The memories, pictures and stories will all be wonderful keepsakes of the day you and your significant other chose to start your lives together. However, you don’t want this to be the “day you will never forget” because you went overboard and are now haunted by wedding debt. Maybe you have been planning your wedding since you were six, or perhaps have spent hours contributing to your “wedding board” on Pinterest. Or maybe you hadn’t even thought about it until your significant other popped the question! No matter if you have been planning or need to start, you have probably already learned: weddings have a fat price tag. Couples, on average, spent between $19,323 and $32,205 on their weddings in 2018—and that is not including the price of a honey moon.
Before you start hyperventilating take a step back and ask yourself these three simple questions:
- What do you picture when you think of the “perfect” day?
Decide what the most important component to you for your big day. What aspect of your wedding will make the biggest impact on your happiness? Keep it simple and spend the money on what you want most! Is it having the perfect ambiance with just the right flowers and lighting? Is it having a killer DJ that keeps you and your guests dancing the night away? Is hiring an expensive videographer something you can’t live without? Prioritize the “have-to-have’s” first, and then figure out how the “wanna-have’s” will fit into your wedding budget.
- Who do you want there the most?
The most effective way to cut down expenses is to limit your guest count. Remember each person is one invitation, one seat, and one meal! While inviting your old high school or college friend you haven’t talked to in years is a kind gesture, it may not be realistic to your budget. If money is tight, only send invitations to those you cannot picture your big day without.
- Have you thought about all of your options?
If the big family/friend wedding is just not something you can do financially, don’t fret about not being able to have the wedding of your dreams still. Destination weddings, where only the direct family and a few friends attend, can be a more cost friendly due to the smaller guest list. This route also allows you an option to kill two birds with one stone and combine honeymoon and wedding to one trip. Other financially modest wedding ideas include: eloping, a “just family” wedding, and just having the reception.
Now that you have simplified what you want, lay out a budget. Do research, ask questions, get quotes, and ask advice from your previously married friends (who might have recommendations or horror stories of vendors to stay away from!). Whether you are paying for the wedding yourself or if you are getting help, pick a realistic number you are willing to spend. If you have to go back and readjust your plan from the questions above—that’s ok. Just remember starting your marriage off in a good financial position is one heck of a wedding gift to yourself!