Post # 1
I am new to the hive, am recently engaged and am curious about one question…
How are you paying for your wedding?
My fiance and I are paying for the wedding ourselves and have started saving since we first talked about it (a couple of months back). However, it seemed as though an average American wedding is $30K and that’s a lot of money, not to mention our accelerated saving plan has put quite a strain on our normal lifestyle. We’re trying not to go into debt to pay for the wedding. So how are you paying for your wedding, and if you are mostly paying for it yourself, what saving tricks do you utilize and how do you stay consistent with your saving plan?
By The Way, I have a lot of friends that have gotten married, but finances seems to be a very sensitive subject and nobody is willing to discuss about it openly. Hopefully with the anonymity with this site, I can get a better idea.
Post # 3
Setting a budget, then priorities. My FH and I worked at UPS butt crack early in the morning to kick start our savings. Our tax refunds will be going towards our wedding as well. I’m not going to go to summer school (not sure if that is a sacrifice ) We are paying cash for everything, because eventhough I love the concept of earning miles, I don’t want to tempt myself with carrying a balance. Our goal before having a crazy wedding is being debt free. I cried in the shower, but I’m good now. It wasn’t an easy decision for me. For him, it was a no brainer.
This site will give you so many money chic money saving ideas you’ll be surprised. You can always sell your non-perishable wedding decor here when you are finished with it. Good luck!
Post # 4
Knowing your budget and sticking to that budget help keep you on the right path to staying on the positive balance sheet. It is a tough task and one i failed miserably. =( Don’t do that! Our initial budget was $35K..will be about $5-8k over, we’re allowing our guests to bring dates, increasing our guestlist. Cut guestlist to save money.
My fiance and I are paying for everything too. Its nice knowing we can do this for ourselves. Its tough and we’ll be a bit short by the time the wedding roll around. My fiance and I are routing a percent of our pay check into a high yield saving account we set up specifically for the wedding which earns us an additional $150 a month. All the transaction is automatic, so it becomes easier for us to save. We hope to continue doing this even after the wedding for a downpayment on our house.
Also, if you’re really careful, using your credit card can benefit you. We use my credit card to pay for everything we can (for vendors who were willing to give us a tax break or discount for paying with cash we pay cash, ask if they will do this for you, helps save a lot). For other vendors and other non wedding itmes, we pay with credit card to get "cash back." I can collect up to 5% back in cash (Discovery card is great!). We pay the bill in full to avoid monthly fee.
Post # 5
Our total budget was about $15,000; we will probably come in about $18,000. We started out with the intent of paying for everything ourselves. However, our initial plans (which would have come in closer to $8000) were disappointing, to say the least, to my parents. They had envisioned something much more elaborate, and being able to invite way more family and friends (our initial guest list was about 50, now up to 120).
And so, the vision was that my folks would pay for all the stuff they want that we initially did not include in our plan. My mom now keeps stepping in and "paying me back" for things that we had intended to cover ourselves. Which is fine – they did pay for quite a bit of my sister’s wedding, which was actually more expensive – and they can certainly afford it. I am not sure how much of the total they will end up covering – but I would guess it will be at least $10,000, if not more.
I am also astounded at the cost estimates – but we have found that our wedding will be at the low end of those estimates mostly because we are seriously prioritizing our spending. We knew there were things we really wanted to be quality – the food, the wine, the flowers, and the photography – but there is a lot of stuff we just aren’t doing (programs, chair bows, photography booths, elaborate centerpieces, a large bridal party). We chose our country club for the venue, partly because of their great chef and really reasonable prices – partly because they will provide almost all the decorations. There are lots of ways to save money – but the biggest one is always going to be to figure out what YOU really need, and focus on that, as opposed to all the stuff that the bridal books and magazines say that you really should want.
Post # 6
by saving our butts off! 🙂 we are paying for the wedding ourselves. our budget is 60K, but it looks like we’ve gone over and it will end up being about $80K. 🙁
but everyone has given you good advice so far. to set your priorities and not be tempted to do everything you want. and in weddings, every little bit counts. we kept going over little by little ($50 here, $100 there), and actually a few splurges that we didn’t account for (we got tempted getting each other big gifts, lol), so now we have to be smarter about everything.
but yes, we do not want to go into debt for our wedding as we hope to start saving for our house soon afterwards.
