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Unexpected Wedding Expenses

By Chris Bibey

unexpected wedding expensesWhen planning your wedding, it is safe to say that you will do what you can to stay within your budget. Of course, this is easier said than done. Even when you think you have everything accounted for, there are expenses that will pop up and make you wonder what you are doing. As I planned my wedding over the past year (I got married in early August), the big expenses were simple to keep track of. This included things such as the rings, venue, DJ, transportation, and food. At the same time, there were smaller expenses, those that I had overlooked, that continued to sneak up on me. A few of them are detailed below:

1. Marriage license. Approximately four weeks before the wedding I remembered that we needed to head to the county court building to apply for a marriage license. Up until that point, I had totally forgotten about the license and the time it would take to apply for one. When all was said and done, this was another $75 out of my pocket.

2. Tips, tips, and more tips. On your wedding day you will quickly learn that there is no shortage of service providers that are expecting a tip. Throughout the day I tipped the limo driver, priest, and DJ. While this was something I had thought about before the wedding, as the day heated up it was moved to the back of my mind. Fortunately, I remembered to keep some extra cash in my wallet so I wasn’t embarrassed when it came time to tip these providers.

How much should I tip? In my opinion, there is no right or wrong answer, just a fair range when it comes to tipping etiquette guidelines. My research turned up multiple answers, most of the time ranging between five and ten percent of the total bill. So, if you paid $1,000 to rent a limo you should tip the driver somewhere between $50 and $100. But again, this is based on your personal opinion.

3. Alterations. While this is not something the groom generally has to worry about, the bride is a different story. My wife visited her wedding dress store on three separate occasions, each time paying more than $100 for alterations. As a guy, this is something that I did not think about in advance.

4. Postage stamps. This expense will vary based on the number of people you invite to your wedding as well as the total number in attendance. We sent out save the dates, invitations, and of course, thank you notes. For each one we sent out, a $.44 stamp was needed. If you send out 600 pieces of mail, for example, your final postage expense will be $264.

5. Wedding favors. Once again, I totally overlooked this expense and blame it on being a “typical guy.” While I have been to many weddings over the years and taken home quite a few favors, this one slipped my mind during the planning process. I have to admit, when my wife started talking about favors and how much they would cost I was taken back. Make sure you consider all your options in this department, including favors that you can make on your own. There are definitely cost-effective ways to provide party favors.

In addition to the expenses that you are aware of, there will always be a few that sneak up on you when planning a wedding. Hopefully you can learn from my oversights!

Were there any expenses you overlooked for your wedding that surprised you at the end?

(photo credit: epSos.de)

Chris Bibey
Chris Bibey is a freelance writer who over the years has honed his personal finance experience by writing more than 100 feature articles on the subject. In his spare time, Chris enjoys sports - West Virginia football in particular!

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  • http://getwedhq.com Lisa

    I completely agree with how easy it is to overlook certain aspects of your wedding and think it’s even easier to just not really appreciate how much something will cost. Anything you are buying on a per guest basis (invitations, favours, etc.) can sound cheap per item but really takes a chunk out of your budget when you look at the final cost.
    We don’t really have to worry about tips in the UK but stamps were something I’d completely forgotten to factor in during my wedding planning so thanks for the tip!

  • Hank Coleman

    My wife and I had to get blood tests done before we could get our marriage license which was also another expense that was added that we were not expecting. You also have to do that way in advance to get the results too. No spur of the moment wedding for us!

  • Top

    Paying the officiant/minister is often overlooked and some couples are even surprised that these folks need to be paid. Even the priest needs to garner a donation for the church. A typical donation is about $200 so please don’t forget the most important part of the wedding – the ceremony!

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