How to save money on your wedding!


I have a confession to make: I have been obsessed
with weddings for as long as I can remember. Seriously, I had a stack of bridal magazines
by the time I was 7. So by the time I got that sparkly ring on
my finger, I was a prime target for the $56 billion a year Wedding Industrial Complex. Which, surprise surprise, wasn’t exactly
looking out for our (or our parents’) financial health. According to The Knot’s yearly survey, the
average cost of a 2017 wedding in America was a whopping $33,000–not including the
honeymoon!! That’s a downpayment on a house y’all! You don’t have to be a wedding junkie like
me to feel the pressure to overspend, and even pennypinchers can quickly find their
wedding costs spiraling out of control. So how can you avoid your nuptials turning
into a matri-money pit? Like most good planning, setting goals and
boundaries early is the key to success. Last year, only 10% of couples paid for their
entire wedding on their own. That means that for most people, families
help foot the bill. Now, family and money can be as volatile a
combo as matches and gasoline, so make sure you set some boundaries early on. Have frank and loving discussions with anyone
who might help about how much they’ll contribute and what kind of say in the planning that
entitles them to. Before you take that check from Uncle Ted,
you should know whether he thinks he’ll get to pick the menu. How much money you’ll be able to put in
depends on you financial situation, but make yourself one ironclad promise: NO DEBT. After years of working with young couples,
I can’t tell you how many start off their lives together with wedding debt shackled
around their ankles. Incredibly, 74% of couples say they plan to
go into debt to pay for wedding costs. Guys… I just… I can’t even. Don’t get me wrong, weddings are important,
but unlike a house or an education, they’re not investments, so they’re not something
you should go into debt over. The IFDA cites that 22% of marriages end in
divorce specifically due to financial stress. So spending more than you can afford on your
wedding may be actually working against the very thing your wedding is supposed to represent! That’s way more ironic than rain on your
wedding day. Don’t ya think? Once you know how much money you have to work
with, it’s time to start budgeting! Okay! Let’s see… There’s the cake, the dress, the invites,
the save-the-dates, the food, the venue, the entertainment, the precious hand-made bow
ties for your doggie ring-bearers–the rings! the favors, the photos, the videos, the flowers,
the ribbons, the chairs, the minister, the, the…. [she gets faint, Philip helps her
from tipping over] Sorry, just got a little overwhelmed there. There’s virtually no end the the list of
things you could spend money on, so do yourself a favor and decide what THREE THINGS are most
important to you, and focus on them. For us, it was the food, the photos, and the
music. We promised ourselves we wouldn’t scrimp
on those things, but that meant everything else was up for debate. For instance, you can go digital with your
invites. Of course it would be lovely to have hand-lettered
save-the-dates on 100 lb. ecru shimmer wrap, but why be precious about something that’s
gonna end up in the garbage? We also ditched the favors. I’ve seen too many receptions where everyone
just left their heart-shaped cork coasters on the tables. And my personal favorite hack: we had a beautiful
two-tier handmade cake that served about 30, and Costco cakes for the other 100. I didn’t hear any complaints! Hey, if you can afford to go all out on these
items, that’s great, but on our budget, it wasn’t worth compromising the things
we really cared about. You can also take respectful advantage of
your friends’ skills and resources. Maybe you have a sibling who’s a baker,
an aunt who takes great photos, or a cousin who’s a DJ. (Actually, I’m pretty sure everyone has
a cousin who’s a DJ.) Asking for help in lieu of gifts is a great
way to cut costs and honor the talents of the people close to you. For example, my uncle happens to be a world-class
cellist and he was more than happy to play for us! Of course, remember that relying on favors
does mean you can’t be as demanding or expect professional-grade work if someone is a hobbyist. You may be listening to all this in horror,
thinking, “How can I possibly scrimp on any of these things? This is my special day! I’m trying to create a memorable experience!” Well, you’re not alone. While the average guest count is going down,
the amount spent per guest has increased from $194 in 2009 to $268 in 2017. And spending on custom guest entertainment
more than tripled! Most couples really want to give their guests
a truly memorable experience. But here’s the thing that most wedding planners
