7 Hidden Wedding Costs and How to Avoid Them
— By Lorna Urwin
15 February 2017
Keeping on top of wedding costs is vital for remaining stress-free throughout the planning process. Even for budget-savvy brides it’s possible for certain costs to slip through the cracks and disrupt your careful planning! Below we help you avoid any unpleasant surprises by revealing some of the most common hidden wedding costs and how to avoid them.
1/ Beauty treatments
Image by Haley Sheffield
While your trials will likely have made it onto your budget, you may not have set money aside for other beautifying indulgences.
How to avoid: Look into pricing for facials, tanning appointments, spa days, manicures or any other pampering packages in advance, decide which are essential and adjust your beauty budget accordingly. It’s worth exploring these a few months ahead of time so that you can compare prices and seek out discounts or offers.
Image by Winsome and Wright
That special wedding gown tends to justify equally special underwear beneath it. Whether practical shapewear or something a little fancier, don’t let what’s out of sight be out of mind too!
How to avoid: Undergarments can make a difference to the support you get in your dress, as well as the overall look. Make sure they’re on your shopping list from the start. If you’re not keen to shell out for something wedding specific, shop your own wardrobe for something suitable. Trial at dress fittings to ensure it fits the bill.
3/ Dress tailoring and care
Image by Patina Photography
From simple hemming to taking the dress in, alterations are a pretty common requirement if you’re buying a new gown that’s a standard size, or if you’re buying second-hand or vintage. Dress costs don’t end after the last dance, either. Post-wedding cleaning and preservation all mean that the cost of the dress can be significantly larger than the figure on the price tag!
How to avoid: Make enquiries with the shop you’re buying from about whether alterations will be required and ask for an estimate. You can always price check other seamstresses if keeping costs down is key. Get quotes from cleaning and preservation providers to add a realistic estimate for these costs to your budget from the beginning.
4/ Delivery, set up and take down fees
Images by Jocelyn Filley Photography and Belathee Photography
There tend to be quite a few hidden charges on top of the cost of décor or rental items themselves – everything from labour, packaging and delivery to set up and take down might cost you extra. Given the hassle of organising this for yourself, you’ll probably want to arrange for vendors or your venue to cover these, but be prepared to pay accordingly.
How to avoid: Fortunately this is a straightforward fix. Simply ask each vendor upfront how much you’ll pay inclusive of delivery, packaging, set up etc. Then make sure it’s the inclusive cost that you’re using to compare your options.
Many wedding vendors specify hours in their contracts. Anything beyond that, whether due to delays or a reluctance to wrap up the party, will most likely be subject to additional hourly charges.
How to avoid: Request overtime quotes in writing when booking your vendors and venue so that you can budget appropriately. Otherwise, the main way to avoid this is to have a realistic wedding timeline/schedule (preferably with built-in contingency time) and plan to stick to it as closely as possible.
6/ Unexpected meal requirements
Image by Brian Hatton Photography
Make sure the head count you supply to your venue or caterer is accurate. It’s surprisingly easy to forget to include yourselves in the count, as well hard-earned nourishment for your lovely vendors. Anyone who’s still present for the reception will need to be considered, including the photographer, videographer and the DJ or band. This can add up. You’ll also want to account for feeding your bridal party, which often includes ordered in breakfast and lunch (not to mention champagne!).
How to avoid: Make sure you know the precise numbers for vendors ahead of time (are the band bringing additional musicians? Will the photographer have an assistant?) and count carefully when it comes to giving numbers to your caterer. Make a plan for feeding your bridesmaids, too, whether that means budgeting for a more expensive room service bill or exploring nearby shops that can make a platter and deliver for cheaper.
7/ Stationery and postage
Images by Mariel Hannah and Sawyer Baird
Weddings require quite a bit of paper. While invitations and save the dates are rightly a priority for many couples, don’t forget to include day-of ephemera like programs, place cards, menus and table numbers in your estimates, along with a host of thank you cards for afterwards. On top of this, postage for the various cards and invites is often underestimated or forgotten.
How to avoid: Have a holistic approach to stationery budgeting and shopping rather than getting tunnel vision over invitations. For anything that will be sent by post, budget for stamps and other postage costs. This includes save the dates and thank you notes as well as the bulkier (and therefore more costly) invitations themselves! You may be able to save on postage by keeping invites lighter. Choose a lighter paper stock and opt to put information on a wedding website rather than in multiple invitation inserts.