Are you willing to go into debt to pay for your wedding? If you said yes, you’re certainly not alone. A recent survey by Student Loan Hero found that a staggering 74% of couples aren’t just okay with the idea, they’re planning on taking on debt to cover their wedding costs.
With three out of four couples actively preparing to whip out credit cards or take out personal loans to cover wedding bands and centerpieces, it begs the question: is there any way to avoid this debt-driven nuptial cycle?
Fortunately, the answer is yes.
Here are a few suggestions for the simplest ways to keep your costs down and that debt figure low without totally hamstringing the quality of your wedding. Keep in mind, these aren’t magic bullet, fix-all solutions, but simply affordable considerations that can keep the costs associated with your big day at a minimum.
Plan and Schedule Everything
It may sound cliché, but the first thing that you absolutely have to do if you want to control your expenses is to start planning everything you can as early as possible. This doesn’t mean you need to create a bridezilla or become a stressed out, micromanaging groom. However, reasonably planning every possible aspect of your wedding is still an excellent way to predict and control what you end up spending.
There are the obvious things, like venue costs and the number of people invited. On top of that, here are a few suggestions for less-common areas that you’ll want to cover in the planning stages:
- Will you spring for extra things like a full wedding band or an open bar?
- Have you selected a wedding style, and is it cost-effective?
- Have you brainstormed hidden costs, like tailoring a suit, adjusting a dress, or resizing a ring?
There are always a million details to attend to when planning a wedding. Thoroughly organizing, planning, and scheduling everything is the number one best way to keep tabs on your overall budget.
Make a Realistic Budget
Speaking of budgets, one of the simplest ways to restrain your spending is to set an official budget for your wedding. This doesn’t mean you have to make everything about the almighty dollar, but setting a budget can help you reign in unnecessary expenses and avoid piling up debt that will dog you into the future.
After all, if you enter your marriage with tens of thousands of extra dollars recently accumulated in wedding debt, it can make early married life difficult. You may find that money is tight and stress is riding high. On top of that, too much existing debt can be a primary factor for being denied a much-needed mortgage, car loan, or even a credit card.
Once again, as you begin planning and organizing, sit down and take the time to come up with a realistic budget. Consider what you can reasonably spend and then add up your expenses to compare the two.
If you find that you’re way over budget, knowing this at the beginning can help you cut out unnecessary expenses (like hiring a wedding planner) or avoid splurging on one specific area (like having an ice-cream truck show up at your reception) at the expense of everything else.
Consider All of the Option
Next up, make sure that you always consider all of the options. You may have your heart set on a specific look, style, arrangement, activity, venue, and so on. However, before you blindly commit, take some time to look around at your options. You may find that there are often perfectly acceptable alternatives that won’t cost you an arm and a leg.
For instance, if you’re dead set on booking a popular barn reception venue that comes at a premium, shop other options and see if you can nab something equally rustic at a fraction of the price.
If you’re set on a simple honeymoon, you may still find that you’re going to spending several thousand dollars on hotel rooms while you’re away. If that’s the case, consider buying a tent or even investing in a small trailer and going camping instead. It’s an incredibly affordable and surprisingly doable option, regardless of the time of year.
Remember to Stay Focused on What Really Matters
As a final reminder, remember to prioritize what matters throughout the wedding planning experience. This can help you let go of the (often costly) material decisions in favor of crafting an incredible experience that you remember forever, regardless of the glitz and the glamor.
At a certain point, it’s important to ignore those Pinterest boards and expensive suggestions from relatives and friends. Instead, focus on building a solid wedding budget, organizing and scheduling all of your expenses and activities, and going over all of the options for each one as well. If you can put your wedding plans through this three-step process, you’ll be able to maintain the integrity and quality of your big day without breaking the bank as you go along.