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Are you planning a wedding and realize that it is going to cost a small fortune? Maybe you are simply curious about the amount of money that many people spend on a wedding. Is all of this money spent on weddings just a giant waste?
You’re engaged, everything’s in place for the big day. The dress has been purchased, your mother has found the perfect church (and she was right), and your future father-in-law will be giving your bride’s hand away as he walks her down the aisle. You’ve even picked out the perfect cake – or at least I think so! But then reality sets in…
“We can’t afford this.” “This isn’t what we wanted!” “Whoa, where did our hard earned money go?” These are some of the thoughts running through your head when you look at the price tag of your dream wedding.
Many weddings are a giant waste of money but your’s doesn’t have to be. As long as you are careful with the budget you set and don’t go overboard a wedding can be done nicely without breaking the bank or feeling wasteful.
If you’re like most people these days, you have hundreds more questions about whether your current lifestyle will still allow you to enjoy the same quality of life after you get married. So instead of focusing on how expensive your wedding may or may not end up being, let’s take a closer look at why getting married really does come with its own set of challenges and expenses.
What Are Your Finances Like Right Now?
First off, before anything else, figure out exactly how much money you currently have available to pay for your wedding. This should include any loans/credit cards, savings accounts, investment accounts (e.g., 401k) and other financial resources that could help cover the costs associated with your nuptials. If you aren’t sure where they stand, talk to an accountant who specializes in personal finance to see how best to allocate them.
Also make note of how long it would realistically take you to save enough cash to cover those expenses. While many couples do opt to postpone their honeymoon until later in order to keep the budget intact, there are also plenty of examples of brides saving themselves from financial ruin by delaying their lavish ceremonies.
For example, Kim Kardashian delayed purchasing her engagement ring because she couldn’t afford it, but once the marriage proposal came along things worked out fairly well for her financially. In fact, she ended up selling the diamond ring that had sat unsold on display at Barney’s New York to fund the rest of her wedding preparations.
How Much Can You Really Spend On Wedding Expenses Without Going Into Debt?
If you’d rather avoid the debt route altogether, you’ll need to decide which areas of the wedding you want to cut back on first. There are numerous ways to reduce the cost of your wedding without feeling guilty about it. Here are some ideas:
Consider having fewer guests attend the ceremony and reception. Many people choose smaller receptions simply due to finances; however, this decision often causes problems between family members. Instead, consider hosting your event at another location or cutting the guest list entirely.
If you live close to friends and relatives, you might find that inviting only one or two other families makes sense. This way everyone won’t feel left out, while you’ll be able to celebrate privately afterwards.
Have second helpings during dinner instead of dessert. Or skip having a meal completely. Depending on where you plan to hold the reception, you can probably ask the restaurant manager to provide cheaper options for food items.
Similarly, don’t buy alcohol or even go somewhere that offers alcohol. Some restaurants offer wine tastings at no charge, and bars typically sell alcoholic beverages at higher prices than liquor stores so you will want to either bring your own alcohol or choose a venue that has cheaper prices.
Skip renting tables and linens. Since you already know how much each item will cost ahead of time, shop around online to compare rates among different vendors. Just remember to factor in extra fees such as table setup charges and delivery services when comparing rates.
When searching for potential venues, try looking into local community centers, churches, parks, museums and libraries. They usually charge less per person than regular locations, plus they cater to multiple events throughout the week. And since you won’t incur additional travel costs, you can save even more money.
Additionally, some cities now offer free admission to attractions like art galleries, zoos and botanical gardens. Another great option is hiring a professional photographer, videographer and DJ, whose combined packages tend to run significantly less per hour than paying each of these professionals individually.
Think creatively. With a little bit of research, you can easily put together a beautiful celebration on very limited funds. Consider using fresh flowers and plants, reusable serving ware, homemade decorations, DIY invitations and favors and even taking turns cooking the meal yourself.
The possibilities are endless—all you have to do is imagine.
Of course, you shouldn’t neglect your bride registry either. Although you certainly don’t need to register for every single thing, registering for high-end items such as china, crystal stemware, fine silver flatware, glass plates, etc. allows you to receive better service from your caterer and saves you money in the long run.
Plus, it gives you something fun to fill out and remind you of your upcoming special occasion.
Once you determine how much you can comfortably spend, use your findings to create a realistic budget. Then continue shopping around for deals wherever possible.
Is It Worth Spending All That Cash On Your Big Wedding Day?
There are always exceptions to every rule, and sometimes spending thousands of dollars on a wedding seems unavoidable. However, if you carefully examine your budget and stick within your means, you’ll likely find that you can pull off a stunningly stylish affair on a tight budget.
Keep in mind that it doesn’t hurt to negotiate with vendors too. After all, if someone offers you a discount, it doesn’t mean you have to accept it. By asking politely, you might be surprised by how willing certain businesses are to work with you.
Take advantage of discounts offered to military personnel, veterans, teachers and parents of students if that fits you as well. Asking for donations could help you raise even more money as well.
Donating 10% of the proceeds to charity helps others while allowing you to splurge elsewhere.
The bottom line is that finding affordable alternatives to traditional wedding elements like elaborate cakes, formal attire and expensive photography sessions is surprisingly easy nowadays. So yes, you definitely can have a fabulous wedding on a modest budget.