Hidden Wedding Expenses


Hidden Wedding Cost: Even though your bridal salon took your measurements, they ordered the dress that was in the next closest size to you. Translation: It probably won't fit perfectly and you'll need to have some type of alterations once it comes in.

Avoid It: Ask what the store charges for alterations before you buy the gown. If it's too much, don't be afraid to take the dress to a less expensive seamstress for changes. Otherwise, reserve some of your dress budget money specifically for alterations; meaning you'll buy a less expensive dress and spend the few hundred that you have left over to alter it.


Hidden Wedding Cost: Lots of venues have approved vendor lists -- companies they prefer working with -- for the major players, like caterers, florists and even photographers. If you're not bringing in someone on their list, they could charge an extra 20 percent or more.

Avoid It: Before you book, ask whether you'll be charged extra for using someone not from the vendor list. Otherwise, stick to their preferred vendors (remember: there's a reason they've kept these companies on the list). Or, if you've got a favorite caterer or florist, work backward and ask them about the venues they like most.


Hidden Wedding Cost: Sure those invites are gorgeous -- but that awkward square shape means you'll be paying extra postage per invitation. Even if it's just 62 cents per envelope, that can add up pretty quickly: It's an additional $96 for 150 invitations (and other invites can be as much as $2 each to mail!).

Avoid It: Know your standard mail sizes. (For instance, letters can't be more than a fourth of an inch thick or larger than 11.5 inches long by 6.125 inches high. You can get thecomplete list at USPS.com.) If you're looking to save, consider putting an odd-shaped invitation into a standard-size envelope, so you won't pay extra. Or skip boxed invitationsand cards with multiple layers of paper, which can bulk up quickly and cost more than you have in your budget.


Hidden Wedding Cost: Don't assume that if there's valet parking, it's simply included in the venue quote, because it's almost always additional. The cost can be per car (if they're being parked in a paid lot) or simply by the hour for the entire venue parking lot.

Avoid It: Before you sign, ask about parking options and costs. If you're getting married in an area without public transportation options, check out the cost of hiring a shuttle bus to take guests back to their hotels (it may end up being cheaper than valet).


Hidden Wedding Cost: When you hire your videographer and photographer, you'll book them for a certain number of hours. If the wedding runs longer than you expected, or you just want them to stick around to the very end, they'll begin charging per hour, which can start at about $250.

Avoid It: As you're planning, factor in extra time for getting dressed and taking photos. Use this itinerary when booking your photographer and videographer to make sure everyone is on the same page. And don't be afraid to ask up front about overtime charges.