don’t want you to know: People have poor memories. Practically everything about your special
day will be forgotten sooner than you imagine. Uncle Ted won’t remember exactly what he
had for dinner–he’ll just remember whether it was served on time. Your high school friends won’t remember
what kind of napkins the drinks came with–just whether they had to pay for those drinks. Think about all the weddings you’ve been
to and what details stuck with you. Having your first glass of champagne? A teary-eyed speech by the best man? Seeing Grandma and Grandpa dance to their
favorite song? The moments we remember the most often have
nothing to do with how much they cost. And that’s our two cents! I won’t lie, when we got married at the
ripe old age of 20, my wedding had already been 15 years in the making. As long as I can remember, I’ve been obsessed
with weddings. I had stacks of bridal magazines by the time
I was 7. So by the time I got that sparkly ring on
my finger I was a prime target for the 56 Billion dollar wedding industry. Which surprise surprise, wasn’t exactly
looking out for mine or my parents financial health. And get this, according to The Knot’s yearly
survey, the average cost of a 2017 wedding in America was a whopping $33,391 not including
the honeymoon!! (That’s a downpayment on a house y’all!) Thankfully, there tons of amazing cost-cutting
ideas that Google can provide you but today we’ll share the 5 pieces of financial advice
to get the wedding you want without regretting it later. (but I promise I’ll tack on a few of my
personal favorites at the end). Focus on three things. – There is NO end to the list of things you
could buy for your wedding. The cake, the dress, the invites, the save-the-dates,
the food, the flowers, the entertainment, the venue, the precious hand-made bow ties
for your doggie ring-bearers…I could go on and on. Do yourself a favor and pinpoint the top three
most important items. For example, the food and the photos were
the most important to us. Food is the #1 thing guests seem to care about
and the photos last forever! So we decided not to scrimp there and pretty
much everything else was up for a cut. Clearly communicate financial expectations. – In 2017, only 10% of couples paid for weddings
entirely by themselves. Meaning, that for the other 90% of couples,
there is family involved. Money and family often go together like gas
and matches. Especially when it comes to wedding time and
people tend to have very strong opinions. It’s super important to have a frank and
loving conversation with any parents or family who might be contributing to the expenses. Set your boundaries firmly as SOON as you
can budget-wise AND decision-making wise. This can save you untold amounts of stress
and money to boot. Swear off debt. – After years of working with young couples,
I can’t tell you how many come to me with the shackles of wedding debt attached to their
ankles. As a matter of fact 74% of couples say they
PLAN to go into debt to pay for wedding costs. But the IFDA cites that 22% of marriages end
in divorce specifically due to money fights and stress. Please Don’t do this to yourself or anyone
else involved in your weddings finances. Agree up front that everyone financially involved
will stick to paying for what they can afford. Take respectful advantage of your friends
talents & resources! – Believe it or not, your friends and family
are probably chock-full of talents. Be it baking, photography, crafting or heck,
anyone can stuff an envelope! Asking for their help in lieu of gifts is
an amazing way to both cut costs and honor the talents of the people closest to you. For example, Philips uncle happened to be
a world-class cellist and he was more than happy to play for us! Of course, be careful to not over-ask and
don’t expect professional-grade work if someone is a hobbyist. Remember that you probably won’t remember. – Statistics seem to show that while the average
guest count is going down, the amount spent per guest has increased from $194 in 2009
to $268 in 2017 and spending on custom guest entertainment more than tripled! People care deeply about providing their guests
a memorable experience. But unfortunately, practically everything
about your special day is probably going to be forgotten sooner than you imagine. Neither you nor your guests will remember
exactly what was on the menu, only that they got fed in a timely manner and didn’t have
to pay for the booze. And I’ve personally been to some really
high-budget weddings and potluck weddings that were equally as wonderful to be at. Remember, your wedding day isn’t the finish-line. It’s the starting gate! Go ahead! Plan an amazing party, but make sure the amount
of time and money you spend on the wedding itself is balanced by investing in your future
as a couple. And that’s our two-cents!

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