Month: January 2013

Hidden Wedding Costs

The newly engaged have been ringing our phone lately. While planning a wedding and all the elements that go with it is a big part of what we do, just as important is providing information to couples.

We work with couples to develop a budget and make sure they don’t get caught by those pricey pitfalls that most don’t think about. So here are some things to consider so you don’t get caught up in hidden costs:

Image1. Entertainment – Extended playing time, a large venue requiring additional equipment, or asking a band or DJ to provide music for your cocktail hour or ceremony can add costs.  Before you book any entertainment clearly explain the layout of the space, know what is to be provided and when. If they want to add in extra equipment or charges make sure you understand why it’s necessary before you sign a contract.

2. Postage – Most don’t consider this cost when ordering their invitations. Simpler invites are often cheaper. Oversized, awkwardly shaped and bulky invitations will cost you more the send and get back. If you want to save, skip multilayered cards, which can bulk up quickly.

Alterations – The cost of a wedding dress usually doesn’t include alterations or steaming. It takes time and money to have it done. A simple hem can be  less than $100, but completely rebuilding a bodice or moving zippers can be more than $500.  Be sure you know what the charges will be for alterations before you purchase a gown.

Encores – So many time a reception is about to end and the couple doesn’t want it to. Ask your entertainment to do a few more songs and delaying the venue staffing from cleaning up will cost you. Some venues won’t even allow it. Factor in plenty of time for getting dressed and taking  photos and create a realistic timeline. Get overtime costs in writing ahead of time so you’ll know the cost to keep the party going.

Delivery Fees – Chairs, linens, flowers all have to be delivered and often times the fees to do so are not included upfront. Fees can be from $50-$500. With rising fuel costs many companies are raising such fees. Ask about the fees. You might save money by renting items from a  more expensive company that includes delivery costs at no extra charge.

Taxes and Tips – Uncle Sam will be a part of your wedding like it or not. Often pricing does not include tax. As for tips to vendors it customary to tip those who work hard to make your wedding wonderful. Our advice to clients is to add a third of your total costs to your budget for tips and taxes.

Cake and Cork Fees – This cost depends on your venue.  If your cake and drinks are provided by your reception site there should not be any additional charge. However, occasionally having an outside baker or bringing in drinks can raise the price. Your venue’s workers are responsible for  slicing and serving each piece, then cleaning the dishes and should be paid for such.

Cleanup – You should only have to consider this if you’re paying a flat fee to rent a space.   Anticipate fees for garbage removal, freight elevator use and cleaning. Most full-service venues require same-day setup and cleanup. So if you’re getting married on a weekend, expect to pay time and a half for labor, and if  your party goes into the wee hours of the morning, you may face extra charges for cleanup.

Outside Vendors – Many venues have a list of prefered or exclusive vendors. These vendors will often pay a percentage of their income back to the venue and you are required to use them. If you wish to use someone who is not an approved vendor there may be a fee of 20 percent or more.

Know what your costs are upfront so there are no surprises. A professional wedding planner can help you avoid the extra costs and often obtain better pricing for clients. Contact us for more information


Tech Trend for 2013

The start of a new year is a good time to look back and forward. A time to learn from mistakes and chart your course ahead.  For event planners that means doing a bit of planning for ourselves.

After several years of bad press on meetings and spending, the corporate events market may be poised for expansion, according to a recent article in Successful Meetings. Analysts from independent research firm Aberdeen Group have estimated spending on corporate events to rise by 20% over the next 2 years. With around 200 million people attending 1.8 million events at a direct cost of $263 bil. in 2011, the industry is central to many businesses who spend on average around 9% of their budgets on meetings and events. This is good news for those of us in meetings and events.

The ACTIVE Network, who provides businesses with tools for companies to get the most out of events, including mobile applications for trade show floors, are the ones responsible for highlighting these 5 trends they see transforming the corporate event industry over the next 12 months.

Smarter Events: Only about a quarter of companies actually look at what their spending on events compared to actual budgets according to ACTIVE Network senior vice president of business solutions, JR Sherman. “in 2013, we expect to see more organizations choosing event technology that helps them increase efficiency, extend engagement and grow their business across various types of events in their portfolio”

Increased Automation from Strategic Meeting Management (SMM): Just like automation has fueled efficiencies in sales, marketing and  customer service, companies can use new Strategic Meeting Management tools to increase automation in the events industry. This will allow executives to look at ways to streamline and consolidate spending on events without losing function or compromising attendee satisfaction.

Consolidated Event Management Solutions: Usually when companies put on events, they rely on multiple points of contact to provide various functions. For instance, they might use one tool for sourcing vendors, another to measure attendee feedback, another to provide logistical support for attendees to check in, print badges, etc. “Over the next year, we expect companies will invest more money in consolidated event technology, solutions that offer a one-stop-shop for organizations,” said Sherman

Increase Mobile Support for Audience Engagement: it’s official, according to industry analysts from Garter, 2013 will be the year that smartphones surpass PC’s as the most common method for accessing the web. This means that event management needs to look at ways to accommodate consumers’ increasing demand for mobile tools and apps. From providing ways to engage with other attendees, speakers and panelists to navigating trade show floors, apps specifically built to provide attendees the support they are looking for on the go will be a growing trend not just for event managers but in most other industries as well.

Better Measurement & Analytics: While the industry as whole is growing, and the tools becoming more sophisticated, event planners will need to justify increases in spending to superiors with hard numbers showing an actual return on investment, particularly in these turbulent economic times. “Technology makes it possible to gather in-depth information on attendees’ interests and attitudes, With that data in hand, organizers can gauge whether their event strategy is working and alter it if necessary to help maximize ROI,” Sherman said.