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Paying for a Wedding: Save Money on Your Big Day

Your wedding day is one of the most special and celebratory days of your life, but the expense of all that’s involved can drain your checking account faster than you can say “I do”! Although balancing your real-life budget with your wedding celebration fantasies can be stressful, some of these money-saving tips may help make things more manageable for you:

  • Budget: Set a budget, and stick to it. Check online forums and sites for practical planning tips from frugal couples. As soon as you start your planning, talk with your family and anyone else who might be helping with wedding expenses; find out how much they are able to contribute or what, if any, specific items they agree to pay for.
  • Priorities: Identify your top three priorities for your wedding day. Is a beautiful gown at the top of the list? An awesome band? A video of the ceremony and reception? Knowing what is truly important to you can help ensure that you spend your dollars on those aspects—and cut back on items that might be less important, like an elaborate wedding cake or favors for your guests.
  • Timing: To save money, pick a date for the event that’s outside of the prime wedding season, which is typically May through September. You’ll be in a better position to negotiate with vendors, and rental fees for venues may be reduced.
  • Guests: Typically, fewer guests mean fewer expenses for you. Think long and hard about that guest list! If you can’t imagine your wedding without any of those guests in attendance, consider a simpler event, like a “cake and punch” celebration.
  • Venue and food: A venue that allows you to choose your own caterer or bring in your own food and alcohol can save you thousands of dollars. Plus, you have more opportunities to customize the menu to your own specifications. You can also consider having a private party at a restaurant instead, which will often save money on the location and wait staff fees. Also consider a morning or midday reception instead of dinner.
  • Attire: Look for a dress at a samples sale or for used dresses online. There are thousands of gowns out there that have been worn only once—or not at all!—typically marked down 50 percent or more. Men can look for suit rentals so that everyone in the party won’t have to buy a new matching suit. You can also ask attendants to wear an outfit they already own, so that no one has to spend extra money on attire.

It’s easy for wedding costs to snowball, which is why planning and budgeting are important. Keeping your wedding plans in line with your budget will help you avoid sacrificing your financial stability for a single-day blowout celebration. Make smart purchases for your wedding and you’ll improve your chances of starting married life on sound financial footing. Enjoy the big day!

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