Nine hidden wedding costs that couples often overlook

Beautiful Bride

A wedding is like an iceberg; the majority of the planning is unseen and is necessary to ensure the big day goes off without a hitch. Organising every detail down to the shape of the centrepieces and the colour of the bridesmaid’s lipstick often means a few things can be overlooked.

Some of these unseen elements might have serious consequences on your big day and impact your budget; others might be the extra bits and pieces that put the icing on the cake, literally.


Choosing the right wedding invitation can be exhausting and time consuming. From the type of card to the font you use, often the last thing on your mind is the cost of posting all of the invites.

A typical wedding could have 40+ people for the ceremony and an additional 50 – 100 for the reception. With a first class stamp costing around 60p and a guest list of more than 90 people, the hidden cost of postage can creep up on your budget.

Bridal party add-ons

Your bridesmaids and groomsmen are vital to making sure your wedding runs smoothly, not least to keep you both sane. They’ll help with everything from dress shopping to reception planning and advice, not to mention standing with you at the altar.

While their support is invaluable, your appreciation needn’t cost the earth. Some couples might cover the hefty cost of the entire bridal party’s outfits, and others might opt to treat their entire entourage to spa and beauty treatments.

These are unquestionably generous gestures and show your gratitude for your bridal party, but the potential costs can mount without you knowing it. Try to build these extras into your budget and plan accordingly.

All the legals

The prefect wedding isn’t anything without legal nuptials. Making sure the big day goes off without a hitch includes filing all of the pre-required wedding forms including pre-nuptial agreements and arranging the marriage licenses.

wedding couple figurine and golden coins

The night before

On-location weddings in particular, or those held in remote venues, may require the couple or the bridal party to stay in a hotel on the night of their big day (or the weekend if celebrations fall over multiple days).

Some hotels offer a free night on the eve of the wedding but don’t extend this service to any additional nights. Be aware of any costs and build them into the accommodation budget so that you’re not stung when the hotel bill comes.

Extra guests

The RSVP system works in theory but rarely in practice. Misplaced invitations, untimely responses or misunderstandings of the plus-one policy you’ve used inevitably leads to extra guests being brought along. To save a headache on the day consider having extra meals catered for and extra chairs ordered in case an unexpected guest arrives.

Also remember that you might have to pay for the meals of your photographer, band, or venue staff. Make sure you know the wedding supplier’s policy and make sure your budget can accommodate the extra expenditure.

Emergency fund

No matter how meticulously you’ve planned your big day, there’s always a risk that last-minute emergencies spring up when you least expect it. A quick dress alteration or an extra car will require cash that you may not have anticipated.

Consider setting aside a small fund for all those little emergencies that might crop up and make sure you don’t get caught short. If you’re lucky and don’t hit a snag, you might have some extra honeymoon cash.

Caucasian seamstress helping African-American bride in bridal shop.


It’s a fact that not every bride will slip into a wedding dress and have it fit perfectly for their big day. Be it an off-the-rack number or a family heirloom, alterations are inevitable to make sure you look and feel great.

Even minor stitches can be a complex task and drive up the price of your wedding dress; seamstresses may charge north of £200 for the addition of lace, and more for major additions or changes.

Hiring the décor

Wedding suppliers may be transparent about the pricing options for table and chair hire or marquee construction. Hidden costs like delivery and labour charges or weekend fees can drive up the price of a seemingly good deal, meaning décor hiring might be double what you expected when you finally get the bill.

Being aware of where the hiring warehouse is, or the location of the bakery making your wedding cake can help you plan for possible delivery costs. Depending on the involvement of staff services, a surprise £150 isn’t uncommon so remember to ask.

Overtime costs

While you might have a rough idea of how long your reception will last, be aware that many catering companies or staff suppliers might charge overtime fees at significantly increased rates. Most give the couple some leeway, but an extra hour of partying might mean a hefty fee you didn’t account for.

Have you ever received an unexpected cost you didn’t anticipate for your wedding? Let us know in the comments below!
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