From luscious flowers to sparkly engagement rings, princess-style dresses and luxurious venues, the costs of a wedding are nowhere near modest these days. In fact, the average wedding in the US leaves the happy couples $33,000 poorer, according to a recent study. But if you are not interested in spending your yearly income on your nuptials, then there’s still good news – just keep on reading our top tips on how to avoid wedding debt.
Save Money on the Engagement Ring
Wedding planning doesn’t start once the question has been popped – it actually starts with the selection of the engagement ring. Since rings are one of the priciest items you will purchase ahead of your wedding, the first thing you need to be prepared for is that a good quality diamond ring will cost you no less than a couple thousand dollars. If you are not tempted by the idea of going into debt in order to pay for a sparkly, twinkly creation, then you might want to consider going the alternative route and opt for pearl engagement rings instead. These days, the range of Japanese Akoya and White South Sea pearl rings makes it easy for grooms-to-be to go the pearly route. Since pearl engagement rings usually come with prices three to five times lower than your average diamond-adorned piece, saving big bucks while ring shopping is definitely the first step when on a mission to avoid wedding debt.
Plan and Meet with Vendors Ahead
One of the most imperative things you need to do when aiming to stay on budget, as well as save ahead of your wedding is to plan ahead. Time is money – and this has never ringed truer than when planning your wedding. Fact is, planning ahead, as well as booking the major vendors early, will allow you to opt for payment installments instead of having to take a loan and pay cash. But before you sign any contracts, here’s a major tip to always keep in mind: inquire as many vendors as possible prior to making a final decision. Extensive research and back-to-back meetings with vendors definitely takes a lot of time, which is why giving yourself a time frame of one to one and half years for the wedding planning process is ideal.
Pay for the Most Expensive Things First
You decided to save on the food, the drinks and the décor and you opted for a pearl ring instead of a classic diamond one. But there’s one area you won’t compromise on: the dress. Since your gown is going to be the biggest expense, it is always smart to try and pay for it fully in cash, months (or even a year) prior to the wedding. Paying for the most expensive things first will get the biggest expenses out of the way, which will make your overall budgeting much easier. Speaking of budgets, working with a realistic sum and not a dreamy bank account is always advisable. To make sure you are on track budget-wise, schedule the ‘money talk’ with your families as soon as possible after getting engaged.
Opt for a Fall Wedding
You’ve been dreaming of a June wedding and you’ve already assembled a large inspiration folder filled with summer wedding pictures via Pinterest. But fact is, if you are determined to forgo the debt and save your bucks, summer weddings are not the way to go. When it comes to weddings, everything from the photographer to the venue is more expensive during the hot months – with less room to negotiate. Budget-friendly alternative: opt for a fall wedding instead and enjoy the lower prices, as well as the vendor’s openness to negotiating.
Don’t Invite Everyone You Know
One of the major mistakes brides and grooms make when planning a wedding on a budget is overlooking the expenses brought by a larger guest list. Fact is, inviting too many guests and getting caught up in having a glamorous wedding bash is one of the main ways couples find themselves in debt ahead of the nuptials. To stay on a budget-friendly track, don’t start by assuming that 10% of your invites will get a negative RSVP. The way to go about your guest list is to assume that everyone you are inviting is coming – this way, you will not be tempted to invite distant acquaintances just as a safety cushion.