You’ve got your planning checklist. You have determined a budget. You have divided up that budget for each of your expenses.
Good job! But your work is not quite finished.
Even when you think you have considered every last expense and allotted enough room in your budget to pay for each of them, there will always be more. Thus the reason for adding an emergency section to your budget. Allow some wiggle room! Don’t use up every drop of your resources! Especially not until you consider both the obvious and less than obvious expenses.
Look below for a reminder about some of the hidden wedding costs that you might have forgotten.
1. Alterations — You said yes to the perfect dress! But it may not fit exactly perfectly. Set aside a couple hundred dollars depending on the extent of the alterations.
2. Accessories — Veils, jewelry, hair accessories, belts… these pieces make you truly feel like the belle of the ball, but is your wallet ready?
3. Undergarments — Your outer appearance is what matters during the ceremony and reception, but what’s underneath is equally or more important when you finally slip away with your new hubby.
4. Preservation — Depending on the method you select to preserve your dress, doing so can run around $100. Check out your options with our article The Best Ways to Preserve Your Wedding Dress.
5. Stamps — Kudos to you if you got your wedding stationary for an inexpensive price. But even if you went completely DIY, you will still need to pay to send them in the mail.
6. Thank you notes — The wedding expenses don’t end when the clock strikes midnight on your big day. Even if you don’t purchase them beforehand, make sure you save enough money to send your guests proper thank you notes.
7. Coat check — Even if your wedding doesn’t take place in the dead of winter, any event that requires a venue staff member to take coats from guests could run you up a couple hundred dollars.
8. Audio — Less traditional and outdoor wedding venues may not cater easily to the sound equipment necessary for all your guests to enjoy the words being said at your ceremony and reception. Cha-ching!
9. Back-up plan — Weather is a reality that needs to be prepared for and paid for. Most back-up venues will cost less if you don’t end up needing them, but you will be thankful for them if you do!
10. Parking — If parking doesn’t come included in your venue cost, factor in how much cash is needed for cabs, meters, valet parking, or shuttle services.
11. Chairs — Does your wedding venue provide chairs? Will they work for your number of guests and style of your wedding?
12. Church rental — Even if you are a member of the church you are holding your ceremony at, you may still have to cover the officiant’s time and cleaning services.
13. Videographer — Booking a photographer is obvious enough, but a wedding videographer can charge upwards of $1000!
14. Tips — Most of your vendors deserve tips or gratuity. Examine the contract to ensure that is not already covered and then set aside about 20% of their rate to give them if they do a phenomenal job.
15. Cake cutting — You may have already paid for a baker to create your dream wedding cake, but you may have to dish out some extra cash to pay for staff members to cut and serve it.
16. Set up time — If your venues are strict about the time you spend on location, they may charge you a per hour rate for setting up.
17. Delivery fees — Any flowers, linens, and other decorations delivered from another location will add an additional delivery fee to the rate.
18. DIY supplies — While doing some of your decorations yourself will save you some money, it does not completely eliminate the expense. Supplies that look appropriately elegant and not like a elementary school art class will add up.
19. Welcome bags — For guests traveling from a far distance, some sort of welcome bag is a nice gesture to greet them when they arrive.
20. Favors — Traditionally, all your wedding guests walk away from your big day with a little gift that will serve as a memento. Even if they only cost a couple dollars, multiply that by your number of guests and you have an expense that needs to be considered.
Food and drink
21. Day-of meals — While you likely spent hours deliberating over what food you would serve at your wedding, you may have forgotten that there are other meals before your big day. These meals will give you the energy for all the excitement of your wedding, so plan them into your day and your budget.
22. For the vendors — Your vendors will likely expect to get fed while working your wedding, so be sure to include them in your head count.
23. Include yourself — You may know that exactly 253 guests will be attending your wedding, but don’t forget to include you and your man in the head count before giving it to your caterer!
24. Cork fees — Even if you provided the alcohol, you will have to pay for every bottle that is opened, even if it is not totally consumed.
25. Marriage license — This piece of paper is sort of important, and can also cost a pretty penny! Depending on your state, expect to pay around $50 to $100.
26. Bridal party gifts — The members of your bridal party have likely spent a lot of time, effort, and money to fulfill their duties. A thoughtful gift is an appropriate gesture of appreciation.
27. Insurance — If something unexpected happens to your rings, photos, attire, or more, you will be thankful you spent the couple hundred dollars to protect them (rather than a couple thousand to replace them.)
28. Pet arrangements — Your furry friends can’t watch themselves during your wedding festivities. And if all your closest friends and family are attending your big day, you will need to arrange (and probably pay for) a temporary home for your pets.
29. Tax — Each state has different rules about what is taxed, so make yourself aware of the sales tax that may be added to the cost of your gown, vendors, decorations, and more.
30. Damages — If anything as simple as breaking a wedding dish or as serious as setting a fire takes place at your wedding, you will be expected to cover the cost.
Have you saved enough room in your budget for each of these items? Even if the thought of these items crossed your mind at one point in time, did you intentionally add them to your list of expenses? Do it now! These less obvious, hidden costs will add up and can be a rude awakening to your finances if you fail to deal with them appropriately. After you take care of these, you will be that much closer to finalizing your wedding budget. And then you can focus on enjoying your big day!