You may have calculated costs for every item on your list—or have you?
By Danielle Bouchat-Friedman
You and your fiancé finally decided on a reception space and just handed over a sizable deposit. But now you are second-guessing yourself: Are the linens included? Is there a cake-cutting fee?
There are many fees associated with a wedding that clients do not anticipate, including gratuities. Jeffrey Robinson, general manager at Deerfield Golf Club in Newark, Del., says the venue doesn’t surprise couples with hidden fees. “If the maître d’ or banquet captain goes above and beyond the day of the wedding, then the couple may want to apply an additional gratuity, but it is already tacked into the package,” says Robinson.
Deerfield prices each item on its menu individually. Many places will charge couples for the most expensive item they choose to serve, perhaps $120 apiece when some of the meals chosen are only $110. So if a couple is inviting 200 people and a venue decides to charge each guest for the most expensive item, money is being spent on food that is not served.
Lisa Goller Gratrix, director of catering for White Manor Country Club in Malvern, Pa., says overhead costs for the venue and catering should be explained to the couple in a timely manner. “These percentages should be front, line and center in any materials and menus. Service charge covers the labor to bring in staff,” she says.
Goller Gratrix says a couple must remember to budget the cost of add-ons. For example, valet per hour and floral delivery charges, because all these things add up. “The supporting cast needs to be compensated for their time and service.”