Getting married is an amazing thing, it is the moment when you and your significant other merge your lives and become one. Ultimately it is the happiest time of both your lives, even though the wedding planning process can be such a time-consuming and sometimes overwhelming experience. Probably the most overwhelming aspect of it all is the money it will cost you in order to pull off your dream wedding, and there are some other financial obligations that are involved, as well.
When finances comes into play we all get a little nervous- and for good reason, but don’t worry too much, I’m here to help map out your complete financial guide to getting married. Think of me as your wedding planner—and the best part is you won’t have to pay me a dime.
Budgeting Your Wedding
The first thing you need to do is come up with an ideal budget of how much you plan to spend on your 'special day'. Despite these ‘million dollar wedding’ series that constantly bombard us on TV, it is perfectly realistic to create a fantastic wedding at an affordable cost. Budgeting is a skill that requires knowledge and experience but once you get the hang of it, this skill can have monumental impact on your road to financial freedom. Luckily for you, www.startingbusiness.com provides a well-equipped Wedding Budget Planner to help you along the way.
When budgeting for your wedding, you need to do adequate research beforehand so that you have a realistic idea of how much certain items might cost.
Cost of Wedding purports that the average wedding in the United States typically costs up to $33,306—of course this can be more or less than the amount listed; it all depends on what you want. Keep in mind also that in certain cities things simply cost so depending on your location you might be spending more or less than the average cost for your wedding.
Here’s an example of how the ‘Cost of Wedding’ broke down their wedding expenses:
- Photography and videography-$2,835
- Rental, venue and catering-$11,944
- Attire and accessories-$1,629
- Wedding favors and gifts-$702
- Flowers/ decoration -$1,563
- Wedding planner-$827
Despite these figures, only you can decide how much you want to spend on the big day. Figure out the items or features that are most important to you and those that are not, and put them in that order on your list. Even if you want all the bells and whistles there are many cost-cutting measures that you can employ to ensure that you stay within your budget without compromising the things that you really want on your special day.
There are two other important things you will need to budget for, these include:
- Wedding Bands-Prices range based on your personal taste and the retailer you chose to purchase from. However, wedding bands can start at about $300 on the cheaper end.
- Honeymoon – This is another feature that can range in price depending on several factors such as destination and length of stay. If you plan to honeymoon in another country you have to factor in the cost of plane tickets, accommodations, food and drinks, entertainment, spending money etc.
Saving Money for the Wedding
Since you now have an idea of the typical wedding costs; it should be easier for you to establish your budget. This total will set the stage for all the aspects of the wedding both big and small. If you and your fiancé will be paying for this day this will be the time for you both to start a savings plan. Figure out how much each of you can save each month, and how long it will take for you to reach your goal based on the set amount. If you plan to have a long engagement then you have plenty of time to sock away some extra cash, but if you only have a couple of months you’ll definitely need to employ some vital cost- saving/cost-cutting tips.
Here are Some Ideas:
- Cut Your Guest List- Keep your wedding small and intimate. You only need to invite close family and friends in order to make this day special. Maybe after a few years when you don’t have financial constraints, you and your husband can have a big anniversary bash and invite all the people who you couldn’t invite to the wedding. Think about it this way, at $50 per plate if you cut 50 people from your guest list you’re already saving $2,500.
- Use E-vites – You can cut quite a bit of cost if you opt for electronic wedding invitations instead of sending them through the mail. Printing costs can be quite expensive, pair that with the cost for envelopes, stamps, etc. and it can really add up. It’s free to send E-vites, and they can be just as elegant as the paper kind.
- Simplify Your Menu- You honestly don’t need caviar and Dom Perignon in order for your guests to enjoy their meal. The cheapest bottle of Dom Perignon costs about $200; meanwhile there are lots of great wines available for under $50. Maybe you can splurge and get one bottle of the fancy stuff for the head table, otherwise it’s simply too expensive. Set a realistic amount for the food and drinks and have your caterer provide some meal options within your price range.
- Ditch the Fancy Venue- For some people this is one of the most important features of the wedding, but you really don’t need to rent out a fancy estate which can cost thousands of dollars. A church can be decorated to look just as stunning as a fancy ballroom, and if you have a beautiful backyard there are lots of décor options that can turn it into your dream venue. Plus now that you’ve cut down your guest list you can opt for a smaller space which means less money.
- Choose an Unusual Date and Time- It’s traditional to get married on the weekend and in the afternoon but you can actually save big bucks by not being so traditional. A few wedding experts shared some eye-opening secrets on Bridal Guide; one expert explained that you can save 25% off your wedding cost by booking your venue for January, and the months of December to March can cost up to $50 less per guest. Another expert revealed that a Thursday night wedding can decrease your budget by 10%-20%.
Financial Planning- After the Wedding
The wedding ceremony might be over by now but the financial planning continues. It is now time for husband and wife to map out their financial future by focusing on three main areas:
- Insurance – Chances are you both had insurance policies (life insurance, car insurance, health insurance etc.) when you were still single, but as a married couple these will have to be revisited. It may seem like a hassle but this might actually be a money saving option for both of you; in many instances you may be able to combine certain insurance policies and, in turn, save money. There is also the option of adding your spouse as a beneficiary so that if one person dies the other has access to these funds. Speak to your insurance agent and see what works best for you both.
- Money Management- This is one of the most important conversations in any marriage. Several articles about marriage tips remind us that arguments about money are by far the top predictor of divorce, and we certainly don’t want to go down that road. Proper money management is essential; this will ensure that you are in good fiscal standing in order to meet your long term financial goals whether it’s purchasing a house, starting a family or planning for retirement. Open a Savings Account and discuss how much each of you will contribute each month, the amount you save will determine the length of time it will take to meet your goals. This money management discussion needs to be in-depth; it should include things such as how the monthly bills will be split between you too. How much money will be spent on rent, food, clothing, entertainment, vacations and so on. You also need an emergency fund for unexpected situations such as illness, natural disaster, loss of job or unexpected home repair. Make sure you also discuss how much money you will contribute to this fund and how often. If you don’t have this in place you will have to take from your savings fund when emergencies occur (and they will), and this can be a real setback for the goals you have set in place
- Property Ownership –If both or one of you own property you now have to decide whether you wish to remain the sole property owner, or add your spouse making it a joint ownership. If you are not sure how to go forward in this area it’s best to seek legal advice beforehand.
Essential Wedding Documents
Premarital Agreement- Many people think that pre-marital/prenuptial agreements are only for the rich and famous but this is not the case at all. If you have property, personal assets, liabilities etc. then this legal document will simply make the distribution of assets in the event of divorce much easier on both parties. This must be discussed before the wedding and both partners can set the terms of this agreement. You can even download a Prenuptial Agreement Template online so that you won’t have to pay an attorney to draft the agreement for you. You will still incur fees for notarizing the document (about $10-$20), and for using a court-assigned witness which can be about $50.
Declaration of Legal Name Change- If you plan to legally change your name after marriage you will need to complete a form, which is usually free. However, you won’t be so lucky when changing your name on other important documents. Depending on the state in which you live, changing the name on your driver’s license can cost up to $50, and for your passport name change you can spend up to $150.
When you are budgeting make sure to include these costs as well. You don’t want to spend all your money on the actual ceremony, and then not have enough for the other aspects of the marriage which are equally important.
Wedding Budget Planner
This document is used to plan and calculate the total expenses of a wedding.