Post # 7
We are paying for our wedding ourselves as well, except for the rehearsal dinner which my fiance’s parents are going to pay. While 30K may be average, that varies significantly depending on where you live. I had no idea how much things cost and I just finally went through and made estimates on everything in our budget this past weekend. It was initially at 16,000 but we cut the guest list down to 200 and took out some nonessential things, and now we’re down to just under 13,000. We plan on making a lot of things ourselves and we’re also relying on friends and family who can do things for us. We have a family friend making our cake at cost; we just have to transport it (which I’m hoping to delegate to his parents so that they’ll be responsible in case something goes wrong), and a good friend of mine will do our ceremony music. We’re going to make our own invitations, the site we chose is pretty enough that we’re going to do very few decorations, and we decided to have people carpool instead of providing limos for the bridal party. I think we’re only going to do beer and wine at the reception too. I definitely think it is important to get estimates for EVERYTHING before you start signing contracts because it’s surprising how expensive things are and you’ll want to know where you can cut costs from the beginning. Decide what’s important to you; I would rather have as many people as possible there and have a ton of fun than worry about a bunch of little details people will hardly notice.
We’re saving just by putting every little extra bit of money we have towards the wedding. My fiance just bought a house, so he won’t be able to contribute much; but my personal expenses are very low. I drive the same car my parents bought me 8 years ago, so I don’t have a car payment and I’m going to move in with my fiance when my lease ends. We were going to try to wait until we’re married, but that’s a lot of extra money that can go towards the wedding. I also picked up an extra tutoring job, which if you already have a degree can pay quite a bit! Little bits of savings add up over time!
Post # 8
A combination of hard work, sacrifices, and really amazing family.
My parents are paying for the entire ceremony & reception (about 30k), plus transportation. My oldest sister is paying for the flowers. My other sister is paying for the band. His parents are paying for the rehearsal and hair & makeup.
Still, the remaining money is 10-15k. So I worked two jobs for 6 months, and my fiance is still working two jobs (we got a job together that pays $14/hour). We also contacted lendingtree for a personal loan and found a lender that has a rate less than 10% who would let us borrow up to 8k.
What are the other sacrifices – other than time, sleep? Well, we wanted a very small and personal wedding. My parents want a huge wedding – so straight off the bat this is not my ideal wedding. Since he who holds the purse has the control – I am giving up a lot of my own power and not arguing with my family about what I want vs what they want. I won’t be having a bachelorette or bridal shower, because my bridesmaids are either paying for part of my wedding or are too young to be able to host either of those. But I am getting married, and I have an amazing family. What’s there to complain about?
Post # 9
First of all, you can definitly do a wedding for less than $30,000. There is another recent thread on this board about the price of weddings and many people were doing it for around $10,000.
I think the key is decided what you are capable of paying (read: what you can afford without going into debt) and then apportioning the costs spending more money on the things you want and less money on the things you don’t really care for. In order to cut costs I have decided to DIY a lot of things – invitations, decorations for tables, flower arrangements, favors. I also got a beautiful Pronovias dress on ebay from another bride over 1/2 off, and a second hand veil and headband. So much of this stuff is overpriced and it never hurts to get good used items – no body will know the difference!
Keep in mind that you have a life after your wedding and this is the most important part! I think it’s CRAZY that people would be spending absorbant amounts of money on a wedding and not even own a house yet! Remember that once the wedding is over the most important part of your life beings – the marriage! You don’t want to be broke or in debt if you can avoid it.
Good luck! and if you have any more questions on how to keep the wedding in your budget you can definitly find lots of ideas here
Post # 10
If you choose to pay for the wedding yourself, an added suggestion would be NOT to budget in the cash gifts that you expect to receive from your guests. Budget on what you can afford right now. Pretend like you’ll be getting nothing so you are not tempted to go over your established budget! Good luck and Best Wishes!!!!
Jennifer Melnick Carota
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Post # 11
i hear you on the money issue. we are having 400 ppl at the wedding and paying for this ourselves…based on NY prices. ugh! well, first off, we had a long engagement. about a year and a half just so we could save more. i started bringing in breakfast and lunch as opposed to buying it. we stopped vactioning and eating out so much. Every payccheck, i would give myself 100 bucks to spend on something wedding related (confetti, shoes, paper etc). well you can imagine how many things i can accumulate just by buying them slowly, one at a time. and its cash which will help us at the end – we are trying to avoid using the credit card. we put our money into an ING account which gives us back a lot of interest. and we are trying to do a lot of things ourselves…as opposed to hiring someone to do them. in the end, i feel like taking things slow really helped us out. we were able to pay cash and still recover for the next big purchase. good luck!
