Home > Personal Finance > How to Keep Your Wedding On Budget

Comments 0 Comments

Wedding season is upon us, and couples across the nation are shelling out tons of cash to tie the knot. This may not come as a shock to many of you, but weddings are expensive. I didn’t realize all the intricacies or expenses involved until my fiancé and I started to plan our wedding for next year. To save you some time and money, here are some simple steps to follow to help you budget for your wedding.

Make a List of Everything you Want

If you don’t have unlimited funds in your wedding budget, you’re going to have to get creative. Wedding vendors can smell blood a mile away, and will charge you an arm and a leg if they don’t think money matters to you. Also, it’s important for you and your future spouse to sit down and have a serious conversation about what matters most to you for your wedding. This shouldn’t be a conversation with parents or your friends, but one between the two of you to determine what you want. Together, you will get a better idea of what your ideal wedding will look like, who will be there and where you are willing to compromise. By having this discussion in advance of reaching out to parents and vendors, you’ll be better equipped to work as a team going forward.

Pick a Date and Plan Ahead

I’m blown away by how many venues are booked up for the next two years. It is as if there are millions of brides-to-be who book their dream venue years in advance of engagement. Either way, picking a date and location are important aspects of the wedding planning process. As venues book up, companies can charge higher rates. Also, a quick word of advice about timing. The months of April through July are popularly known as “wedding season” in the wedding industry, and are times when vendors and venues can get away with charging more for their services. Why? Because there is a lot of demand. If you are looking to budget and save money on your wedding, you may want to consider booking a date outside of those months. But if you are determined to get married during wedding season, be my guest.

[Credit Score Tool: Get your free credit score and report card from Credit.com]

Free Credit Check ToolDetermine How Much You Have to Spend

Before you can create a wedding budget, you’ll need to figure out how much money you have to spend on your wedding. Traditionally, the bride’s parents cover the wedding and reception and the groom’s family covers the rehearsal dinner. But times are always changing, and financial situations vary from one family to the next. Eventually, you and your spouse will need to have a conversation with your families or with each other to determine how much money you’ll have available to spend on your special day. The average wedding costs nearly $30,000, but you can get away with spending less if you try.

Compare Prices from Multiple Vendors

If you don’t do your homework and get quotes from multiple wedding vendors, you’ll end up overpaying for wedding planning services, flowers, catering and nearly everything else you need to buy for a wedding. To minimize the risk that you overspend, create a list of the places where you want to hold your wedding, reception and rehearsal dinner, split up the list with your spouse and get on the phone with vendors to come up with price ranges. Once you have all the prices in front of you, you’ll be able to make an objective decision on which vendors to work with on your wedding day.

[Related Article: Till Debt Do Us Part: Credit Tips for Newlyweds]

Find Ways to Cut Costs

There are a million ways to cut wedding costs, but like any financial decision it may involve a little compromise. This may be difficult for one or both of you, but when the rubber meets the road you may have to cut out some of the little things to stay on budget. A few ways to save on weddings include:

  • Change the date – Pick a date outside of the popular months, avoid big crowds and thousands of dollars on vendors.
  • Keep it small – Invite only close friends and family, and have your acquaintances come to the engagement party.
  • Buy your own alcohol – Some venues and caterers won’t allow you to do this, but there are plenty of locations where you can bring your own alcohol, which can save you a ton of cash.
  • Hire a cheaper photographer – You don’t need the chief photographer from National Geographic to get great wedding photos these days. Hire someone from a local art school, or get a friend to take photos at the event. Technology has made it easier to get great photos, so cut some of the costs here if you can.
  • Get a local band – Rather than flying in the Rolling Stones, consider getting a local band to play some cover songs at your event. Make sure to listen to them in advance, but this is another place where you can cut costs. Or even better, use an iPod and rent a good sound system. This is an area where you can save thousands by being creative.
  • Keep it casual – Consider having a wedding that isn’t formal, where you can wear comfortable clothes and save money on your wedding dress, tuxedos, etc. I don’t have this option, but it is a good one for a lot of people — especially if you live near a beach or are just having friends and family.
  • Bake your own cake – Bake your own, or find someone you know who can, and ask them to do it for your gift. There are tons of people out there who’d much rather do this than shell out cash to buy you a spatula for your wedding gift.
  • Make your own invitations — This is one thing I’m doing that is going to save us nearly a thousand bucks. I’m designing all of the save the dates and invitations, and we are printing them on our own.
  • Plan your own wedding — Another great way to save on your wedding is to plan it on your own. It will save you thousands, and there are a ton of great tools out there to help you out. One of my favorites is called WeddingTracker from The Knot.

