Wedding Finance – Hidden Costs Brides and Grooms Should Know

wedding hidden costs everyone should know
Even though most brides and grooms will determine a budget for the wedding and work diligently to stay within the parameters of their monetary constraints, hidden costs are bound to crop up. Some of these can be anticipated, like gratuities for wait staff or charges for bar overages, but others may be something no one even factored into the original list of expenses. Often they are forgotten because we pay for them as we go, and we don’t often consider how they may change the overall financial picture of the wedding.

Here are just a few that a budget-developing couple should consider:

Entertainment Expenses

We don’t usually think about the things we do that are peripheral to a wedding. Lunch dates during venue viewing or cake tasting or bringing your girls out to invite them to be a member of your wedding party should all be factored into your wedding budget. While these may not seem significant, over the course of a year of wedding planning, they will add up. You may want to think about whether or not you can or should pick up the tab for entertainment prior to the wedding before you dive headlong into activities that will siphon money away from big-ticket items like florists, bakeries, or the all-important wedding gown.

Preparatory salon visits

Day-of beauty is something most brides consider in their wedding budgets. From the cost of getting their updo to the all-important French manicure to having a professional makeup artist at their disposal as they get ready, brides and grooms think about the things they need to look and feel their best on their wedding day. But some couples do not consider the pre-wedding beautification processes that can add to the overall cost in this category. If you plan on getting facials, massages, manicures and pedicures, teeth whitening, hair coloring, or other beauty treatments, you will want to be sure these costs are included in your budget (including the gratuity!)

Marriage licenses

marriage licenses
While couples know they will need to get a marriage license, some states are more costly than others. While some have a nominal charge of $5, other states may charge as much as $115. If either of you has been married before, there may be additional documentation required, and most states will require a waiting period. While many states do not require a blood test, there are still a few, and this is something the couple will have to pay for. Other states charge a separate fee for couples who chose not to engage in premarital counseling. Overall, obtaining a marriage license has the potential to cost both time and money, depending on the regulations of your state and county.

Wedding Attire Care

Very few brides can purchase and wear a gown right off of the rack without alterations. From size adjustments to hemline adjustments to aesthetic changes like beading, buttons, or lace-backs, alterations to the wedding or bridesmaid dress can be an expensive proposition. Keep in mind that certain fabrics or layers of lace or tulle will be more costly, with simple alterations like length changes costing a minimum of $100. Very few bridal salons will do alterations as a courtesy, so be sure to factor this in as an expense. Some salons will do bridal and bridesmaids dress steaming without charge, but you may want to ask to be sure. Additionally, most brides will also need to purchase a corset or bustier, or at a minimum a new strapless bra for the wedding dress to look and feel right.

Wedding Officiant

While some couples may get lucky enough to have a friend or family member willing and able to perform their ceremony, most will need to hire a wedding officiant who is licensed in your state to perform the service. Costs of hiring an officiant have a wide range, with some charging only $100, while others will require a fee of $500 or more. It is common for officiants to receive a gratuity, as it is considered a service, so you may want to add in another 10-20 percent as a tip.
wedding officiant standing


Postage can add up if you remember that every invitation you send, from save-the-date cards to shower or bachelorette party invitations to the wedding invitation itself, will cost you money. If you intend to have an RSVP card, etiquette indicates you should also place a stamp on the inner envelope with your return address. If you include a number of inserts that increase your envelope weight or the invitations are an unusual shape, USPS may require you to pay more, so make sure to set aside enough funds for that all-important wedding correspondence.

Hidden wedding costs shouldn’t be a problem if you sit down and consider all of the steps involved in the wedding process. What are some unanticipated costs you encountered during the wedding planning process? Please feel free to comment here.

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