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How To Save Money For A Wedding

Updated on September 3, 2012

How to Save Up for Your Wedding

Having a wedding is one of the major events of our lives and as a rule, most people think in the beginning that they are unlike anyone else in the world....meaning they can budget their money and keep their wedding day pure and simple.

THEY don't "need" the most expensive wedding in the world to show their love.......and so it goes. Oh that it were true!

According to Ramit Sethi who wrote I Will Teach You To Be Rich, the average wedding even in this hard economy is running roughly around $28,000 these days!!

That's a staggering when you figure that might be close to what some people are making PER YEAR.

How can we afford this much extravagance?

And what about the next big event in our lives like buying a home, buying a car or having children?

This is how the debt machine gets going.

Most people while steadfastly denying that they will be extravagant and have a no-holds-barred wedding free-for-all turn right around and overspend like money grew on trees. It seems to be the nature of the beast.

Having been on both sides of the wedding coin, I have a few ideas on how to get your head around having the wedding of your dreams and still being solvent by the time you get back from your honeymoon.

My husband and I planned our own wedding way back when (36 years ago yesterday).....we had a very elegant wedding that we paid for ourselves.

We have also been through 2 weddings with our daughter and each was very different financially. I much preferred the second one to be honest (for more reasons than the cost of course)!

Let's explore some ways that you can save money for a wedding and still have it be one of the most memorable days of your life.

Saving for a Wedding

Consider planning a wedding a dry run for your future.  If you can't figure out how to budget and save money for your wedding, how will you be able to do it for other major life events? 

You can run but you can't hide.  Even if you go into enormous debt and decide to face it after the fact, it'll still be there and the bills will keep on coming. 

Better to start way in advance and put your thinking cap on to avoid regret.  It was a great ceremony but did it really need to cost $28,000? 

Our daughter's first wedding clocked in at about $15,000 and that was going frugal!  It's still staggering to think about it....and we paid cash for every bit of it along the way.

Even before you decide to get married, you should be saving.  If you think about the amount of money that you'll need for your life together, it can't help but overwhelm you. 

So get into the habit of saving and saving big.  There is no greater satisfaction than watching your little nest egg turn into big bucks and knowing that you're prepared. 

Even if you didn't start saving before you met Mr. Wonderful or Ms. Right, if you decide you want to get married, take a vow right then and there that's more sacred than your wedding vows....well maybe not THAT sacred...but important.   Pledge to save and save hard

Give up everything you do not absolutely need and put the cash you have between you into a joint account earmarked just for your wedding.  Or if you do so well you have money left over, then earmarked for your future together. 

If you have no discipline, have automatic withdrawals and have it deposited into a separate account so there is no way it can get touched.  Watch the balance grow and then start planning. 

Budgeting for the Wedding

Ask parents if they are planning on contributing anything and nail down specific amounts or which things they want to pay for or feel comfortable paying for.

Start planning on paper how much everything will cost like:

  • Rings
  • Wedding clothes
  • Flowers
  • Invitations
  • Music
  • Location
  • Minister or officiant
  • Reception music
  • Wedding music
  • Dinner or buffet
  • Wedding cake
  • Photography
  • Videography
  • Miscellaneous expenses like transportation
  • Honeymoon

Now get budget minded! Go over the questions time after time.

  1. Where will we have the wedding? Can we save money on the site?
  2. Where will we have the reception?
  3. How can we save money on the flowers?
  4. How can we save money on the dinner? Better to have a buffet or sit-down?
  5. How can we save money on the wedding cake?
  6. Where can I get the best deal on my dress?
  7. Do we want or need a limo?
  8. Who's going to do the photography?
  9. Do we need a videographer?
  10. Live music, DJ or someone manning playlists?

These are but a few questions that come up and should be discussed along with the best ways to trim off the cost and make your wedding affordable down the road....but you have to know the cost before you get into the middle of the planning!

Tips on Saving Money for a Wedding

Once you've started to budget for a wedding and you begin to get a sense of how much everything costs, you can start to refine your tastes. 

You can start to see what aspects of your wedding are most important and some that are not so important. 

The key to saving money for a wedding is to budget for the really big things and try and cut some corners on the not-so-important things. 

Here are some more great tips on how to save money for your wedding!

Price everything online.  Even if you don't buy it there, you'll see some great ideas on how to trim costs.  You'll also see what things maybe "should" cost as compared to what they actually cost so you don't get ripped off.  If you find deals online and you can buy there, do it!  Just be mindful of return policies or make sure you buy from a reputable in the case of rings or dresses, etc. 

Prioritize your priorities.  This is the best time to get this characteristic of your life nailed down.  All through your married life, you'll be faced with situations where you have to decide....want or need.  You may have to be ruthless in cutting costs in some areas but do it.  Figure out what things are the most important to you and then make those the top of your wish list. 

  • Do you need 500 people gazing at you walking down the aisle together really a priority?  I doubt cut the guest list. 
  • Do you have to have engraved invitations sent out by mail?  Or can you do online invitations or even print them at home on your own to save money?  Can you do wedding postcards for RSVP or just sign up for an online RSVP?
  • Do you need to have a DJ or can you get away with using your iPod or have friends who are musicians play for free or a nominal fee? 
  • Can you find a venue for the wedding that isn't the hottest place in the city to get married at and save mega bucks?  Or can you get the in spot but have the wedding in the off season or on a not-so-popular day?  Again, you'll save major bucks.
  • Could you settle for having your wedding at a park or at a beach instead?
  • Will silk flowers be just as good as the real deal at least for some of your flowers?  You'll even be able to reuse them as arrangements after the wedding and enjoy them for years to come.  Do you have to have all fresh flowers or will mostly silk suffice?
  • Is having excellent food a priority to you for your wedding?  If it is, can you find ways to cut the costs by either food selection, services the caterer provides, or by having a buffet rather than a sit-down dinner?  Or do you know someone who is a gourmet cook and who can organize some of your friends to help make the food and then serve it during the wedding?
  • Can you get by with just a photographer and have a friend or family member shoot some spontaneous videos?  Or can you cut some of the photographer costs and have the important shots done professionally and then have someone who is great with a camera do the other shots? 
  • Can you order your dress on-line or through a discount bridal store to save money?  
  • Do you have to have a limo to ride off into the sunset in?  Wouldn't an antique car be just as romantic, or a boat off shore for a beach side wedding?

Granted, for most of us, we will rattle off that all the trappings don't matter at's the day and the marriage that matter. 

In reality, it is such a huge temptation to pay top dollar for this monumental day that we somehow let our good sense fly out the window.

Tips on How To Save Money for a Wedding

If you're planning a wedding, or even if you're just dreaming of a wedding, start saving now......and start thinking about how you'll handle it now.

It never hurts to get it all down on paper and start thinking of creative ways to save money before you find yourself on the threshold of one of the biggest days of your life!

Most importantly, think of it like this.....whatever you save and whatever ways you find to cut costs, you're giving yourself back a gift. Something that you earned and put aside for just you (and your spouse). It'll be there for you to enjoy.....rather than dreading the mail arriving to see how much debt you've incurred.

Having an elegant or simple wedding is a matter of choice but going into debt for it is a burden that you may carry with you for a long while. Who wants to start out their married life with an albatross around their neck?

You can avoid that pitfall if you plan ahead and start thinking of it as an exercise for future decision making. 

No one said that you can't have the wedding of your dreams.....but having one that's totally paid for when you go off on your honeymoon is the greatest gift of all.

Wishing you a marriage steeped in financial bliss!


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