The Wedding Plan: How to Budget for Your Big Day

Ahh, weddings. A great time to spend with family, friends, and your budget. It might not seem like the most romantic way to approach a wedding, but being financially prepared for the big day could help you overcome a lot of stress and headaches. According to The Knot, the national average for a wedding in 2016 was just over $35,000. Some cities—like New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles—had significantly higher averages, ranging from $40,000 to nearly $80,000. With price tags like that, budgeting might not seem like a bad idea after. Right?

Here are some helpful tips and things to consider to keep your wedding budget in check.

Create a budget

As a couple sit down together and set a realistic cap on your wedding expenses. Don’t look at how much you can afford to spend. Instead, consider how much you want to spend. Just because you can afford to have a $35,000 budget, doesn’t mean you have to. Consider all the different costs that come with a wedding—clothing, food, flowers, decorations, venues, music, favors, photographers, and so on. Set a max amount to spend, and then break down the costs under it so you know how much of each thing you can afford. There are several websites that have wedding budget spreadsheets, worksheets, and checklists to help you stay on top of your spending—and keep you from forgetting anything important.

Do you really need it?

Do you have a Pinterest board filled with wedding ideas that you just can’t wait to make reality? You might want to take some time to consider just how much those things will cost, and whether or not you’re willing to spend your hard-earned money on them. Take a moment with each element of your wedding and decide whether or not you really need it. A venue filled floor to ceiling with flowers? Sure, it’ll look beautiful, but flowers are one of the largest expenses at weddings. Maybe consider something that’s just as beautiful, but at a fraction of the cost. Do you really need hand-written invitations done in scrawling calligraphy? Or what about those custom-designed wedding favors you saw online? In reality, most people just remember the food, drinks, music, and the couple at a wedding, and everything else is just for the pictures. Decide what you really need, what you really want, and then find alternatives for (or just toss out) the rest.

Venue

One of the biggest costs of your wedding will be your venue, especially if you’re doing a different location for your ceremony and reception. But it’s important to remember that not every can get married in the Plaza Hotel. It might be worth it to get creative with your wedding venue. Does a family member or friend have a house with a big, beautiful backyard that would look amazing covered in twinkling fairy lights? Do you know anyone who owns a restaurant who might be willing to give you a great deal? Now is the time to leverage those connections, even if it’s owned by a friend of a friend. If you have your heart set on a specific location, consider having your wedding during the offseason or on a weekday to save money. Many venues will offer discounted prices on these times. There are lots of ways to save money on a venue if you’re willing to be flexible.

Ditch the gift table for a gift honeymoon

Most couples these days already have most of the things they need to start a home and a family before they get married, so asking for things on a registry might not be the best option. Instead, consider asking your guests to help you fund your honeymoon. Traveling with your spouse after you get married is a great tradition, but also a costly one. Instead of asking your family to buy you a new blender or stand mixer, ask them to help you cover the cost of your flight to the Bahamas, or your hotel room in London. There are dozens of honeymoon registry sites online, like The Honeyfund that offer great alternatives to the traditional gift registry. Some sites allow your guests to give you cash, which you can do with as you see fit, or to gift you specific parts of your honeymoon, like a scuba diving excursion or a dinner at a great restaurant. It’s another great way to help you save money.

Weddings can be expensive, but you don’t have to break the bank to pay for it. Consider these helpful tips to keep you ahead of the game.

You can also speak to a member of our team at 1-800-321-DIME (3463) to discuss how to make the most of your money so you can have the wedding you’ve always dreamed of.