring ol’ taxes.

As boring as they might be, taxes and gratuity can eat up a HUGE amount of your budget, adding an additional 25-30%++ in most cases to your venue and food/beverage costs in particular. And where you live can be a big factor for this, as sales taxes vary across the country. For instance, Chicago has one of the highest sales taxes rates in the country (9.5%), while Portland has the lowest (none!).

Most couples don’t know that many wedding venues often have to charge a sales tax on the wedding venue fee itself (something we always calculate into our wedding venue reviews), unless they are considered a non-profit. Also some venues will work it into your per person wedding package cost, too.

Gratuity and service charges are something that most couples have to pay regardless of where they live (unless they are self-catering a wedding), and it can add up. Gratuity (also known as an Administrative Fee) on a $10,000 food and beverage cost can range from 18-25% and up, which means you’re looking at an additional $1,800-$2,400. Ouch.

So, before you fill in that last wedding budget line, remember to add in your taxes and gratuities!


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