Your wedding should be one of the most joyous events of your life, regardless of how much you spend. Whether you want to get married at the courthouse with a couple of your closest friends, throw the beachfront party of the year for everyone you know, or anything in between, here are some guidelines that can help you make the right choices for yourself, your partner, and your wallet.
Consider upcoming expenses and financial goals
As you and your partner begin your life together, you’ll likely have some new expenses and financial goals. Before you decide on a wedding budget, you and your partner may want to list all the new and old costs you anticipate early in your marriage. Existing expenses may include rent, groceries, and utilities. As you begin building your family, you and your partner could decide you want to take out a mortgage, get a new car, or get whole life insurance, which offers a lifelong death benefit, cash value component, and other features. The right life insurance could protect your home and loved ones’ finances should one of you pass away unexpectedly.
If you anticipate a significant increase in your expenses, or just want to focus on different financial goals, you may decide to keep your wedding relatively inexpensive. On the other hand, if you expect your costs to remain fairly level, or if you’ll be able to easily meet any new expenses, you may have more room to spend.
Identify your wedding priorities
Whether you and your future spouse want the most romantic venue, the tastiest food, or the best band, your priorities should become the foundation of your budget. When your special day arrives, you don’t want to miss out on the moments that matter most to you because of their cost.
However, it also doesn’t make sense to dedicate a large portion of the budget to expenses that aren’t central to you. For example, many couples spend a significant amount of their budgets on wedding venues. If you only want a small group of friends and family at your wedding, you may decide to pay less for your venue to free up funds for aspects that are more important to you.
Where could you save?
While every couple has unique preferences, it’s often easier to cut costs in certain areas than others. For example, many artists and designers offer ornate, custom invitations with debossing and careful calligraphy. However, it’s often much more affordable to design your own invitations or find a template online and print them yourself. Your guests will care much more about the information on your invitation than the design—it may even end up in the recycling.
Similarly, you could save money with simple décor. Instead of splurging on pricey flowers or complex centerpieces, you could work with your wedding party to make decorations. Unless you have a prominent wedding theme, you and your guests will remember the joy of the day more than the décor.
When should you splurge?
Sometimes, spending a little more money is worthwhile for the wedding day of your dreams. For example, if you or your partner feel uncomfortable throughout the day, you might not fully enjoy your special moment. Quality wedding dresses and suits may can come with a higher price tag, but that could be worthwhile if it means feeling your best on your wedding day. Similarly, you may not want to cut corners when it comes to your wedding photos. Your wedding day can feel like a whirlwind. Good photos can capture the most memorable momentsand help you remember the event for years to come.If photos are a priority, then it’s importantto find a wedding photographer who can capture your vision.
The bottom line
A wedding may be the first major financial decision some couples make together. As you plan, it’s important to remember that you don’t have to spend a fortune to wear an outfit you love, take beautiful photos, and have the wedding of your dreams. When figuring out how much you’ll spend, it’s important to consider future financial obligations, identify both partners’ must-haves, and build a budget you can stick to.