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What wedding expenses are tax deductible in 2024

Mark Steber

Chief Tax Information Officer

Published on: September 18, 2023

Your wedding day is something you probably dreamt about from childhood. The cost of the affair? Not the stuff of dreams. At least maybe you can write off some of those costs. From the wedding dress to venue fees and flower arrangements to honeymoon costs, how much can you write off when it comes to tax time? Let’s find out.

What wedding expenses are tax deductible in 2024?

We’ll explore what wedding expenses are tax deductible for those planning their weddings in 2023 or 2024, and what you’ll want to keep in mind as you plan before, during, and after your big day.

Tax-deductible wedding expenses

The most popular and easy way to write off some of your wedding costs is to find ways to pave the path for charitable giving. From charitable giving to having guests donate to recognized charities instead of splurging on blenders and crystal, there are ways to offset some of the wedding bills coming your way.

Before we get into specific items you may donate, let’s delve into what the IRS deems a tax-exempt organization.

What charitable organizations qualify for a tax write-off?

Even after the wedding, you can keep the happiness going by donating some of your decorations, attire, and leftover food to qualified charities.

Organizations founded and operated exclusively for religious, charitable, scientific, testing for public safety, literary, educational, or other specified purposes and that meet certain other requirements are tax exempt under what is called Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3).

To qualify as exempt from federal income tax, an organization must meet requirements set forth in the Internal Revenue Code. You’ll want to see if the organization to which you’re donating is recognized as a 501(c)(3).

Churches and religious organizations

Churches and religious organizations, like many other charitable organizations, may qualify for exemption from federal income tax under Section 501(c)(3).

Private foundations

According to the IRS, every organization that qualifies for tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) is classified as a private foundation, unless it meets one of the exceptions listed in Section 509(a). Private foundations typically have a single major source of funding (usually gifts from one family or corporation rather than funding from many sources) and most have as their primary activity the making of grants to other charitable organizations and to individuals, rather than the direct operation of charitable programs.

Church and venue fees

Having your dream wedding is taking place in a church or at your favorite historical site? You may be in for some good news. As long as the place of worship you choose meets the criteria we touched upon above for a tax-exempt organization, any donation you may make to have your wedding at a religious venue should be deductible.

You may also be able to write off the fees if you hold the ceremony at a non-profit venue, such as a museum, state or national park, or another historical site.

Donating your dress to charity for a tax write-off

After all the time, effort, and money spent looking for the perfect wedding dress, you may want to see it live on with someone else, brighten someone’s day and give you a potential tax write-off. There are numerous charitable organizations across America that accept wedding gowns and accessories. We will give an overview of some of the bigger and better-known organizations below.

  • Brides for a Cause – This recognized charity will accept dresses from all parts of the U.S., as well as bridal accessories, and bridesmaid dresses. You can also consider donating costume jewelry, veils, gloves, capes, and other accessories.
  • Brides Against Breast Cancer – If your dress is less than 3 years old and is in excellent condition, you may be able to donate it to this charity.
  • Brides Across America – This national charity accepts dresses 4 years and newer. They are then given to the military, first responders, and healthcare workers who may not be able to afford wedding dresses. The organization also accepts jewelry, veils, bridesmaid’s gowns, and wedding favors.
  • Goodwill – There are many locations across the country. They accept all types of donations, including gowns, accessories and decorations, regardless of the newness of the items and may be a good option for people who have dresses that are more than 5 years old.
  • Salvation Army – You can find locations near you and drop off your donations or see if they have capacity to do pick-ups at your home.

You can also look into local charitable events, such as Night to Shine, which seeks dress donations for an annual prom held for those with special needs. There are other organizations to consider. Always make sure to get receipts and make sure that the organization to which you donate is an IRS-recognized charitable organization.

Donating wedding decorations and flowers

When you’ve both said, “I do,” and the party is over, you can have friends and family take the leftover flowers and decorations to a homeless shelter or a women’s shelter, or another recognized not-for-profit organization to help raise the spirits of people in need. As with all the donations, make sure you get a receipt of your donation and bring it to your tax professional during tax time.

Donating leftover food to charitable organizations and soup kitchens

There are always people in need of food. If you find yourselves with a lot of food leftover after the wedding, there are various options. You can donate the food to local women’s shelters, homeless shelters, and other recognized charitable organizations.

  • Rescuing Leftover Cuisine: This recognized charitable organization works with restaurants and vendors to donate leftover food all across America.
  • You can also call local homeless and animal shelters to see if they will take any of your leftover food.
  • Drop off or donate food to a local soup kitchen, or a local church that may run a pantry or kitchen for the food insecure.

Have guests donate to a recognized charity through your gift registry

You may also think about setting up a charity registry, so instead of receiving gifts yourself, charitable donations will be made instead. The difference with that compared to the other donations is that those particular tax deductions won't go to you--they'll go to your guests.

Always work with your tax professional on the details of what is or isn’t acceptable. Your wedding is the happiest day of your life—and likely the most expensive. If you can write off some of that expense and maybe help others in need, it’ll be an even sweeter experience. Find a local Tax Pro near you today to talk about this topic and any other tax questions you may have.

Frequently asked questions

About the Author

Mark Steber is Senior Vice President and Chief Tax Information Officer for Jackson Hewitt. With over 30 years of experience, he oversees tax service delivery, quality assurance and tax law adherence. Mark is Jackson Hewitt’s national spokesperson and liaison to the Internal Revenue Service and other government authorities. He is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), holds registrations in Alabama and Georgia, and is an expert on consumer income taxes including electronic tax and tax data protection.

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