10 Unexpected Wedding Costs You’re Totally Forgetting

A three-tiered wedding cake with pink and orange flowers on it against a white brick wall.

It’s no secret that weddings are expensive, and they’re getting more expensive every year. In fact, the average cost of an American wedding in 2018 has climbed to $33,391! And while items like the venue, the dinner, or the dress can take up larger portions of your budget, it’s also important to factor in all those little expenses you may not remember. Every penny adds up, so here’s 10 unexpected wedding costs to remember.

1. Cake Cutting Fees

When choosing your wedding venue, you probably know to ask them about all kinds of potential fees. However, this is one fee that often goes forgotten. Many vendors charge an additional fee ($1.50 on average) per slice of cake they cut! Make sure you’re aware before serving your 150 guests, or else you’ll be blindsided by a $225 charge that could push you over your budget.

2. Postage

Paper products are a common line item in every wedding budget, which means you’ve probably accounted for the cost of save-the-dates, invitations, thank you cards, and place cards. You may have even hired a calligrapher to add an extra elegant touch. But most couples don’t think about the cost of mailing their beautiful invitations—and at $2 per invite on average, postage can quickly burden your budget.

3. Hair and Makeup Trials

Makeup laid out by a professional makeup artist ready for use.

Brides want to look gorgeous on their wedding day, and rightfully so; it’s a very special day and there will be lots of pictures! On the search for the right hair and makeup artist, a bride will likely want to “try on” the wedding look. But remember: most stylists charge $50 or more for a makeup trial, so this practice run will impact the final bill.

4. Event Insurance

At their core, weddings are a great big party—and some parties can get a little wild. As a result, some venues require couples to buy event insurance for their big day. This helps the venue cover their costs if the vendors or guests break anything, but it also increases your overall venue cost. If you’re not prepared, you could be in for a major shock!

5. Childcare

Childcare services are becoming commonplace at weddings these days, but this is no ordinary babysitting gig! Wedding childcare means watching way more kids than the average sitter may be used to, and the cost should reflect that. Hiring childcare can cost up to $100 an hour, plus a meal for the sitter and the kids (but buying a few pizzas is probably cheaper than your catered meal).

6. Bridal Party Breakfast

Cups of coffee with coffee beans next to them.

Getting ready for your wedding should be a fun, relaxing process, but hungry bridesmaids and groomsmen can quickly ruin the morning. The bridal party typically gets up bright and early on the wedding day, so it’s important that you provide them with breakfast or snacks to keep their energy up. This meal doesn’t have to be extravagant, but it does need to be part of your budget.

7. Beauty Treatments

Speaking of the bridal party, many brides take time to pamper themselves and their bridesmaids in the days before the wedding. They may get facials, massages, manicures, and pedicures together (or perhaps all four) to unwind and get ready for the big day. Depending on how many bridesmaids you have, this can be a significant expense. It’s always wise to set aside a bit of the budget for beauty treatments.

8. Gratuities

Giving your vendors a little extra something to thank them for their time is kind (and in the United States, it’s basically mandatory). But tipping for a wedding can get very expensive, especially when your vendor list includes an officiant, musicians, drivers, a wedding planner, and many more. Most venues and caterers actually factor gratuity into their final cost (but not always, so double-check). Make sure you have room in the budget to tip everyone else who made your day so special.

9. Marriage License

A close-up of a marriage license.

While your wedding marks an important step in your relationship, it’s not official until you sign the marriage license. And depending on where you live, this can cost anywhere from $20 to $100. Make sure you have enough wedding funds leftover to pay for your license and an official copy or two (you may need them to change your last name with certain agencies).

Planning a wedding can be emotionally overwhelming. Yes, you’re excited and overcome with love… but you’re also trying to manage different expectations, opinions, and more moving parts than you know what to do with. By taking time to consider these hidden budget items, you’ll save yourself the stress of a ceremony that—surprise!— cost more than you planned for.

10. Overtime

There’s always a chance that something will go wrong at your wedding. Maybe the weather will delay your wedding photos, maybe the bridal party is running late, or maybe the guests keep dancing the night away. But if these things happen, you may find yourself getting an overtime bill from your photographer, limo driver, or even your venue. Make sure there’s room in the budget to pay up.

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