The Service Charges is the evil little charge that most couples despise. It hikes up your food and/or venue cost and is taxable. So what is this cost? Each venue or caterer charges for different reasons. If you are at a hotel, for example, you will notice the charge is 18% - 24%. These charges may include labor (kitchen staff, setup staff, event manager, etc. These charges also incorporate the use of their equipment such as chafing dishes, utensils, china, etc. If you are using a caterer, you will see the breakdown labor cost but sometimes you do not see the breakdown of their staff that cooks the food, load, and unload their trucks. For outside caterers, this charge covers fuel, transportation, and maintenance, along with equipment use such as chafing dishes, china, etc. At no time is this charge a gratuity. When planning your wedding, please be sure to incorporate these charges into your final budget.
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