10 Unexpected Wedding Expenses to Keep in Mind When Creating Your Budget

August 30, 2018 | riley

When setting your wedding budget, there are so many details to juggle that it’s easy for unexpected wedding expenses to slip through the cracks. Even with the best wedding budget tool, it’s hard to account for every little thing, especially things that don’t go as planned or that you assume someone else will pay for. So, before finalizing your budget, be sure to review these 10 unexpected expenses to make sure you’ve got everything covered.

Unexpected Wedding Expenses

Image by Los Ébano

1. Postage Wedding Budget

When planning your invitation budget, don’t forget to account for the stamps you’ll need to mail them all. That includes the stamp for the actual invitation, the stamp on the RSVP envelope–if you’re not doing RSVPs through your wedding website–and your thank you notes.

If you’re using thick or uniquely shaped paper, wraps, or other add-ons that will add weight or bulk to your invitations, be sure to check with the post office to find out if you need extra postage.

2. Day-Of Stationery

You’ve likely already accounted for your invitations, save the dates, and thank you cards, but have you thought about the paper good you’ll need for the actual wedding day? Ceremony programs, menus, table numbers, framed signs, and escort cards should all be built into your stationery budget.

3. Marriage License

This is the most important item on the do-not-forget list, but many couples tend to forget they need to pay for their marriage license. The price ranges from $25 – $100, depending on your state, so be sure to check your state’s website for the exact fee.

4. Alterations

One of the biggest mistakes brides make is spending their entire fashion budget on the dress. Since it’s one of the most important items of clothing you’ll ever wear, you want to make sure that it fits you perfectly. Build enough money into your budget for alterations, which can run anywhere from $100 to $800, depending on how much customization you are doing.

5. Undergarments And Accessories

As with alterations, undergarments and accessories are an important part of rounding out your bridal look and should be built into your fashion budget. Think lingerie, garter, veil, jewelry, clutch, shoes, hairpieces, and a getting-ready robe.

6. Bachelor Or Bachelorette Parties

Although most people assume that the wedding party pays for the bachelorette/bachelor parties, the truth is that many couples do end up pitching in to alleviate the burden–especially for weekend-long festivities. If you plan to pitch in for your party, don’t feel like you need to pay most of your way. These parties are meant to celebrate you, so your wedding party should spoil you just a bit.

7. Taxes, Service Fees, and Tips

Taxes and service fees take us by surprise every time and, when making such large purchases, they add up quicker than you can imagine. Vendors will charge different fees for different services, so be sure to read your contract carefully before committing.

Also, keep in mind that service fees and tips are different! The service fee is the cost of executing a particular service, and most vendors expect a tip on top of that fee. The general tipping guideline for wedding vendors is between 15-20%, so make sure to build that into each vendors’ total cost. You can read more about gratuities in our guide to tipping your wedding vendors!

8. Overtime

Despite all your best attempts to make sure everything is wrapped up and cleaned up before your allotted time ends, you should have a small reserve of money set aside just in case. Look over your contract to see how much your venue and vendors will charge should you go over. If you absolutely can’t afford any extra time, plan your hard cut-off time to start clean-up even earlier.

Image by Liz Osban

9. Sound And Lighting

These might be the last two things on your list of ceremony and reception costs, but they’re also the two of the most important. When hiring a DJ, be sure to ask if sound setup and additional lighting is needed/included in the total price.

If you’re having live music at your ceremony, you’ll definitely need to amplify them so all your guests can hear. Whether you’re having an indoor or outdoor wedding, you’ll also need to be sure everyone can hear the music, the vows, and the readings, so you’ll need to invest in some sound equipment regardless.

As for lighting, be sure to check out our ultimate guide to wedding lighting, which lays out everything you need to know to make sure your event is lit properly.

10. Welcome Bag Delivery

This is one even we were surprised to find out. Some hotels will charge you to deliver those cute little welcome bags to your guests’ rooms. The average fee is $7, which can quickly add up if you have lots of out-of-town wedding guests. To avoid this fee, simply ask your hotel to give each guest a bag when they check-in instead of delivering it to their room.

Now that you’ve got the unexpected expenses of your wedding budget earmarked, check out our ultimate wedding planning guide. It’s a free step-by-step roadmap to make planning as easy as possible!

Image by Jelani Lebourne

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