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12 Unexpected Wedding Expenses To Plan For

Budgeting for your wedding day can be a tough challenge! Of course, we are all familiar with the big ticket items that need to be accounted for – venue, catering, dress – but what other smaller costs may seem a little hidden? Even small things tend to add up when planning a rockin’ party for 100+ of your closest friends and family members. Of course your wonderful wedding vendors (us, especially!) will help you keep your money in check, but don’t let yourself get blindsided by the following wedding expenses that you may not immediately consider!


As a bridal gown stylist in a past life, I know all too well that brides often forget to factor in alteration fees when they are budgeting for their wedding dress! Although you are measured for your gown in store, often these dresses come in stock sizes and then need to be altered up or down. A completely custom gown fit to your exact measurements is not typically done in a traditional bridal salon this service must be done by a dress maker or seamstress. If you choose to buy the one in a traditional salon, you will need alterations to make it fit like a glove! Trust me, there is nothing worse than an ill-fitting bridal gown so this is a necessary cost to build into your budget. Bridal gown alterations can typically range from $100 to $500+ in the Seattle area, depending on what you want done.

DON’T FORGET: You might need your dress steamed, day of, so build that into your getting ready plans! Bridesmaids and mothers are great assets for this small task.


Another aspect of the bridal gown that brides often forget to budget for is undergarments and accessories. Your wedding dress usually won’t be shaped just like your every day clothes so you might need specific undies for the big day! If your dress is backless, you might want to consider a low line bra or a stick on bra so you don’t see anything peeking out! Opting for a strapless get up? You will definitely need a strapless bra! Try to consider these when deciding on the silhouettes you want to try on; if you can, bring these to your appointment so you get the full effect before you fall in love with a gown. In the same vein as undergarments are accessories! They can enhance your overall look. Veils, jewelry, belts/sashes, shoes, bags, and special day-of perfume can get pricey, so these should be factors in your bridal budget.

PRO TIP: Wearing an heirloom veil or jewelry from a family member can cut the cost of these and can also serve as your something borrowed!


Not only do you have to consider all of the postage it will take to send out the vast numbers of invitations and save the date cards to all of your fabulous guests, but you also have to think about the heft of your invite suite and all of the return postage for RSVP cards. We could not be more excited about the fun and elaborate ways that couples are sending out their invitations, but if you choose a heavy boxed suite, an interactive puzzle invite, or any other unique wedding invitation/save the date alternative, keep in mind that your postage price is sure to go up! Some different shapes even cost more than a standard letter size and if your weight is more than 1oz you will definitely be paying extra.

DON’T FORGET: You will need postage for those thank you cards as well, after all is said and done, and the fancy postage stamps sure do look pretty, but can really increase costs, too.

Marriage License

Planning a big beautiful party for your closest friends and family doesn’t necessarily make your marriage legal; you’re going to need a license for that, and they aren’t free! The pricing for a marriage license varies from state to state and could take a couple of days, so try not to procrastinate on this important to-do. In a lot of states, you may also have to pay to receive a copy after it has been filed. See below for the marriage license pricing for your Seattle area wedding and keep in mind there may be a processing fee on top of the below.