Banking » Savings » How to Plan a Wedding on a Budget And Save Money?
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How to Plan a Wedding on a Budget And Save Money?

There are many options to save when planning for a wedding, and if you follow them, you can cut your cost substantially. Here are our ideas
Author: Baruch Mann (Silvermann)
Baruch Mann (Silvermann)

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Baruch Silvermann is a financial expert, experienced analyst, and founder of The Smart Investor.  Silvermann has contributed to Yahoo Finance and cited as an authoritative source in financial outlets like Forbes, Business Insider, CNBC Select, CNET, Bankrate, Fox Business, The Street, and more.
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Author: Baruch Mann (Silvermann)
Baruch Mann (Silvermann)

Writer, Contributor

Experience

Baruch Silvermann is a financial expert, experienced analyst, and founder of The Smart Investor.  Silvermann has contributed to Yahoo Finance and cited as an authoritative source in financial outlets like Forbes, Business Insider, CNBC Select, CNET, Bankrate, Fox Business, The Street, and more.
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Planning a wedding is an exciting and joyous occasion, but it can also be a significant financial undertaking. From the venue and catering to the dress, flowers, and everything in between, weddings can quickly add up to a substantial expense. However, with careful financial planning and smart saving strategies, you can make your dream wedding a reality without breaking the bank.

In this comprehensive guide, we will provide you with essential tips and practical advice on how to save for a wedding.

How Much To Save For A Wedding?

Determining how much to save for a wedding largely depends on your personal preferences, financial situation, and the scope of your wedding plans. Weddings can vary significantly in cost, ranging from small, intimate gatherings to extravagant affairs. To establish a realistic savings goal, consider the following factors:

  • Wedding Size and Guest Count: The number of guests you plan to invite will have a significant impact on your budget. More guests typically mean higher costs for catering, venue size, and other essential elements. Decide on the approximate number of guests you want to invite to estimate the overall expense.

  • Venue and Location: The wedding venue and its location can greatly influence the cost. Certain venues may have higher rental fees, while destination weddings often incur additional travel and accommodation expenses for both you and your guests. Research different options and obtain quotes to assess their financial implications.

  • Vendors and Services: Consider the various vendors and services you'll need for your wedding, such as catering, photography, videography, floral arrangements, music, and transportation. Research their average costs in your area to get an idea of the expenses involved.

  • Personalization and Extras: If you have specific preferences for personalized details, such as custom decorations, wedding favors, or a special theme, keep in mind that these elements can contribute to your overall budget. Consider any additional extras you'd like to incorporate and estimate their costs accordingly.

  • Miscellaneous Expenses: It's crucial to allocate a portion of your budget for unexpected or miscellaneous expenses that may arise during the planning process. This could include alterations to your wedding attire, marriage license fees, or last-minute adjustments to your plans.

Once you have a general idea of your desired wedding size, venue, vendors, and extras, you can start creating a budget. Research typical costs for each element and tally them up to arrive at an estimated total. Remember to be realistic and flexible with your budget to account for unforeseen expenses or cost-saving opportunities.

save on your wedding
Create a realistic wedding budget (Photo by adriaticfoto/Shutterstock)

What's The Average Cost of a Wedding?

According to The Knot, the average cost of a wedding in the United States in 2022 was $30,000. This is an increase of $2,000 from the average cost in 2021. The most expensive parts of a wedding are typically the venue, food, and photography.

If you're thinking about having a destination wedding, it's important to know that they usually end up being a bit more expensive than weddings held in your hometown.

According to the Real Weddings Study, couples who chose a destination wedding spent around $35,600 on average, whereas those who had a wedding in their hometown spent about $29,000. For destination weddings within the United States, the average cost was $36,400, while weddings abroad had an average cost of $32,100. Although destination weddings tend to have fewer guests, the expenses for travel, accommodations, and other related costs can increase the overall budget.

When it comes to guests at weddings in 2022, the average number of people attending was 117. This is slightly higher compared to 2021 when the average was 105 guests and getting close to the pre-COVID numbers in 2019, which was 131 guests.

While couples no longer have to limit their guest list because of COVID, many are choosing to do so due to the current economic situation. In fact, around 39% of couples have decided to reduce their guest list by an average of 25 people, possibly to account for rising costs caused by inflation.

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Tips: How To Save For A Wedding

Planning for a wedding involves not only creating beautiful memories but also managing your finances effectively. Here are some practical tips to help you save for your special day without breaking the bank:

Starting to save early is crucial when planning for a wedding. By beginning the savings process as soon as possible, you give yourself more time to accumulate the necessary funds. It allows you to save in a gradual and manageable manner, reducing the financial strain closer to the wedding date.

To get started, analyze your current income and expenses to determine how much you can realistically set aside each month. Create a dedicated wedding savings account or designate a specific portion of your existing savings for this purpose. Consider automating transfers from your main account to ensure consistent contributions.

