16 hidden wedding costs and how to avoid them

Hidden costs you need to know about when planning a wedding

There’s no denying that weddings are expensive things; but it’s not just an amazing designer dress and incredible food that will set you back – there are lots of hidden costs you need to be wary of.


Read on to discover things you might not know are expensive…


Church bells 

If you’re having a church wedding and want a choir, bell-ringers or organist, there will be an extra charge.

“All of these are charged at the church’s local rate, so get a quote from your vicar at your first meeting so you know what the final bill will be,” says Church of England spokesperson Ruth Green.

How much do wedding dress alterations cost?

You may have found the dress of your dreams, but alterations are generally not included in the ticket price. Expect to schedule an average of two additional appointments, where a seamstress will do everything from take up the hemline to adjust the waistline and bodice.

“The price will vary depending on the initial cost of your dress, but I’d budget around £150 to £200,” advises Kelly Chandler, director of the UK Alliance of Wedding Planners.

READ MORE: 9 Things you need to know Before Wedding Dress Shopping

How much does flower delivery cost?

“Set-up fees are something the bride might not think about when she’s choosing the flowers,” points out floral designer George Mackay “I set prices for certain distances from my studio, but everyone does it differently so be sure to discuss with your florist.”

READ MORE: Questions to ask your florist

How much do wedding envelopes cost? 

“In addition to delivery, it’s always worth checking that your stationer does include envelopes,” says Vici-Jane Kohring of Artcadia Wedding Stationery.

Moving your wedding flowers

Re-using ceremony arrangements as reception decorations is a fab way to save money, but find out if your florist charges extra to relocate them.

“If you’re using your flowers at two different venues, like a church and a hall, we charge £50 to move them,” says George. “To save money, recruit friends and ushers willing to do it for free!”

Minimum spends at wedding venues

Venues often set a minimum headcount and price per person, so be sure you’re choosing the right space for the size of your group – otherwise, you’ll have to pay for places you haven’t used, or end up scrambling for seat-fillers at the last minute.

The minimum spend of your venue could end up dictating the size of your guest list.

Should wedding suppliers be given a meal?

Suppliers who are there for the bulk of your celebration (the photographer, the band, the planner – probably about 10 people in total) will need some sustenance, and that’s going to cost you.

“I ask venues to do something like lasagne and chips, which is cheaper than the event menu but filling,” says Kelly. “They should be charged at about half the price of your guests’ meals.”

How much does it cost to hire chairs for a wedding?

Hiring chairs, cutlery, crockery, linens and glassware can really add up, whether you’re starting from scratch with a barn or marquee, or just choosing pieces you prefer to a venue’s in-house default.

“People often underestimate just how much all of that costs,” says Kelly. “You could easily spend £15 a head, and for 100 guests that’s £1500.” A better option? “A lot of brides will use what the venue has, but customise one item like the glassware. That would be more like £300, which you can live with.”

How much should I budget for stamps?

The last thing you want to think about when browsing gorgeous stationery designs is the price of postage, but you’ll need to budget for a stamp per invitation (plus extra charges if you’re inviting any guests from abroad). The same goes for your Save The Dates and thank-yous.

READ MORE: How and when to send your wedding invitations

How much does a marriage certificate cost?

Official marriage certificates cost £3.50 each before the wedding day, but that rises to £7 afterward, and up to £9 once the register is archived.

Not a huge amount of money, but better to plan ahead and keep it in your pocket rather than handing it over to someone else. “We suggest purchasing extra certificates in advance, to cover things like changing your name on your passport or driving licence or confirming the change in marital status to embassies, pension companies and banks,” says Juliet Holmes, registration and ceremonies officer at the Westminster Register Office.

How much is a wedding corkage fee?

Sourcing your own booze can be a huge cost-saver, but bear in mind that many venues and caterers will tack on a substantial charge.

“Even if you’ve found wine for £5 a bottle versus the £20 wines on their list, it might cost you £15 per bottle in corkage, so it’s not really worth your while,” says Kelly. “Alcohol is where they make their money, so they will often try to discourage you from bringing your own.” Bottom line: don’t go buying cases of champers on offer until you’ve checked your venue’s policy.

The cost of wedding marquees

“If you’re having one built a few days before the event, you may need to hire someone to look after it, especially if it’s in a field somewhere and not just in your backyard,” advises Kelly.

Wedding marquee insurance

It’s wise to take out insurance to protect yourself against damage to the marquee itself. “Our marquee cover includes the generator, fixtures and fittings so you’re not liable to the marquee company if something happens while it’s on your property,” says Dave Simms, direct personal lines manager for Ecclesiastical Insurance. “Up to £30,000 of cover costs £75, and up to £50,000 is £105.”

Unexpected guests at weddings

True, it’s not your fault if a few cheeky friends turn up with party-crashing plus ones or children you hadn’t invited, but you’ll still have to pay to ply them with food and drink. To avoid any confusion, be as clear as possible on your invitations about who’s invited.

The cost of wedding lighting 

“Lighting is one that sometimes gets forgotten,” says Kelly. “It’s generally a ‘nice to have’ rather than an essential, but in a marquee it becomes really important. Think about using spotlights onto the tables, uplighting and of course, candles.”

READ MORE: Best wedding lighting inspiration on Pinterest

Do I have to pay for my suppliers’ travel fees?

Before you book and put your deposit down on any suppliers, check where they’re based. Unless you’ve got room in the budget for an out-of-towner, go back to the drawing board and find an alternative near your venue. Remember, even suppliers you consider to be nearby may add extra costs – for example, some London-based companies charge for going anywhere outside the M25!


READ MORE: Incredibly Clever Ways to Save Money on your Wedding