You’ve found your soul mate and are engaged to be married- Congratulations! While finding the right person to commit to for the long haul is actually the hard part, planning the wedding of your dreams on a budget can rival some of the hardest milestones many newlyweds will face together in the infancy of their marriage. Unfortunately for many, beyond the time and emotional commitment there comes an incredible financial burden associated with planning and holding a wedding in line with our current society’s expectations. Along with expectations, out goes the outdated expectation that the Bride’s family will pay for the wedding- and in comes the reality that most couples end up paying for or financing their wedding themselves- with little to no help.
So many couples will start their lives together with enormous amounts of debt added on to their current burdens. Not only are you marrying together your existing debt, but the way you start your financial marriage sets the tone for the financial decisions you will make- and pay for- in the future.
So let’s say you and your spouse-to-be are on the same page, looking to celebrate and commemorate your big day on a budget and avoiding as much debt as possible. Where would you start to help hedge the cost of your big day? Let’s start with a few of the big ones:
Decide On A budget
Getting married means combining your life- finances too. Whether you merge accounts or keep them separate, your partner’s financial state will affect you in various ways. This is a good time to start thinking about money more in terms of “ours” rather than “mine” or “theirs”. Sit down together and decide on your priorities and budget together. By deciding what really matters to you as a couple and putting a limit on what you will spend, you will be taking a big step together in planning for a united future and setting yourselves up right from the start.
Go Off Season
By avoiding a wedding during the “wedding season”, you can typically get better availability and pricing for the venues, services, and materials you are looking for. By simply changing the dates to a less popular time of the year, you can save substantial amounts of money and still get what you want. Another idea to consider is looking at a Friday night or Sunday Morning/afternoon wedding. Saturdays, again, are prime spots and will come at a premium. By changing the day of your wedding, you may be able to secure spots and services easier and cheaper. And a bonus: your wedding anniversary will fall in the off season for the long haul. Meaning cheaper trips and getaways for many years to come.
Rent & Buy Used
Before springing for decor and other items new off the shelf, try looking at resources that rent wedding-related (or party-related) items at a fraction of the cost. You can also look at online and in-person lightly used resources for some items as well. Table centerpieces and decor is a good example of a place you can cut costs by going used.
Cut Costs On Big Expenses
I found my vintage 1950’s wedding dress on eBay for $50- no joke. It was beautiful, fit like a glove, and saved me thousands. And if it doesn’t fit right off the bat, find a talented seamstress who can make sizing modifications or even give it new life with some alterations and changes. If you have no plans to hold on to your dress after your wedding, you can also look at rental resources for your dress as well. Rings may be another place to cut costs. Many couples will opt for less ornate (and less expensive) rings at the altar with plans to upgrade when the money is there. “Not right now” does not have to mean “never.” It’s all about the give and take.
Cut Down Your List
Feeding and seating guests can get expensive- fast. If you want to serve a higher quality meal and have your choice of different, more intimate venues, try to cut down your guest list to keep costs down, as well as the stress of seating arrangements.
If you are fortunate enough to have found your soulmate, don’t let finances and an overpriced wedding get in the way of starting your future with solid financial grounding. Remember what really matters on your big day and what is just a big show.