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We all know wedding are expensive. On average, couples in the America spend more than by $30,000 on their wedding. So, how can you save money for your wedding? And what can you do to save costs on your wedding without compromising on things that you really care about?
First of all, weddings are emotional and once-in-a-lifetime event.
But, that doesn’t mean that you should throw away your reason and logic when it comes to your wedding spending.
Just because the average cost of a wedding in America is $30,000 doesn’t mean that you have to match that or even spend more than that.
This number is just a reference for you.
You should always set your wedding budget based on your own financial situation and also your long term financial goals as a couple.
The WORST mistake you can make is to take on more debt just to throw an expensive wedding.
Personally, I am against taking loans or worse credit card debt to pay for your wedding expenses.
You might get the wedding you have always wanted but you are going to start your life together in a very bad financial shape.
Your wedding day marks the very first day of the many many days you will spend together as a couple.
Having an expensive wedding won’t divorce-proof your marriage, but having a good financial sense and planning will.
Study after study has shown that the biggest thing that most couple fight about is money.
Taking on credit card debt is one of the quickest ways to destory your marital finances and also your relationship.
Of course, I can understand that you want to have the best wedding possible.
I mean, who doesn’t want their wedding day to be the most memorable and magical day in their life?
But, it is simply NOT true that only expensive weddings are special.
Inexpensive weddings can be special and romantic too.
At the end of the day, it is NOT about the designer wedding dress or a grand wedding venue.
It is really about sharing your joy and celebrating your special day with your family and the closest friends that matter to you the most.
Honestly, everybody will probably forget what kind of wedding cake or what type of wedding centerpiece you have at your wedding months from now.
But, a good and funny wedding speech will not only be remembered but also talked about many years later.
This is because people remember better after a strong emotional reaction.
For my own wedding, I don’t remember much of the details but I will always remember my husband’s wedding speech.
I still remember that I was laughing one minute and crying the next minute. ( Haha, I must have looked like an emotionally unstable bride)
For me, I might not be wearing a customized designer wedding dress or holding my wedding reception at a rustic European castle but I love every bit of my wedding.
All the people who I love and love me were there celebrating with me.
So, ditch the mindset that you need to spend a lot of money to make your wedding great and memorable.
How Much Do You Need To Save For Your Wedding
So, how much do you need to save for your wedding?
The right way to approach this question is to set your wedding budget first.
For example, if you want to keep your wedding cost under $15,000, then you should plan your wedding around this budget and give yourself a fixed period of time to save up this amount.
Let say, you have 12 months until your wedding day, then effectively you only have less than 10 months to save for your wedding because you have a lot of expenses to pay way before the actual wedding day.
For example, you need to book your wedding venue and professional services in advance. And you need to pay a booking fee to confirm the booking.
Also, you need to purchase your wedding attire and wedding bands in advance.
So, how do you save for your wedding?
What I recommend is that you open a new high yield savings account that is designated for all your wedding expenses.
Then, you automate a monthly transfer of, for example $1,000, to your savings account for wedding.
If your partner is splitting the cost with you, then you and your partner can automate a monthly transfer of, for example $500, each to this savings account.
The good thing about automating your savings is that you don’t have to regularly remind yourself to set aside this amount of money every month for your wedding.
You can see this as “forced” savings.
One of the best high yield bank accounts that I recommend is CIT Bank which offers the following benefits:
- Earn over 11x the national average
- Quick and easy access to funds
- No monthly service fees
- 24/7 secure & award-winning banking
- FDIC insured4
- Deposit checks remotely and make transfers with the CIT Bank mobile app
There are also other ways that you can save for your wedding faster.
One way is to start cutting down your expenses aggressively.
Here are some ideas for reducing your monthly expenses:
- stop going to the cinema, and watch Netflix at home instead
- stop dining out, and start cooking at home instead
- stop buying things that you don’t need but want (e.g. branded watch, designer handbag, etc)
Besides reducing your expenses, you can also start earning more money to help save for your wedding more quickly.
If you are working at a full-time job, you can ask your boss for a pay raise. But, this usually won’t happen immediately.
8 Managers Share The Best Way To Ask For A Raise (And Get It)
I don’t recommend that you try to make more money by investing the money you have saved so far.
