Planning a Budget Wedding

We recently did a series on love and money, and we learned that paying off debt can lead to a happier marriage. So why not keep debt to a minimum on your “big day?” We are here to teach you how to plan a budget wedding. Of course, we want your wedding day to be special, but planning a wedding on a budget will ensure that you aren’t paying off these expenses for years to come.

Keep Debt out of Your Budget Wedding

There are so many options for today’s weddings that costs can easily balloon out of control. Many brides and grooms don’t even have time to think about planning a budget wedding, because they get so caught up in advertisements and all the “hype” involved in wedding planning. Plan ahead so you can compare prices and make level-headed decisions. Consumer credit counseling experts advise following a few key steps for managing debt when planning a wedding on a budget:

  1. Look carefully at your finances. How much do you have in savings, and how much can you save each month before the wedding? For effective debt management, consider this the total amount you can put toward your budget wedding.
  2. Ask each of your parents if they plan to contribute to your wedding, or if there are specific things they may be willing to pay for. Bear in mind that if they contribute financially, parents deserve to have input on how the money is spent. You also need to make it clear to your parents that you are planning a wedding on a budget. If you don’t communicate this, they may pressure you to overspend.
  3. If extra expenses threaten your budget wedding, consumer debt counselors recommend increasing income rather than taking on debt. Can you find temporary extra work? Are there duplicate household items you can sell in a yard sale or online?
  4. If you will be able to pay it in full each month, consider opening a new credit card account just for the wedding that will earn you airline miles, cash back, or other incentives. It’s a good way to accurately track wedding expenses, and can help pay for your honeymoon.

Once you know how much you can spend on your budget wedding, you need to list the expenses and assign percentages. Here are our recommendations for how much you should spend on each part of a budget wedding:

Ceremony (location, fees, licenses)   3%

Reception (location, food, cake, decorations)   48%

Attire (dress, tuxedo)   10%

Rings   3%

Flowers (bouquets, decorations)   8%

Music (ceremony, reception)   8%

Photography (photographer video, prints)   12%

Transportation (shuttles, parking)   2%

Stationary (invitations, guest book, thank you notes)    3%

Gifts (for bridesmaids and groomsmen)   3%

TOTAL            100%

For effective debt management, choose a few items that are most important to you. You may want to pay a premium for an amazing photographer, and you may be less worried about an expensive dress (or tux). Cross off anything that you don’t need. For example, if both the ceremony and reception are at one location, you might not need transportation. If you do some planning, your budget wedding won’t feel “cheap.” You will cut costs in creative ways that no one will notice.

If the numbers still aren’t working, it can help to have them reviewed by an impartial expert. Consumer debt counselors at a nonprofit consumer credit counseling agency such as Clearpoint Credit Counseling Solutions are experienced in structuring budgets to best manage debt and plan for expenses. These counselors can help plan a wedding on a budget by showing you where to cut costs and generate more savings. Your dream budget wedding is in reach!