Caroline Bradley, Editor of the popular wedding site hitched.co.uk says the cost of a wedding can spiral if you’re not prepared for hidden costs…
A budget helps control your spending - but don’t miss forgotten costs that add to your overall total.
I’ve rounded up 17 hidden wedding costs you need to know about:
Viewing multiple venues and going to wedding fairs can be costly, so plan in advance.
Top Tip: See multiple venues in one day – particularly if you’re travelling far from home.
Popular Saturday weddings are priced at a premium.
Top Tip: Consider a midweek wedding. At Hedsor House, a beautiful mansion in Buckinghamshire, a Saturday wedding in peak season costs over £35,000. Their midweek Bluebell Package (available in off-peak season) costs £18,000 - a 40% saving!
Your marriage is a contract and incurs legal fees.
Top Tip: Civil ceremony costs are unavoidable: check fees with your local council early on and include them in your budget.
Postage catches couples out when they estimate stationery costs. First class stamps are 64p – that’s an additional £96 sneaking onto your budget if you were sending 50 save the dates, wedding invitations and thank you notes.
Top Tip: Heather Hulbert of Wish Upon a Card says: “Switch from first class stamps to second, at 55p per stamp. And hand deliver to people you see regularly – it’s more personal.” And you could save a lot by doing it all online by sending your invite design via email.
Your wedding dress is a big outlay - but also allow for alterations, which can cost from £100-£300.
Top Tip: Hannah Maundress, editor in chief at money.co.uk says: “It’s worth asking a dressmaker how much alterations are likely to be on the dress of your dreams before committing to buying it. You could also consider a custom gown - you could save because you won’t need multiple alterations.”
Couples splash out extra cash on beauty and grooming in the run-up to the wedding.
Top tip: Block booking and paying for treatments in advance can save money.
If you have a trial with more than one make-up artist and hair stylist, the cost can creep up.
Top tip: Narrow your choices by asking for testimonials and photos before you plump for a paid trial.
What you wear underneath your dress is important – you need something comfortable that also looks great for your wedding night.
Top Tip: Wonderbra’s bridal range is affordable and stylish.
Your bridal jewellery completes your look but is an additional cost.
Top Tip: Instead of buying something new, wear a piece of family jewellery – it counts as your “something borrowed”.
The bridesmaids and groomsmen need accessories too.
Top tip: Buying from the high street is cheaper than a bridal supplier for accessories including jewellery, ties and handbags.
The cost of your cake doesn’t always include fees for delivery, set-up and a cake stand - ask your cake maker what’s included in the quoted price.
Top Tip: Rather than buying from your cake maker, you could source a cake stand, knife and takeaway boxes yourself at a lower cost.
Your welcome reception and wedding breakfast drinks add up - and it can be tricky estimating how much your guests are going to consume.
Top Tip: Celebrity wedding planner Liz Taylor of the Taylor Lynn Corporation says: “Switch from Champagne to trendy Prosecco, or try Peach Bellini or Kir Royale for a good saving guests won’t notice.”
A wedding favour priced at £5 might seem like a bargain - but multiply by 100 guests and you’re spending an extra £500.
Top Tip: Liz Taylor says: “Wedding favours can double as table place cards: iced chocolate plaques work as place names and a sweet gift.”
Costs such as feeding the photographer and putting the band up in a hotel can mount up.
Top Tip: If you’re marrying at a plush venue, see if there’s cheaper accommodation for your band and photographer nearby; even with taxi costs, you could make a saving.
If you tip your suppliers, you could blow the budget just before (or at!) the wedding.
Top tip: Ask suppliers to provide quotes that include service charges.
Even if you’re asking for honeymoon contributions instead of gifts, you’ll need to pay before the wedding if you’re jetting straight off after the party.
Top Tip: To keep costs down, Hannah Maundress says: “Book your honeymoon early. The longer you leave it, the more expensive flights will be. Cash in frequent flier miles and, if you pay for your honeymoon on a cashback credit card, you can get as much as 5% back.”
17. Photo finish
The cost of photo prints can come at the wrong time – straight after your wedding.
Top tip: Add these costs to your budget and look out for deals on albums and frames in the run-up to your big day.
And remember to put your weddings savings in a FSCS protected account.