Track Wedding Expenses

The next step is to keep track of your receipts and your other wedding expenses. You can do this with using this wedding budget worksheet or you can keep a shoebox with your receipts. No matter your method, do your best to stay on top of your spending you’ll know where all your money goes.

[Free Resource: Check your credit score and report card for free with Credit.com]

Image: Javier Bouzas, via Flickr

Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a bank advertiser. It is not a bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Please note that our comments are moderated, so it may take a little time before you see them on the page. Thanks for your patience.

Certain credit cards and other financial products mentioned in this and other articles on Credit.com News & Advice may also be offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com will be compensated if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for any of these cards or products. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.

Hello, Reader!

Thanks for checking out Credit.com. We hope you find the site and the journalism we produce useful. We wanted to take some time to tell you a bit about ourselves.

Our People

The Credit.com editorial team is staffed by a team of editors and reporters, each with many years of financial reporting experience. We’ve worked for places like the New York Times, American Banker, Frontline, TheStreet.com, Business Insider, ABC News, NBC News, CNBC and many others. We also employ a few freelancers and more than 50 contributors (these are typically subject matter experts from the worlds of finance, academia, politics, business and elsewhere).

Our Reporting

We take great pains to ensure that the articles, video and graphics you see on Credit.com are thoroughly reported and fact-checked. Each story is read by two separate editors, and we adhere to the highest editorial standards. We’re not perfect, however, and if you see something that you think is wrong, please email us at editorial team [at] credit [dot] com,

The Credit.com editorial team is committed to providing our readers and viewers with sound, well-reported and understandable information designed to inform and empower. We won’t tell you what to do. We will, however, do our best to explain the consequences of various actions, thereby arming you with the information you need to make decisions that are in your best interests. We also write about things relating to money and finance we think are interesting and want to share.

In addition to appearing on Credit.com, our articles are syndicated to dozens of other news sites. We have more than 100 partners, including MSN, ABC News, CBS News, Yahoo, Marketwatch, Scripps, Money Magazine and many others. This network operates similarly to the Associated Press or Reuters, except we focus almost exclusively on issues relating to personal finance. These are not advertorial or paid placements, rather we provide these articles to our partners in most cases for free. These relationships create more awareness of Credit.com in general and they result in more traffic to us as well.

Our Business Model

Credit.com’s journalism is largely supported by an e-commerce business model. Rather than rely on revenue from display ad impressions, Credit.com maintains a financial marketplace separate from its editorial pages. When someone navigates to those pages, and applies for a credit card, for example, Credit.com will get paid what is essentially a finder’s fee if that person ends up getting the card. That doesn’t mean, however, that our editorial decisions are informed by the products available in our marketplace. The editorial team chooses what to write about and how to write about it independently of the decisions and priorities of the business side of the company. In fact, we maintain a strict and important firewall between the editorial and business departments. Our mission as journalists is to serve the reader, not the advertiser. In that sense, we are no different from any other news organization that is supported by ad revenue.

Visitors to Credit.com are also able to register for a free Credit.com account, which gives them access to a tool called The Credit Report Card. This tool provides users with two free credit scores and a breakdown of the information in their Experian credit report, updated twice monthly. Again, this tool is entirely free, and we mention that frequently in our articles, because we think that it’s a good thing for users to have access to data like this. Separate from its educational value, there is also a business angle to the Credit Report Card. Registered users can be matched with products and services for which they are most likely to qualify. In other words, if you register and you find that your credit is less than stellar, Credit.com won’t recommend a high-end platinum credit card that requires an excellent credit score You’d likely get rejected, and that’s no good for you or Credit.com. You’d be no closer to getting a product you need, there’d be a wasted inquiry on your credit report, and Credit.com wouldn’t get paid. These are essentially what are commonly referred to as "targeted ads" in the world of the Internet. Despite all of this, however, even if you never apply for any product, the Credit Report Card will remain free, and none of this will impact how the editorial team reports on credit and credit scores.

Our Owners

Credit.com is owned by Progrexion Holdings Inc. which is the owner and administrator of a number of business related to credit and credit repair, including CreditRepair.com, and eFolks. In addition, Progrexion also provides services to Lexington Law Firm as a third party provider. Despite being owned by Progrexion, it is not the role of the Credit.com editorial team to advocate the use of the company’s other services. In articles, reporters may mention credit repair as an option, for example, but we’ll also be sure to note the various alternatives to that service. Furthermore, you may see ads for credit repair services on Credit.com, but the editorial team isn’t responsible for the creation or implementation of those ads, anymore than reporters for the New York Times or Washington Post are responsible for the ads on their sites.

Your Stories

Lastly, much of what we do is informed by our own experiences as well as the experiences of our readers. We want to tell your stories if you’re interested in sharing them. Please email us at story ideas [at] credit [dot] com with ideas or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by.

- The Credit.com Editorial Team