How to plan a wedding on a budget : Avoid Breaking the Bank and Your Marriage

Marriage can be a beautiful thing, but a rocky engagement could have a lasting negative impact after the wedding bells have rung. Time and again one of the biggest stress factors during the engagement period (and in life!) is money. This is understandable as the average cost of weddings in the US is $32,641 (yikes!), according to wedding planning site The Knot. But, with proper budgeting tips, preparing for a wedding can be transformed from an unnecessarily stressful experience to an extremely pleasant and exciting one.

Here are some tips how plan a wedding on a budget:

1. Be organized.

Venues. Dresses. Invitations. Bridesmaids. Table assignments. Flowers. The list is endless. The secret to a glitch-free wedding is organization. Start off by creating a shared Google spreadsheet and add separate tabs for each of the different elements of your wedding. Aside from a spreadsheet, there are plenty of helpful wedding planning apps and and checklists you can find online.

If you’re not the digital type, a three-ring binder with color coated dividers will suffice. Helpful things to include would be monthly calendars, checklists and a vendor contact page. If this is all too overwhelming and you just don’t have the time to dedicate to planning a wedding, a wedding planner might be the right move for you.

2. Prioritize what’s most important to you.

Sit down with your fiancée and come up with a list prioritizing what’s most important to you two. Is it the band, the venue, the décor or would you rather splurge on the honeymoon? Once you’ve established a budget, this will help you know where to spend and how much.

3. Take advantage of credit card benefits.

Expenses run high when planning a wedding. Consider looking into credit card offers to help offset a wedding’s daunting costs. Luckily, there are several credit cards which offer new customer bonus programs, offering as much as 50,00 bonus points if you spend several thousand dollars in the first few months.

While some people associate credit cards with debt, if used responsibly, they can act as a tool to help boost your credit score, essential for many major purchases in life, such as buying a home or even getting a job. Of course, the last thing you want is to have your wedding put you into debt. So be sure to pay off the balance immediately and remember to do so every month, which will only help build your credit score.

Some wedding vendors might even offer alternative consumer financing where you could pay in monthly installments. This will give you the “extra wiggle room” necessary for wedding expenses, enabling you to pay within a monthly budget as opposed to paying in one shot. Of course, steer clear of financing options with high APRs and favor those that promote 0% financing or interest-free installments (like Splitit!).

Keep these tips in mind when things start to get rocky and maybe you might have some unexpected cash on hand to splurge on the honeymoon of your dreams. 😉

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