Post # 12
Just wanted to second (third?) the posters who mentioned that a wedding does not need to cost 30K+. Of course, this may vary based on where you will be, but you need only spend what you decide to spend. Everything else besides your Fiance and the marriage license is an extra =) Don’t listen to everyone who tells you that you ‘have’ to have anything.
We’ll be coming in under 5K. It’s only one day, and our money is going towards a house instead =)
Post # 13
We are paying for the wedding ourselves and fresh out of college so it has been rough! But thankfully, we come from a smaller town and will have a smaller guest list (around 90 invited but many from out of town who we are not sure will come). Thus our budget was 8000 with the assumption that it would be 10000 eventually – however, i dont think we will need all that! We are saving hard for it as well – 200 dollars a week is directly deposited from our checking into a 4% savings account and we’ve only been doing this since Oct (our wedding is in Aug) so we will just barely make it I think.
Definitely don’t budget in cash gifts! We aren’t counting on it, however, if we have it, after the wedding we would love to start chipping away more at our credit card debts. I have to say that we are not planning on a huge honeymoon at all though and that really helped costs – maybe just a few days in California for now and hopefully save up for something bigger next year. I don’t get much vacation time anyway so it works out pretty well! Good luck!
Post # 14
The Bank of Dad. I guess I’m one lucky lady but honestly, we’re graduating from college a month before we get hitched and we’d be having turkey sandwiches in a backyard (which isn’t a bad thing!) if it weren’t for our parents. We’re probably putting in a couple thousand of our own money for decorations, invites, honeymoon, shoes and veil etc. (i hope this makes me seem less like a small child and more like a soon-to-be-married woman)
As for $ saving advice… don’t believe the bridal magazines or the knot. You don’t NEED anything at your wedding besides a marriage certificate. If you keep in touch with reality (and skip serving filet) then you can easily host an inexpensive wedding. No one is going to notice the details anyway!!!
Post # 15
To be honest, a long time ago, I felt very cheated when I realized that my parents won’t be able to help us with the wedding payment. Since my parents can’t help, I didn’t expect his to pay for it either. Turns out, they’re worst off than my side of the family. We come from very middle class families, so right off the bat, we have an understanding that this will be on us when we decide to have a go at it. There are no surprises there.
When we first started planning, I sat down with my fiance and draft a saving plan (an accelerated one at that). So, we decided that for every paycheck, we will put $500 each in our saving account. We figure that within a year (which is when we expect the wedding to be), we’ll have $24K if we are consistent. On top of that, everything unexpected that comes up (trips that we have to go to, graduations in the family, etc), as soon as we know, we start putting additional money aside for the funding of such events. For example, we know we will be travelling to the east coast in May, and have put an additional $100 on top of the $500 each paycheck. That way, we don’t have to dip into our saving. I find it extremely helpful to do it this way, even though it is very hard on our lifestyle lately.
We made a lot of sacrifices. We don’t eat out as much anymore. We cut down on going out and keep going to the clubs to a bare minimum (only when we have to). We are planning to do a lot of DIY projects, where we can and be reasonable in our expenses. We are starting to identify what is important to us to incorporate as part of the wedding. I keep thinking back to the weddings I have attended and determined what factors were present that I didn’t even take notice or care very little about, and maybe exclude those things. I am one of those girls that have thought a lot about the wedding day. I want something very intimate but nice. Unfortunately, I live in northern CA and things are extremely costly here.
Thanks everyone for such great advice and so much details. This is exactly what I was looking for.
Post # 16
My Fiance and I live in Southern Cal and the price for a 250-300 person wedding can get pretty steep. Since we both have big families, we made a deal with both set of parents. They will pay for the guests only. My Fiance and I will pay for the rest (decor, stationary, floral, photography, video, honeymoon, attire, etc.). It’s working out quite well because they can invite whomever they want (as long as it doesn’t exceed the 400 maximum of our venue).
Although my Fiance and I are not paying for the guests, the cost for the other expenses can still be a bit high. We’re cutting back on eating out, vacationing, going to bars/clubs, and shopping. We’re also planning to send out postcards for out Save-The-Date Cards and RSVPs to cut back on postage costs.
We’re having a pretty long engagement – a year and a half. This allowed us to really think things through and decide what we want to do for our wedding. We set an initial budget and presented the per person cost to our parents.
It’s pretty ridiculous how some vendors (reception venues especially) rack up their prices when it comes to a wedding. A hotel that I’m familiar with charged my cousin about $30 per person for her birthday party. However, a friend of mine got married at the exact same ballroom with the exact same package and had to pay $90+ for each person! Ugh. Sorry..just had to vent a little.