Unexpected Wedding Costs

There are so many elements that go into planning a wedding. From the dress, to the venue and cake, the costs can add up quick! The hardest part of planning a wedding is going to be sticking to your budget. There are so many unexpected costs that come up that very many brides and grooms over look. Here are a few laid out for you so you can be sure not to forget them while planning your wedding!

Asking bridesmaids in a special way

This is something that brides take very seriously. But also something that they don’t think about it until the time comes. Be sure to set some $ aside to accommodate these little costs. Or cut some costs right away and consider the DIY approach for this aspect of your big day.

Hotel room for the night before

Many hotels don’t guarantee an early check in time, which can be a big problem if you need 4 hours to get ready, and can only get in your room an hour or two before the ceremony starts. Be sure to book the room for the night before in addition to the night of. You don’t want to be stressing if you will have enough time to get ready.

Marriage License

Don’t forget to make it legal! This is something many brides and grooms overlook because its something not discussed until the day of or a few days before. This costs varies by state, so be sure to check online what the cost is. In addition to the cost of issuing the license, you will also need to purchase a certified marriage certificate which the bride will need to change her name. These also vary in cost from state to state, and it is always recommended to get two in case one is misplaced.


This is something that can rack up your cost quick! Especially if you have special invitations AND save the dates that you need sent out. Before you know it, the cost of postage can be nearing or above $1 a piece. And don’t forget about the thank you notes that need to be sent out after the wedding. To try and cut down cost a little, don’t worry about trying to match the stamps with the stationary inside. No one will remember the stamps you used.


This topic I put in caps because it is extremely important. You want your guests to be able to hear your ceremony because it is really the heart of your wedding. Take sound especially seriously when you are doing an outdoor wedding. Sound doesn’t carry as far outside, so be sure that everything is amplified from all angles so even the guests hard of hearing can hear every word. This can be an added cost just like everything else, but this is a cost that is very worth the price.


Keep in mind when looking for your perfect dress, that the dress probably isn’t perfect right when you buy it. Odds are, you will need alterations and these can run you sometimes up to hundreds of dollars. Some shops charge a flat fee, while some charge for every service. Check multiple seamstresses beforehand so you can get an idea of what the cost would be. Also keep this cost in mind when purchasing your dress. You don’t want to spend all of your money on the dress and not have the funds to make it perfect.

Unexpected guests

Let’s be honest, it happens. Yes we hate it, but it happens. Anywhere from your cousin bringing her three screaming kids, even though the invitation said “NO KIDS”, or even your ex bff who didn’t receive an invite and called you a week earlier balling her eyes out while you make up some elaborate lie about the post office losing it. These things happen. So be prepared.

Sales tax and service charges

One of the most important parts of your wedding is that you read and re-read your contract with your venues. There is a lot of useful information in that tiny print, and a lot of it has to do with your money. Sometimes a venue will charge a flat service charge, and a flat gratuity rate. Sometimes they don’t and hit you with a huge charge at the end. Budget for this, and again READ YOUR CONTRATCS so you know how much to budget. Keep an eye out for a ++ sign in the contract as well. This means that they will add sales tax, AND service charges. This could be per service, or on the overall cost. Know your contract inside an out so avoid any unwanted surprises.


This can be a very over looked aspect of your wedding. So many people come into play while putting on a wedding, and these people need to be compensated. A good rule of thumb is to budget 5-10% of your overall budget to gratuities. This is another good reason why you read your contract front to back because sometimes the gratuity is included in your price. You don’t want to end up tipping them twice if they are already being compensated. Some often forgotten tippees include bartenders, servers, valets, makeup artists, hair stylists, cake delivery, and limo drivers.

Post wedding to-dos

The money doesn’t stop flowing after you say “I do”. There are some loose ends you must tie up before its all said and done. Thank you notes are a huge one. Make your guests feel appreciated for all they have done for both of you on your big day. Thank you cards need to be a priority, and need to be budgeted for. This includes not only the cards, but also the postage. Also think about what you want to do with your dress afterwards. Many brides like to preserve their gown, which is of course an additional cost. Call around and check with various places. Sometimes a discount is given if you make an appointment and set a date to bring the dress in beforehand.

While this isn’t anywhere near everything you will have to budget for, this gives a pretty good idea of the most common unexpected costs. In order to have a head start on your planning, OVERBUDGET EVERYTHING!! It’s a much more pleasant surprise when you find something wasn’t as expensive as you had previously thought, rather than finding out its going to cost way more than you intended. Probably the number one rule to wedding planning is Don’t be afraid to ask questions!! There is no such thing as a stupid question, and the more you know the easier it will be to plan. Ask as many questions as you can think of to all of your vendors, and make sure you are on the same page before signing anything or making a deposit. As long as you do some research and budget accordingly, everything will be much less stressful.

Happy planning all!

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