Getting engaged is exciting! You’re probably looking forward to dress shopping, choosing color schemes, and wedding cake tastings. Before you dive in too deep, you’ll need to create a realistic wedding budget. Weddings in the U.S. cost upwards of $30,000 on average. Of course, that doesn’t mean you can (or should) spend that much. The last thing you want to do with your soon-to-be spouse is start your marriage off with too much credit card debt. We have some tips for you on how to create a wedding budget without going into debt!
1. Decide how much you are comfortable spending.
If you aren’t comfortable spending close to your entire year’s salary on your wedding, don’t! It’s important to be realistic and remember your other financial goals. Just because you’re planning a wedding, doesn’t mean all your other money management skills should go out the window. You still need to be saving for retirement, putting money away in an emergency fund, and saving for other goals you might have, such as purchasing a home. There are plenty of couples who have beautiful weddings for $10,000 or less! Once you come up with a total dollar amount for your wedding, come up with a savings plan to get there so you don’t have to rely on credit cards. Figure out how much money you and your future spouse will need to save every month until the wedding. It takes discipline, but it’s worth it!
2. Determine what aspects of the wedding are most important to you.
Maybe the venue is important to you, and you just have to have your wedding at a certain location. Allocate more money in your wedding budget to the venue. If there are things that aren’t all that important to you, then don’t go overboard with the spending. Maybe you and your friends and family don’t drink that much. Don’t spend tons of money on an open bar. It all depends on what your priorities are for the big day.
3. See if you can DIY anything to save money.
Wedding decor can be expensive. (Really, anything with the word “wedding” in front of it is going to be expensive.) If you can DIY it with some dollar store mason jars, go for it! Making the decor yourself with inexpensive craft items can save you hundreds of dollars. Other things you may want to consider DIY-ing include the cake (or other dessert if you opt to go non-traditional), flower arrangements, and hair/makeup if possible. Of course, before you buy or DIY anything, do your research and see what the costs are for each option. Sometimes DIY isn’t cheaper, and sometimes, it’s just not worth it if doing something yourself is going to be too stressful.
4. Don’t forget about secondhand items.
Whether it’s a dress that’s been worn before or decor that’s been used in another wedding, secondhand items can be a budget saver! If your mom still has her wedding dress, see if you can use her dress instead of buying a new one. Not only will that save you thousands of dollars, but it could be sentimental for both of you. Additionally, if you have a friend or cousin who got married recently, ask them if you can borrow or buy their decor off of them secondhand. There are also websites specifically for secondhand wedding items. A quick Google search will give you tons of options!
Keep in mind your wedding is just one day. It’s an important day of course, but it’s not worth accumulating thousands of dollars in debt. Talk with your future spouse about what your financial goals are for after the wedding too. As long as you’re on the same page and both stick to the agreed upon budget, your wedding shouldn’t be too financially stressful!