How to Save Money for your Wedding: Tips and Ideas
You want your wedding day to be memorable, beautiful and elegant, but the cost of the average wedding may seem far out of your range. If you are planning to foot the bill for your entire wedding, you need to plan carefully and start saving immediately after the engagement. If possible, give yourself and your fiancé at least a year to stash away the money needed for your big day.
Figuring out how to save the money you will need for your wedding may seem overwhelming at first glance. Once you begin to break down all the expenses and map out a plan, you can rest a little easier. Your goal (aside from having the wedding of your dreams) is to avoid getting in to debt. Make a decision to pay cash for all your wedding expenses and to keep your credit cards stashed safely in your wallet. It's a decision you will not regret and it will enable you to start on the right foot towards a health financial future as a couple.
You can still have just about everything you want in a wedding if you scale down your guest list, organize your budget carefully, and plan with an eye for the good deals that definitely exist, if you look for them diligently.
To get an estimate of how much money you will need, select a few possible dates and venues and estimate the prices according to the size of your guest list. Costs will vary depending on the time of year you choose to have your wedding. Even the most expensive venues are cheaper in certain months (particularly January, February and March) and on Friday evenings. Saturday evening weddings will be the most expensive, so if you can be flexible, you will be able to save a good deal of money. Take this in to consideration when you are planning your budget and estimating how much you will need to save per month.
Options and Tips for Saving for a Wedding
Avoid using credit to pay for your wedding with the hopes that you “make back what you spent” in wedding gifts. For many couples, that doesn’t happen. Often the cost of the wedding are greater than the amount of money received as gifts. And beginning your married life with a significant amount of credit card debt is not ideal!
To get started saving, open a new savings or money market account to be used specifically for your wedding expenses. A money market account could pay more interest, so do your research and check out the rates before choosing a bank. A money market account will also allow you to write checks, which will be helpful as your wedding day approaches. Set it up so both you and your finance can contribute to the account weekly.
Plan on setting aside 15-20% of your income each month into your wedding account for a year. This may seem impossible, but look carefully at where you spend your money day to day, and try to cut back.
A few places where it is easy and relatively painless to cut back:
- Entertainment: Watch movies at home instead of going to the theater. Invite friends over for drinks instead of going to a bar or club. Staying in just a little can save you a great deal of cash over the course of a year.
- Food: Prepare meals at home instead of going out or eating take out. Set a grocery budget and stick to it. Don’t buy any of the extras that you don’t need or may not use. Make coffee at home and use a travel cup instead of spending $4 a day (or more) at Starbucks. Bring your lunch to work.
- Cut back on non-essential clothing purchases (yes, this includes shoes) for a few months until you start to see your wedding savings account filling up.
- Eliminate cable (just temporarily). Look into other entertainment options like Netflix, which will cost significantly less each month.
You’ll be surprised how much you can save when you really set your mind to it. When you know it’s for a good cause, it’s easier to cut back on your spending!
Excel Wedding Budget
How to Stretch Your Wedding Budget
Setting Up Your Wedding Budget
There are many different ways to map out your wedding budget and countless products to help you with the process. Look for a software program or planning book that you will feel comfortable using and that will help you move through the process faster. There are several tools online to help, as well as iPhone Apps to help you with everything from planning your budget and finding the perfect caterer, to keeping track of every wedding dress you try on so you can make the right choice.
Try to include every possible expense that you can think of related to your wedding day. If necessary, include a wish list of all the extras you would like to include, and rank them according to how important they are to you and your fiancée. You can always eliminate the less important features (like a sushi bar or chocolate fountain) later if you find your budget is too tight.
If you are working with a small budget or are finding it difficult to save up for your big day, look for ways that you can spend less, so you won't need to save as much.
Saving Money on Your Wedding Expenses:
Here are a few of the easiest places to cut back on the cost of your wedding:
- Hold your event on a Friday evening.
- Plan a winter wedding. Most venues will give you a better price in the off season.
- Enlist the help of friends and family in creating centerpieces, wedding favors or other decorations.
- Have your ceremony and reception in the same place. This will cut down on your transportation expenses significantly for both the bride and groom and the entire wedding party.
- Buy flowers that are in season and locally grown to save on the expense of shipping.
- Print your own invitations, or use e-invites. You will save on postage and save a tree in the process!
- Cut your guest list. A smaller guest list will save you money all around.
- Shop around, for everything. Don't assume that the first estimate you are given on services from a caterer, photographer or florist are the most reasonable. Talk to more service providers before making your choice!
The biggest stress of your wedding day can be the budget, especially if you don't prepare carefully in advance for the many expenses that will pop up along the way.
Take your time planning, save diligently every month and keep your spending within your means for a perfect wedding day that won't leave you and your future spouse buried in debt for the first years of your marriage.
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