Sticking to your budget is one of the trickiest parts of planning a wedding — especially because there are so many hidden costs. To help you out, I am uncovering the top wedding items that couples forget to think about when creating their wedding budget.

If you miss Part I of this “Unexpected” series.  Here is the link to Part I.
Wedding Invitation Components



Don’t blow your entire stationery budget on your save-the-dates and invitations — you also need to think about programs, escort cards/place cards, menu cards, and any other day-of needs you may encounter.


When choosing your invitations, be sure to weigh it carefully — if it’s more than one ounce, you’re going to need additional postage. Some invitations could set you back $1 or more in postage fees. Keep in mind that extra postage is also required for square invitations, regardless of weight. Also, don’t forget that you also need stamps for your save-the-dates, RSVP cards, and thank-you note.

Bridal Party Wedding Day Expenses

Wedding Day Meals

Whether you’re getting ready at home or in a hotel, your bridesmaids and groomsmen will likely be with you every step of the way. Don’t let them starve! Keep it simple with bagels and fruit for breakfast and a platter of sandwiches for lunch.


Unless you’re extremely fortunate, your wedding gown is going to require some alterations, It might mean hemming the gown, taking it in (or letting it out), or structural changes (like adding straps).


Favors can cost anywhere from $3-8 (or more) per person, which can make a sizable dent in your wedding budget depending on the size of your guest list. A few ways to cut costs: Opt for one favor per couple rather than per person; go for a DIY option if you’re feeling crafty, or skip favors altogether — they’re definitely not required, and most guests won’t even notice if you don’t have them.

Wedding Day Favors or Guests Treats

Vendor Meals

Some of your key vendors will be working for 8+ hours on the wedding day; they’re going to need some fuel to keep going. Vendor meals are usually much cheaper than guest entrees, but depending on the size of your band, number of photographers, videographers and coordinators, you may be looking at a few hundred dollars.


Couples often think they don’t need a videographer because photos will be enough. Then they come to the realization the month of the wedding that they have made a big mistake. Trying to squeeze in a major vendor like videographer without properly budgeting for it can be a cause for concern.

Transportation for Guests

While you’re generally not responsible for how guests get to and from your wedding, it becomes your concern if a guest gets too intoxicated to drive home.

Wedding Party Transportation

Sales Tax and Service Charges

Check over your contracts carefully to ensure that sales tax is included in the quoted price; otherwise, you may be in for a surprise when you receive your final bills.  Additionally, the “plus plus” can make a huge difference. For example if a caterer quotes you $110 per person ++, that means that you will also need to add service and tax on top of that quote.  Those two tiny plus signs can add as much as 30% on top of the base cost. In this scenario, that miscalculation would equal $5,000 of unexpected catering costs for a 150-person wedding.

Guest Experience

In whatever budget you decide on, make sure you and your fiance are clear with each other on what is important and stick to it.  This in turn will help you prepare for your upcoming financial journey together as husband and wife.

Marsha VanArk, Wisconsin Wedding Planner @ Distinctly Yours Wedding & Events