As you plan your Big Day, everything revolves around your budget: the venue, flowers, your dress, the cake… every single detail adds up. Often, you can be so focused on staying within the spending boundaries that you may end up missing some odds and ends — hidden costs that can quickly add up!

Our event specialists at Crystal Gardens Banquet Center know how important it is for couples to stick to their wedding budget. We’ve put together a list of unexpected costs and fees you may overlook as you plan your wedding so that you’re prepared for these expenses without any surprises.

Marriage License

You need your marriage license for your marriage to be legal. It’s not a huge fee, but it’s still a cost you’ll want to factor into your budget. In Michigan, the marriage license fee is $20 for state residents and $30 for non-residents.

Crystal Gardens- Howell, MI - Planning for unexpected wedding costs


The cost of printing your save the dates, invitations, and RSVP cards can be a big chunk of your budget. Have you thought about what it will cost to mail them? Keep in mind that bulky or heavy invitations will cost more to mail — some can run $2 or more a piece. To cut costs, keep things simple and skip the thick, multi-layer cards and invitation packages.

Wedding Dress Alterations and Steaming

Fees for dress alterations, cleaning, and/or steaming aren’t included in the price of wedding attire — for brides, grooms, and the wedding party. A simple hem can cost you less than $100, but major alterations to a train or bodice can get as expensive as $500 or more. Always consult your stylists while shopping and get all the different rates for these services. The stylists at The Dress Shop offers these services, and always work with brides and grooms to prepare them for these expenses— even if they can’t give an exact cost of these services, they can give an estimate so clients aren’t completely blindsided.

Crystal Gardens- Howell, MI - Planning for unexpected wedding costs

Hair and Makeup Trial Runs

You already know it will cost you to have your hair and makeup professionally done on the Big Day, but if you’re planning on having trial runs, then make sure you account for them in your budget — each session can cost around $100. Tip: Schedule a trial on the same day as your engagement photo session or bridal shower — that’s at least worth the fee!

Crystal Gardens- Howell, MI - Planning for unexpected wedding costs

Rental Transportation

If you’re renting items, make sure the cost of transporting all rental equipment is included in the upfront cost charged by the rental company. If this isn’t included in your contract, you could be facing several hundreds of dollars if the vendor charges for distance, labor, and the number of items rented. Consult with the rental companies about their shipping and packaging fees, and shop around to see if you can rent locally.

Taxes and Gratuities

Of course, we all know there are taxes on almost everything and gratuities are expected for almost any service, but it’s hard to estimate how much to leave in the budget — some vendors don’t include gratuity in their pricing quote up front, and taxes vary by state and location. To be safe, assume your taxes and tips will be at least 20 percent of your total costs, and consider that as you build your budget. The people who make your wedding happen deserve to be tipped for the services!

Crystal Gardens- Howell, MI - Planning for unexpected wedding costs

Overtime Fees

The party doesn’t stop… until the overtime fees kick in! Remember, as you book different services with different vendors, you are booking them for a certain amount of time—usually at an hourly rate. This means your DJ or band, photographer, videographer, and even catering waitstaff will likely charge per hour after they’ve reached the time specified in the contract. As you meet with these vendors, get their overtime fees in writing so you aren’t blindsided by the cost if your party runs over. Tip: the fees shouldn’t be more than 50 percent more per hour than the regular rate.

Crystal Gardens- Howell, MI - Planning for unexpected wedding costs

Set-up and Breakdown Services

A full-service venue like Crystal Gardens Banquet Center won’t charge for the set-up and breakdown costs because they are included in the labor charge. But, if you’re paying a flat fee to rent just the space, plan for additional charges for things like garbage removal and cleaning. Keep in mind that most full-service venues require same-day setup and cleanup. Some venues may even charge time and a half for labor during weekend weddings, which can quickly become a budget-buster.

Don’t let these hidden expenses stack against you and derail your wedding budget. Plan ahead and do your research—hopefully this list helped! If you need more wedding planning resources, read more of our blogs. Or contact us by email, or at 877.545.1002.