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13 Wedding Budget Items Often Overlooked

Madeline Baily is an internationally certified luxury Event and Wedding Planner based in Oregon. Dedicated to all things wedding, Madeline is also a Stylist and career mentor for up and coming Wedding Planners. She focuses on empowering Planners and brides through her blog Bold Brides & Powerful Planners. Madeline is very knowledgeable about the industry and has written a guest blog for me today about the often overlooked wedding expenses that creep up when planning a wedding. This is a MUST read for anyone who is currently in the middle of or beginning their wedding planning journey. - XO, Ashley

One of the most important and perhaps the least fun of the wedding planning tasks is creating and delegating a budget. It is crucial to staying organized (and sane) to plan and track each dollar spent on the big day. This is not always an easy feat as budgets can vary in size and staying in the spending lines can be difficult if you aren’t setting yourself to successfully delegate costs.

Because budgets can be overwhelming, it is my first recommendation that if you are choosing to hire a wedding consultant, planner, or coordinator you should ask them to look over your budget. Some planners will do full budget creation and delegation, and they will help you stay on task and on dollar.

A good wedding budget will cover all the little details…and I mean ALL. Here are 16 items that are often overlooked:

The Marriage License

The prices of a marriage license vary in each state, but are usually less than $100. This might not seem like a lot in the big picture budget, but can seem like an overwhelming cost near the end. Be sure to secure yours early in the planning process to avoid that unnecessary stress.

Day-of Stationary and Postage

Not only dose the budget need to include invitations and RSVP response cards, but also all of the stationary that is used on the big day. Escort cards, programs, menus, and “thank yous” should be budgeted for. Additionally postage can double your costs, so be sure to look up the cost of postage in your state/country and multiply it by the number invitations and RSVPs.

Food for the Party and Vendors

The bride, groom, and wedding party often get overlooked for the catering headcount. Be sure to include each and every person who will be there (bride, groom, bridal party, vendors). Add 3-4 meals extra incase of unexpected guests.


Don’t forget that the wedding party needs to get around too! If everyone is getting ready at the venue, I recommend having the party carpool to avoid a crowded lot. And be sure to arrange any car or limo service if everyone is getting ready off-site.

Thank You Gifts and Welcome Bags

These often include cards and baskets for out-of-town guests. These can quickly add up to $30-$50 each, and can quickly cause you to go over budget. Be sure that these are included in the initial budget write up.

Pre-wedding Attire

Often all of the budget allotted to attire gets spent on the gown and rentals. However, many brides purchase a dress for the engagement party, bridal shower, bachelorette party, photos, etc. Be sure to calculate these expected costs ahead of time if you plan to include them in your budget.

Dress Alterations and Preservations

Many brides don’t realize that alterations are almost always needed and they can be very costly. Alterations can range from a simple hem ($100) to him, bustle, take-in/let-out, sleeves ($400+). It is important to discuss alterations with your bridal stylist to make sure that you are staying in your price range. Many shops also offer preservation kits. These cost about $200, and are significantly cheaper than taking your dress to a questionable dry cleaners. Check out this kit:

Undergarments and Accessories

Just like alterations, bras and slips can be expensive and shouldn’t be overlooked. Many veils also range from $80-$300+. Keep this in mind when budgeting for attire.

Delivery, Set-up, and Breakdown Fees

These are necessarily “hidden-fees”, but they do get overlooked. Renting tables, chairs, and decor for a wedding is a great way to save some money on your wedding. Just remember that someone will be responsible for bringing them and setting them up/breaking them down. Estimated about 15% of your rentals budget to be used for this.

Gifts for the Parents and Party

Pre-gifts are becoming more common with fun “will you be my bridesmaid” boxes and goodies. Additionally jewelry, cufflinks, handkerchiefs, and more are given to the bridal party and parents on the day of the wedding. Be sure these get added to your budget.

Tips and Gratuities

At the end of the wedding, most couples are done thinking about spending money. While it isn’t required, the vendors who made the day possible deserve a little extra thanks.

Day-of Coordinator

This isn’t an absolute requirement, but it 100% recommended by me and many others. A day-of coordinator is going to make sure that the day goes off with out a hitch (except for the bride and groom). They seamlessly manage the set-up of all the little details, organize the ceremony and reception timelines, and they make sure that nothing is overlooked when planning. Learn more about day-of coordinators at:

Emergency Fund for the Unpredictable

Lastly, be sure to allot a little bit of the budget to the totally unpredictable. Groom’s forgotten shoes, umbrellas for rain, rental car breaks down… This hopefully won’t be needed, but it is better to be safe rather than sorry.

Hopefully these will help to keep you in budget!

Reach Madeline anytime at:


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