Are you planning a wedding and looking to cut costs? You’ve come to the right place! One of the biggest factors of planning a wedding is figuring out what you can afford, and how you can stay within your budget. In 2019, the average wedding cost was reported at $38,700, with expenses primarily associated with the ceremony and reception. However, wedding costs greatly vary based on location and size.
Don’t let this take away from your excitement – planning an affordable wedding is very much within reach if you play your cards right. Here are our helpful tips for planning a wedding on a budget.
Save for Your Wedding
When it comes to making any big purchases, it’s best to start the process by building your savings first. The longer you save for your wedding, the better. Ideally, couples should start saving before they even get engaged. While that may sound odd, it’s important to start to save for bigger purchases down the line, even if you’re not yet ready to get married or buy a home at the moment.
Based on your income and budget, you can determine how much to put into your savings account per paycheck. Even starting small will make a big difference once it’s time to begin wedding planning!
Create a Wedding Budget and Stick to it
More than a quarter of couples in the U.S. report going into debt to pay off their weddings. However, building a realistic budget and sticking to it can significantly lessen the chances of that happening.
Start by determining the type of wedding you want and how many guests you would like to have. Then write out a list of essentials for your wedding like the venue, attire, photographer, music, food, rings, gifts, and more. Research how much these expenses could potentially cost, and prioritize what you need versus what you want. This breakdown will help you understand the total investment and identify where to cut costs.
Choose a Venue You Can Afford
The wedding venue may end up being the most expensive part of your special day, but luckily there are plenty of options for every couple. If the standard large wedding hall exceeds your budget limitations, here are some additional venue options to consider:
- A spacious backyard
- A rustic barn
- A music or art gallery
- A small destination wedding at an all-inclusive resort
- A public park or outdoor gazebo
- A restaurant
Make sure to compare the prices of each option before making a final decision on the venue. Some may have limits on the number of guests who can attend, or the type of caterers you can work with. These factors should be considered as well.
Time Your Wedding Wisely
Wedding costs will vary depending on the time of year. January through March is considered off-season in the wedding industry, so you’ll likely find the lowest costs around that time. Some venues also offer discounts for events booked on Fridays, Sundays, or mid-week. Though keep in mind, weekday weddings may be difficult for your guests to attend.
Tap into Your Network
Do you have a photographer, DJ, or hairstylist in your friend group or network? Consider utilizing their services. Going with a vendor you know, may also help you secure a bit of a discount! If you need help with cooking food or setting up decorations, relatives or friends could also help in exchange for a wedding gift.
Try DIY Wedding Decor and Favors
Head over to Pinterest for inspiration on trendy DIY wedding decor ideas. Then visit your local dollar store to see what affordable items you can use for your reception like vases, jars, candle holders, table cloths, ribbons, and more. Since flowers can get pricey, try substituting for greenery instead.
Wedding favors for your guests can easily get overlooked. Rather than overspending on customized wedding swag, try handmaking gifts your guests will appreciate like candles, chocolates, jams, and more. Plus, it will be fun to make the favors together with your soon-to-be spouse!
*A $5 deposit in a base savings account is required for credit union membership prior to opening any other account/loan. All personal memberships are part of the Rewards First program and a $5 per month non-participation fee is charged to the base savings account for memberships not meeting the minimum requirements of the program. Click here to view full Rewards First program details. Some restrictions apply, contact the Credit Union for more information.
APR = Annual Percentage Rate. Rates are subject to change. Maximum loan is $25K and maximum term is 60 months. Not all applicants qualify, subject to credit approval. A First Financial membership is required to obtain a Personal Loan, and is open to anyone who lives, works, worships, volunteers or attends school in Monmouth or Ocean Counties. A $5 deposit in a base savings account is required for credit union membership prior to opening any other account/loan. See credit union for details.