How to Save for a Wedding
Planning a wedding is complicated.
And as most couples find out, costs can skyrocket very quickly once you start adding in the little touches and details that you want as part of your dream wedding. That’s why knowing how to save for a wedding, as well as how to save money on your wedding, is essential.
The good news is that there are practical and useful approaches that can help you accumulate a workable budget and keep the costs down without sacrificing on the wedding that you always wanted to have.
Let’s start by exploring how much weddings cost and some of the most effective ways to save money on a wedding that you can start applying immediately.
How Much Do Weddings Cost?
Most people don’t have a solid understanding of how much weddings cost, and usually end up underestimating it or failing to account for some of the expenses.
Weddings are one of the biggest expenses in people’s lives and cost an average of $44,000 in 2018.
And while that amount might seem astronomical, when you start adding up some of the expenses such as the venue, the catering, the attire, and the entertainment, you begin to realize where all that money goes, and that reducing the bottom line will require significant sacrifices.
Obviously, where you live will play a huge role in how much you end up paying.
The $44,000 figure is a national average, and the cost can vary by as much as seven times across different states and cities.
So, when looking for savings with regards to how to save money on a wedding, you might want to consider having your venue in a more affordable city, as that can not only help you reduce venue costs, but provide you with more affordable services across the board as well.
The Biggest Wedding Costs to Watch Out For
We’ve already named a few of the biggest wedding costs that usually make saving for a wedding more difficult.
But how much can those services typically cost? Let’s go over them one by one.
If your dream wedding involves getting all your family and friends in one place, you will likely need a bigger venue, which can end up being the primary expense of the whole event.
The average venue cost in the U.S. is around $15,000, and the amount can easily end up being twice as much if you’re booking during peak season, on a Saturday, or want to book a highly-coveted traditional wedding venue.
Once you find a fitting venue, you’ll still need to handle decorations such as flowers, which can set you back a few thousand dollars on their own.
Before your reception, you’ll also probably want to have a ceremony, which can cost you anywhere from a few hundred to upwards of a thousand dollars.
The wedding dress and suit will also end up costing at least a thousand dollars and might cost much more, depending on whether you want them custom-made or will rent or buy used.
In terms of catering, you will probably be looking at around a minimum of $100 per guest, although that cost can also increase 3-4 times if you end up choosing more inclusive or luxurious options.
Since you’ll also want someone to capture beautiful moments at your wedding, you’ll need a photographer, which can cost anywhere from around $800-1,000 for a budget option to $5,000 for a luxury photographer.
Set a Hard Budget
If you’re going to figure out ways to save on a wedding, you’ll need to set a hard and specific budget that you can stick to throughout the planning process.
Unfortunately, most couples end up underestimating how much the wedding will cost and have to scramble to find the extra money once they’re well into the planning process.
Therefore, one of the most crucial wedding money-saving tips is to not only have a preliminary budget but to be very specific and diligent about how you estimate each expense.
But first, you’ll need to figure out the total amount that you can spend, as that will serve as a starting point for looking at the wedding budget from a broader perspective and reduce the chances of the budget ballooning in later stages of the planning process.
Once you have a ballpark figure to work with, you’ll also be able to determine the most effective ways with regards to how to save for a wedding and estimate how long it could take to put together the money.
Set Target Goals for Individual Planning Sections
After you’ve determined the bulk sum you’re willing to spend on your wedding, you’ll need to figure out the specific expenses behind that amount to see how much you can spend on different aspects.
We already went through the list of the most substantial expenses of a typical wedding, but as you probably noticed, the bottom line for each cost can vary quite a lot depending on how flexible you are.
But don’t trust those estimates completely, as they are nationwide averages and might not apply to your region.
To be sure, you will need to research how much different types of expenses will end up costing you and try to identify opportunities for saving.
Start by making a list of the people that you would like to invite and then go through each area of the wedding, identifying your biggest priorities, as well as things that aren’t as important.
When making the list, try not to be overly optimistic about the pricing that you expect to get. It’s better to leave yourself with a bit more wiggle room and be able to splurge a bit more on other areas in case you end up spending less than you initially thought.
Look at DIY and Budget-Friendly Options
A wedding should be about celebrating the commitment of two people with their closest family and friends instead of about endless expenses, so you shouldn’t be afraid to cut costs in areas where you are more flexible.
In fact, if you’re willing to get creative and leverage the personal relationships in your life, you could find countless ways to save money on a wedding.
If you have acquaintances in your local area that specialize in various wedding services, you could try to get a budget-friendly deal that helps significantly cut costs.
And when looking for how to save money on a wedding reception, you could consider making the decorations yourself or with the help of your family, potentially saving thousands of dollars in the process.
For instance, instead of getting customized flower arrangements, you could borrow plants from friends and family or even make your own flower arrangements from scratch.
The same can be said about invitations as well – ordering elaborate customized invitations can rack up costs quickly, so you could instead use a simple design, print them yourself, and have most of the information accessible online, which might end up being more convenient for the attendees anyway.
Timing is Everything
While there are certainly many DIY options when looking for how to save for a wedding, some areas will require a budget. But even then, there are ways how you can save a lot of money if you’re willing to be a bit more flexible and open to non-traditional solutions.
For instance, if you want to save on a venue and don’t want to compromise on the site itself, you could consider booking a date during the off-season or on a weekday.
Alternatively, you could consider opting for an unconventional venue that might be different than what you imagined, but still provide you and your guests with an excellent experience.
When booking catering, entertainment, and other suppliers for your wedding, you should also try to think ahead and book as early as possible – this could help you get better pricing, as there will be a broader pool of options available.
If you’ve always dreamed of a destination wedding, try to plan the trip during the months when tickets and accommodation are typically more affordable, and you discover ways to save money on your wedding without having to compromise.
Decide Where to Splurge and Where to Save
In the end, the possibilities of saving on a wedding are almost endless – you could pick any expense and find ways to reduce costs by compromising or being flexible about how you approach it.
However, just because you can save on every little detail doesn’t mean you should.
After all, your wedding is a day that you’ll remember for the rest of your life, so you want to make it special and not make every decision based on cost.
Luckily, if you make a detailed plan of how much different aspects of the wedding could cost, you should start seeing opportunities for making savings and also identifying areas where you don’t want to budge.
The best part about being smart with your wedding budget is that once you identify the areas where you can save, you will also know how much money you have left and can splurge on magical details or ideas that you always wanted.
That will allow you to have your dream wedding without having to burn through your savings.