Weddings are elaborate events and, as such, often come with hefty price tags. From the dress and the tuxedos to the food and decorations, wedding expenses can be overwhelming. Creating a budget and wedding expenses checklist can help you manage costs as you prepare for the big day. But beware — the items that aren’t on your checklist are often the ones that blow your budget. Keep these unexpected wedding costs on your radar to keep your wedding budget on track. 

1. Fuel Surcharge

If you rent items like furniture, linens, silverware and decorations, delivery may be included. Some vendors, however, will still require you to pay a fuel surcharge. Even if gas prices aren’t sky high, the big trucks needed to move these pieces could add $100 or more to your final wedding tab. If you’re having your cake or catering delivered to your venue, make sure you ask about the fuel surcharge for those deliveries, as well. 

2. Cake Cutting and Corkage Fees

That beautiful five-tiered cake you ordered to feed 150? There may be an additional cost to cut into it. Plan to pay roughly $2-5 per guest for cake cutting. It sounds expensive, but even if you’re not using the venue’s caterer, the venue’s servers are responsible for slicing and serving the cake, and then cleaning the dishes. Make sure to ask your venue about the fees associated with this service.

How can you cut down on this wedding cost? Opt for cupcakes over cake, or have a smaller decorated cake for photos and a sheet cake in the back for easier cutting. 

If the venue offers a bar service, use it! Otherwise, corkage fees can run up to $15 per bottle — enough to blow the average wedding budget.

3. Service Charges and Gratuities

Service charges are not always the same as gratuities. You’ll need to plan for both costs if you plan to hire servers. Keep in mind gratuity, though not taxed, is likely set between 18-20%. Service charges are taxed and can run upwards of 20%. Make sure you get those fees in writing at the time you sign with your vendors to avoid unexpected wedding costs later on. 

4. Overtime Charges

It’s your wedding, so you should have fun celebrating! But keep in mind your vendors are only booked for a certain amount of time. If your event runs late and you want service to stick around, expect to pay overtime costs. Get those in writing and factor in additional time when booking your vendors.

5. Alterations

Whether you buy an off-the-rack or a custom gown, it’s normal to need a few alterations before the big day to achieve the perfect fit. Simple dresses are often easier and less expensive to alter than layered or intricately detailed ones. The cost of alterations depends on your wedding dress’ fabric and embellishments, as well as your height and body type. You should factor in extra time and allocate additional money as part of your wedding expenses in case of last-minute changes. 

6. Postage

Sending out your wedding invitations might be your most expensive trip to the post office ever! Depending on the size and weight of your invitations, the standard 49-cent first class stamp may not be enough. It’s often the size and shape — not the weight — that requires more postage. Take the extra step and go to your post office to get an estimate beforehand so you don’t get a surprise when you show up later. Don’t forget to factor in the cost of stamps for the RSVP cards, as well.

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