Say 'I Do' to Savings: Wedding Planning on a Budget

Planning a wedding is an exciting but financially overwhelming journey. The stress only compounds when trying to pull off your dream wedding on a shoestring budget.

Take a deep breath! With a bit of creativity and budgeting, you can plan your perfect wedding without going broke – or compromising on your dreams!

How to create a realistic wedding budget

It's essential to set your wedding budget from the get-go. Creating a budget involves assessing your finances, prioritizing your wedding must-haves, and exploring financing options. Here's how to pull off your dream wedding day:

Calculate your income and savings

Knowing how much money you can work with is the first step in planning a budget wedding.

First, assess your monthly income as a couple. Consider both your regular paychecks as well as any additional income sources.

Next, allocate a portion of your income for wedding expenses. For example, you might set aside 10% of your monthly earnings for your wedding budget. Establishing a savings account dedicated to wedding funds can ensure those finances remain separate from everyday expenses.

Finally, account for any contributions from parents or loved ones. Put any monetary gifts directly into your wedding account.

Estimate your wedding expenses

The average wedding costs about $30,000. When planning a more budget-friendly ceremony and reception, it's critical to understand the factors contributing to these expenses.

To help you get started, here is a breakdown of expected wedding costs:

Venue rental: Your wedding venue will likely be your most significant expense. Research different locations and compare prices to find a place that fits your budget.

Invitations: Save-the-dates, wedding invitations, and RSVP cards add up quickly. Consider cost-effective alternatives like electronic invitations or DIY options to save money.

Catering: Whatever your budget, you must allocate a portion to food and drinks. How many guests you invite will largely dictate catering costs. Still, there are less traditional catering options that can help you save.

For example, if you're having an intimate wedding ceremony, consider a potluck reception where each family member brings a dish. Alternatively, a wedding buffet can be a smart option if you choose inexpensive foods like barbecue or pasta.

Attire: Include the cost of your wedding dress, groom's suit, wedding party attire, and accessories in your estimate. Consider shopping for pre-owned or affordable options to save money without compromising style.

Flowers: Floral arrangements can enhance your event's ambiance, but their cost can be substantial. Stick with seasonal and locally sourced flowers to keep expenses down. Even better, make your own DIY arrangements using artificial silk flowers. Not only are silk bouquets more economical, but they're also a great keepsake!

Other expenses you'll need to budget for include:

  • Wedding photography
  • Transportation
  • Entertainment
  • Wedding insurance

Plan for unexpected wedding expenses

When planning a wedding on a tight budget, remember that unexpected expenses are bound to arise. Even the most minor details add up quickly, so remember to account for marriage license fees, postage for invitations, vendor gratuities, and miscellaneous decorations.

By accounting for unexpected and last-minute wedding expenses in your initial budget planning, you can better prepare yourself financially and ensure that your special day goes smoothly without any financial surprises.

Identify your wedding must-haves

Your wedding must-haves are essential elements or features important to you and your partner. These are the elements you plan to splurge on. Whether it's a traditional ceremony, special attire, a particular photographer, or your favorite local band, wedding day must-haves can add a meaningful touch to your celebration.

Prioritize any aspects that are non-negotiable when creating your budget. For example, if you have your heart set on the beautiful venue where you and your partner met, cut costs elsewhere. To help you afford your desired location, you might create customized wedding favors, DIY decorations, or even design and print your own invitations.

Remember, a budget wedding doesn't mean sacrificing your dreams; it simply means prioritizing what truly matters to you as a couple.

Track your wedding spending

Keeping an eye on your spending is crucial when planning a wedding on a budget. Here are some tips to help you stay organized and avoid overspending:

Create a spreadsheet

Set up a spreadsheet with expense columns for "Estimated Costs," "Actual Costs," and "Extras." This will serve as your budget tracker throughout the planning process.

Research costs

Research the average costs of wedding vendors in your area and update your estimated expenses with actual proposals you receive. This will give you a more accurate idea of how much you'll be spending on each aspect of your wedding.

Track every penny

Be diligent in tracking every expense, including taxes and tips. Record actual amounts as you move along in the wedding planning process to see where your money is going and identify areas where you may need to cut back.

Schedule regular check-ins

Check your budget spreadsheet regularly to ensure you're staying on track. Doing so will also allow you to make necessary adjustments and avoid financial surprises.

Tips to reduce wedding costs

After identifying your wedding must-haves, you can reduce costs in other areas. Aside from trimming your guest list, here are a few tips for keeping your wedding costs in check:

Go off-peak

Vendors charge a premium during peak wedding days and seasons. A Saturday wedding, for instance, can cost thousands more than a Sunday or weekday wedding. Even an evening event can be surprisingly more costly than a brunch reception. For the cheapest option, consider a winter wedding.

Send digital wedding invitations

Mailed invitations are lovely but optional in today's digital world. In fact, you can create digital wedding invitations at a fraction of the cost with online services like Evite, Paperless Post, and Greenvelope. These platforms specialize in sending electronic invitations and managing guest RSVPs, which is less work on your shoulders!

Direct guests to your wedding website

Building a simple wedding website is the perfect way to reduce postage and paper costs.

Instead of mailing RSVPs and inserting cards with valuable guest information, you can include everything your guests need to know online. List any details related to hotel reservations, driving and parking directions, contact info, and other critical information.

Limit the wedding party

Do you really need eight bridesmaids? Or a flower girl and ring bearer? Even if everyone in the wedding party pays for their attire, you're still responsible for the attendant gifts, transportation, bouquets, and boutonnieres. Limiting the wedding party can free up a surprising amount of money you can put toward other expenses.

Reuse your ceremony flowers at the reception

Floral arrangements can eat up a considerable amount of your wedding budget. However, you can cut costs without compromising the romantic ambiance.

Repurposing your ceremony flowers to decorate the reception is an economical way to slash expenses. Depending on your venue, you may need to pay a moving fee or enlist the help of your wedding party to move the arrangements to the reception hall during cocktail hour. Still, the savings might be worth the effort.

Incorporate vintage items

The vintage aesthetic is not only breathtaking, but it can also be a cost-effective wedding theme. Online marketplaces are a treasure trove for pre-worn vintage wedding dresses you can wear as-is or upcycle into your dream gown.

Shop flea markets, garage sales, and thrift stores for vintage decor, jewelry, candles, place settings, and other accessories that fit your theme.

Explore wedding financing options

The right financial resources can help alleviate some pre-wedding stress.

Wedding loans are commonly used to cover certain aspects of the ceremony, reception, and honeymoon. Even if you have bad credit, you may be able to get the funds you need to help with wedding expenses.

Consider how you might take advantage of these different types of wedding loans:

Payday loans

Wish you had a quick cash advance to reserve a popular wedding venue? A payday loan might be the perfect solution. Unlike other types of loans, this is a short-term loan you'll repay with your next paycheck. This can make payday loans an excellent option for securing vendors before anyone else does.

Installment loans

Consider an installment loan if you prefer to repay your wedding loan in multiple monthly payments. Installment loans typically offer more significant loan amounts than payday loans, allowing you to cover big-ticket items like your photographer, wedding venue, or catering company.

Line of credit

Can’t decide how much money to borrow? With a personal line of credit, you're approved for a maximum borrowing amount and can draw funds up to that limit as needed. Since you'll be dealing with multiple wedding vendors and retailers, having an open line of credit can be a convenient option.

Compare wedding loan options at Advance America

Whether you need a quick cash advance or a personal loan that offers multiple monthly payments, Advance America has options. Our personal loans can help you finance your dream wedding on any budget.

Apply now or visit your nearest Advance America branch to get started!

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