It's essential to develop a disciplined saving habit. Cut back on unnecessary expenses and allocate those funds towards your wedding savings. Look for ways to reduce your everyday costs, such as dining out less frequently, prioritizing needs over wants when shopping, or finding more affordable alternatives for entertainment. Meanwhile, consider putting your money in a savings account and accruing interest on your saved money.

start early to save money for a wedding
Define a goal, and start savings as sooner as you can (Photo by William Potter/Shutterstock)

Establishing a realistic budget is crucial when it comes to saving for a wedding. To begin, take some time to sit down and assess your financial situation. Consider your income, savings, and any additional sources of funding. Then, determine how much you are willing and able to spend on your wedding. Be honest with yourself about what you can comfortably afford, taking into account other financial obligations you may have.

Next, break down your budget into specific categories. Allocate funds to essential elements such as the venue, catering, attire, decorations, photography, and entertainment. Research average costs for each category to help guide your allocations. It's essential to be flexible and prioritize your spending based on what matters most to you and your partner.

Throughout the planning process, track your expenses and make adjustments as needed. Keep a spreadsheet or use budgeting tools to monitor your spending and ensure you're staying within your budgetary limits. Remember, a well-planned budget will serve as your financial roadmap, helping you make informed decisions and avoid unnecessary overspending.

When it comes to saving on wedding expenses, the choice of venue plays a crucial role. Instead of opting for traditional, often expensive venues, consider exploring more affordable alternatives. Look beyond the standard wedding venues and think outside the box. Public parks, gardens, community centers, or even private residences can provide charming and cost-effective options.

These alternative venues often come at a lower price tag compared to dedicated wedding venues. Parks and gardens can offer picturesque backdrops for outdoor ceremonies, while community centers may have spacious halls or rooms available for rent at a fraction of the cost. Private residences, such as a family member's backyard, can create an intimate and personalized setting.

Here are some additional tips for saving money on your wedding venue:

  • Start your search early. The best venues book up quickly, so it's important to start your search early.
  • Be flexible with your date and location. You may be able to find a less expensive venue if you're willing to get married on a weekday or in a less popular location.
  • Consider having your wedding off-season. Wedding venues are typically less expensive during the off-season.
  • Ask for discounts. Many venues offer discounts for military personnel, members of certain organizations, or couples who book early.
  • Do-it-yourself. If you're willing to put in some extra work, you can save money by doing some of the decorations and setup yourself.
save on wedding venue
Savings on venue doesn't mean to compromise on wedding food (Photo by Anneleven Stock/Shutterstock)

Limiting the guest list is a crucial aspect of saving money for your wedding. While it can be challenging to decide who to invite, reducing the number of guests can significantly impact your overall expenses. By focusing on inviting close family and friends, you can create a more intimate and meaningful experience.

A smaller guest list translates to lower costs in various areas. First and foremost, your venue expenses can decrease significantly as you won't need as large a space to accommodate a smaller group. Additionally, catering costs will be reduced since you'll have fewer mouths to feed. With a smaller guest count, you can also save on invitations, favors, and seating arrangements.

Here are some additional tips for limiting your wedding guest list:

  • Start by making a list of everyone you would like to invite.
  • Once you have your list, take some time to think about who is most important to you and your partner.
  • Consider the relationships that are most meaningful to you.
  • Once you have a shorter list, start to narrow it down further by considering the following factors:
    • How close are you to each person?
    • How much will it cost to invite each person?
    • Will each person be able to attend?
  • Once you have a final list, send out your invitations and be prepared to explain your decision to anyone who is not invited.

When selecting vendors, gather multiple quotes and compare prices to find the best value for your money. Don't be afraid to negotiate or ask for discounts. Look for experienced professionals who offer quality services within your budget. Here are some additional tips:

  • Obtain multiple quotes: Reach out to different vendors in each category, such as photographers, florists, and DJs, to gather several quotes. This allows you to compare prices and services to find the best value for your budget.
  • Evaluate packages and inclusions: Pay attention to what each vendor offers in their packages. Some may provide additional services or perks, such as extra hours of coverage or complimentary prints, which can add value to your investment.
  • Consider experience and reputation: While cost is important, it's equally vital to consider the vendor's experience and reputation. Read reviews, view their portfolios, and ask for references to ensure they can deliver the quality you desire.
  • Negotiate and ask for discounts: Don't be afraid to negotiate with vendors, especially if you have received a higher quote elsewhere. They may be willing to adjust their prices or provide special discounts, particularly if you book multiple services with them.
  • Seek recommendations: Ask recently married friends or family members for vendor recommendations. They may have firsthand experience with reliable and affordable professionals in your area.
  • Attend wedding expos or fairs: Wedding expos are an excellent opportunity to meet vendors face-to-face and take advantage of exclusive deals or discounts offered specifically for attendees.

