Weddings should be about love, but, these joyous occasions can be quite costly. With mindful planning you can have a wallet-friendly wedding. According to Brides magazine, the average cost of a wedding is $26,986, down from the pre-recession average of $28,082. This is still exceptionally high considering that the median U.S. income is around $45,000. In this economy about 80 to 90 percent of couples set a budget before planning their wedding.
Unfortunately, some of these couples become “victims of their own fantasies and media influences.” In the midst of all their planning, 32 percent of couples go over their budget and begin their lives together with more debt.
So, how is the nearly $27,000 spent? According to The Knot, nearly 50 percent is spent on the reception. About 12 percent is spent on photography (and videography). Ten percent is spent on entertainment and flowers each. And two to three percent is spent on the ceremony, stationery, rings, transportation, and favors each too. No matter what your budget you can have a magical day without breaking the bank.
So what steps should you take to have beautiful wallet friendly wedding? Here are a few simple suggestions:
- Who’s paying? Before you start planning you need to know how you’ll pay for the celebrations. It has been traditional for parents to contribute, but recent research shows that 75 percent of couples on contributing themselves.
- Start saving. It’s been suggested that you start saving for the wedding as soon as you’re engaged (if you haven’t started already). The Knot says that a good saving goal is setting aside 20 percent of your monthly income for the wedding.
- Prioritize. A couple on any budget should prioritize and focus on parts of the wedding and reception that means the most to them (like the music, flowers or food). By creating a priority list you can then use a wedding budget worksheet to plan the wedding.
- Guests. Reconsider how many people you plan to invite. Between the food, liquor, place settings, stationery, and favors per guest it can get quite expensive. Be cautious.
- Dates and Time. To get the best deals, plan a wedding that’s out of season (June and September are the most popular/costly months for weddings). A dinner reception can be expensive, but a brunch is more cost-efficient.
- Themes and Decorations. Minimalist and modern decorations are not only beautiful, but cheaper too. Floral centerpieces are beautiful but expensive. Consider other centerpieces like candles.
- Compare and Bargain. Do your research beforehand. Today, more vendors are willing to bargain, so shop around for the best price.