If you are newly engaged and planning a wedding, you might feel overwhelmed. It’s likely that one of your top concerns may be, “How are we going to pay for this?” On average, couples budget $20,000 for their wedding. Some may dip into savings to pay for their big day, but many will go into debt. According to a 2021 Investopedia study, “41% of those planning a wedding will use credit cards to help finance the cost.”
Make a Plan
Your special day doesn’t have to break the bank. Many couples, realizing that an extravagant wedding will set them back financially for years to come, seek ways to create a tasteful event with less money. A budget is your first step in the wedding planning process. Think of it as your guide to creating your dream wedding without overspending and accumulating unnecessary debt.
Decide What’s Important to You
The first step in building your budget is to know what costs are involved – venue, table and chair rental, catering, beverages, cake, flowers, decorations, DJ, photographer, videographer, formal attire, wedding favors, and officiant’s fees. Whether your wedding will include all or some of these things, it’s important to research costs so you can create a realistic budget.
Be aware that sticking to your budget will require some give and take. Make a list of your “must haves” and your “wants,” so when budget surprises appear, it’s easier to decide what can be cut and what you consider to be non-negotiable.
Stick to Your Spending Limit
Once you have created your budget, set your spending limit and stick to it. Let’s say you have decided to spend $15,000 on your wedding, and you currently have $9,000 saved. Your wedding is in 15 months, so you will need to save $400 a month if you want a debt-free wedding. If you are unable to save the $400 a month, you may want to consider downsizing your wedding or finding ways to cut costs.
Remember, the goal is to stay within your overall budget, so if you spend more in one category, find a way to cut back on another expense. For example, if you find the perfect wedding gown, but it’s $1,000 over your dress budget, then you could cut back on a less-important detail, such as the type of food served.
Save Money Where You Can
You may be stunned at how much certain items cost, but with a little flexibility and creativity, there are ways to achieve your dream wedding and stay within your budget. If a desired venue exceeds your budget, book your wedding on a Thursday ─ or during off-peak times of the year ─ to save an average of 20% off the venue rental costs.
Cost-conscious couples can also search online selling platforms to find wedding décor that was used only once at the seller’s wedding. This can be much less expensive than renting décor and furniture from a wedding rental vendor.
Planning a wedding is notoriously stressful. Relieve some of your financial anxiety by creating a reasonable budget. Remember this: Most people won’t notice the small, yet costly details you bypassed for the health of your financial future.