How to save for a wedding

You probably know that weddings don’t come cheap, even if you’ve never been married before. There is the cost of the venue, the music, the catering and much more. Hence, it is easy to overspend. Everyone wants the best, but if you’re not careful, you could put a financial strain on your marriage from the start. To make sure that doesn’t happen, here are some ways to keep your wedding in line on a realistic budget.

a train cake sitting on a car: a wedding car

© Afrique Studio / Shutterstock
A wedding car

Find out how much a wedding costs

The national average cost of a wedding in 2019 in the United States was $ 33,900 (a figure that also includes the cost of the engagement ring), according to wedding site The Knot.


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Prices, of course, vary depending on the location of your wedding. A New York wedding costs an average of $ 83,000, while a St. Louis wedding costs around $ 24,000, according to The Knot’s analysis. But no matter where you’re hosting your nuptials, it’s worth figuring out how much to set aside for your wedding and what steps need to be taken to successfully save for your big day.

Calculate a wedding budget

To get started, create a budget before your wedding. First, choose the elements of your wedding that are most important to you.

It helps to ask yourself, “What are your three most important purchases for your wedding?” Says Michael Dickey, co-owner of financial coaching firm Fiscal Fitness Phoenix. “These are non-negotiable items and are the top priority when creating your budget. “

Maybe you have a specific dress or group in mind that you want to hire. No matter what it is, write it down and determine its cost. Then add up all your non-negotiable items and compare them to the average cost of weddings in your region. This process will help you budget and give you a good place to start.

Find ways to save on expenses

Then, after choosing your must-haves, look for ways to save on other expenses. Every choice comes at a cost, and if you’re not careful, you can easily maximize your budget before you have everything you need.

To consider:

  • Sending wedding invitations instead of paper invitations.
  • Choose a date that is not in the peak wedding season.
  • Buy seasonal flowers.
  • Buy a wedding dress at a department store.
  • Choose a place that offers a lot of amenities.

While we’re on the topic of venues, many wedding specialists caution against having a particular wedding venue on your must-see list:

“We see so many couples exhausting the majority of their budget on one venue and not having enough financial resources to hire their team of salespeople,” says Lee Dyson, owner of wedding entertainment service Hey Mister DJ in Burbank, Calif. . “Make sure you understand what your site offers and includes – catering, lighting, sound system, tables, chairs – because these additional costs add up very quickly. “

As a general starting point, Dyson recommends that the combined venue and catering costs be no more than 30-50% of your total budget.

Determine the best way to save for a wedding

To make your savings goal more achievable, give yourself as much time as possible to save for your wedding. Schedule a “financial date” with your future spouse to create a realistic savings goal that includes how much you should be saving per month and whether you need to make any changes in your daily spending to meet those goals.

“Sit at a table with your laptops, log into all of your accounts and start sharing,” says Lauren Anastasio, CFP at SoFi in Claymont, Delaware.

“Do you really need parking for the car you are sharing or can you park it on the street?” ” she says. “Can you agree to bring your lunch to work?” Then calculate those numbers and put them to work for your common goal. “

If there are specific cuts you can’t make, that’s fine. Just make sure your partner knows about it. “If you’re not ready to give up your wine club membership, that’s okay, but you want to be transparent with your partner about it to avoid resentment,” says Anastasio.

When budgeting for your wedding, be specific and allow for payment deadlines for services, such as a group or catering. While your marriage can still go on for months, some bills will arrive before the big day and you don’t want to be caught off guard.

Where to put your wedding money

It is also important to consider where you keep your wedding funds. You have options.

You can put your money in traditional savings accounts and money market accounts that offer competitive interest rates to help you grow your savings faster. You may also want to consider a Certificate of Deposit (CD) if your wedding date is at least a year away. In exchange for blocking your money for a period of time, a CD can earn more interest than a savings or money market account. Just make sure the CD matures before you need your money to avoid an early withdrawal penalty.

Whichever account you choose to park your savings, experts recommend separating your wedding fund from your overall savings.

“Weddings are a big enough expense that it’s a good idea to open a separate savings account with your future partner or individually, depending on how you both have decided to handle finances,” according to Dalka du Chicago Planner Magazine.

It is important to note that all the money you put in your savings account should be available, not the hypothetical money you expect as a wedding gift. “You never know if that family member may suddenly experience financial hardship and have to cancel or reduce their original offer,” she says.

At the end of the line

As expensive as weddings can be, couples shouldn’t put off their savings for the big day. With a plan in place, you can prepare for success. Remember that the event is just one day away and you want to start your wedding on a solid financial footing.

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