I heard that one of the things that you wanted to know more about are the unexpected costs of planning a wedding in the Washington DC area. I’m talking about the little things that come up that you weren’t necessarily planning for in advance. I think we all probably know to budget for wedding expenses like food and drinks and, of course, a gorgeous wedding dress. However, there are some unknown costs that might seem small taken on their own, but put together with all of your wedding expenses can really add up. Take a look through this list of unexpected wedding costs and start to work these items into your budget. Now, you can’t say you didn’t know about these costs!
1 – Gratuity
If your wedding vendors do an outstanding job, you can and should feel free to tip them. With around 40 different vendors (Yes, 40!) all contributing to your wedding, tips can add up! Be sure to read our post about tipping wedding vendors in the Washington DC area. This post has more information about how much to tip and who you should tip in the DC area.
2 – Rain Plans
Let’s face it, the weather in the Washington DC area is unpredictable. (As I’m writing this I’m looking out my window at nearly a foot of snow in downtown Washington DC!) If you are having any part of your wedding outside, you should have an indoor or alternative option. Sometimes “plan b” options include wedding-day rentals like a tent, heaters, and additional space – these things cost money. In most cases, you’ll need to reserve the items or at the very least put a deposit down to hold them.
3 – Albums
There are all types of ways to compile and cherish your wedding photographs. Many photographers charge an additional fee to design and produce a wedding album. Be sure to ask about it in advance, if that is something you might want after your wedding. Also, think about albums for others in your family like parents and grandparents.
4 – Gifts
It is true that you will be getting the bulk of the gifts on your wedding day. However, there are some gifts that you might be giving. There are not set prices for these types of gifts, but certainly something you’ll want to budget for. It is very nice to give a gift to everyone in your wedding party and your wedding ceremony participants. You might also want to think about gifts for each other. Gifts are also nice for friends and family members who helped with the wedding. Other gifts include wedding favors and welcome bags for your guests.
5 – Dress Alterations
In addition to the cost of your wedding dress, you will most likely need to have alternations done. Wedding dress alterations include hemming it so that it doesn’t drag on the ground and fixing the sleeves and straps. Alternations will ensure that your dress fits you perfectly, like a glove!
6 – Extra Guests
The more guests you add to your list, the more money it will cost. Adding a few extra guests can really add up, especially in the Washington DC area. More guests means more food, more staff to serve the food, more linens, more centerpieces, more drinks, more escort cards, more drinks and more, more, more! Just as by cutting 10 guests from your guest list, you can save some money, you can contribute to budget over-runs just by adding 10 guests. (Be sure to read my list of 5 ways to save money on a DC area wedding!)
7 – Postage
The design and production of wedding invitations are one cost, and the cost to mail them out to your guests is an additional cost. If you are doing a typical invitation suite, you’ll need two stamps per set: One for the invitation and one for the RSVP card. A USPS first class stamp is currently $0.49 and for two stamps for 200 invitations that is $196. However, most wedding invitations are too heavy for a first class stamp and sometimes the envelop is an odd shape, so these stamps will cost more. Be sure to factor in postage to your final invitation costs.
8 – Hotel Rooms for Yourself
You will need a place to stay for your wedding and if you aren’t staying at home, that means a hotel. You might need the hotel room for a few nights throughout the weekend. Hotel rooms in the Washington DC area aren’t cheap and hotels do book up during peak tourist season, so planning advance for this is key. Think about where you want to stay during your wedding weekend and then factor in hotel rooms for yourself into your overall budget. (For more on hotels, be sure to read our post on hotel room blocks for weddings in the Washington DC area.)
9 – Vendor Needs
There are a few little things that you might need to pay for your vendors such as parking and meals. Your vendors will be working a long day for you, and you’ll need to feed them. Your caterer should take care of feeding them, but the meals can cost anywhere from $15 to $60 per person. You might also be on the hook to pay for the parking for your wedding vendors, including your vendors like hair and make up artists and entertainment. These are typical costs, but maybe not costs you were expecting. These is probably the last things you want to deal with at the end of the night, so just ask about it in advance so you can be prepared.
10 – Taxes
For all things, you’ll have to pay taxes. For big-ticket wedding items like your venue, food and beverage, the taxes can be quite a bit of money. Taxes in Washington DC are up to 10%, so if you are on a super tight budget you might save some money with a wedding in Maryland and Virginia where the taxes are 4-5%. Be very aware of initial proposals that don’t include taxes. You will be charged taxes in the end, but sometimes the first few proposals don’t include tax to make the overall cost look lower.
11 – Last Minute Items
It is the week or two before your wedding and this is the time that you are paying for rush shipping to ensure that everything arrives on time. Or, even worse, this is the time that you are panicking and adding things onto your wedding day. This can be little things like your wedding garter or jewelry or craft supplies to complete any DIY projects you are working on. It can even be the last minute “I think I want a wedding video!” Either way, do your best to think of everything you’ll need for your wedding in advance to avoid last minute scrambling and extra costs.
That’s about all of the unexpected wedding costs that I can think of! What did I miss?! What are some costs to planning a wedding in the Washington DC area that you were not expecting or that you were surprised to learn about?
Are you looking for more local wedding ideas? Be sure to look through our DC area wedding idea galleries and find wedding advice from local DC area pros. If that isn’t enough, check out our collection of local DMV weddings from the real world and the best DC area wedding vendors who make it all happen. You can also connect in our DC area wedding forums and share your wedding announcement with the world!