In honour of my recent wedding and Michelle's upcoming one, I'd like to spend some time talking about wedding budgets and my wedding budget. Sure, it's not the most glamorous part of the big day. It's not something you can gush about to your friends.
In fact, a wedding budget is probably barely mentioned at all by most people. That said, if you don't want to start out life as a newlywed with a ton of debt, it's very important to have a budget.
Side note: Here are some of my past wedding posts in case you are interested:
- My Wedding Pictures
- How Much Did Our Wedding Cost? – $22,230
- I Got Married!
- The rest of my wedding related posts can be found here.
Do Your Research Before You Set A Wedding Budget
Did you know that the average wedding costs $26,000 (some even say higher!, see this article)? When I first heard that wedding budget number, I was shocked. That's almost the same amount that I owed in student loans after my undergraduate degree. That could be used as a down-payment on a house, or to buy a car outright!
Clearly, weddings can be expensive. The venue, the dress, the food, it all adds up, and quickly. Before setting a firm budget for your wedding, do a little preliminary research on the going rate for various aspects of the wedding in your area.
Costs can vary widely, so the more you know, the easier it'll be to come up with a reasonable number. My budget ended up being around $4,500. Check out how I saved money on a lot of the costs here.
Figure Out a Savings Schedule For Your Wedding Budget
Once you have a ball park figure of how much it's roughly going to cost to have the wedding you want, you need to figure out where that money is going to come from.
Many people receive donations from family members to help cover the costs, which can be a huge help. Many times though, the engaged couple will have to cover at least a portion of the expenses.
For my wedding, my fiance and I were very fortunate with some help from family members, and a rather large tax return. As a result we only had to cover about $2,000 of the costs ourselves. I made a savings schedule that got us there in about a year's time, and we barely felt the pinch on our budget.
If you've figured out how much you need to save, and it just doesn't seem doable in your time frame and projected expenses, don't turn to credit! There are tons of ways to save money on weddings while still enjoying a beautiful event with friends and family. All it takes is a little creativity.
Remember There's No Prize for the “Best” Wedding When Setting Your Wedding Budget
Possibly the worst part about setting a wedding budget is remembering that you don't have to have the nicest wedding of the summer, or the cheapest. There's no prize for DIYing every last detail and having an uber cheap wedding, so if that's not what you want to do, and you can afford it – don't do it!
In the same vein, if there are things that you simply don't care about (for me it was things like invitations and many of the traditional events) there's no reason not to go the cheaper route or eliminate it all together, especially if you are having problems getting your dreams to match your financial reality.
Weddings can be a touchy subject because they are so easy to compare. They are all basically the same, but each couple's choices reflect who they are, which makes it easy to feel like you must conform (and spend more money while you're at it).
At the end of the day, you are the one footing the bill, so set a budget you're comfortable with, and pick and choose what's important to you.
I spent $4,500 on my wedding, how much did you spend on yours? What was your wedding budget?
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