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Biggest Budget Sinkholes That Can Wreck Your Wedding

Here are the biggest wedding budget blunders to avoid. These unexpected expenses can completely blow up your careful plan.


You budgeted for save-the-date cards, invitations, and thank-yous to be printed on gorgeous stationery. But did you remember the cost to actually send them out to your guests? Plan to spend about $.50 for every piece of mail you send out. That might not seem like a lot now, but it adds up quick!

Tipping and Overtime

The fee charged by your vendors isn’t the whole story. You absolutely must budget for tipping between 15-20% for service on top of any fees charged by your vendors. In addition, you need to budget for potential overtime. If the ceremony or reception goes long, you may need to pay extra for your photographer, catering staff, and other contractors to stay past their appointed time.

Hotel Perks for Your Guests

If you plan to put up guests in a block of hotel rooms, there may be quite a few hidden costs involved. For example, if you put together welcome bags for your out-of-town loved ones, the hotel may charge to put the gifts in the rooms. You may also have upcharges for internet access, parking, and other fees beyond the base price of the room.

Cake Cutting

When you bring in your wedding cake from an outside vendor, the venue may want to get their cut–literally. Many places charge a cutting fee per slice. The surcharge can range from $1-2 per serving. That could easily double the overall cost of your cake. To avoid the fee, skip the traditional cake for cupcakes, donuts, a sundae bar, or any other self-serve treat station.

Lighting, Sound, and Utilities

While you doubtlessly already budgeted for a DJ or band, did you factor in additional lighting or equipment that you may need to rent? While many professionals will supply their own sound systems and even lighting, you shouldn’t assume that everything is included.

And what about the utility bill for all that electricity? Your venue may apply a surcharge to your bill for power usage. Make sure you understand how you’ll be charged before signing a contract.

Fittings and Alterations

The real cost of a wedding is usually much, much higher than the price on the tag. That’s because you’ll need the help of a professional seamstress to ensure the perfect fit. Expect to pay for multiple fittings and alterations. If you want to make major changes to the gown, that will add on additional costs. Be sure to budget for bridesmaids’ fittings too, if you plan to offer to pay for their gowns.

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