Planning a wedding can be a weird experience. You may start out not wanting a very elaborate ceremony, but the more you find out about all the cool things you can go with a wedding the more money you want to spend. After all, why just elope to the county courthouse when you can elope to Vegas and have an Elvis impersonator conduct the ceremony while sitting on a boat beside the Hoover Dam? See? Weddings can be fun.
Unless you have benevolent (and rich) parents who allow you whatever your heart desires when it comes to your wedding then you’re going to have to reign in some of the spending instincts. The last thing you want to do is to charge up all your wedding expenses on a credit card and start your married life deep in debt.
Not only are my in-laws particularly nice, they were beyond generous. With nothing but happiness did they support their daughter (and me!) through our wedding planning process (remember the term ‘our’ is used very loosely because she did almost all of it). However, even their generosity has limits and despite giving us the equivalent of a luxury car to plan our wedding – there are still those dare I say crazy people that feel the need to spend more, WHEN THEY DO NOT HAVE IT. I truly think that is the point of this guest post, if you make $500K/yr and have millions in savings, and this is how you want to spend your hard earned money – GO FOR IT! I think the problem is when that person DOES NOT HAVE IT and uses loans and CCs at 18% just to show off to family members.
Here are five ways to save money when planning your wedding:
- Stay realistic. Yes, your wedding is an incredibly important day in your life. No, you’re not a princess. Do you really need a tiara, horse-drawn carriage, and twenty white doves released upon the ceremony’s conclusion? The more you keep your ceremony and reception down the earth, the better it will be for your finances. I’d love to see Master Your Card tell the Wife she wasn’t a princess that day! I would be scared for him!
- Get help from family and friends. If your uncle plays the piano, you have your instrumentalist for when you walk down the aisle. If your mom makes killer finger foods then have the rehearsal dinner at her place. Don’t be afraid to take people up on their offers for help, especially if it will help you save a bunch of money. We had a neighbor be a trumpeter for our wedding, it was amazing.
- Don’t be afraid to bargain shop. You may be surprised at the great stuff you can find for a lot less money than you thought you would have to spend. Look at dresses and tuxes that are off-season, or wait for a huge sale. Sift through secondhand stores. Buy the reception decorations at a discount party shop. Nobody will know because they’ll all be having a good time. Honestly, nobody cares if your dress is a designer label or not. They just want you to be happy. Not sure I agree with the secondhand stores, but I agree with the bargaining, and more importantly to spend $5K on a dress you wear once seems like an act of lunacy to me.
- Look for unique venues. Who says you have to get married in an expensive setting and have a reception in an even more costly place? Consider a few unconventional places that have meaning to you and your loved one. A relative’s home, a city park, barefoot on the beach – it doesn’t matter where you get married as long as the vows are spoken and the kiss is completed. I could not imagine not having a church wedding with a reception hall after, but then again, I am used to New York City type weddings and they are usually an event unto themselves.
- Toss tradition out the window. Some of the most interesting weddings are those that aren’t traditional at all. Two people get married while jumping out of an airplane and then meet their friends on the ground for a BBQ. A couple marries at a hospital chapel and then spends the afternoon handing out flowers to patients. Try to think of something that will not only save you money, but will also reflect who you are as a couple. I think you need to have a very very special female (and family members) to even have any of these ideas not result in injury to you and/or your property, but I appreciate that this works for some people.
Of course, the least expensive way to get married is to have a quiet ceremony with no extras, but only do this if that’s what you really want. You don’t want to find yourself a couple of years down the road wishing you had gone for the whole “princess wedding” instead of the simple wedding you had.
I couldn’t agree more, this day only happens once (hopefully!) do not have regrets over a couple hundred bucks.
Set a budget for your wedding and stick to it. Don’t doom your marriage to fail by beginning it with a huge amount of debt looming overhead. Any other ideas please share!
You could also check out other Great Deals from The Knot!
This is a guest post from Master Your Card from a very informative blog dealing with all sorts of topics ranging from debt collection to frugality. Any comments will be in red but I am sure I won’t have many since my wonderful wife took care of 98% of our wedding.