Going to the chapel doesn’t have to break the bank
It’s group karaoke time! Everyone join in on this beloved 1964 hit song, “Going to the chapel and I’m gonna go bannnkrupt…”
Hold up. I’ll admit that I am notorious for mixing up lyrics to songs, and while those might not be the actual lyrics, they are sadly spot-on. The Washington Times lists the national average cost of a wedding at around $35,000 – and all our wallets just shouted a resounding, “OUCH!”
If the national average doesn’t quite work for your bank account, here are some ways you can head down the aisle without breaking the bank.
Step one: Take the pressure off of yourself!
It’s important to know upfront that weddings aren’t one-size-fits-all – even if some bridesmaid dresses claim to be so. Do what works for you! The whole event will feel genuine and special – it doesn’t matter what others have done before you. If you start to feel overwhelmed, always come back to step one.
Step two: Set a budget – and stick to it!
A great way to stick to a wedding budget is use an account that is wedding-only. I opened a wedding-specific account for my wedding and put all of the money we had budgeted in there upfront. That way, with each expense, I could track where I was in my budget – eliminating any chance of overspending.
It is important to establish your budget at the very beginning of the wedding-planning process. Otherwise, you are opening the door to additional expenses that are outside of your range of funds.
Step three: Establish your guest list.
Now that you’ve set your budget, determine the amount of guests you can afford. Is your heart set on inviting 1,000 of your closest friends and family? Make sure it works within your set budget. Keep in mind that you should invite approximately 10% more guests than your target number, since 10-20% of those invited will decline.
Step four: List out your non-negotiables and prioritize expenses.
For my wedding, I knew that I wanted an amazing caterer and photographer (splurge). When it came to invitations, I designed my own and researched affordable printers that would make them look as professional as store-bought invites (save).
Make a list of items that are a “must” for your big day. Want that high-dollar photographer or photo booth? Is the wedding a no-go if you can’t get married in that castle in the mountains? It’s important to prioritize the must-haves for your wedding, so you can see where to splurge and where to save.
Sticking to your list of priorities will help fend off disappointment and unmet expectations down the road.
Step five: Enjoy the process!
Setting your expectations and realities upfront will remove a lot of the stressors that plague couples leading up to the big day. So, have fun! Even if you’re up until 3am multiple nights in a row gluing paper flowers to huge monogrammed letters… not that I know anything about that!