14 Unexpected Wedding Expenses & How to Avoid Them

Weddings are expensive – at least that’s one thing we all expect. What you don’t need are extra expenses that pop up after you’ve already spent thousands of dollars. Let’s take a look at some wedding costs that could surprise you if they aren’t factored into your budget.

1. Corkage Fees

Corkage fees are common when you bring your own wine to your wedding venue, and they usually cost upwards of $10 per bottle. You can avoid paying these fees by purchasing the wine your venue offers, but it’s always wise to check which option will cost less in the end.

2. Wedding Cake Cutting Fees

Your venue may charge a cake cutting fee per slice if you need their staff to cut and plate your wedding cake. This cost is simple to avoid if you prefer wedding cupcakes or non traditional wedding desserts (like individual pies, cookies, etc.).

3. Catered Food Tasting Appointments

Not every couple decides to taste their catered wedding food before ordering the food for their reception, but if you do, expect to pay a fee for each person attending. You might not want to avoid paying for this if you’re ordering food from a caterer that doesn’t have a lot of reviews. However, if you’re getting food from a restaurant you like or a caterer that you’ve heard a lot of great things about, then you could easily cut this cost out.

4. Vendor Wedding Reception Meals

Everybody needs to eat, including your vendors who are spending most of the day at your event. They likely won’t have a lot of time to eat, so you may need to work with your venue or caterer to make sure they get a meal when it’s convenient for them. This is a cost that you really shouldn’t avoid. In most cases, you can just include your vendors in the total headcount.

5. Day-Of Meals

It can be easy to forget that you and your wedding party need to eat before the big event… but it’s important that you do. The cost of providing those meals is different for every couple. If you want the least amount of work, expect to pay more to have a catered breakfast and lunch. To save money, you can see if a family member is willing to put together some sandwich platters and other finger foods that don’t cost a lot and are easy to eat while other things are going on.

6. Overtime

Your venue or caterer will usually tell you how much time is included in the price you pay, but expect to pay at least 50% more if they have to work longer than planned. If you want to avoid overtime, make sure everything that you’re responsible for is ready for the staff and double check that your guest count is correct.

7. Trial Hair & Makeup

Trial appointments for your wedding hairstyle, makeup and nails are likely to cost about the same as they will on your wedding day. If you’re not willing to forgo the trials completely, look for stylists that offer wedding packages that are discounted for buying both appointments at once.

8. Off-Site Fees

Some vendors will charge extra if they have to travel for your wedding. Whether that’s a flat fee or based on mileage is entirely up to your vendors, so it may be something to consider before you choose a wedding location that’s far away from vendors you know you want to use.

9. Tips

It’s customary to tip most of your vendors. Even if they don’t expect it, you may want to tip wedding vendors anyway if they do an exceptional job. Here are some of the vendors you may want to tip:

  • Caterer
  • Baker
  • DJ
  • Photographer/Videographer
  • Officiant
  • Florist
  • Reception Venue
  • Ceremony Venue

10. Venue Add-Ons

This is a pretty general category, but it’s a good idea to set aside some funds for extra features, deposits and fees that your venue may charge you. Some of these can be avoided by not using extra things like up lighting, fireplaces/fire pits, A/V equipment, etc.. With that said, there are some you might have to pay, like security deposit and fees for police on site (if it’s required).

11. Rental Transportation

If you rent large equipment like chairs or tables, rental companies don’t always include delivery in the initial charge. It seems obvious that 100+ chairs won’t fit into a normal vehicle, so it’s easy to assume that they would know you probably need them delivered. If the delivery charge is too much through the rental company, you can avoid paying as much by either renting a less expensive vehicle for the day or gathering family and friends to help load everything up and take it to your reception venue.

12. Out of Season Flowers

Certain flowers may be out of season depending on where you live and when your wedding is. According to Beautifully Bloomed in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, you will usually spend 40-60% more on wedding flowers that are not in season where you live. To avoid the extra cost, talk with your florist about what flowers will be in season and what they recommend based on how you want your wedding to look.

13. Backup Plans

If you’re planning an outdoor ceremony or wedding reception, having a backup plan could save your event. This could be something as simple as having umbrellas for guests in case of rain, or it could be having a backup ceremony space set up if you need to move the ceremony at the last minute. If this is too costly, you can tell guests to bring umbrellas or otherwise prepare for any events likely to disrupt your ceremony or reception.

14. Wedding Insurance

Not everyone decides to have insurance for their wedding, but it could save you money if something goes wrong. This expense is one that you and your fiance will have to weigh the benefits against the risk.

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