Overlooked wedding expenses that add up

If you’re like many other couples, your wedding is one of the biggest expenses you’ll ever take on. When putting together a wedding budget, there are the big ticket items that you can easily account for – the venue, the dress, invitations and your honeymoon – but many couples find themselves caught out when they overlook some of the little expenses that can add up over time if you haven’t factored them in, causing your budget to blow out before your big day.

Alterations to your outfit

While many bridal gown specialists will include rounds of alterations in the cost of the dress, if you are buying a non-traditional dress or your pre-wedding exercise routine yields results beyond what you expected, you can find yourself paying a lot of extra money to have your gown or suit altered over and over again. Worse still, over-altering your wedding outfit can compromise the look of the garment.

Make sure you cover off the cost and included alterations (if any) with your outfit supplier, and if they don’t do alterations, ask around to find someone who specialises not just in suits or gowns, but in the particular kind of material your outfit is made of. Just because a tailor has awesome skills with lace, doesn’t necessarily mean they will be able to work magic if your gown is heavily beaded or embellished. And don’t rush to get your outfit altered to early – it can certainly be exciting to have your suit or gown fit perfectly early on to help envision yourself on your wedding day, but try to hold off on starting alterations until closer to the date, make sure they’re booked in and you’re clear on what the cost will be for those, and any additional sessions you may require.

Registration, certificates and other legalities

To help ease the organisation stress, many celebrants will assist with the paperwork involved with getting married, such as registering your intent to marry and procuring a marriage certificate. However, make sure you ask whether or not this is included, and how this fits into the overall cost. If it’s not included, you need to ensure you leave enough time to get this done before your wedding (most states require your to register your intent to marry around one month before the big day) and incur a cost of around $300 for a marriage certificate.

If you intend to change your name and head overseas on your honeymoon, make sure you check all the terms and conditions very carefully, as you can face large fees if you book your tickets in your maiden name before the wedding, then intend to fly using your married name.

Beyond the beauty basics

Many brides spend a long time selecting their hair and make-up artists, which can be a significant cost, especially if you are paying for all or part of your bridal party’s hair and make-up as well. But make sure you put some extra cash aside in your wedding kitty for the extras that can really make you feel your best, such as a spray tan, a manicure, a facial and the right make-up products to do touch-ups during the day. Your make-up artist should be able to advise what products they’ll use on you during your trial session, and may even purchase them on your behalf, but keep in mind you’ll probably pay extra for these on top of their session fee.

Keep an eye on your contingencies

Sometimes things go wrong, and so it pays to be aware of what your options are when they do. Before you sign on with any supplier, thoroughly check their policies and the conditions of your contract. Some couples try to skirt around the inevitable ‘wedding surcharge’ that seems to mysteriously get added to services as soon as vendors realise you’re engaging them for your wedding, but if you try to be sneaky and they catch you out, you could be in violation of your contract and lose out altogether. Be upfront, be willing to try and negotiate, and be prepared to walk away to another vendor if one won’t offer you reasonable terms.

Once you’ve get the wedding budget sorted, find out how to have the honeymoon of your dreams without skimping on the wedding!