Congratulations! You’re getting married. Besides our son being born, our wedding day was the 2nd best day of my life. I often say I wish I could relive our wedding day on repeat (family, friends and a lot of fun!). Heck, our wedding was so special that The Knot even featured our wedding: A Vibrant Wedding at Cescaphe Ballroom in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Shout-out to my wife who planned the entire thing, my only job was the honeymoon (yes, I know, she is awesome.)
Wedding season is just around the corner so we thought it was a good time to cover the basics. Unfortunately, the cost of planning a mega blowout might take that happiness surrounding the event down a notch. Depending on where you want your nuptials to take place, the number of guests, and how elaborate you want your wedding to be, the total price of your Big Day could rack up in the thousands or even tens of thousands (Dare we say $100k+?!?!).
In decades past, it used to be the responsibility of the bride’s parents to pay for wedding festivities, but that's no longer the case these days. More and more couples are getting married later in life and deciding to pay for the wedding themselves. Weddings have also become much more expensive, and parents are now often already helping their young-adult aged children out with their college educations, leaving little funds left to contribute to a wedding.
If you and your significant other need to fund your own wedding, it's important to carefully examine the financial situation of both you and your fiancée and set a realistic budget based on your savings. Let’s explore practical ways to save for your big day that will blend into your lifestyle.
Set a Budget
In 2017, the average cost of a wedding in the United States was a whopping $35,0001. Of course, you can set a smaller or larger budget depending on your wishes, but any vendor that works on weddings seems to automatically charge more. The best way to come up with a budget that fits your lifestyle is to figure out how much you and your fiancée can realistically set aside each month. If it’s a combined total of $1,000 per month, great! If it’s $2,000, even better. At the end of two years, saving $2,000 each month, this will obviously leave you with a $48,000 budget for your event. If you are paying for all of it yourself, it’s entirely reasonable to give yourself a year or two to realistically save enough money for your wedding.
However, if your only able to save a small amount each month, you'll need to get honest with yourself and think about the type of wedding you can truly afford. Any expert will tell you it is not a good idea to go into debt to fund your wedding, especially when soon after a wedding often comes other large expenses, such as buying a home, having a child, or purchasing a new car. Once you have a realistic idea of how much money you have to work with, get creative! Find alternative options to the most expensive parts of hosting a wedding. There are many online resources where you can find creative ideas to throw a wedding on a budget.
Cut Back on Extras
All those little extras in life add up fast, so think about cutting back on some additional monthly expenses. Try cutting out meals at expensive restaurants, extra pairs of shoes or electronics, or even your daily coffee house habit. Eliminating a $5 latte each day adds up to $150 per month in savings!
Pro Tip: Don't go crazy with flowers! They die and no one ever brags about how "cool" the flowers were. I am shocked by how many people spend thousands of dollars on flowers.
Keep careful track of your wedding savings by putting it into a special account that neither of you can touch. If you can schedule that savings to automatically be pulled from both of your paychecks, this will help ensure that the money is actually being saved every month. This is much easier to do than separating it out yourself, as temptation might be strong to spend it on spur-of-the-moment purchases if it hits your regular account.
With a few simple tips and tricks, it's possible to afford the wedding bash of your dreams. For many couples, it all boils down to patience and disciplined money habits.