12 Unexpected Wedding Expenses You Might Not Be Prepared For

Updated: Jun 11, 2020

We’re all aware that weddings are expensive. And sticking to the budget is the number one thing that couples stress over. The little hidden costs associated with a wedding are easy to forget but can have a big impact on whether you make or break your budget. Below is a list of those things that are easy to forget but that you need to plan for within your budget.


Stamps are not cheap and with a first-class stamp at 70p and second-class at 61p if you’re planning to send out the majority of your save the dates and/or invitations by post then this will soon add up. Also bear in mind that if your invitations are too weighty then this will cost even more. Work out how many you will need to post and how many you can hand out in person or post through letterboxes yourself, but make sure you weigh up whether the time spent distributing your invitations by hand is worth the cost you’re saving.

Beauty Treatments

You have probably already accounted for a hair and makeup stylist within your budget for on the morning of your wedding. But you also need to make sure you’ve considered the cost of a trial before the day (Is this already included in your package with your stylist? It’s definitely worth checking!)

You’ll also need to think about how much you’re spending on treatments before… for example haircut and colour, manicure and pedicure, eyebrow shape, waxing, eyelash extensions, spray tan. Obviously, these are all optional but if you're going for a full makeover then make sure you allow for this within your budget. If there is a more expensive service, you’re interested in having then try looking for deals on sites like Groupon ahead of your wedding.


No matter whether you’re getting your dress from a bridal boutique, a vintage store or off of the high street, chances are you will need to pay for some alterations at some point before your wedding day to ensure your gown fits perfectly. A bridal store will advise you on whether alterations are included in the price of the dress and how far in advance of your wedding these need to be done.

Food for your Vendors

For those vendors that are spending the majority of the day with you i.e. photographers, videographers or your band if they’re with you for more than 8 hours, it is polite and usually expected that you supply them with refreshments at some point throughout the day. These are normally cheaper than the guest meals but still, need to be included in the headcount to your caterer.

Speaking of headcount – don’t forget to include yourself and your partner in this too!

Marriage License

If you want to legally get married, you’ll need to give notice and pay for a marriage certificate. In England and Wales, you need to give notice at least 29 days before you plan to get married or form a civil partnership and you must hold your ceremony within 12 months of ‘giving notice’. You’ll need to make an appointment at your local register office and it’s usually £35, or £47 if either of you are from outside the EU, EAA or Switzerland.

If you’re having a religious ceremony then check with the venue that there is an authorised person such as a religious minister that will be able to register you immediately after the ceremony, if not you’ll need to book a registrar at a cost of £86. If you’re having a civil ceremony then a registrar costs £46 to conduct your ceremony at a register office. Costs at other approved venues may vary so be sure to check this.

After you’ve registered you can then get a marriage or civil partnership certificate which costs £11.

Hotel Room for the Night Before

Depending on where you’re getting married and who will be joining you on the morning of, you will need to consider where you’re getting ready in the morning and whether you wish to book a hotel room for you and your bridal party. Due to check-in times you’ll often need to book a hotel room for two nights – the wedding night and the night before to make sure that you can check-in and out at your leisure, make an evening of it with a pamper session and then you can all wake up together in the morning prepared to get ready.

You’ll also want to set aside some money for food – you’ll need breakfast for you and your party, and probably some champagne too!

Unexpected Guests

This is infuriating but it does happen, whether it’s an uninvited plus one or a guest that RSVP’d “no”. You should anticipate a few extra guests just in case so plan a couple of extra meals and have a plan for extra place settings if you need them.


It’s often customary for the bridal couple to buy gifts as a thank you to their bridal party and their parents. While this is not compulsory if this is something you’d like to do then consider the cost that will need to be included in your budget.

Overtime Costs

If your wedding runs over the allotted time for whatever reason or you don’t want the night to end, bear in mind that you’ll have to pay for any hours outside of the contracted time. Know how much the overtime charges will be, not just for your venue but also for other vendors who may have to stay late too such as your DJ, band or photographer.

Unpredictable Stuff

You can’t plan for every eventuality so it’s best to keep aside some of your budget in case something goes wrong last minute that you need to pay for or if you’ve forgotten to plan for something. If you prepare for the unexpected ahead of time, you won't be left scrambling to come up with extra cash at the last minute.

After "I Do"

The spending doesn’t stop after your wedding. A big part of this will be the thank you cards you’ll want to send out to your guests. Also, consider whether you’ll want to clean and preserve your gown. And depending on the package you have with your photographer you may want to set aside some money for additional prints.

Day Of Coordinator

In particular if your DIYing your wedding you’ll need someone there on the morning of to set up, answer phone calls from suppliers and make sure they all turn up on time. You’ll also want someone there at the end of the night to take it all down – there’s nothing worse than the party finishing and you’re still there packing away decorations, not a great end to the night! Allowing for either a Wedding Planner or a Coordinator will mean you don’t have to worry about any of this. To find out more about how I can help, see my services page here or feel free to contact me for a quote or with any questions you may have.

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Based in Somerset, UK and covering the rest of the South West, Leah Olivia Weddings provides wedding planning services to modern couples.

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