5 Hidden Fees with Weddings You SHOULD Know About

Hi friends, so glad that you are visiting the wedding film blog today. Well, I was meeting with a couple from Harrisonburg about my wedding films and they were talking about how some things within the overall wedding process were eating away at the budget line items, such as dresses and the like.

Well, truth be told there are some hidden wedding costs when you’re booking with vendors or buying things for the wedding and today I want to share with you the 5 most common hidden fees within weddings here in Virginia as well as other parts of the United States.


Many couples will choose to hire someone or a company to make invitations for the wedding, sometimes called “Save the Date’s”.  Usually when you get a price quote on having custom Save-The-Dates made, they don’t talk about the postage costs involved and many times that a hidden fee that you have to fork up, especially if you have an unusual size or bulky invite to begin with. With a basic cost of $.50 each, sending out 100 invites can cost you an extra $50 or much more.

How to Avoid It: Skip the fancy boxed invitations and multi-layer cards, which can bulk up quickly and cost a lot more than you bargained for.

Overtime Fees

As a wedding filmmaker, I sometimes run into this at a reception, couple wanting us to stay longer than needed. Many wedding vendors are happy to stay 10-15 minutes longer than contracted for but much longer than that can add up VERY quickly out of your bank account. For example, I have a $100 per hour that I charge if the couple asks me to stay longer than the contract and most other vendors have something similar. Extending the reception an hour longer can easily cost you $1,000 or more just in overtime fees so if the reception is scheduled to end at 10, make sure that it does.

How to Avoid It: Factor in additional time for getting dressed and taking photos/video—that way, you can book your pros for a more realistic time frame. Get overtime costs in writing (they shouldn't be more than 50 percent more per hour than the regular rate), so you'll know what to expect if you decide to keep the party going.


Taxes are not really calculated in the overall price of things when making a wedding budget BUT you should know that most vendors should be charging you Virginia State sales tax. While some vendors put it into the overall price of their products or services, more and more are just adding the 5.3%.

In fact, companies that are not charging you that tax can be fined huge amounts years after the fact and many wedding venues within SWVA are being hit with tens of thousands of dollars in unpaid taxes from a few years ago.

Just expect there to be a sales tax on your services and products.

Dress Alterations

Many brides seem to forget that they need additional money to alter the dress of their dreams. Ladies that might spend a $1,000 on a wedding dress often times find themselves spending another couple of hundred bucks in alterations and sizing fees on top of the cost. In fact, over my 21 year career, I can’t think of anyone that just easily fit into a wedding dress, I’d say 99% of brides that purchase a wedding dress will need alterations to some extent and its almost unavoidable if you want it done professionally.


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While not a given, tipping vendors is a bit of a tricky thing. More and more couples are tipping wedding vendors like myself in 2019 than they did in 2009. A recent poll taken showed that of 419 couples asked, more than 53% were tipping the vendors at the end of the night.

Now, it’s not required to do so, but if you plan on tipping, you’ll need to put it in the budget. Who should you tip? Well, honestly, it’s a generic question however MY rule of thumb is this, if the vendor expense was less than $500, I’d consider tipping them. That may include the cake baker, the officiant, the hair and makeup people as a few examples. Tipping $50-$100 is typical for those types of vendors and tipping photographers and videographers for example, is usually 5-10% of the total amount spent.

Me personally, I would only tip those that were less than $500 to begin with as they work hard to make those little things happen for your day and they’re many times underappreciated in the wedding business too.

Well, there are my top 5 hidden wedding fees to think about, perhaps budget for and to just accept in the case of taxes.

If you or someone you know is seeking a professional yet affordable wedding film, please tell them about me and my services.