how to budget for unexpected wedding costs

Postage + Envelopes:

Of course you’ll need stamps for all those pretty invitations (and even your Save the Dates) but it’s likely you didn’t add up the costs of all those little stickers. In addition to stamps for the invites, you’ll need postage for the RSVP card as well. And since smudges and mistakes are bound to happen, make sure to order extra envelopes while you’re at it – calligraphers usually request backups too!


We all know that most wedding dresses are going to need some nips and tucks, but the actual costs of these alterations may be a bit higher than ever expected. Discuss prices with your tailor at first visit to cover all bases.

Church Fees:

While not all churches and religious venues are the same, many may not charge a fee to use their space for your ceremony, but a donation is expected.

Makeup Trials:

While I highly recommend a makeup and hair trial prior to your big day, these appointments are not always included in the cost of the makeup artist’s fees. Inquiring on this cost beforehand can save you embarrassment on the day of.

Shipping + Handling:

Before ordering anything online, I highly recommend checking the shipping costs before hitting “Purchase!” You may find hundreds of votives at an amazing price online on Etsy or Amazon, but paying shipping on each item can really add up. It may take time to research more options but it’s worth it!

Cake Cutting:

Many catering companies and venues charge an additional fee to cut and serve the cake to your guests, especially if it’s from an additional source.

Welcome Bags:

Offer your out-of-town guests with a welcome gift when they arrive.

Gratuities & Meals:

It’s considered polite and proper to tip many wedding vendors, from DJ’s and bands to catering staff and more, for their good service. Having these ready to go, in cash and in labeled envelopes before the big day, will save you time and stress. Plus you will need to up your head count to include meals for each vendor. Luckily most venues only change half the cost of a vendor meals as a regular guest.

 Dry Cleaning:

If you got down on the dance floor at your celebration or had an outdoor ceremony, there’s a pretty good chance your dress is going to be a bit dirty by the end of the night. Having your gown cleaned up and preserved post-wedding is a bigger process than standard dry cleaning and the cost is higher as well.