By Nadia S. Anderson

Couples are advised to set their budget at 75% of the maximum amount available to spend. Inevitably, there are details that are accidentally excluded from the wedding planning and therefore the budget. Setting aside a small reserve ensures that there is enough money to cover all the unexpected costs of the wedding and reduces stress. These are some of the most common items that couples forget to include:

The Marriage License

Yes, you have to pay for that! The cost of a marriage license in Virginia varies by county. Expect to pay between $30–35, and be sure to note the forms of payment that are accepted at the county office. This is a small but often overlooked cost.


You’ve included the cost of your attire, alterations, and accessories. Don’t ruin the look by failing to have the proper support (or socks)!


Wedding invitations printed on lovely weighted stock with multiple pages will require more than the standard $.49 stamp. Proper etiquette indicates that formal invitations include a response card with postage attached to save your guests the trouble of having to find a stamp and reduces your risk of receiving the response after your deadline or not at all. Ask your stationer how much postage your invitations require and take one complete invitation suite to the post office to confirm the cost.

the sneaky six Lodging

Planning to stay in a hotel the night before your wedding? Want to keep the hotel room until you leave for your honeymoon on Tuesday? Great! Plan for those extra room nights in your budget.

Wedding Day Meals

You’ve asked your wedding attendants to join you six hours prior to the start of the wedding so you can all get ready together. Feed them! It’s going to be a long day, and you’ll need some energy to get through it. You should also make provisions for wedding vendors that will be with you more than four hours (i.e. the band/DJ, coordinator, photographer, videographer, etc.).


If a vendor goes above and beyond your expectations and the agreed upon services, add an additional 10–20% for gratuity. It is not expected, but always appreciated!

Nadia S. Anderson is a CPA, certified wedding and event planner, and the owner of Virginia Grace Event Management. To learn more about how she can assist in creating your stress free wedding memories, please visit