Unexpected Wedding Costs

Updated: Nov 9, 2020

Don't forget to include these essential costs into your wedding budget! The more you anticipate and budget for your wedding expenses, the less stressed you will be.


Postage is an often-forgotten expense in wedding costs. The cost of a stamp may seem small but when you calculate postage for save-the-dates, invitations, and thank you cards, it definitely adds up. Depending on the weight, you will likely need different stamps for each set, and some may need multiple per envelope. And the worst thing you can do is buy the wrong stamp. I recommend bringing your filled envelope to the post office to have them weigh it and direct you to the correct stamp.

Cake cutting costs are not a guaranteed added expense, but it is one that is good to be aware of. This fee is usually charged by the venue or caterer, whoever will be cutting the cake on the wedding day. This is a per person charge usually averaging about $2 per guest. This does not sound like much, but it definitely adds up, especially for larger weddings.

Vendor tips are an often-forgotten expense because the only person you are likely used to tipping is a waiter at a restaurant. Like restaurant staff, most vendors do not require tips although it is highly expected. Do some research to figure out what tip amount is appropriate. This amount varies depending on the vendor and your location. The day of the wedding, I recommend having your tips organized into separate envelopes for each vendor and assigning a trusted member of your wedding party or your day-of coordinator to distribute them at the end of the day unless you would like to handle it personally which is of course a nice touch.

Wedding dress alterations are an expense I think every bride expects to pay but does not realize how expensive it can be. The assumption usually is a couple hundred dollars, but wedding dress alterations can easily run up to over $1,000.

Accessories cannot be forgotten when configuring your attire costs. Be sure not to forget about the groom! Cufflinks, shoes, and ties should definitely be included in the budget for accessories alongside the bride's jewelry and heels.

Beauty expenses, I think, always exceed expectations. When budgeting your beauty costs, think beyond just hair and makeup. Nails (mani + pedi), eyelash extensions, eyebrow threading, leg waxing, massage, tanning, it adds up and it may all be absolutely necessary so be sure to budget appropriately beforehand.

Wedding gifts for your spouse are often not included in the budget but they should be. Set a realistic budget for both of you that you agree not to go over. This will relieve a lot of pressure and also keep one of you from breaking the bank. Also, discuss if you are going to get gifts for your parents/in-laws. It's not a requirement of course but I nice gesture especially if your parents are helping financially with the wedding and/or you have a great relationship with your soon-to-be in-laws.

Transportation is usually forgotten until the month of the wedding, but it is important to have a transportation plan and account for it in the budget. The idea of driving yourself to the venue may not be a bad one but you definitely don’t want to drive yourself back after a long night of celebrating and drinking. Decide whether you want to leave the venue in style in a limousine or a more affordable service like Uber Black. Also consider your wedding parties. I always recommend steering away from encouraging your wedding party to drive themselves if they plan on drinking during the wedding. Instead, opt for booking a party bus or large ride share service like Uber XL. Also, if you are having a destination wedding or a local wedding with a large number of out-of-towners, reserve a room block at a nearby hotel close to the venue and encourage your guests to book at this hotel. Then arrange for a shuttle to transport the guests to and from the venue.


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