13 Hidden Wedding Costs You Might Not Know About

Couple holding eachother in a room with candles and drapes
July 12, 2022

Creating a budget is the first step in the wedding planning process. After all, you can’t start to put together all of the elements of the big day until you know how much you have to spend. With prices being higher than usual right now, it’s more important than ever to be aware of hidden costs that couples often forget about. We've rounded up 13 hidden wedding costs you'll definitely want to share with your clients!


1. Wedding Insurance

If we've learned anything over the past two years, it’s to be prepared for anything and everything. While no couple wants to worry about postponing their big day, it’s wise to prepare for any circumstance. With that in mind, taking out a wedding insurance policy that will reimburse you for any lost expenses in the case of Covid, severe weather, or a family emergency is critical. Check out Everything You Need to Know About Wedding Insurance!

2. Service Fees

This can be an added charge that the venue includes to cover the cost of hiring servers, coat checkers, and bathroom and parking attendants. Make sure you read the entire contract to see if this fee is included or if couples will be expected to cover it separately.

3. Gratuities

It can be easy to forget that you are expected to tip the service-based workers (wait staff, bartenders, etc.), so couples have to make sure that they set aside 10-20 percent for gratuities. But also check with the venue to make sure tips aren’t already built into the overall price.

4. Testing Requirements

If you’re having a destination wedding outside of the country, you’ll need to figure out the testing requirements for getting both in and out of the country. The United States, for example, requires a negative COVID-19 test taken within 24 hours of departure to enter the country. While many all-inclusive resorts in Mexico and the Caribbean are helping travelers and even covering the costs, others are charging anywhere from $25-75 per person.

5. Dress Alterations

Most wedding shops charge extra for alterations on dresses, and the cost depends on the amount of work that needs to be done.

6. Wedding Party Gifts

Couples should include some money in their budget to gift their wedding party with a beautiful token of their appreciation. It could be something they wear on the big day or an item they can treasure for years to come.

7. Outside Vendors

Some venues will charge a fee if you hire a vendor outside of their approved vendor list. It can be 20 percent or more, so be prepared.

8. Vendor Meals

Many couples forget that they are expected to feed their vendors—band/DJ, photographer, videographer, planner, and any assistants—at the reception.

9. Marriage License

You can’t get legally married in the United States without a marriage license, with the fee varying from state to state.

10. Hair & Makeup Trials

Before couples hire someone to do their hair and makeup for the big day, they'll want to test out their skills. Most beauty professionals charge a fee for this service, with the price depending on where you live and the person’s experience level.

11. Postage

Many couples still opt to mail their wedding invitations, and the cost of postage can certainly add up. Remember, postage is needed for the main invite, and also for the RSVP cards.

12. Welcome Bag Delivery

If you are sending welcome bags or baskets to guests, the hotel may charge you a fee per bag to deliver them to the rooms.

13. Overtime

The venue, photographer/videographer, and band/DJ will all charge overtime fees if the wedding runs over. With that in mind, do your best to stick with your wedding day schedule to avoid any delays.


Hero photo courtesy of Kuenzli Photography


About the Author

Aisle Planner Editorial Team
Aisle Planner Editorial Team
The Aisle Planner Editorial Team is a collective of creative writers, editors, and former event pros who obsess over weddings and special events—and the businesses behind them! Drawn to refined details, design, and creativity, our team provides intelligent and straightforward articles with insights, practical tips, and expert guidance in putting Aisle Planner's "Power of One" behind your business.