DeLong Photography Blog

Photographers providing authentic photographs, modern heirloom albums, and more for those who value a comfortable and fun experience 
Based in Charlotte, North Carolina. Available for travel.

5 Unexpected Wedding Expenses

Wedding party cheersing iced colorful drinks above various foods on a marble table implying a cost of wedding planning
Bridal party cheersing for brunch before the continuing getting ready.

Wedding Expenses

We all know weddings aren’t cheap. While we plan for the more obvious items like the dress for a bride, flowers, food, and entertainment, some wedding expenses pop up and take us by surprise (no one likes surprises in this instance). I put together the top 5 unexpected wedding expenses that I researched, and also experienced myself. I’m committed to setting my couples up for success, so here’s to being prepared!

1) Postage

This is one of the easiest wedding expenses to overlook. Most of us tend to think big picture, like the save the dates or invitations themselves, but we have to pay to have them mailed! With the costs of stamps just being raised, this is definitely a small detail you don’t want to overlook. Here are a few examples for when you may need to plan for postage:

  • Save the dates
  • Wedding invitations and RSVP’s
  • Thank you cards
    • Bridal showers
    • Wedding showers
    • Bachelor/Bachelorette attendees
    • All attending guests after the big day

The bigger, and heavier everything inside, the higher the cost. One way to cut down on postage is a save the date website (which is what Tim and I used), or receiving your RSVP’s online (we recommend Google Forms).

2) Hair and Make-up Trials

If you’ve watched or read some of my previous content, you’ll recall I did an interview with a local Charlotte hair and make-up artist, Brianna Leigh Beauty. She mentioned the importance of doing hair and make-up trials, and that they are typically not free.

I’m driving this point home – these services do usually have a cost, but they are SO worth it. You don’t want to find out the look you loved on someone else, doesn’t look good on you – especially the morning of your wedding. You’re paying for the product, and time the stylist is using during your trials. It may take quite a bit of product if you want to try out 2 or 3 looks to find the right one. Do right by your specially chosen artist, and pay them for their services!

3) Pre-Wedding Event Outfits

These expenses are another one topping the charts of “unexpected wedding expenses”. While we all get giddy and anticipate those gorgeous engagement photos, we forget about the cost of the outfits (and just about everyone buys at least ONE new clothing item for these photos). Not to mention the expense of hair and make-up options for the ladies.

There are also outfits for engagement parties, bridal showers, wedding showers, bachelor/bachelorette parties, the rehearsal dinner, reception dresses (if you choose to change out of your wedding dress), and a new trend is a day-after brunch. You don’t have to buy a new dress for any or all occasions, but don’t let these events creep up on you.

Places like Nordstrom, Macy’s, Saks OFF Fifth, and Nordstrom Rack are great places to get good deals on party-worthy outfits.

4) Alterations

Once you’ve found that perfect dress, don’t forget to budget having it altered! Generally, every bride has to have their wedding dress altered at least once. Sometimes multiple rounds of altering are needed if you gain/lose weight or if you misjudged your size. It’s good to budget at least a couple hundred dollars for every round of alterations. Know also, the more embellished and/or the more layers of fabric, the higher the price for alterations as it takes more handwork. This is one of the most costly unexpected wedding expenses, and bridal shops don’t do the best at preparing brides for this!

I ended up having to pay quite a bit to have my dress altered as it was covered in appliqués. Every bit had to be removed, and then sewn back on by hand once the alterations were complete. I had no idea choosing a dress as such would be so expensive when it came to alterations. Speak with the salesperson, or if possible, the person who does alterations for the bridal shop to find out how difficult/costly alterations are for your gown.

5) Breakfast and Lunch for the Wedding Party

Your wedding party will most likely be spending the entire day with you getting ready. Be sure to build time into the day for a meal, especially for the ladies. They all typically have an early morning start for hair and make-up. While it may be extra wedding expenses, it doesn’t have to be over-the-top. Fruit and cheese plates, donuts, and protein/oat bars are all quick and easy ways to ensure everyone has something in their belly in the morning. Menus catered to have more protein than sugar are also best. Nobody likes sugar spikes!

You can plan for a heartier meal for lunch, as it will most likely be the last bit of food until the reception much later into the evening. That being said, still order carryout or delivery. This ensures everyone can relax, and enjoy the day. With popular apps like GrubHub and BiteSquad, delivery from just about anywhere is now possible.

Please take note that while champagne-filled mimosas and other celebratory drinks are often customary, try to keep them to a minimum. Everyone wants to look their best while making the walk down the aisle. Bride, be sure to drink plenty of water so you look radiant!

I hope you found this post helpful, and if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to reach out! Happy planning!

Black and white image of Tim and Shannon DeLong of DeLong Photography in Riverfront Park park smiling at the camera

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