Wedding Expenses That Are Tax Deductible For The Cost-Effective Bride

It's no wonder that cute, DIY wedding hacks are big business on sites like Pinterest. After all, weddings are expensive. According to an annual study by The Knot, the average cost of a wedding in 2021 was about $28,000 — or $34,000 if you include the engagement ring. So, budget-savvy brides and grooms are all about finding ways to save money, from skipping the costly cake for homemade dessert bars to painstakingly putting together their own floral arrangements.


However, there's one major cashback tactic that most newlyweds don't even consider for their weddings: tax deductions. Now, you may be wondering in what world the government would cheerfully give you a tax break for your wedding. But there are ways to work the system! With a little foresight and some itemization on your return, you can put your wedding excess to good use and set yourself up for tax deductions on your big day's many, many expenses.

Venue costs

Depending on where you want to tie the knot, one of the most significant costs at your wedding will probably be booking the venue. But there's a chance you can defray this expense, as certain locales may also double as tax write-offs. If your ceremony or reception takes place at a venue that counts as a non-profit, such as a museum, public garden, or state or national park, your booking fee may count as a donation, in which case it becomes tax deductible (via TurboTax).


Even if you're getting married in a church, you may still be able to itemize your ceremony fee. Or, as an alternative, you could ask whether the church would accept an out-and-out donation in lieu of the usual booking payment, so it's easier to account for on your tax return.

Charity registries

These days, more and more engaged couples have been together for years and may be living together before marriage. So, chances are that you have most of the home items you need already. Instead of creating a wedding registry for fine china you don't really want, a waffle maker you won't use, or three separate crockpots to take up space in your kitchen, why not create a charity registry?


A charity registry allows you to select special causes close to your heart and have guests make donations instead of buying gifts (via The New York Times). Direct guests to one non-profit you adore or give them an option of several to choose from. You can even include charities as an option on traditional registries, so you can support positive organizations while still requesting that Vitamix blender you've been dreaming of.

Food and decor donations

Once you've walked down the aisle and celebrated your nuptials into the night, what's next? Usually, a fair amount of clean-up. But you don't have to toss all those floral centerpieces and delicious leftovers into the trash. Instead, why not donate them to someone in need? This cuts back on waste and presents a great opportunity for tax deductions down the line.


Consider taking the rest of that tasty reception fare to a local homeless or women's shelter that accepts food donations. Fresh floral arrangements, meanwhile, are a thoughtful gift for hospices, care homes, or senior centers. And reusable wedding decor items like candles, lanterns, or place card holders can be donated to shops like Goodwill or the Salvation Army (via SmartAsset). Just remember to itemize all these donations when tax season rolls around.

Charity favors

Your registry isn't the only place to involve your favorite tax-deductible charities on your wedding day. For wedding favors that carry a special meaning and make the world a better place, think about skipping the gift baggies and donating to a non-profit instead. These donations are a great way to say thank you to bridesmaids, groomsmen, or wedding guests without pressuring them to take home another dust-gathering keepsake. After all, they don't need an engraved keychain or unplayable mix CD to treasure their memories of your marriage.


To make the donation feel extra special, you can have the wedding party vote on their preferred charity or include a selection of organizations on your guests' RSVP cards — right next to their meal choice and song requests for the reception (via Inside Weddings).

Wedding dress donations

Wondering what to do with your wedding dress after the big day? Many brides hold onto their dresses as mementos of their ceremony. But more often than not, those stunning gowns end up in storage, rarely seeing the light of day. So, why not consider another option? By donating your wedding dress, you can spread the joy while turning your gown into a money-saving tax deduction.


As charity Brides Against Breast Cancer (BABC) explains on its homepage, "Give your wedding dress a second life by donating to a meaningful charity that is devoted to helping women. ... Support breast cancer causes and, by receiving a 501(c)3 donation receipt, maybe save money on taxes, too!" How does it work? BABC resells recent, gently-used wedding dresses and uses the revenue to support breast cancer resources such as early detection programs. And there are a variety of other charities following a similar model, so if you want to honor your dress by sharing it with another bride, this is a fantastic and tax-deductible way to give back.