Unexpected Wedding Costs to Prepare For

It’s no secret that weddings are expensive. There are plenty of budgeting tips out there to help you stick to a determined amount but they don’t always account for everything that goes into making your special day exactly how you want it. We’ve talked to the professionals, and gathered the unexpected wedding costs to prepare for so you aren’t way over budget when the wedding day arrives.

Event Design by HoneyFitz Events, Anna Delores Photography

Accomodations. The bridal suite for getting ready the morning of your wedding + where you stay the night of your wedding can cost a pretty penny, especially if you are planning on getting a suite or even AirBnB! This is something that, although should be booked months in advance, is an unexpected expense, especially when it comes to hotel service + valet fees. – Nicole George from Nicole George Event Planning & Design

Maureen FitzGibbon from Kate & Company continues, Another huge cost can be the attrition on a room block! Many couples are not aware what the attrition even means – this is a guarantee that hotels will include when weddings book a room block at their hotel. For example, a hotel may have a 90% attrition rate for your room block! If your party does not book that 90% of rooms blocked, then the bride + groom are responsible for that remaining revenue – sometimes that is upwards of a thousand dollars! If working with a professional wedding planner, they should be able to negotiate this lower or waive it completely, but be sure to keep it in mind when signing a contract with local hotels.

Event Design by Lauren Niles Events, Natalie Franke Photography

One unexpected wedding cost is the cost of baskets and bags for guests. These include welcome bags that get presented to guests staying in a hotel block and baskets that get placed in the bathrooms at the wedding venue. – Amanda Hudes from Smiling Through Chaos

Overtime fees. I see couples try to guess how long they will need their vendors, especially photographers, videographers and transportation. They almost always do not allow enough time and then get hit with overtime costs post-wedding. Allow for more time than you think you need, or just have your planner figure this out for you. – Danielle Rothweiler from Rothweiler Event Design

Event Design by Moana Events, Schyne Photography

Stationery & Postage: Please take time to speak with your designer or if you are ordering online- ask for samples – to see what postage will cost. The weight and shape are the two most contributing factors; also if the invite is mailed in a box – that is A LOT more. Just do your homework and decide if it’s worth all the extra postage to have a square/boxed/extra heavy invite. We always take our client’s invites (with all the pieces inside) to at least two different post offices and get them weighed. Remember you also must purchase postage for the reply card envelopes; it can add up quickly. And custom postage is even more – but a very worthwhile investment for the outer envelopes, for sure! – Sara Fried from Fête Nashville

Tiffany Wunschl from Gourmet Invitations continues, When looking for your invitations, you’ll find that most companies charge you for each of the printed pieces.  You might find an invitation that only costs $2 but then the rsvp card, rsvp envelope, reception card, outer envelopes, and addressing all charged separately.  By the time you are done, you can be ordering a $20 invitation and not even realize it.  Be sure to count the number of households on your address list – not the number of guests.  Check any order minimums and the number of invitations that are required to be ordered too.  If the invitation company requires you to order in multiples of 50s and you need 160 invitations, you will be required to order 200 invitations.

Event Design by HoneyFitz Events, Anna Delores Photography

Weather: Couples tend to warn guests about weather whether it’s hot or cold, but add in that amazing vintage shrug into the budget before finalizing payments! – Amy Santos from Elizabeth Birdsong Photography

Danielle Aspromatis from d’Luxe Events says, When tenting a wedding, there can be lots of unexpected costs! You could anticipate a basic tent structure, but because of temperature or weather conditions, you could have last minute costs of tent walls, heaters, fans, or extra tenting for ceremony or caterers. It’s best to explore all worst case scenarios into your tenting budget!

Know the cost of your backup plan, says Taylor Cervantes from James Korin Photography. Rain – it happens, even in sunny southern California.  Ask your wedding planner or venue coordinator about a rain contingency plan for the ceremony and reception such as a tent and/or interlocking plastic floor.  When it comes to pictures, if it is too wet and gloomy outside you may opt for a bridal re-shoot on another day.  Ask your photographer if they can offer a discounted session during the week.

Rebecca Ellison Photography


Taylor Cervantes from James Korin Photography also says, Vendor Meals! Certain wedding vendors such as photographers, videographers and wedding planners are often with you from your Getting Ready, through your First Look, to the Grand Exit at your Reception which usually means around 10-12 hours. It is such an honor and rewarding feeling to take part in one of the most important days in our clients’ lives however that 12 hour day (or even 8 hours) is a long time to go without rest. Vendors such as these will most likely bring their own snacks for throughout the day but it is tough to survive a 12 hour shift without any real sustenance.  Since you wouldn’t want your photographer or wedding planner missing an important moment because he/she had to step away to get dinner, plan for them to eat when you do so that when you are ready to start greeting your guests, they are with you every step of the way.

And don’t forget about Bridal Squad Munchies. Wedding days tend to go by really fast and brides don’t always remember to eat.  Try setting up a bagel bar with fruit, orange juice and healthy toppings like tomato slices and avocado so you and your bridal squad can stay energized and un-hangry.

Amy Santos from Elizabeth Birdsong Photography echoes, Couples love to pop the bubbly morning of the wedding during prep hours.. Don’t forget to add in the cost of champagne!

Videography: Lindsay Quinn from NST Pictures says, Sometimes, couples don’t realize they need a videographer at their wedding until the last minute. But videography can do what photos cannot, which is capturing candid movement and audio. Keep in mind that a professional wedding videographer will most likely run the same amount of money as what you’re allocating for your photographer, but it’s truly worth it in the end. The couple can relive their magical wedding memories again and again, complete with vows and emotional first-look moments in action.

Wedding by Feathered Arrow Events, Cameron Leung Photography


Hiring a reception babysitter! Your siblings might want to dance the night away but have young kids that are in the wedding party. As a gift hire a babysitter to come for the reception to alleviate the pressure of scheduling! – Amy Santos from Elizabeth Birdsong Photography

Tips: This can be overlooked in the early planning stages and might be necessary or essential! Couples often forget that they need to buffer a contingency into their budget, which can cover off on vendor tips and a weather plan! –Jennifer Wetzel from HoneyFitz Events

Kari Dirksen from Feathered Arrow Events says, Unexpected costs can happen all the time at weddings. Some smaller items that can add up quickly and sometimes people forget about is buying gifts for your bridal party. Typically, the bride and groom will buy a gift for their bridesmaids, groomsmen, and flower girl/ring bearers as a way to say thank you and a token of their appreciation for standing by their side. Although this doesn’t have to break the bank, it can add up, so be sure to budget for it!


We hope this helps you prepare your wedding day budget for the unexpected!

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