Money

How to Save for a Wedding

young couple
Your wedding is one of the most important days of your life, and you want it to be perfect. Weddings can be beautiful, personal affairs, and you envision your guests being touched by every detail from the flowers to the bridal dress and, of course, the venue.

Everyone knows weddings have a price tag, but what if your dreams aren't matching up with your budget? Knowing how to save for a wedding is a vital skill that you'll need to learn once you're engaged. After the proposal, have an all-hands-on-deck conversation with your fiancé and discuss putting money away for the big day. Here are a few ideas for you to consider as you plan.

Build a budget

After you're engaged, sit down with your partner and outline how much money to save for the wedding. Do you crave an informal public park reception with food trucks and a softball game? Or does a more formal event make your heart happy? Either way, it's time to place calls to potential venues, florists, and other wedding vendors to get a sense of what your costs will be. Then write up a budget based on what you've learned — but write it in pencil because there may be changes as your plans progress.

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What are your resources?

When considering how much to save for a wedding, first look at your resources. Do you have money already saved up that can be used? Will your parents or other relatives be helping you pay for the wedding? Start with a baseline figure to keep in mind, along with your wedding budget total. The difference between those two numbers is how much money to save for the wedding. 

Set goals and priorities

Next, take the number of months between now and the wedding, and divide the amount you need to save by that number. So, if you're getting married in 10 months, and you need to save $20,000 for your wedding, you'll need to set aside $2,000 each month. Is this reasonable for both your salaries? If so, you're set. But if that's not possible, you'll need to look at some additional ways to save money for your wedding. 

Tweak your budget

The best way to save for a wedding may be first to adjust your expectations. Take your budget and look at it with a careful eye. Where can you shave off a few dollars? What can you do to make the total cost less challenging? Here are a few ideas, both standard and more outside the box:

  • Get married in an off-season: Marry anytime other than June through September, and you may save money on the venue and additional costs. The same may be true if you marry on a day other than Saturday.
  • Avoid customizing:  To save on flowers for the wedding, think about a bouquet of in-season wildflowers rather than hothouse blooms that will need to be flown in. Make table favors yourselves rather than having them made by an artist or craftsperson.
  • Hone down your list:  A small ceremony and reception costs less and gives you more time to spend with each of your guests. Limit plus-ones to those married and in serious relationships, and consider making it an adults-only reception.
  • Consider non-standard wedding venues: A public park, restaurant, or even a museum may be able to accommodate your wedding day guests for a minimal cost.
  • Hire a wedding planner: This sounds counter-intuitive, but the money you spend on a wedding planner will be offset by the amount they save you by using their network of contacts.
  • Rent your dress: Renting allows you to afford a much higher-quality dress than you may otherwise be able to afford. Companies like Rent the Runway and Poshare offer extensive collections to peruse.
  • Choose casual over formal: If it fits your ideals, an informal reception with a buffet meal — or even a potluck in your backyard — will cost less than a formal event with table service.

Cut your variable expenses

There are fixed expenses in your life: bills you need to pay every month, like heat and water, or rent. But you may also have some variable expenses that are more ad-hoc, which you can trim back — making this possibly the best way to save for a wedding. 

Consider recreational expenses: going out to eat, your gym membership, travel expenses, or other extras that improve your quality of life. You don't need to give them up forever, but cutting out your gym membership for six months and working out at home could save you, say, $75-$100 a month. That's enough to pay for your wedding cake. 

Be creative!

Let's say you're looking at how to save for a wedding in a year. You need to make $20,000 in that year so you won't be saddled with expenses afterward, when you and your partner will be saving for a home, starting a family, or considering purchasing a life insurance policy. Is there a skill or talent that you could use to earn extra money? Do you make anything you can sell on Etsy? What about a part-time, temporary rideshare job? Don't be afraid to think outside the box.

The information and content provided herein is for informational purposes only, and it is not to be considered legal, tax, investment, or financial advice, recommendation, or endorsement. You should consult with an attorney or other professional to determine what may be best for your individual needs.

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