Did you receive a ring for Valentine’s Day? Congratulations! With any luck (and a lot of vaccines, masks, and social distancing), things will be back to normal by the time you’re ready to tie the knot.
But here’s what BILLSHARK wants you to know about planning your wedding: You’ll be just as married with an inexpensive wedding as with a big blowout.
We understand the temptation to throw the dream wedding with all the bells and whistles. After all, your social media feed is likely filled with enticing photos and videos. And Pinterest has no doubt filled your head with tempting ideas you can’t wait to try for your own nuptials.
Money better spent
According to The Knot, the average pre-pandemic wedding costs $35,329, not including the honeymoon. For that amount of money, you could put a 20 percent down payment on a $180,000 home. Or buy a higher-end car. Or put it toward paying off your student loans.
We realize the temptation to go with the dream wedding. But remember, it’s only one day. If you start your married life off on the right foot financially, you’ll likely be happier in the long run. Studies show that nearly 45% of couples experience stress in their marriages over the subject of money. One showed that arguing about money is “by far” the top predictor of divorce.
In case we still haven’t convinced you, consider this.
A recent study by the Department of Economics at Emory University found that “marriage duration is inversely associated with spending on the engagement ring and wedding ceremony.”
In other words, in couples they studied, the more couples spent on the wedding itself, the more likely they were to eventually divorce.
We’re not suggesting you have a cheapo wedding catered by McDonald’s with decorations from the dollar store (unless you want to, that is.)
It’s just that the costs of a typical wedding can quickly get out of hand, often before you know it. Start with the ring, then the dress, add in the makeup, the tux, the venue, the live band, the wedding cake, the photographer, the florist . . .
Throw in a honeymoon, a wedding planner, and a destination wedding, and the bill soars, often well beyond the reach of the average couple.
There are many ways to save money and still have a wedding you’ll remember the rest of your life.
Smart wedding ideas to save money
1. Create a budget
As we’ve said many times, “budget” is not a four-letter word. It’s a plan, just as you’d make a plan for how to build a house. What is your overall budget, and how will you apportion it: two bedrooms? four? granite countertops? an in-ground pool?
Do the same with your wedding. You have a set amount of money. You and your S/O need to decide what are must-haves vs. nice-to-haves.
Tip: Being able to reach agreement on your wedding budget will be good practice for discussing money matters after you’re married!
And as long as you’re in such perfect harmony, also discuss the guest list. Does it have to include everyone you’ve ever known, or could it be an intimate gathering with just your closest friends and family?
2. Think outside the box
Did you know that white wedding dresses only became the tradition because Queen Victoria wore one to her wedding? And that they don’t have to be designer dresses? Spend some time searching for a formal or even vintage gown that you look beautiful in, and forget about whether it’s officially labeled a “wedding dress.”
Do you have to have a formal sit-down dinner or can you serve an array of on-trend appetizers? How about checking with a local restaurant you love, or one that specializes in food celebrating you and/or your partner’s ethnic heritage?
Could you have unique and memorable centerpieces on the tables, like a fountain, or a charming display of candles?
Can you find a low-cost or even free venue, like a local park or art gallery?
Forget the band, get a great set of speakers, and put an iPod on shuffle.
3. Crowdsource the details
You’re not putting on a play where everyone walks into a finished production. At least, it doesn’t have to be that way. Get friends and family involved in some of the preparations.
Does your aunt do calligraphy? She could create the invitations or place cards. Is your brother’s hobby flower arranging? Ask if he’ll arrange the flowers you buy from the local florist. Such talent offerings could be their wedding gift to you.
A wedding doesn’t have to be a production fit for member of the royal family. It just has to be memorable, for you and your guests.
Think carefully about what makes the two of you special—your talents, your interests, your passions—and create a wedding day that reflects that.
And if you need extra money for your wedding, or for any other reason, let the professional negotiators at BILLSHARK find it for you. We charge nothing to review your bills, but we may be able to save you hundreds of dollars!