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Wisdom for the Haggling Bride and Groom

RENTALS

WHAT TO SAVE WITHOUT DRIVING VENDORS BONKERS
Request that outside rentals (tables, chairs, linens, etc.) be picked up the day after your reception, rather than the night of, as late-night pickup charges will often hike up the rental bill significantly.


NECESSARY COSTS
If you’re in a loft, be prepared to rent everything from tables to china, plus extras like garbage pails and buffet tables (expect to spend at least $45 per person; more for an outdoor event). If you book a tent in case of rain, expect to pay the 50 percent deposit regardless of whether Mother Nature cooperates.


HIDDEN FEES TO AVOID
Double-check the contract to see which items you’re renting, and which you’re purchasing. Often, custom linens or vases are yours to keep.

ADD THIS CLAUSE
Look in the contract for elevator charges or cleaning fees, and ask that they be added in gratis.

TO TIP OR NOT TO TIP
Tipping the delivery guys $50 is a nice gesture.


MUSIC

WHAT TO SAVE WITHOUT DRIVING VENDORS BONKERS
If you’re getting a band for the reception, ask if a trio of their musicians can perform at the cocktail hour. Negotiate to pay per musician, and carefully select each. Many bands have specific talent for certain musical genres: If you’re not feeling salsa, for example, let them know, so they won’t bring their pricey Latin specialist at your expense.


NECESSARY COSTS
The music at the event is as much about the entertainment value as the sound, so while it’s tempting to let your iPod be your D.J., don’t do it. Hire a pro.

HIDDEN FEES TO AVOID
Make sure that the D.J. or musicians provide all their own equipment and that it’s included in their fees so you don’t get bills for speakers, microphones, and music stands much later.


ADD THIS CLAUSE
If there’s a specific musician you want, put it in writing, or else someone else may show up, says Lee. For the reception, four hours of continuous music is standard: Bands should sub out a few members at a time for breaks instead of taking a full break between sets, says Lee.

TO TIP OR NOT TO TIP
Tip $25 to $50 per musician for the ceremony and a lump sum for the band. A few hundred dollars for the D.J. is typical.

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