Your partner proposed and you said “yes.” Now you’re on to planning for your big day together. Dealing with the financial side of getting married, from setting a budget to saving for a wedding can give you a bit of preview into how you and your soon-to-be spouse will handle your financial life together once you get married. If you don’t want your ceremony and reception to lead to debt, having a serious discussion about the costs of the wedding and making a plan for paying for those costs is an essential step.
Make a Firm Budget
The average wedding costs around $26,000 in the US, according to CostofWedding.com, from the Wedding Report. Of course, your own wedding doesn’t have to cost nearly that much, and CostofWedding.com notes that many people spend less than $10,000 on their big days. The first step when saving for a wedding is coming up with a firm amount to spend on the event.
Take a look at your own income and your partner’s income to figure out what’s a comfortable amount to spend. If either of your parents will be chipping in, ask them what amount they are comfortable contributing. You can use a wedding cost estimator, which gives you an estimate of costs based on where you live, the size of the wedding, and what features you hope to have, to get an idea of what a realistic budget looks like.
Figure Out Where You Can Cut Back
Saving for a wedding can mean making cuts from your current every day, but non-essential expenses and from what you want from the wedding. For example, if you hoped to have a live band play, but find that all the bands available cost $3,000 or more, pushing your wedding over budget, you might need to go with a less expensive DJ instead. If you wanted to invite 200 people but find that it pushes you over the limit, you might need to trim the guest list a bit.
You and your fiance can work together to decide what expenses to cut out from your daily life. For example, you might give up going out to dinner for a weekly date night and decide to try preparing meals at home during that time instead, to save $50 or so each week. You might decide to cut back on clothing purchases, so that you can afford to buy a nicer wedding dress or tuxedo.
Make an Account
Open a joint wedding savings account so that you and your partner have a place to put any money you’ve saved for the event. Determine how much you need to contribute each month before the wedding to meet your budgeted goal, then set up automatic transfers of that amount so that you don’t even have to think about it. Once you get married, you can reuse the account for your next savings goal.
Make a Plan for Your Future Together
Planning a wedding financially can be a test run for planning your financial future together. Coming up with a wedding budget can be good practice for coming up with a budget for your life together when you do tie the knot. Making plans for cutting back and saving can help prepare you for planning for big financial goals, whether you and your new spouse hope to buy a home together, save for retirement or plan for the arrival of a new family member.
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