Planning your wedding can be fun and exciting, but it can also put you into debt. The average American wedding costs around $33,000 — that is more than the down payment on most homes. A shocking 74% of couples reported that they plan to go into debt for their wedding. We want to help you stay in the other 26%, so the following tips will help you create a budget and stick with it.
1. Set your budget amount
Once you start wedding planning and shopping, you will see so many beautiful and shiny things that you think you have to have. Trying to set a budget at that point is not a wise idea. Instead, this needs to be the first step.
Start by determining what you have available to you right now. Have you or your parents been saving for your big day since you were a child? Do you have some money in savings that you want to put towards your wedding? Do you have a bonus on its way or some holiday cash?
Once you have figured out what is available, ask yourself one simple question: How much am I willing to work for or go into debt over? Consider this carefully. Finances are one of the biggest causes of divorce, so starting your marriage in a mountain of debt is like setting yourself up for failure.
Now that you have answered these questions, it is time to set your number. Your wedding budget should not exceed what is available to you, or what you are willing to find in other ways. Write that number down and keep it close by as you make your plans.
2. Decide what is necessary
Not everything you see in a bridal magazine is necessary, and neither is what anyone else suggests you have. Remember that this is your and your fiancé’s wedding, so it only matters what the two of you want. Decide what you feel you absolutely must have and what you really do not care about.
3. Cut your costs
There are many ways to cut your wedding costs and still have a beautiful wedding. Look at the items that you have deemed necessary and get creative. For instance, do you have an aunt who makes beautiful flower arrangements? Is your grandmother a seamstress that would love to make your dress? Does your best friend have a beautiful backyard that would make a perfect venue?
Chances are that if you ask, your loved ones will be willing to donate their skills to you. You might also consider asking for monetary donations for wedding costs instead of receiving gifts at your reception. With some thought and creativity, you can cut your wedding costs tremendously.
4. Decide how to cover the rest
If you need any additional funds at this point, you have to make some decisions. Are the two of you willing to give up date night once a month to save? Can you pick up extra hours at work or get a second job? Should you get a loan to finish covering costs? These are decisions that the two of you should make together. If you do choose to get a loan, go for an installment loan as opposed to high-interest loans or credit cards.
It is possible to enjoy your wedding day without burying yourself in debt. Setting your budget and committing to it are two foundational principles to do so. Above all, remember that the most important part of your wedding is not the tangible items but the commitment you and your partner will make to one another. Everything else is temporary.