What "hidden" costs snuck up on you during planning?

posted 1 year ago in Logistics
Post # 16
563 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2017

I agree with PP on the “preferred vendors”. We had our ceremony at a park. We had our reception at a different park- both are managed by the park board so we assumed they played by the same rules. Strangely not. The wedding site required we use a particular vendor for chair rental. And they were really, really expensive. In the meantime, we had coordinated chair rental and tables for our reception site through a cheaper vendor.  So we were bummed that we’d have to basically pay 3 times for chairs people were sitting in for 20 minutes and then again pay for them (significantly less) with a different vendor. We ended up striking a deal with the wedding site chair vendor to provide chairs for both locations and cut us a deal but it was really a pain (and an almost 3200 dollar unexpected hit). 

Post # 17
2176 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: March 2019

Still planning but here was what surprised me so far:

  • Tax on everything. We have 300 guests, and tax is never included in quotes, but between food, alcohol, florals, etc. it adds up quickly. Make sure you know the tax rate and calculate that before you book to get a more accurate estimate
  • I agree with the poster above about stamps. I feel like I’m keeping the post office in business this year! Take your invites in to the post office and have them weigh them. We actually swapped out some envelopes and got them down to where they were just a regular stamp and not extra. Also don’t forget to factor in stamps for thank you cards, save the dates, etc. I’ve spent over $100 in just thank you card stamps and that was just for the showers and other little, random things. We haven’t even gotten to thank yous for the wedding yet! 
  • Also just paper in general. Invites, RSVPs, details cards, save the dates, programs, thank you cards, table markers, escort cards or a poster with the seating chart, etc. just add up so quickly! I was lucky and at my first shower, I was gifted 20 thank you cards (it was a small shower) so that helped, but I’ve had to foot the bill for the rest (amazon and vistaprint are great to get a lot of thank yous for cheap!)
  • The little “tokens” throughout the wedding. Favors, koozies, bubbles or whatever you’re going to have on the way out of the church, etc. all add up quickly depending on your number of guests
  • Make sure you look at everything on your venue contract. Ours is an extra $400 to plug into their sound system. And both the videographer and the band will need to use it. 
  • Don’t forget about gratuity for those that are not already covered. I am going to ask my DOC who to tip and how much, but between bakers, band, etc. it can get pricey! 
  • All the “little things” here and there. I factored the cost of alterations into my dress budget, but didn’t add in the new bra I needed, the slip, the veil etc. Also my wedding jewelry. I lucked out and found the perfect earrings on sale for $40 (they go perfectly with my dress and were originally $180) and my bracelet was super cheap as well, but those were costs I didn’t think about. 
  • The last one is the little thank you gifts. Jewelry for my bridesmaids, ties for the groomsmen plus just little gifts to thank them for being in the wedding. I ordered Swig champagne flute for the “getting ready time” for my girls off of AliExpresss. It takes a while to ship, but they are the exact same at less than half the cost. Plus my mom bought a cricut on sale the day after thanksgiving. That is saving me a ton of $$ for all the DIY stuff we are doing at the wedding! 

I will say when we got quotes from venues and food, we asked for the “final price” inclusive of all tax, gratuity, etc. We did not focus on the per-person cost and instead looked overall. All the vendors complied and basically sent us an “invoice” instead of a quote. That way we were making sure we weren’t overlooking any costs. They were happy to do it, and we got more than one comment along the lines of “I wish everyone would ask for this, it would save so many headaches and bickering about costs later!” 

Post # 18
987 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2018

i ended up paying a SHITLOAD of money on my dress alterations. it was $650.00! i was not expecting that at all.

Post # 19
749 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2019

3 weeks to go for me…


– Type of venue(s): Ski Resort

– Inclusive venue or multuiple vendors:

Kind of inclusive but multiple vendors…venue includes food (minus dessert), booze, and service but everything else (decor, music, set up, etc) is done by us – aka my planner.

– What fees, gratuities, charges, etc. crept up on you that you hadn’t anticipated when you put together your initial budget?

Stamps and linens. Totally forgot about freaking linens. We learned that postcard stamps are less than our “forever” stamps here in the US so that did help us cut some small costs. Also any travel charges for vendors. And accessories, like those little hair clips and such add up quick.

