wedding invitation suite
Mandi Mitchell Photography

When you’re creating your budget, of course you’ll factor in the big wedding expenses – your venue, catering, flowers, etc. But there are lots of smaller expenses that you might not initially consider that can make a major dent in your well-planned wedding budget. From postage to tips, these are essential expenses that are oft-forgotten about until the last minute.

Check out our list of wedding expenses that you’ll need to consider.


Depending on the size, weight and shape of your save-the-dates and wedding invitations, you can end up paying an additional dollar per invitation. Multiply that by the number of invites you’re send and postage can turn out to be one of the biggest and most unexpected wedding expenses!


Most wedding gowns won’t arrive and automatically fit you like a glove (we wish!)—and alterations can cost several hundred dollars or more. And if you’re buying an inexpensive sample gown that needs lots of work done, you may end up paying more in alterations than on the actual dress! Your best bet is to choose a gown that you pretty much love as is – one that won’t require major changes like adding sleeves, adjusting the silhouette, or adding beading. If you’re on a tight budget, your alterations should focus on fit alone.

Cake-Cutting and Corkage Fees 

Some venues will require you to pay a cake cutting fee for them to slice and serve your wedding cake – it can be $1 or so per slice. As for the corkage fee, your venue may change for their opening and serving alcohol. You can always ask that the charges be waived (the worst they’ll say is no!), or you can avoid the cake cutting fee all together by serving cupcakes or cake pops.

bridesmaid gifts in tote bags
Gillette Portrait Arts

Wedding Party and Parents’ Gifts

While these gifts don’t need to be pricey, if you’re having a big wedding party, they can turn into a major wedding expense. Some couples purchase gifts for each other to exchange on their wedding day, but if you’re on a tight budget a heartfelt, handwritten note can be just as romantic.


You’ll need to tip many of your wedding vendors. Sometimes gratuities are included as part of the vendor’s fee, but sometimes this isn’t the case so be sure to read contracts carefully. And remember, you’re not only tipping the actual vendors, but the people who make deliveries, the wait staff, coat check attendants, parking attendants, and more.


Depending on what your venue offers, you may have to rent everything from tables to chairs, plates to flatware and glassware – and of course, linens. Make sure to factor these wedding expenses in when choosing a venue and putting together your budget.

Hair and Makeup Trials 

It’s important for you to have a trial with your hair stylist and makeup artist to make sure you’re all clear on how you’d like to look on your wedding day. Sometimes these trials cost as much as actual wedding day service, so be prepared.