Donate Your Wedding Dress for a Tax Deduction
Donate Your Wedding Dress for a Tax Deduction

7 Wedding Expenses That Are Tax Deductible

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Weddings are expensive, so it’s unfortunate that they aren’t tax-deductible! But wait, though tax write-offs may not be top-of-mind when you are planning your wedding, with careful planning, there are some ways you may be able to garner a tax deduction as you prepare to head down the aisle. Here are some ideas:

1. The Church 

If you are paying a ceremony fee, the fee itself won’t be tax deductible because it is paid in exchange for receiving a service. According to the IRS, if you receive a benefit in exchange for the contribution, such as merchandise, goods, or services, you can only deduct the amount that exceeds the fair market value of the benefit received or expected to be received.

However, any additional donation to the church with no expectation of benefit can be deductible. It may be worth increasing your donations for the year to get a double benefit: a tax write-off, and a warm glow from donating to a good cause.

2. The Venue

If you are having your reception or getting married at a historical garden, museum or homestead, or even a state or national park, the fee you pay may be tax-deductible as a donation. Check with the site representative for more details. Again, any fee paid in exchange for a service won’t be deductible.

3. Flowers

Once your wedding is over, have a friend take the flowers to a homeless shelter, women’s center, or similar non-profit organization. Not only will you have done a good deed, but with a receipt, you’ll be able to take a tax deduction for the value of the items donated. Remember that the deductible amount may be considerably less than the price you paid, as it is based on the condition of the donated items at the time of the donation.

4. The Gown

Donate your wedding gown to a non-profit organization such as Making Memories or Brides Against Breast Cancer, and you’ll help others enjoy their special day in style. The same goes for the flower girl and bridesmaid dresses, as well as candles and other decorations that won’t spoil.

5. The Food

Thanks to the Good Samaritan Food Donation Act, you may be able to donate the leftovers. Ask the caterer to package the leftovers and then you or a designated person from your wedding party can drop them off at an IRS recognized non-profit organization that feeds others in need. The organization will give you a donation letter that you can use as proof of charitable contribution. Unless the food is in its original condition, it should be valued at less than the full retail price.

6. Wedding Favors

Instead of soon-forgotten trinkets, make a donation to a charity on behalf of everyone at your wedding as a “thank you” for being a part of your special day. You’ll help others while garnering yourself a tax deduction! You might even let your wedding party choose the charities they treasure.

7. Gift Registry

Along with a traditional gift wish list, you can create a charity registry through My Registry and encourage guests to donate to your favorite cause. Donations are tax-deductible so your guests can feel good while giving back and celebrating you at the same time.Keep in mind that in order to claim a tax deduction for charitable donations, you have to donate to a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) charitable organization, and typically you have to have enough tax deductions to itemize your deductions.

Be sure to document your donations with receipts and contracts, so you’ll have the documents available at tax time. Then you can claim your tax deductions, boost your tax refund, and have extra funds to toast your wedded bliss. 

Don’t worry about knowing these tax rules. No matter what moves you made last year, TurboTax will make them count on your taxes. Whether you want to do your taxes yourself or have a TurboTax expert file for you, we’ll make sure you get every dollar you deserve and your biggest possible refund – guaranteed.

12 responses to “7 Wedding Expenses That Are Tax Deductible”

  1. Now, this is really cool! I would have never thought of this. I don’t have a daughter and I’m too old to have ever have one. If I were to ever get married, I’d totally do this. Sharing the dress and everything else that can be upcycled for someone else to enjoy. I’ll definitely be sharing this tips.

  2. Hi Lisa,
    The venue we are having our wedding at is a historic building that is being restored in the community. Our intent of having our wedding there is to support it’s rehabilitation and the community. The organization we write the check to is a 501c3. Would this be deductible? thanks!

  3. The groom called off the wedding two days prior to the wedding. all of our payments were non-refundable. Can I claim the wedding expenses as a loss on my taxes?


  4. What form of receipt can be collected if you donate your food to a shelter and flowers to a retirement home? How do you prove the worth and the acceptance of said items?

    • I donated my flowers to both nursing homes my grandmothers were at. I was informed after I dropped the arrangements off that since they are not a nonprofit organization they could not give me a donation letter for tax purposes. Facility must be nonprofit for tax deduction!

  5. How do you determine if payment to a church for a wedding as well as a gift payment to the priest and servers is tax deductible.

    • Hi Dave,
      You would only be able to deduct it if the church gave you an acknowledgement noting that your payment to the church and payment to the priest was a charitable contribution.
      Thank you,
      Lisa Greene-Lewis

  6. What kind of deduction is the one for historical places? I’ve searched the site and cannot find info. My wedding was booked at a venue listed on the National list of Historical Places. I don’t know if it qualifies but its worth a shot. Thanks


    • Hi Schuyler,
      Unfortunately, you would not be able to take this as a deduction. There are charitable deductions for donations to maintain Historical buildings, however whether something is deductible as a charitable contribution is based on your intent. You have to make the donation with the intent to preserve the Historical building. It cannot be a result of something else.
      Thank you,
      Lisa Greene-Lewis