Wedding budgets are the necessary evil of an already fraught-with-drama time in your life. There are all kinds of things that'll balloon your wedding budget from necessary undies to last-minute tailoring to extra guests showing up.
The best defense is a good offense by knowing what hidden wedding costs may sneak in and how to be ready for them. Also, we have a wedding budget request!
Tipping and taxes
There's so much conflicting information on the internet about tipping your wedding vendors that it's hard to firmly establish a target number in your budget. It's also super easy to forget about it up front.
Taxes on the other hand, can be estimated pretty accurately. Moral of the story? Estimate about an extra third of your total budget costs for both tips and taxes.
If your invitations and/or save-the-dates weigh more than one ounce, you’re going to need additional postage. Any shape that is out of the norm (like a square) also costs more, so find out from your post office what the damage will be. Feel free to skip heavier weight paper stocks, multiple cards, boxes, and fancy shapes to save some cash.
Hair and makeup trials
This is optional (as is even having your hair and makeup done professionally!), but if you're going for it, plan for a trial to make sure it's what you want. But know that it can run between $100-$300+ just for the trial.
When you're crafting up a project, you might be saving money versus buying something, but it may take a few tries to get it right depending on the complexity. Here's what one reader had to say:
Another unexpected cost for me: DIY trials. Crafting things yourself can make them cheaper overall, but don't expect everything to work perfectly the first time. I definitely spent some extra money on supplies for prototypes and things that didn't pan out as expected. – Saminrva
Hemming, steaming, spot cleaning… all of this is not included in the price you're seeing on your dress or outfit. Best solution: ask for the list of needed alterations and what the costs will be. If you already have a seamstress you trust, take it to them for pricing, too.
Your wedding garment price also doesn't include the cost of your underwear. Be sure to snag your favorite style of drawers (and whatever other undies you'll need: bras, corsets, period panties, binders, etc.) to make sure it's padding your budget accurately… pun intended.
Equipment for a DJ, a wedding band, microphones, etc. can add up in cost. Make sure you're talking out the logistics and prices with your vendors who will be needing equipment. Also run it all past your venue to make sure the setup will work and that everyone will have what they need on the day.
Rental company delivery and setup
If you're renting chairs, tables, or anything at all, you'll need to make sure that delivery fees (both coming and going) are included in your contract. These can be as low as $50 or upwards of $400 depending on how much you're renting. Also make sure any setup costs are included.
This includes early day meals for you and your crew who will be getting ready behind the scenes. Keep it simple and have a friend or family member grab some easy bulk food like bagels, fruit, sammies, lots of water, …and mimosas?! Or get something delivered (organized ahead of time!) for everyone from a place you can afford. Also water, lots of water.
Start the gnashing and wailing now because chances are your guest list will contain a few folks who show up but didn't RSVP or an extra +1 you didn't intend on having. I know, I know. Be prepared with a couple of extra meals just in case and spare yourself the stress on the day.
Vendor meals (and yourself!)
Oh, and don't forget to budget for your photographers, videographers, coordinators, band members, DJ, and any other vendors who will be with you for the long haul during mealtime. And don't forget to budget for yourself and your partner, too. You'd be surprised how often that can get overlooked.
Cake cutting and corking fees
All-inclusive venues probably already have this baked (haha) into the fees, but a la carte venues or your own spaces probably don't. Either way, ask ahead of time to find out about cake cutting and corkage fees which can range from From $2 to $5 per guest for the cake and from $1 to $3 for every bottle of wine opened.
When you book a vendor like a DJ, photographer, or venue, you'll likely be booking for a specific length of time. Definitely check what overtime fees are (they're often more than a regular per-hour cost), and get it in writing. Have someone ready to start closing up shop near the end of the night so you can leave on time.
Cleanup and breakdown
The dreaded post-reception clean-up is the last thing you want to worry about. If you've hired a coordinator, see if they'll include it in their fees. Otherwise you'll want to see what your venue offers or if you're on the hook for it yourself. Garbage removal and cleanup can run in the hundreds of dollars.