Did you recently become engaged? If so, congratulations! Before you say ‘yes to the dress,’ take a minute to say ‘yes’ to a budget. Many people are surprised to learn how quickly wedding costs add up, and who wants to start married life deep in debt?
Here are five ways you can plan a dream wedding that you can afford.
1. Have the money talk.
First, make sure you’re on the same page with your fiancé in terms of what type of wedding you want, how many people you want to invite, and how much you want to spend. In fact, your ability to talk about a wedding budget sets you up for success in the rest of your married life as well.
Next, identify your funding sources. Are Mom or Dad contributing? If so, have that necessary discussion to find out exactly how much they will pay. Add the money you intend to spend yourself, and now you have the beginnings of a solid budget.
Did You Know? On average, couples in the U.S. spent $33,900 on their wedding in 2019. While nearly every couple surveyed in a 2018 study set a budget, nearly 50% went over their budget.1
2. Do your research.
Every wedding is unique, which means you can spend as little or as much as your budget allows. When planning your special day, decide whether you need to include costs for the following:
- Invitations, thank you cards and postage
- Engagement and wedding rings
- Wedding dress and alterations, including veil, shoes, and jewelry
- Tux rentals or suit purchase
- Hair, makeup, and other salon services
- Photography and videography, including engagement photos
- Rehearsal dinner
- Reception venue rental and decor
- Food and drink
- Music and sound system
- Wedding favors and gifts for the wedding party
- Transportation and parking
- Day-after brunch
- And more…
3. Be creative.
People who’ve recently planned a wedding will tell you to remain flexible, since things almost always cost more than you expect. Once you’ve discovered you can’t afford to do everything you want, look for ways to save:
- Be flexible on your location; you can have a beautiful wedding almost anywhere.
- Be open to a date other than a Saturday evening in June. Look at Friday or Sunday options or consider a morning ceremony followed by brunch.
- Consider your guest list carefully; costs are almost always directly related to the number of people attending.
- Don’t be afraid to ask vendors for discounts.
- Do some things yourself—use online invitations, create your own music playlist, ask friends to decorate the venue, rent your own chairs and tables… just be willing to have people help you.
4. Prioritize what really matters.
While you want your wedding day to be the stuff of dreams, chances are that you can’t afford to do everything you want. Decide what to skip and when to splurge; identify the three items at the top of your wish list and then budget accordingly for the rest. If you simply can’t afford to have the wedding you really want, consider saving and a longer engagement period rather than going into debt.
View the average cost breakdown for a typical wedding »
5. Establish a separate account at Alaska USA for wedding expenses.
Once you know how much you have available to spend, make sure you stay on budget. Set up a separate account with us; this helps you easily track your spending. If you use a credit card, consider charging everything to one card and use the reward points for your honeymoon travel. Just make sure you can pay off the debt!
Planning your wedding can be so much fun. Congratulations! And best wishes from Alaska USA for a long and happy life together.
Set up a separate account to keep your wedding budget on track! Visit a branch near you or call our Member Service Center 24/7 at 800-525-9094.
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