One would think “all” means–well, all— when buying an all-inclusive wedding package. Unfortunately, the definition varies for each venue. If you are not wary, your final cost may vary substantially from what you expected.
To avoid sticker shock be sure to have a detailed conversation about what is (and is not) included in your package price and any additional fees that may apply. Also, read the contract carefully and ask questions about gray areas. Sadly, whoever you are speaking with will not necessarily disclose everything.
Here are some tips for getting the most for your all-inclusive dollars and circumventing surprise charges.
1. If you are having the reception at a hotel, make it clear you will reserve a block of rooms for out of town guests. This puts you in a better position to negotiate extra fees out of your contract and get additional discounts.
2. Ask if tips are included. Bartender, waitperson, and other service tips can add substantially to the cost.
3. Confirm your price includes all support staff needed for set-up, serving, and clean-up.
4. If you are putting together welcome bags, discuss if there are any fees associated with holding or delivering them.
5. Talk cake. Whether you bring in your own or use their baker can affect the cost, as will the size and construction, of the cake.
6. There may be an extra cake cutting and/or plating charge.
7. If applicable, see if they will throw in decorations, linens, or other supplies from the hotel for no extra charge. It’s no extra cost to them and saves you money.
8. Be clear on time limits and additional prices if you run over.
9. Understand the parking arrangement. Is valet included or will they add extra? Are there charges for guest parking?
10. Don’t forget about taxes. They add up. Figure it out when discussing costs and explicitly add them as dollar-amount line items to your quotes.
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