Firstly, there is risk for all types of investments (e.g. stock, bonds, mutual funds, ETFs, etc).
That means there is a possibility that you might lose some, if not all, of your money.
Secondly, there is no guaranteed returns on your investments by a specific date ( i.e. your wedding date)
If anyone tries to sell you an investment with guaranteed returns, be wary of them and run away as fast as you can.
So, if you shouldn’t try investing to make money for your wedding, then what is your best option?
You should start a side hustle and make some extra income every month.
This extra income can be used to fund your wedding.
Let’s say, your side hustle can make you $500 per month, you will have $5,000 in 10 months’ time.
If your wedding budget is $15,000, the income from your side hustle will contribute to a third of your entire wedding budget.
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If you can find clever ways to save money on your wedding, it would be even better because that means you have more money for other things that you care about.
Three of the biggest wedding expenses are wedding venue, photographer & videographer and food for the guests.
If you can save a lot of money on these three, you will probably have a very low cost wedding.
There are many different wedding locations that you can choose to hold your wedding.
Here are some examples of wedding venues:
- Country clubs
Depending on which wedding venue you choose, the cost varies.
So, what are the factors that can affect wedding venue cost?
- Location: Generally, the more central the location is, the more expensive it is. Also, if the wedding location has good view and is nicely renovated, it will most likely cost more.
- Wedding date: There are certain dates on which the location fee will be higher. Are there any dates that are more popular in your culture? For example, it will be more expensive on weekends than on weekdays because more people prefer to get married on weekends and hence more demand. You will also need to pay more if you hold your wedding on Saturdays than on Sundays.
- Number of your guests: The more guests you invite and the bigger the space you need, the more expensive it is.
- Wedding venue package: For some venues (especially hotels, country clubs, bouquet halls), they offer wedding packages which include everything from catering to table and chair rental. So you don’t have to worry about doing it yourself. And depending on what is included in the package, the cost will vary as well.
So, how do you save money on wedding venue?
By choosing your wedding location wisely, you can cut down your wedding costs significantly.
For example, I have had a friend who held his wedding reception at a church.
This is a very affordable option if you and your partner are religious.
Generally, a church charges anywhere from a few hundred dollars up to $1,000 for the venue.
If you don’t want a church wedding, small and intimate backyard weddings are increasingly popular for people who want to have an affordable wedding.
It can be your parent’s backyard or your friend’s backyard.
But, backyard weddings can be a bit tricky because you need to be aware of unexpected costs that can easily rack up your wedding bill.
If you want tents, you will need to hire vendors to set them up for you.
Let’s not forget that you will also need lighting for the tents as well as decor for your white tents.
If you add up all the extra costs, you might not save much by holding your wedding at a backyard.
That’s why many couples do away with tents.
Wedding Photographer & Videographer
Professional services such as wedding photographer and videographer are very expensive.
On average, wedding photographers cost about $2000.
Good videographers charge as high as $4000 per wedding shoot.
That’s a lot of money if you are going to hire expert wedding photographers and videographers.
The sad truth about wedding photos and videos is that no one (yes, not even you) will actually see it again once the wedding is over.
But, that’s not to say that you should not have your wedding filmed and wedding photos taken on your biggest day.
It’s a keepsake for you.
If you don’t do it, you will probably regret it.
But, there are many ways that you can have your wedding photos and videos without the big price tag.
- You can hire film students to do the wedding videography at a much cheaper rate
- You can ask your friends to help you take photos and videos at the wedding
- Hire professional photographers and videographers for less time
- Neogiate and ask for a discount with your wedding photographer and videographer
Food For Wedding Guests
Food costs depend very much on the type of food you want to serve and also the number of guests you invite for your wedding.
For me, I want to serve my wedding guests good food.
That’s why I chose a hotel that is well known for its food.
When you choose your caterer, make sure that you check its reviews and only go with one that has good reviews.
Remember that if your food sucks, no one will enjoy the wedding.
But, good food doesn’t mean it will be expensive.
There are plenty of good wedding catering services that are also affordable.
So, to save cost on food, the best way is to trim your guest list for your wedding to close friends and family members because those are the only people you really want to see at your wedding.