Hidden Wedding Costs and How to Avoid Them

So you’ve set your budget and you’re already bracing yourself for how much this is going to cost, but some of the most important things to accommodate for in your budgeting are those sneaky costs that go under the radar.

Hidden wedding costs

All of these are significant enough to push you quite heavily over budget, so listen up as we fill you in on everything you need to be looking out for.

Postage Stamps for Invitations 

You’ve had your swanky invitations made and they’re all ready to go, but have you considered how much they are going to cost to post? With the price of UK first class stamps steadily rising, you may be looking at a considerable expenditure depending on how many guests you are inviting and the size and weight of the invitation.

Hidden Wedding Costs
How to avoid

Ensure you factor this cost into your stationery budget. Often your stationer will do the posting for you, so ensure you know their rates too and whether postage is included in the final price. Alternatively, consider ditching postage altogether and opt for Paperless Post invites that are sent via email. As well as saving money you also can sleep easy knowing you’re helping to minimise carbon footprint and saving the turtles.

Tips and Taxes

Ensure you read (and then re-read) the wedding venue contract along with the terms and conditions. This is crucial when budgeting for your big day, as some venues will charge “gratuity” and taxes on top of the final bill, whilst others include these costs. With the average wedding costing the same price as a mortgage deposit, you don’t want a nasty surprise of a 12% service charge on top… Ouch!

Hidden wedding costs
How to avoid

When looking at your total costs, you’ll need to think about accommodating an additional third on top of this to cover service charge and taxes. Speak with the venue directly to confirm what is included and what isn’t so you don’t have a fright when returning home from your honeymoon to your final bill.

On a side note, VAT is normally included in all purchases you make, however just be aware and double check your venue and supplier contracts before signing on the dotted line. If in doubt, ask.

Dress Alterations

Your wedding dress is the most important dress you will probably ever wear, so it has got to fit perfectly. You have to feel a million dollars sashaying down that aisle to your fiancé. Dress alternations are common for both the bridal gown and the bridesmaids’ dresses, but how much do they cost?

Hidden wedding costs
How to avoid

Do your research and find an impeccable seamstress that comes within budget. If this is not achievable and the alterations take you over budget then we would recommend selecting another dress. Okay, that was a cruel joke. Make a cut back elsewhere, like the beer fund for the stag do! Alternatively, try to find a wedding dress boutique that offers this service cheaply.


Suppliers such as bands, DJs, photographers and videographers will stipulate in their contract how many hours they are working for.

Prior to your special day, you may have thought you had accommodated for how many hours you were hoping to have your suppliers such as photographer or band on site for. But when that day arrives, you may want them to stick around longer if the party is in full swing but these things cost – sometimes a more expensive hourly rate than you’ve already paid.

Hidden wedding costs
How to avoid

Ensure you’ve been realistic in your calculations on how long you want your suppliers to stay. If you want your photographer to be there for the getting ready, ceremony and the reception, really think about how long this will actually take.

Confirm in advance the additional hourly rate, so when the clock strikes midnight and you’re begging the DJ to play one more song, you are fully aware of the cost implications.

Pre-Wedding Outfits

You are going to have all sorts of celebrations on the lead up to the actual wedding. From engagement parties to hen dos and rehearsal dinners, as the star of the show, it’s likely you’ll want to treat yourself to a new outfit for these occasions. But as with everything, these costs can rapidly add up.

How to avoid

Beg, borrow and… shop.

Hidden wedding costs

Look at your existing capsule wardrobe and add in a few key items to modify your look. Ask friends if you can raid their wardrobe, get organised and utilise the seasonal sales and be sure to scan the charity shops for a vintage bargain.

Additional Meals

Whilst you’ve factored in meals for what you assume to be all of your guests, it’s very easy to miss a crucial few.  

Be sure to check your supplier contracts as most musicians, photographers and videographers will want a meal. Ask your venue for a supplier meal, such as sandwiches and chips, rather than a three-course sit down wedding breakfast. It’s much more cost effective!

Hidden wedding costs

Oh, and don’t forget to add yourselves into the final figures. You’d be surprised how many couples miss themselves off the catering numbers.  

How to avoid

Ensure you’ve done a head count based on who will be on site, rather than by your guest list. Confirm with suppliers ahead of time if they require a meal on the day.

Scary Bar Tabs

In an ideal world, an open bar would be provided all day and night. But, both financially and for the sake of Great Uncle Sam’s liver, that would be irresponsible and unwise.

How to avoid

Ensure that your venue understands your billing instructions for the bar. Make it clear if guests are to pay for their own drinks and advise on the use of tabs. This way you won’t wake up to a huge bar tab in the morning!

Hidden wedding costs

Post-Wedding Errands

Congratulations, you’re officially a married couple! But don’t pop that bank card away just yet, as there may be a few more bills coming your way. Some of these may include dry cleaning your dress, sending your thank you cards (more postage stamps!) and being precautionary to any venue fines.

How to avoid

Research the venue policy on breakages and clean up charges, you will find these within your contract.

Hidden wedding costs

Finally, a top tip – keep an up-to-date spreadsheet and document every single penny. We teamed up with weddingplanner.co.uk to bring you this article – they have a great range of tools to help you stick to budget. Good luck!

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