Here Comes The Bill: Unexpected Wedding Costs To Plan For

July 1, 2013  |  
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With weddings come a lot of emotions, a lot of planning, and a lot of money. And while most brides-to-be budget for the necessary resources and funds for all of her wedding needs, there are some things that some brides don’t plan for because they don’t know to. So, if you’re planning on walking down the aisle any time soon, consider this a head’s up!

Delivery fees

Gas isn’t cheap and caterers will have to drive to your location of choice in order to deliver your flowers, food, and so on. That means even though may not expect it, plan on your vendors charging you a delivery fee. These fees can range from $50 to hundreds of dollars, so be prepared. Anything that has to be shipped, expect a charge for that service as well.

Sales tax

Though you go to the mall and to the grocery store expecting sales tax, you also want to expect it when you go shopping for wedding vendors. Most vendors will charge a 6 to 10 percent sales tax, which can add up really quickly, especially if your pre-tax purchase is already quite expensive. Make sure that all of your vendor quotes include sales tax.

Gratuity and tips

Similar to sales tax, tips and gratuities also come into play during a wedding. Tips and gratuity amounts vary by vendors, but some have been known to charge up to a 25 percent gratuity fee. These fees are typically in the super fine print of a contract, so be sure to read everything extremely closely before signing.

Cake cutting fee

Though the caterer isn’t charging you to physically cut the cake, they are charging you for the forks, knives, and plates that are involved in the cake cutting and eating process. The washing of the plates and utensils is also included in the cake cutting fee. This fee can range from 50 cents to a couple of dollars per slice. In this case, serving cupcakes can help save money.

Dress alterations

Unless you’re one of those really lucky brides, prepare to pay for dress alterations. From shortening the dress to tightening the bodice, there are all sorts of alterations that may need to be done. It’s rare that a wedding dress fits you perfectly without requiring any type of alteration. Depending on your needs, this can cost hundreds of dollars.

Hair and make-up trials

Depending on your vendor, you may find that you have to pay money for your hair and make-up trial. Even if you wholeheartedly trust the makeup and hair artist you’ve chosen, having a trial is always best. That way you can tweak anything that needs to be fixed and you have a good idea of what your bridal look will be on your big day.


Unless you’re sending out RSVPs online or handing out each invitation by hand, expect to pay postage fees. Not only do you have to pay to mail the invitation itself, you should also pay for the stamps that are needed for the RSVP so that guests can easily send you their response. With stamps, you’ll be paying about 44 cents for each one, so 88 cents per invite. Send out 100 invites and that’s $88!

Venue vendor fees

A lot of venues nowadays have preferred vendors. This means that they provide you with a list of caterers, DJs, florists, and other vendors that are preferred and approved by the venue. However, maybe you’ve fallen in love with a photographer who isn’t on the list. When this happens, and you insist on using this vendor, you may incur a fee from the venue for doing so.

Overtime fees

Not everything always goes as planned, if your wedding runs an hour over the planned time, you may find yourself faced with all sorts of overtime charges. DJs, photographers, venues, bands, and caterers, are all likely to charge you an overtime fee if your wedding lasts longer than planned. Have some money set aside just in case this happens.

Gifts for your wedding party

Nowadays giving gifts to those who are in your wedding party has all but become expected. This means that you should plan to buy all of your bridesmaid and maid of honor a gift, just as your groom-to-be should treat his groomsmen and best man to a gift as well. Even if you go the extremely cheap route for gifts, you’re still looking at possibly $100+ dollars. Of course, most people plan $50 a person, which can really add up.

Upgraded furniture

Chiavari, ball room, and white resin chairs have become must-have furniture items for weddings nowadays. However, it’s rare that a venue includes these items in the base fee you pay. If you’re looking to upgrade your chairs, your linens, or your silverware, expect a fee. Upgraded chairs can run you $10 a chair and linens can cost $3 or more per piece.

Thank you cards

You can choose to buy thank you cards before or after the wedding, but in any case, it will be another added expensive that you may not think of in the beginning. While you may be able to find relatively inexpensive thank you cards to send all of your guests, you’ll have to worry about postage again. Postage can add up to be pretty expensive, depending on how many stamps you have to buy.

Cleanup and breakdown

Once your wedding is finished, things of course have to be returned to normal. This means that tables, chairs, tablecloths, and everything else must be cleaned up and broken down, typically by the caterer. Some caterers will charge you garbage removal fees along with cleanup and breakdown fees. These fees typically cost a couple hundred dollars.

Bar set-up

Some venues allow you to bring your own alcohol, which can save you a lot of money. However, some will still charge you a fee in relation to the booze. Some venues charge what is known as a bar set-up or corking fee. Those this usually isn’t outrageously pricey, it is still money that may need to be spent.

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