How to Budget for the Big Day

Jul 11, 2018 8:00:00 AM

Whether you’re recently engaged, a few weeks away from your wedding date or just dreaming about the big day, planning a wedding is loads of fun. It can also be more than a little stressful, especially when it comes to budgeting for your wedding. The average wedding now costs more than $35,000, which for many couples means that being careful about the wedding budget isn’t just a smart idea – it’s absolutely essential.

Read on for a few tips on how to budget for your wedding so that you can have the day of your dreams, without going into mounds of debt.

The Dress

There’s no ceiling on the cost of a wedding dress, and unfortunately for the budget-conscious bride, even the least expensive options will often top $1,000. If you’re not ready to spend that much on a frock you’ll wear just once, check out secondhand and rental options online. Or, if you’re going for a more casual wedding vibe, scope out traditional retailers for a white dress which can offer a uniquely simple – and much less expensive – wedding look.

The Cake

More and more brides and grooms are shying away from the traditional cake to try something a little more fun, and a whole lot cheaper. The options are practically endless – think about a stack of cupcakes piled high on a multi-tiered cake tray, a DIY cookie decorating bar, or even a colorful wall of donuts hanging off festive pegs. Another way to save budget on the cake is to present a smaller tiered cake for display and pictures, then serve guests from a sheet cake.

The Venue

Finding a wedding venue isn’t easy. You need a spectacular location that’s not too big and not too small, represents you two as a couple, and will be appropriate in any weather condition. Venue costs can add up fast, so if you’re concerned that you won’t be able to afford the perfect place, think about how you can create your dream wedding atmosphere in a place that’s maybe not your dream venue. If you can’t afford an outdoor gazebo covered in lush, trailing wisteria vines, how about moving greenery into a hotel ballroom?

The Flowers

To reduce your floral budget, think local. Flowers that don’t need to be shipped a long way and kept fresh will be more cost-effective, and have the added bonus of looking gorgeous all day and all night. Think about beautiful flowers or vegetation that naturally grows in your area, and see if any of it fits into your wedding theme. It’s also becoming more and more popular to design floral themes around greenery alone, so if you’re already considering a nature-themed wedding, this can create a lush feeling and save you big bucks, too.

The Reception

Catering costs add up quickly, but you can reduce these somewhat by opting for a buffet over a sit-down meal. Just make sure to consider guests’ dietary needs – ask about vegetarian, gluten-free and food allergies on the initial invite. And even if most people eat meat, choosing a vegetarian option can still save big bucks. As with your flowers, think local for food. Meat and produce that’s in season and locally grown will cost less, and be a great treat for out of town guests who can enjoy sampling your city’s local cuisine.

The Rewards

If you’re like most couples, you’ll be putting at least some of your wedding expenses on a credit card. Make sure it’s one that offers simple terms and great rewards, so that your wedding spending comes with at least a few benefits. HUECU, for example, offers 1% cash back on all purchases (not to mention 2% on groceries and 3% on gas), so even if you’re on a budget, your spending toward the big day will be a more rewarding experience.

Tags: Budgeting, Money Tips, Savings, Personal Finance