How do I manage the costs of a wedding?

Key Points

  • Weddings can be expensive, depending on who you ask the average wedding has been estimated at anywhere between $36,000 to $65,000
  • Your wedding is just one day in your life together and while you want to celebrate with friends and family it does not make sense to put yourself in financial difficulty for just one day
  • Working with your partner to agree on those things that are really important and those things that are not can help to have an amazing day without blowing your budget.

Weddings are a big day and there can be pressure (from parents and social media) to do things a certain way. However remember at the end of the day a wedding is a celebration of your life together and so it is important to think about what you really want, understand what it will cost and make your decisions from there.

Your wedding is the start of your life together and spending more than you need to, or even worse,
borrowing money to pay for it will mean that you start your married life financially unfit.

Talk about the costs

The first and most important tip is to talk about the money (cost) aspect of the wedding with your partner and your respective parents (if they are likely to contribute). It is helpful in this conversation to not only discuss the actually wedding day, but also some of your medium term financial goals such as going on a honeymoon, buying a house or having children. This should put into context that your wedding is only one day in your life and help you to set a realistic budget.

Agree on what is important

Discuss with your partner and agree on the most important aspects of the wedding from their point of view. It is helpful to put these in order of priority so that it is easier to know what to leave out if you go over budget. You should also discuss which people you believe are most important to celebrate with. It may be hard to leave some people out, but ultimately there is a limit on the number of people that you can include and people generally understand this and shouldn’t be offended.

Some practical tips

Other than focusing on the most important aspects and people for your wedding, here are some other general tips to help save money on your big day.

  • Shop around, always get a few quotes and be prepared to haggle
  • Don’t let suppliers know that it is for a wedding
  • Limit the number and size of pre wedding celebrations
  • Consider alternative wedding venues or locations that are less expensive
  • Rather than expensive paper invitations and stationary, consider digital options such as wedding websites/electronic invitations
  • Limit your guest list to those people who are an active part of your life
  • Save on decorations by doing them yourself or enlisting a friend
  • Rather than have a full bar, limit your beverages to beer, wine and sparkling
  • Stick to digital images rather than paying to have an expensive album printed that you are unlikely to look at often and is hard to share with your friends and family
  • Consider ordering the wedding dress and suits online and don’t go too crazy with your shoes (your guests are not going to notice)
  • Ask friends with nice cars to drive you to the church to save on expensive limo rental that most people are unlikely to even see.

All of the little savings you make can add up, and remember that just because you have set a particular budget for the wedding doesn’t mean you have to spend it all, that money can be put towards other aspects of your life together. Don’t lose sight of the fact that you are staring a marriage and the wedding is only the beginning.