– What questions do you wish you had asked that you didn’t? How would asking those questions have saved you time, money or stress?

I wish we had been more clear on the room block policy. We REALLY didn’t want to do a room block knowing many of our guests would be booking condos in the area but were pressured into it. We were assured it would be “no problem” and that they would drop the block and rooms months before so we wouldn’t have to worry about attrition. Turns out our on site coordinator left and we were never told and now we are responsible for the attrition from unbooked rooms ($3500 right now) when that is the whole reason we did not want a block to begin with. They also told the few guests that did call for the block that our block was full…when it wasn’t even close. We’ve been fighting this for almost two months now and keep being assured everything will be sorted out but we can’t get responses back. I am so glad we have everything in writing, including our initial concerns.

Post # 20
3428 posts
Sugar bee

We had a Destination Wedding in a botanical garden on St. Thomas and I think the only thing that shocked me was when I had to rent all of the silverware and dishes per unit.  Just made it seem so pricy that I was paying $.50 per spoon or whatever. 

I also was very adament about staying on budget and would just keep looking when something wasn’t in my price range.  For the Welcome Dinner the evening before the wedding, I had quotes from multiple places and they were WAY out of budget.  I kept looking and found the PERFECT place.  It was on the beach and in our price range.  And the food was delicious and the drinks were flowing!  If I had given up, we would have paid twice the amount and I don’t know if it would have been as good of a time!

Post # 21
2706 posts
Sugar bee

This might not qualify as an expense for everyone, depending on whether you are paid hourly or non-exempt.  But having to take so much time off work to meet with vendors and do walk-throughs at venues and rental companies!  You’ll wind up having to miss a few days of work or burn some vacation days!

Right now, I’m trying to schedule the visit to the china/flatware rental place with our caterer. And she generally can’t do weekends because she’s usually busy catering events on the weekend. So I’m going to have to take some time off work to go look at tablecloths and forks.  And later I’ll have to do this again to do a venue walk-through with her and with our wedding planner. 

Post # 23
1007 posts
Bumble bee

My reception was at a museum, so I had to bring everything in myself.  I had to pay extra to have the rental company break down everything at the end of the night.  They usually like to come the next morning to strike.  


The flowers I got my heart set on were also more expensive than I could have ever imagined.  I wound up going with a different floral design which increased my budget a bit, but not as much as my original vision woud have.


Post # 24
902 posts
Busy bee

So I have a few, these are more random and one-off rather than big patterns because I went with an all-inclusive venue.

– Getting a “little white dress” or special outfit for all other wedding events – rehearsal dinner, shower, bach, engagement pictures. Also getting a blowout for all these events (I know this isn’t necesary, but I wanted it, so it was an unexpected cost for me). Similarly things like manicures, eyelash extensions, etc.

– The hotel we’re getting ready at needed me to order my own stools for the hair and makeup artists and also I needed to order a standalone hanger rack to hang my dress for a pic

– A conference room at the hotel for a rehearsal

– Vendor meals – this just didn’t occur to me at all, but of course makes perfect sense, my vendors obv. need to eat during 9 hours

– Food for getting ready, bridal suite snacks, just like extra food and drinks to throw places where people might get snacky


Probably others, but I’m still a few months out from the wedding!

Post # 25
1441 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: April 2019 - USA

One thing that I didn’t originally (and should have) anticipated was tips for vendors and gratuity charge for the venue- it’s 21% plus tax! Then there’s just stuff I wasn’t planning on spending money for that I changed my mind about, like hair and makeup. Other than that, most of the little stuff that’s catching me off guard is wedding favors and gifts for everyone- parents, bridesmaids, venue coordinator, etc. Those things are just extra money that I didn’t really think about spending. 

OMG I need to make a list now. LOL. 

Post # 26
503 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2018

The hidden costs that snuck up on me were all the little things I didn’t think about when budgeting. Like makeup, nail polish, hair pins, postage, food (we had a picnic and that ended up costing more than I thought). Overall my wedding was really cheap, but there’s always something that ends up driving up costs.

Post # 27
1482 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 2019 - City, State

View original reply
futuremrs2020 :  Ours is a 22% service fee PLUS the 7.5% state tax.  I totally get you – those numbers hurt.

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