A wedding symbolizes one of the most important events in a couple’s life. However, the costs of a wedding can add up quickly and become very overwhelming. Many couples don’t even realize how many small details go into planning a wedding – let alone what they might cost. It’s important to plan and take steps to ensure your wedding will meet your objectives without creating a long-term financial burden.
No matter how large or small you want your wedding celebration to be, here are some tips to help you financially prepare for your big day:
1.) Discuss expectations.
Many wedding planners advise that couples should talk about their wedding expectations before they even get engaged. At the very least, you should have a general idea of your partner’s thoughts regarding the size, location, and budget for your wedding, before you dive into the actual planning.
2.) Start saving early.
If you anticipate a wedding in your future, it is smart to start setting aside extra funds as soon as possible. Some couples start saving even before their engagement is finalized. You may consider setting up a separate savings account for your wedding expenses as well. Saving enough money ahead of time will prevent you from having to pay for the bulk of your wedding costs with a loan or credit card. Let’s face it, you don’t want to start your marriage thousands of dollars in debt!
3.) Agree on a wedding budget.
The cost of a wedding can range from a simple courthouse fee to an extravagant event costing six figures. In 2021, the average cost of a wedding in the U.S. was $34,000. Common wedding expenses include:
-DJ, band, or other entertainment
-Flowers and décor
You and your partner will need to agree on a reasonable budget for your wedding. Statistics show that nearly three-quarters of weddings end up costing more than originally expected. Regardless of whether you and your partner will be footing the bill or you’ll be receiving financial assistance from family, having a clear wedding budget will help set realistic expectations throughout the planning process and will help you keep the overall cost of your wedding under control.
4.) Consider hiring a wedding planner.
One of the best ways to manage the total cost of your event is to work with a professional wedding planner who can stay within your budget requirements. Wedding planners have established relationships with vendors and are focused on meeting your needs and expectations so there won’t be any major financial surprises. Although a wedding planner is an additional expense, hiring one could actually save you money in the long run.
5.) Compare costs.
In the United States, June through September is generally considered “peak wedding season”. Because of this, the cost of a wedding will likely be higher in those months than it would be in off-season months. If you’re planning a summer or early fall wedding, you’ll likely end up paying a premium for your vendors. Everything from your venue to your flowers and catering will cost more due to increased demand. Even if you have your heart set on a wedding during peak season, you should do the math to see how much you could save by holding your wedding during a different time of year. You may be surprised by how substantial the savings can be.
6.) Decide if any corners can be cut.
Once you have identified the costs involved with your wedding, you can play around with your budget to see where you could potentially save some money. Are there changes you can make to your catering selections to help bring the cost down? Should you reduce the number of people invited? You can also make some changes to your floral selection, or your photography package as needed. It’s important to finalize your budget before you sign any contracts, so carefully evaluate which wedding elements are most important to you and your partner.
While planning a wedding is a lot of work, it doesn’t have to be a financial burden. By getting a jumpstart on your saving plan, effectively budgeting, and being realistic about what you can afford, you can enjoy the wedding of your dreams without having to face financial regrets later on.