5 Unexpected Catering Fees You Shouldn't Forget to Budget

by Michelle Phang Jun 02, 2017 | 09:00 in Wedding Ideas  


Whether you're just starting to plan your celebration or already checking most things off your to-do-list, you must know by now that catering takes up a lot of the wedding budget. You might start to wonder, have your really budgeted every single catering expense? After all, it's often the smallest things that get miscalculated.

Today, we're going to help you to find out the five most common hidden costs of wedding catering. Just scroll further below to see them and don't forget to add them to your budget.

  • Photography: Cassidy Carson Photography - Ryan Ray Photography

Photography: Cassidy Carson Photography - Ryan Ray Photography

1. Hiring servers and waiters

First of all, make sure that the servers and waiters are included in your catering bill. If they are included, ask how many of them will be there, and whether you'll need to shell out more money for extra staff. Ask your vendor whether they will be paid a flat fee or an hourly wage, and consider their meals and dress code as well. This applies to your chefs and bartenders too.

Photography: Pyara - Leila Brewster

2. Cake-cutting fee

Some venues and caterers charge a cake-cutting fee for cakes made by an outside vendor. Most of them charge by the slice, so the fees can add up quickly especially for a larger wedding. If possible, find a caterer and venue that doesn't charge this fee, or negotiate before you sign any vendor contracts. Alternatively, choose a dessert that is included with your catering package or ask your venue for an affiliated cake designer.

Photography: Summer Story Photography - Angga Permana Photo

3. Tableware and linen rentals

Will your venue or caterer provide a full set of tableware and linens to be used throughout the wedding day? If not, start asking for quotations with detailed breakdowns from different event rental vendors. After comparing the prices, check the quality of the products in person. Don't forget to snap some pictures and consult your wedding decorator for the best options.

Photography: Kylie Martin - Michael + Anna Costa Photography

4. Corkage fee

This expense also adds up fast, as corkage fee is usually charged per bottle. The exact fee varies from one venue to another, so ask for the details up front. Your wedding venue will most likely mark up the alcohol they sell, and it might be wiser to purchase wine or champagne from a different vendor and pay the corkage fee. If you have a really tight budget, consider whether bringing alcohol to your reception is really worth the hassle.

Photography: Jose Villa Photography - Jessica Scott Photography

5. Tax and service charge

This is a mandatory fee that many couples often forget to calculate, causing their budget to swell beyond imagination. Always, always read the fine print before signing any quotations or contracts from the venue and caterer. Sales tax and service charge will be at least 20% of the total catering budget, so make sure to consider them in your total calculation.


  • Photography: Cassidy Carson Photography | Ryan Ray Photography |


    | Leila Brewster |

    Summer Story Photography


    Angga Permana Photo

    | Kylie Martin | Michael + Anna Costa Photography | Jose Villa Photography | Jessica Scott Photography

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