20 Hidden Costs to Include in Your Wedding Budget

While every wedding can be different in terms of size and budget, the average cost of a wedding in Ireland now stands at approximately €30,000. We all know the costs that make up the bulk of that fee – the venue, the photographer and videographers, the band, the dress etc. but along the way you might find yourself forking out for a lot of wedding details you hadn’t considered.

We’ve put together a list of 20 hidden costs to planning a wedding you may not have thought about but might want to include in your budget!

1. P O S T A G E

Save the dates, invitations, thank you cards… all of these can add a personal touch to your wedding, show your individual style and create a keepsake from your day, but they can also take an unexpected chunk out of your budget! With the cost of sending a standard letter in Ireland now at €1.10, the cost of posting your invitations can quickly add up, especially if your stationary is larger or heavier than standard mail. We advise taking a sample of your invitation to the post office to be weighed so that you know the full cost of sending out your invitations and factor it into your budget early on.

Alternatively, digital invitations and save the dates are becoming a more popular, eco and budget friendly option for couples looking to avoid the hassle of sending out paper invites. Sending invites by text or email may have seemed too impersonal in the past, but the constant changing of regulations during COVID19 led to an increase in their popularity as couples had to wait till last minute to finalise guest lists or change their dates on several occasions!

2. R E G I S T R A T I O N   F E E

Whether you are getting married in a religious, civil or secular ceremony, in order to legally marry you must notify the registrar for marriage in your area at least 3 months in advance of your ceremony and obtain a Marriage Registration Form. There is a fee of €200 for this process and you will also need to bring an original copy of your birth cert and passport, so if these are not up to date you might have an additional cost to obtain these too!

The etiquette for paying your celebrant differs across each wedding type and in different areas so you may have to factor this cost in too.

3. H A I R   &   M A K E – U P   T R I A L S

When planning your wedding and researching hair and make up artists for your big day , make sure to check if a trial is included in the fee they quote you. These aren’t typically included as standard and will need to be added on to the overall cost.

4. B E A U T Y   T R E A T M E N T S

Similarly, you might not think to include the cost of other beauty treatments in the lead up to your big day into your costs. Facials, eyebrow and eyelash tints, tanning, manicure and pedicures, waxing and other treatments can all add up!

5. H E N   P A R T Y

While you don’t typically pay for your own hen party in Ireland, you will need to factor in the cost of your new outfit and beauty treatments if you plan to include them! We recommend scheduling your hair and make up trials from your wedding suppliers on the morning of your hen party as a way to save here and get the best value out of the treatments!

6. A L T E R A T I O N S

You’ve found the perfect dress and hurray! the price tag is within your budget! But very few wedding dresses fit a bride perfectly on the first try on, and a lot can change in shape and size between the day you find your dress and the day you walk down the aisle! Don’t forget to factor in the cost of alterations in the lead up to your day.

7. U N D E R G A R M E N T S

Not something we typically think of when we are planning our perfect wedding dress, but absolutely crucial in making sure the dress fits and looks perfect! The right undergarments can be difficult to find and quality garments can add to your wedding costs.

8. E X T R A   O U T F I T S

With all the thrill of finding the perfect dress, we can sometimes forget that weddings are rarely a one day occasion anymore. Rehearsal dinners and wedding after parties mean you are now planning your look for a full weekend, and if you want something new for the occasion you might want to put aside some of your budget for these outfits.

9. W E D D I N G   P A R T Y   F O O D

The morning of a wedding is an exciting affair, spending time with your bridal party, getting your hair and make up perfect and maybe a few sneaky sips of prosecco or mimosas! In all the excitement you can forget that it can be a very long morning for you and your crew. Make sure to include some breakfast and snacks for your nearest and dearest on the morning of the event or expect to have some very hangry bridesmaids by the time the photos are finished, and the reception begins!

10. G I F T S

Some flowers for the mothers of the bride and groom, a bottle of whiskey for the fathers of the bride and groom, bridesmaid gifts, groomsmen gifts and perhaps a little something for your other half! Depending on the size of the bridal party and how much you want to spend, these gifts can quickly eat into your budget!

11. C O R K A G E

Most venues will include serving wine as part of their wedding package but if you want to bring your own wine, or perhaps have some extra bottled beer on arrival, the venue may charge corkage to cover the cost of storing and serving the drink.

12. C A K E A G E

An unusual one but becoming more and more common as couples are less likely to serve their wedding cake these days. Many opt to just go with the dessert option included in their wedding package and take a few quick photos cutting the cake instead. Because of this, many venues don’t serve the wedding cake as standard and may charge an additional fee for cutting and serving it on top of your wedding package fee.

13. O T H E R   V E N U E   C O S T S

While most venues are clear on their costs, there might be some extra costs if you go outside what is included in their package. You might only have access to the room up to a certain time, or have access to certain parts of the venue. You might have to pay extra for extra food in the evening or for exclusive hire. The venue contract takes the biggest chunk our of your wedding budget and is one you want to go through carefully to make sure you know what you are getting. (Check out our Ultimate Wedding Venue Checklist for help with this one!)

14. S U P P L I E R   E X T R A S

Most wedding suppliers such as bands, photographers etc. will send you on the cost of their typical wedding package, but there may be additional costs if your wedding differs from their standard offering. If they have to travel an extra distance, stay later than expected or have any additional staff working then there may be extra costs added on to the bill. Make sure you agree all your requirements and costs in advance, asking if there are any extras you need to be aware of before the event.

15. S U P P L I E R   M E A L S

Your wedding photographer and videographers will typically be with you from getting ready early in the morning up to the first dance in the evening, a long work day for anyone! It’s a courtesy these days to make sure a meal is included for them on the day. While they won’t necessarily be expecting the same meal as your guests, it is customary to include something and can often be in included in the fine print of your supplier contracts!

16. G U E S T   T R A N S P O R T

While not a requirement, it is becoming common to include some form of transport for guests when wedding venues are some distance away or if there are few nearby accommodation options. This can be as simple as organising a bus run at the end of the night those guests who wish to avail of it.

17. V A T

A simple but costly one that can catch out many wedding couples. Not all quotes from your suppliers include VAT, meaning your final bill could end up 23% higher than you expected! Read all your quotes and contracts carefully to make sure you have an accurate cost included in your budget.

18. T I P S

Again, not a requirement but it is a courtesy to include a tip for your suppliers in the final payment, especially in the case of venue and service staff.

19. D R Y C L E A N I N G

Like the alterations ahead of the wedding, the cost of dry cleaning your dress after the event can be an easily forgotten cost.

20. B R E A K A G E

All going well, this isn’t a cost you will have to worry about, but it’s good practice to allow for it all the same. If things go wrong and a supplier’s wedding décor, equipment or venue is damaged beyond the usual wear and tear, you might find yourself with an unexpected bill after the event!