Surprise Wedding Costs

You have a budget and you have to stick to it. You price everything out perfectly and know what your wedding will end up costing.

Are you in the clear? Probably. But it’s easy to forget about some “hidden” wedding costs that we don’t exactly think about when we’re making lists and spreadsheets. Big bulk costs like florals or invitations are rather simple to figure, but you don’t want to miss out on counting more silent and un-fun fees so that you can cross every “i” and “t” in your wedding planning alphabet.

Sales Tax
The contract that you sign with each vendor will include their rate and this is probably the figure you’ll count in your planning budget. But make sure you also note the sales tax if it’s not obvious or on the contract. Some vendors will include the sales tax in their rate, but it can’t hurt to confirm so that you’re not surprised later on when the charge goes up (sometimes a few hundred?) in dollars. Also, some vendors may charge an extra percentage for credit card usage. If you’re sticking to a strict budget, you may want to find an alternative way to pay so you don’t have silly credit card fees in addition to your agreed upon rate.

Setup and Delivery Charges
Flowers, cake, chairs, and other wedding elements that might be mobile may also come with a setup or delivery charge. Renting furniture for a lounge area will look cool in your reception space, but unless you plan on hauling the pieces in your own Jetta and arranging them as you shvitz through your wedding dress, it’s a safe bet that you’ll want them delivered and set up. That’s great, but just know that you’re likely going to pay a fee for this service in addition to the rental cost. Make sure you find out what these types of fees are before you commit to the vendor. Also, know that same day tear down and pick up may be an additional charge as well. Knowing these kinds of details will help you calculate your cost and plan with your venue as well.

Can’t stop dancing? No one’s leaving the floor to go home? The party’s in full force? Well, mazel tov on throwing a successful wedding reception, but prepare to pay extra for a celebration that goes past its curfew or contracted time. Bands, photographers, and vendors can charge you extra for continuing the party. Your photographer should check with you before leaving to make sure you’re happy and if you want them to stay for additional time. If you say yes, that’s totally okay, but just know that you’ll likely pay an extra hourly cost. Musicians typically function this way, too, and venues will also charge you to keep the lights on longer than you originally anticipated. These are reasonable charges since you’re paying your vendors an hourly rate and they are agreeing to stay past the contracted allotted time. You may have to make a game time decision, but if you’re having the time of your life, it’ll be worth the price!

Photography by Julie Mikos

You’ve picked out invitations that complement your wedding’s style and fall within the price you want to pay for them. But how are they going to get to the guests’ mailboxes? Stamps! Guess what, stamps cost money! And, for a flimsy, square inch piece of sticky paper, they actually end up costing a lot more money than you’d probably like to spend. Also, you can’t forget to think about the stamps that go on the RSVP card. To top it all off, if your invitation suite is in an unusual size envelope or in a box, be prepared to pay even more in postage. When it’s time to send those babies off into the big, scary world, take them to the post office where they can be weighed and calculated so you know exactly how much dough you’ll be dishing out. Figure you’ll probably spend anywhere from $200 to $400 in stamps if you are having an average size wedding.

Gifts for Bridesmaids and Groomsmen
Don’t forget to show your gratitude for your wedding party with gifts that usually have some sentimental significance. Between buying a dress or renting a tux, chipping in for a bachelor or bachelorette party, contributing to the shower, and spending miscellaneous cash on accessories, flights, and hotels, the nicest thing you can do is give your inner circle a token of your love and appreciation. The cost tends to cha-ching up to about $50 to $75 per person, according to most brides and grooms, but of course you know best when it comes to these VIPs.

Some contracts may include gratuity and some may not. You may also be so blown away by a particular service that you feel the need to take out your wallet and add on digits to the final check you write. It’s not always necessary or contracted, but you may want to tip your photographer, videographer, hair stylist, make-up artist, wedding coordinator, transportation driver, bartenders, and servers.

Yes, you know that each guest costs a certain amount of money, but don’t forget that any little add-ons you make may also mean adding tables (which means adding centerpieces and linens) and chairs (which also means adding covers or rentals) and favors (which also means additional labels, ribbons, and wrapping) and escort cards (which also means more paper, labor, and ink). The list goes on. You get my drift. When you have your final guest list in order, stick to it and don’t start tweaking it because adding people actually multiplies your costs.

Photography by Kim Fox


Don’t forget to take a minute to enter you or your loved one into the ketubah giveaway on The Wedding Yentas with Ketubah Studio by MP Artworks! Photo submissions are being accepted right now through February 16th! Details here!

  • Michael Fromm says:

    I am voting for Jess and Harrison. From the picture, they look like an AMAZING couple and deserve the ketubah!

  • Rosanna Askenas says:

    Harrison and Jessica are very loving people. They would get my vote more than 100x’s but I can only vote once.

  • Yaakov Kayman says:

    I vote for Harrison “Hrf” Fox and Jess Antokal

  • Traci says:

    Jess and Harrison

  • Mar says:

    I vote for Shayna & Jesse!

  • Brent says:

    I vote for Harrison and Jess

  • Harriet weiss says:

    I vote for Harrison and Jess!

  • Barbara says:

    I vote for Harrison and Jess they really deserve to win

  • june says:

    i vote for Harrison and Jess…good luck…

  • karenilene says:

    Jessica and Harrison are the cutest!

  • Minnie Lippman says:

    I vote for Harrison and Jessica!