How to Budget for a WeddingSeptember 21, 2016
Adulthood comes with several significant financial decisions — purchasing a home, making payments on a new car, and getting married are just a few. While marriage is often regarded as one of the most important life decisions one can make, planning for the big day can still be a large financial commitment. According to a recent survey conducted by The Knot, the average wedding carries a hefty price tag of around $32,000. There are many hidden costs associated with a wedding that newly-engaged couples are simply unaware of before and as they begin the planning process — and these costs can add up quickly! If you are a future groom or bride-to-be, the following tips can help you create the wedding of your dreams without breaking the bank.
1. Figure Out What You Want
Whether it is an intimate elopement, a casual backyard wedding, or a big celebration with all your friends and family, a wedding can be anything you want it to be. Keep in mind that larger weddings come with greater financial obligations. Decide on the type of wedding that works best for you and your partner. Create a guest list of friends and family members that you would love to attend your special day. Draft a firm budget based on these factors, and decide what is a feasible amount to spend on your wedding.
2. Start Saving
Once you have a general number of what you can afford to spend, the next step is to determine which sources will provide the money needed to match your budget. Will you be receiving financial support from your family, or will you be financing your own wedding entirely? Are you planning to wed in a few months, or do you have over a year until the big day? These factors will affect how much you need to be saving each month. Develop a savings plan with your partner — decide on an amount or percentage of your paycheck to put back each month. If necessary, you can also adjust your monthly budget to allocate more money to your wedding fund. For more creative ways to save money, check out this post.
3. Get Specific
There are so many details that go into planning a wedding, so it is essential to itemize your budget by creating specific allowances for each aspect of your wedding. Make a list of what is most important and least important to you. For instance, would you rather save on flowers and splurge on photography? Would you sacrifice an intricate cake and five-star catering for your dream venue? Determining what you are willing to splurge and save on are great ways to prioritize your costs and figure out how much to allocate to each part of your wedding. Next, create an itemized breakdown of the percentage of your budget you want to spend in each category. You can do this yourself or use a budgeting calculator like this one from The Knot. Either way, be sure to set aside a percentage for contingency, just in case you end up needing some extra cash.
4. Identify Ways to Cut Costs
Just because you have the money in your budget does not mean you have to spend it all. You can easily find ways to save money in various aspects of your wedding, allowing you to have more money to spend elsewhere (like your honeymoon), or simply put back into your bank account. Pinterest features thousands of creative ideas to cut back on wedding costs, but here are a few of our favorite ways to get the most out of your budget:
- Flowers can be surprisingly expensive. Instead of having lush centerpieces made for every table at your wedding, consider using candles, framed pictures, and inexpensive greenery like moss.
- Cut down your guest list. The overhead cost of your reception increases with each guest, so reevaluating who you absolutely need at your wedding can be an easy way to save a lot of money.
- In lieu of an open bar at the reception (which can cost upwards of $2,000), try to get permission to buy beer, wine, and champagne in bulk. However, if your venue does not allow you to bring in outside beverages, consider simply limiting drinks to beer and wine.
- You do not have to spend a fortune on your wedding dress. Check out designers like BHLDN, David’s Bridal, and Alfred Angelo for affordable but breathtaking dresses. You can also get great deals on pre-owned wedding dresses on websites like Once Wed.
- Saturdays are the most popular days for weddings — and, thus, carry the highest costs — so opt for a Friday or Sunday wedding instead.
- Skip the seated, multi-course meal. If your wedding is in the evening, go for a delicious buffet meal instead. You can also host a morning or early afternoon wedding and serve brunch or finger foods.
You can still host the wedding of your dreams while keeping your expenses in check. In the long run, creating and sticking to a wedding budget will do wonders for keeping your financial and emotional stress low and help you focus on the aspects that matter most. With the above budgeting and money-saving tips — along with countless others on the web — we hope you and your partner create a day you will never forget. Happy planning!