12 Unexpected Costs That Can Bust Your Wedding Budget

Planning a wedding budget

In an effort to curb spending, you and your partner have thought of the elements that you really want for your wedding and dropped the things you can live without. You can’t wait to bring the vision to life and cross your fingers that your vision matches your wedding budget.

You finally hash out the big ticket items—like food and the wedding dress—to create a budget that you and your partner can stick to. But, there may be a few little details that can add up to big bucks once the final bill comes in for your special day. So, before you finalize your budget, don’t forget these 12 costs that can really bust your wedding budget!

1. Photo Printing

It can be hard enough to find the wedding photographer of your dreams for the right price, let alone the extra cost of actually printing your pictures for albums and thank you cards.

Many photographers only include online galleries in their photography packages and charge extra for physical copies. Or, your photographer may have similar wedding packages that include printing, but watch out – the mark up might be substantial. You can do your own printing at many chain stores or online for much less.

2. Taxes and Tips

When looking for reception venues, make sure to take into account how much it will cost per plate with taxes and tips. Some venues also charge a flat gratuity fee, so be sure to inquire before you book a venue.

3. Cake Cutting and Corkage Fees

Along with taxes and tips, corkage and cake cutting fees should be added to your costs when shopping around for a reception venue. Some venues can charge up to $10 per slice to cut and serve the cake and up to $100 for a corkage fee!

4. Accessories

wedding accessories - wedding budget

Accessories are almost always considered, but rarely fully accounted for in a wedding budget. Before shopping for all of the elements that will pull your entire look together, budget how much you are willing to spend for your complete wedding outfit. Veils, shoes, undergarments, wedding night lingerie, jewelry, wedding garters, hair accessories, and additional embellishments can add up to the same cost (or more) than your dress itself.

And don’t forget the groom: he has a tie, pocket square, shoes, belt, cufflinks, and potentially a cummerbund to consider too.

5. Wedding Day Meals

Getting ready the day of your wedding can be an exciting and hectic time. If you choose to stay in a hotel the night before your wedding, it may be a nice treat to have breakfast delivered to your room so that you don’t have to worry about tracking down food.

Another part of your day to make sure you have food or snacks is after your ceremony when pictures are being taken. You don’t want anyone in your bridal party getting “hangry” and looking grumpy during photos.

6. Overtime Costs

So, your wedding night is a total blast and everyone is having a great time, but the DJ or live band is only booked until midnight. What are you to do?

Before you book any entertainment, ask if they are willing to go overtime. If they are, be sure to ask how much it will cost per hour and include it in your wedding budget. If the party doesn’t feel like it should stop, be prepared to pay some extra cash for the services.

7. Outfits for Pre-Wedding Events

You won’t be wearing your wedding dress to your engagement party or bachelorette party, so be sure to include these outfits in your wedding planning. To save, plan ahead and shop around to get the best deals. You can even scout for coupon codes online too.

8. An Extra Round of Alterations and Trials

wedding budget - wedding dress fitting

You have envisioned your total bridal look – your dress fits your body perfectly and you feel absolutely gorgeous. You’ve finally settled on an idea for your hair and makeup and can’t wait to get a trial.

Hopefully all goes well during the first round of trials and alterations, but there is a possibility that you’ll have to go back two or more times to feel great about your final look. Perhaps the makeup you envisioned doesn’t quite work on your face and you changed your mind about the hairstyle. Or, maybe you want your dress to be cinched just a little bit tighter at the waist. These things alone can add up to hundreds of dollars, which could put you way over your wedding budget.

9. The Marriage License

You’ll definitely want to include your marriage license in your wedding budget. This is the bread and butter of your wedding – the marriage itself! A marriage license typically does not cost a huge amount, but it can add a few extra dollars to the bottom line.

10. Gifts for Parents and Wedding Party

You’ll want to show your appreciation for the wonderful people in your life that have helped make your day so special. They’ve listened to all of your ideas while planning your day, been your rock when you felt overwhelmed, and will almost guarantee have to pull some strings behind the scenes so that you don’t stress on your own wedding day.

Gifts of course don’t have to be expensive, but even a small personalized memento to show your gratitude can add a few extra dollars to your wedding budget.

11. The Little Extras

Though welcome packages for out of town guests and cute bridal party proposals aren’t necessary, they can add a personal touch to your wedding.

If you choose to do something special for your out of town guests, hotels can charge a delivery fee for welcome packages to be delivered to your guests’ rooms. This can be charged as a flat fee or charged per package.

For bridal proposals, there are many DIY ideas that you can do yourself if you want to be cost effective. Still, everything costs money, so make sure to add these as a line item in your wedding budget planning.

12. Dry Cleaning and Dress Storage

Just when you think your wedding and the cost of it is over, you drop off your dress for dry cleaning and find that most dry cleaners charge a premium for wedding dresses. Some dry cleaners may also provide the option to preserve your dress in a nice box or chest for an extra fee.

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