This year, the average cost of a U.S. wedding was reported to be $27,021, and if you’re not careful, you’ll end up paying a year’s worth of college tuition on one night.
(Of course, you could do what this bride did and hold your entire wedding for under $4,000!)
Inspired by SmartMoney’s guide to paying for a wedding, we thought of five financial pitfalls to avoid during the planning process.
Stray Away From Your Budget
Before starting to plan your wedding, sit down and set up a budget. Everything you plan from that point on should be within that budget. Increasing the guest list by 50 people may force you to reconsider the flowers you ordered for your centerpieces. Sticking to your designated budget means prioritizing your wedding expenses and compromising. LV’s My Money Center links your bank accounts and organizes a budget for you!
Give In to Pressure
You’ll face all sorts of pressure when planning your wedding: pressure to conform to tradition, to what your peers are doing and to what you see in magazines. If you don’t like cake, then don’t have a wedding cake just because it’s “tradition.” Don’t buy into wedding trends if they aren’t your thing, either. And finally, don’t give in to the pressure to imitate previous weddings you’ve attended. You don’t know who paid for that 400-person wedding you went to last month.
Buy Your Dream Dress
Wedding magazines are fun to look through and gain inspiration from, but that Marchesa gown is most likely $5,000 over your budget and might not look the same on you as it does on the model. With time, patience (and possibly the help of your mother and your closest friends) you can find an affordable dress that was made to be worn by you.
Let Vendors Get the Best of You
Caterers, florists and venues survive off of weddings. But if you’re patient and creative, you should have no trouble sticking to your budget. If your caterer suggests serving guests a seven-course dinner, tell him what your budget is and ask him to work with you to serve a less lavishly organized meal. Have a florist create a centerpiece and use its template to make the rest yourself. Finally, don’t settle on the first venue you see—create a spreadsheet of each venue’s details and come to a conclusion by weighing all the options.
Go Into Debt
Going into debt planning your wedding is perhaps the least financially promising thing that you can do at the beginning of your marriage. These tips will help you start your married life off right and with good credit.