6 Totally Unexpected Wedding Costs

Even the most detail obsessed bride may not see these unexpected wedding costs coming. That doesn’t mean they’re all bad, just helpful to know.

Unexpected Wedding Costs

  • Ice: Brides have reported paying up to $600 for ice and a freezer rental at a reception.
  • Fees for negative reviews: Thinking of pinching a site manager with a biting review? Some venues might bill you for that, though this practice is highly controversial and may be illegal.
  • Rental transportation: Some rental companies don’t include the cost of transporting the rented items in their price per item.
unexpected wedding costs
An ice cream station at your wedding can be a guest pleaser, but look out for the scooping cost!

(photo credit: Ice cream via photopin (license))

  • Ice cream scooping: While not a large fee, brides are surprised this is a real thing with some vendors. Safe to say whatever dessert or snack is served, there’s probably a fee for it.​
  • Welcome bag delivery: Check whether the hotel charges to drop welcome bags in guest rooms and how much.
  • Fees for hiring vendors outside of a venue’s preferred list. One photographer even reported the venue’s photographer showing up unexpectedly to take reception detail shots. Do you want a stranger taking and using images of your personal reception details without your knowledge?

Prevent Surprises

  • Ask every vendor about all pricing up front, including additional provisions and fees, gratuities and other purchases you may be obligated to make. Ask “What else will I be obliged or required to pay for after signing this contract?”
  • Review what you’re signing before you sign it! There’s no excuse. Take the time to read it and ask questions until you understand it.
  • Reserve about 20% of your budget for unanticipated costs, including emergency purchases on the day, which are almost inevitable. It could be something as insignificant as bobby pins for you or socks for the guys. The suggested reserve ranges from 5% to 20% in the industry.

The Internet has lots of planning articles about unexpected wedding costs that really belong more in the “duh” category than “unexpected,” like beauty treatments, invite postage, transportation, overtime charges or taxes. Who expects to pay for anything retail without tax, or send an invite in the mail for free? While you may forget about those costs, you know anything you want to add to your wedding will cost something.

I hope you find it eye opening the things you wouldn’t reasonably expect to cost extra, and the importance of budgeting for truly unexpected expenses!

What are the most unexpected wedding costs you’ve heard of? Leave me a comment.

Joel Nisleit is a Wisconsin wedding photographer searching for the next rock star couple who wants classy photography with designer flair. Will you join the couples before you who dared to love their pictures? Contact Joel for more information.

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