Did you know that the average cost of a wedding is now $35,329? That’s the equivalent of a year of college tuition, a new car, multiple vacations, or a significant down payment on a house. And if you’re currently planning your wedding, you’re probably looking for ways to slash that figure into something more reasonable.
By setting a wedding budget that prioritizes expenses and strategically allocates your spend, you’ll enjoy a much more pleasant planning experience. The key is to divide your budget so that you know what you want to splurge on and where you’d like to save money.
When to Splurge
A wedding is a once in a lifetime event. If you want to host an unforgettable party that your friends and families love – and that you look back on with fond memories in the years to come – you’re going to have to spend on some things. The key is to know what to spend on. Here are a few areas worth splurging:
- Reception venue. It’s okay to pay for a nice reception venue that you feel reflects your taste, style, and needs. This is where the majority of the evening and afternoon will be spent, so it’s okay to pay a premium for the perfect space.
- Reception entertainment. While a live band is more expensive than a DJ, they can transform an average reception into a lively evening of fun and dancing. Look for a band that specializes in weddings and can play a diverse set list – such as The Grooves. Experience goes a long way when selecting a band.
- Food and drinks. You don’t necessarily need strip steak and a full open bar, but selecting good food and drinks will ensure your guests have a great time.
While the wedding ceremony is special, it’s the reception that everyone will ultimately remember. By getting these three areas right, you’ll be sure to throw a great party.
When to Save
If you’re going to splurge in some areas, you’re going to have to cut back in other areas. Here are a few places you can pinch pennies and get creative:
- No offense to the florists out there, but this is one area where you can cut back. Purchasing fresh flowers and having some friends arrange them in strategic locations will shave thousands off your budget.
- Wedding venue. The actual wedding venue isn’t nearly as important as the reception venue. You’re going to be here for 45 minutes to an hour. Pick a nice location, but don’t go crazy.
- Wedding cake. Instead of purchasing a five-tier wedding cake that can feed a small army, purchase a small cake for you and your spouse to cut into. Then, in the back, have large sheet cakes cut up to serve the guests. Most people won’t even notice.
Not everyone will agree with this list, but at the end of the day, most guests aren’t going to notice the smaller details. Saving a few bucks here will help you stay within budget.
Get Your Marriage Off on the Right Start
They call the first few months or years of a marriage “the honeymoon phase.” During this time, you’re supposed to be so enamored with your new spouse that nothing else matters. Unfortunately, money has a way of ruining this phase for a lot of couples.
A nice, extravagant wedding is great, but only if you can afford it. Going deep into debt for an event that lasts maybe six hours isn’t a good idea. Be strategic with your budget and make sure you’re spending on what matters to you.