#SMPWedding101 - Unexpected Wedding Costs
November 6, 2015
While it's no surprise that weddings cause us to open up our wallets a lot more than usual, we're not always aware of those hidden costs -- from cake cutting fees to shipping and handling for those inevitable late night online shopping adventures.  But to be prepared is to be aware, so when a new expense pops up, you can manage it stress-free. See below for the sneaky costs that took our editors by surprise at their recent nuptials and take note!

Postage + Envelopes:

Of course you'll need stamps for all those pretty invitations (and even your Save the Dates) but it's likely you didn't add up the costs of all those little stickers. In addition to stamps for the invites, you'll need postage for the RSVP card as well. And since smudges and mistakes are bound to happen, make sure to order extra envelopes while you're at it - calligraphers usually request backups too!


We all know that most wedding dresses are going to need some nips and tucks, but the actual costs of these alterations may be a bit higher than ever expected. Discuss prices with your tailor at first visit to cover all bases.

Church Fees:

While not all churches and religious venues are the same, many may not charge a fee to use their space for your ceremony, but a donation is expected.

Makeup Trials:

While we highly recommend a makeup and hair trial prior to your big day, these appointments are not always included in the cost of the makeup artist's fees. Inquiring on this cost beforehand can save you embarrassment on the day of.

Shipping + Handling:

Before ordering anything online, we highly recommend checking the shipping costs before hitting "Purchase!" One editor, excited to find hundreds of votives at an amazing price online, almost ended up spending three times the cost of the votives on shipping alone. It may take time to research more options but it's worth it!

Cake Cutting:

Many catering companies and venues charge an additional fee to cut and serve the cake to your guests, especially if it's from an additional source. I remember being caught off guard by this but after a bit of research found it to be a very common practice.

Welcome Bags:

One of the biggest surprise costs I had at my wedding was being informed that there would be a fee per welcome bag to drop them off in our guest's rooms. As not all hotels hand out bags at check in, this was unexpected, catching me off guard only days before I said "I do." Asking and knowing this ahead of time is incredibly helpful in avoiding down-to-the-minute worries.


It's considered polite and proper to tip many wedding vendors, from DJ's and bands to catering staff and more, for their good service. Having these ready to go, in cash and in labeled envelopes before the big day, will save you time and stress.

Dry Cleaning:

If you got down on the dance floor at your celebration, there's a pretty good chance your dress is going to be a bit dirty by the end of the night. Having your gown cleaned up and preserved post-wedding is a bigger process than standard dry cleaning and the cost is higher as well.
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Secrets Resorts + Spas


For our California Brides… Discount from The Ranch at Laguna Beach

For our New England Brides… Discount from Sweet Monday Photography

For our Tri-state Brides... Giveaway from NST Pictures and a giveaway and discount from Alexandra Grecco!