wedding expenses you might not be aware of

Hidden Wedding Costs You Should Be Aware Of

We all know weddings can be expensive, so it’s important not only to have a budget but be prepared for unexpected costs that may arise during the wedding planning process. Here are some of the most common ones to expect: 

Wedding Attire Alterations & Steaming

When shopping for a wedding gown or a wedding suit or tuxedo you might be aware of the hefty price tag associated with this type of attire. However, what you may not realize is that not included in the price are alterations and steaming, both of which can carry a surprising price tag. Expect to pay anywhere from $100-$600 for alterations on your wedding dress (or even higher if you have a complex design on your wedding). If you need minimal alterations or only need a bustle added you might only spend $100, but you should budget for at least a few hundred dollars for this. 

Suit and tuxedo rentals won’t carry an alteration fee but if you’re purchasing them instead, expect to need to pay for alterations. Both dresses and suits will require steaming after alterations so be sure to budget for this as well. 

Vendor Trials

Trials are another common wedding fee that may take you by surprise. You can expect to encounter this fee with your hairstylist, makeup artist, and even your florist. In some cases, if you purchase a package these vendors make include a trial, but more than likely you can expect to have to pay to see a trial of your hair and makeup, and even your bridal bouquet or centerpiece. 

unexpected wedding expenses

Wedding Band Equipment

If you’re planning to hire a wedding band, you might expect to pay for the musicians’ time, but you might not realize you may be required to pay for the equipment as well. In many cases, the base price includes the minimum amount of audiovisual equipment needed to perform, but if you have a large venue, an outdoor setup, or require additional microphones for extra singers the necessary equipment may come with a higher price tag. In some cases, even a DJ company may require you to pay additional fees depending on what kind of setup you’re looking for on your wedding day. 

Be sure to discuss exactly what is included in their quote to you to avoid surprises later on. 


If, like most brides and grooms, you plan to mail physical invitations, you need to factor in the cost of stamps. Due to the inserts typically included with wedding invitations, it’s common for them to cost extra and require postage for oversized or heavy mail. You’ll also need to factor in the cost of stamps for return envelopes. While this isn’t a huge added expensive, it can be an extra few hundred dollars, and when you’re planning your wedding budget, every penny counts! 

Marriage License Fee

This is another, small surprise fee but one to keep in mind regardless. The cost will vary depending on the state you are getting married in (in New Jersey a wedding license fee is $28). Despite the small price tag on this one, it still belongs in your budget. 

Taxes and Gratuities

This is another unavoidable fee, no matter where you are getting married or what size wedding you are having. Every vendor you hire for your wedding will add these costs onto your final invoice but don’t always include them on the initial quote. While you can estimate what the taxes will be for a particular invoice, many vendors will provide an expected amount for gratuity, while others will leave that to your discretion. Either way, these are two costs you need to account for when creating your budget. 

Service Fees

Service fees differ from gratuities in that they are actual fees charged for a particular service provided. One example is a specialty bakery charging per slice- known as a cake cutting fee. Not every couple will encounter service fees, but it’s a good idea to ask vendors upfront if you should expect them.  

Overtime Fees

When you hire vendors such as a wedding band, DJ, wedding photographer and videographer, and even your venue you are booking them for a specific amount of time, so if your wedding runs a little longer than you expected, you should expect to be charged for additional time.  If you plan to have a longer wedding reception and want your DJ to stick around be sure to inquire about the cost. Likewise, if you want your photographer around longer to capture getting ready photos or your exit photos, you’ll need to ask about how much they will charge for additional time. 

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