Cutting unnecessary costs is a key strategy to save money while planning your wedding. By being mindful of your spending and making smart choices, you can significantly reduce your overall expenses. Here are some practical ways to achieve this:

  • DIY projects: Embrace your creative side and take on do-it-yourself projects for wedding decorations, invitations, and favors. This not only adds a personal touch but also helps save money on hiring professionals.
  • Borrow or rent items: Instead of purchasing expensive items, consider borrowing or renting them from family, friends, or local rental companies. This can include items like centerpieces, linens, or even wedding attire.
  • Simplify the menu: Opt for a more straightforward menu or choose buffet-style or family-style dining instead of plated meals. This can help reduce costs associated with catering without compromising on the overall dining experience.
  • Minimize floral expenses: Explore alternatives to extravagant floral arrangements, such as using more greenery or incorporating non-floral elements like candles or lanterns. Additionally, choose flowers that are in season to save on costs.
  • Scale back on paper goods: Consider digital invitations or opt for simpler, cost-effective stationery. Minimizing the use of printed materials like programs or menus can help save on both printing and design expenses.
  • Limit wedding favors: Instead of elaborate and costly favors, consider more budget-friendly options like personalized handwritten notes, small edible treats, or donations to meaningful charities.
  • Opt for a weekday or off-peak date: Choosing a non-Saturday wedding or an off-peak season date can often result in lower venue and vendor costs due to reduced demand.

By implementing these cost-cutting strategies, you can allocate your budget more efficiently and save money without compromising the overall charm and beauty of your special day.

high wedding spending
Even if your budget is tight, there are ways to save even more (Photo by Elnur/Shutterstock)

How Long Does It Take To Save For A Wedding?

The length of time it takes to save for a wedding can vary significantly depending on several factors, including your income, savings rate, desired wedding budget, and financial circumstances. Saving for a wedding is a personal process, and the timeline will differ for each couple.

As a general guideline, many couples start saving for their wedding at least a year in advance. This timeframe allows for a more manageable savings goal and provides ample time to make necessary financial adjustments. However, it's not uncommon for couples to save for two or more years, especially if they are aiming for a larger budget or have specific financial goals they want to meet before the wedding.

Remember, the most important aspect is to strike a balance between saving for your wedding and maintaining a healthy financial foundation. Avoid overburdening yourselves with excessive debt or sacrificing long-term financial goals solely for the sake of a single day. 

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What If I Still Lack Money?

If you find that you still lack the necessary funds for your wedding despite your savings efforts, there are several options you can consider:

  • Adjust your budget: Take a closer look at your wedding budget and identify areas where you can make further cuts or adjustments. Consider prioritizing the most essential elements and reducing spending on less crucial aspects. Look for cost-saving alternatives and explore DIY options to lower expenses.

  • Increase your savings rate: Evaluate your current savings rate and see if there's room to increase it. Look for ways to reduce your everyday expenses temporarily, such as cutting back on non-essential purchases or finding ways to save on monthly bills. Consider taking on additional part-time work or freelancing to generate extra income specifically for your wedding fund.

  • Explore financing options: If you need additional funds, you might consider exploring financing options. This could include personal loans, credit cards with low-interest rates, or family and friends who may be willing to provide financial assistance. However, it's crucial to approach borrowing responsibly and ensure you can comfortably manage any debt incurred.

  • Downsize or change the wedding plans: If your budget constraints are significant, you might consider downsizing or altering your wedding plans. Explore the possibility of having a smaller, more intimate wedding or opt for a less expensive venue or caterer. Remember, the true essence of a wedding lies in celebrating your love, and it can still be a beautiful and meaningful occasion regardless of its scale.

FAQs

Hiring a wedding planner can be beneficial, but it's an additional expense. Assess your budget and decide if their expertise and assistance align with your needs and priorities.

Shop during sales, consider renting or buying second-hand dresses or suits, and explore affordable alterations options to reduce costs on wedding attire.

Consider hiring a talented but lesser-known photographer or videographer, ask for package customization to fit your budget, or limit the hours of coverage needed.

Set aside a contingency fund within your budget to account for unforeseen costs. Having a buffer will help you handle any unexpected expenses without derailing your savings plan.

Absolutely! Having a small and intimate wedding can be cost-effective and still create meaningful memories. Focus on quality over quantity and celebrate with your closest loved ones. It will help to start your life with more money to invest in the important thing in your 30s.

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Baruch Mann (Silvermann)

Baruch Silvermann is a financial expert, experienced analyst, and founder of The Smart Investor.  Silvermann has contributed to Yahoo Finance and cited as an authoritative source in financial outlets like Forbes, Business Insider, CNBC Select, CNET, Bankrate, Fox Business, The Street, and more.
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