Weddings often aren’t cheap. In fact, the average US wedding costs a whopping $33,900. How do couples save up this amount of money? This guide offers a few useful saving tips.
How much will your wedding cost?
While $33,900 might be the average cost, it’s possible to get married for a lot less than this. In fact, some people get married for as little as $500. On the opposite end of the scale, there are those that splash out almost $100k on their wedding.
Start by working out how much you’re prepared to spend. You may find that you have to make some compromises if your dream wedding is expensive and you’re on a low income – otherwise you’ll be spending decades saving up.
There are lots of ways to cut the costs of a wedding. Some of the most effective ways of cutting costs include:
- Getting married out of season: Not getting married in summer could reduce venue and vendor costs by as much as 50%!
- Opting for a buffet meal: Sit-down meals tend to cost an average of $40 per person. A buffet meal costs an average of $27 per person.
- Keeping the guest list under control: The more guests you invite, the more you’ll need to spend on food, drink, and venue hire. If you don’t want a small wedding, you could compromise by inviting most of your guests to the reception after the meal (food is the big cost!).
- Getting ‘mates rates’ by hiring friends for jobs like photography, DJing, etc: Hiring friends instead of vendors can also save you huge amounts. Just make sure that you trust them to do a good job. The best friends to hire are those that actually work in the trade (i.e. a friend who is actually a wedding photographer by trade).
Incorporate all of these tricks and you could arrange a wedding for no more than $15,000, which could make saving up a lot easier. Of course, you may not be willing to sacrifice a summer wedding with a sit-down meal and lots of guests – in which case you should keep the $30k budget in mind.
Can your family chip in?
Traditionally, the parents of the bride would pay for the majority of the wedding. Nowadays, the bride and groom tend to pay for the bulk of the wedding.
Despite no longer being a tradition, you could find that parents are still willing to chip in. This could be especially the case if they had help with their weddings – they may feel that it is their duty to do the same for you. Obviously, you shouldn’t expect a family to pay for your whole wedding. However, they may be able to make a few small contributions that could help significantly.
Setting up a savings account
Most couples start saving by setting up a joint savings account. A high interest saver could allow you to accumulate interest on top of whatever money you decide to put in. This could help you to save up the required money more quickly.
You can find high interest savings accounts in most banks. Most of these accounts will come with certain conditions in order for you to accumulate interest, which could include:
- Contributing a certain amount of money to the account each month
- Not taking any money out of the account (unless you put more in within the same month)
- Maintaining a minimum balance within the account.
You can compare high interest savings accounts online at sites like NerdWallet.com. By shopping around you can find the best interest rates available.
How much should I contribute each month?
To meet your savings goal by a certain date, you’ll need to contribute a certain amount of money each month. If your wedding is going to cost $15,000 and you plan to get married in two years, this means saving up $625 each month (although if you factor in interest savings and contributions from family, you may be able to contribute less). You could divide this equally between the two of you, or one of you could contribute the bulk of it.
Sites like Pigly.com offer savings calculators that can help you to work out exactly how much you should be putting in each month. It’s worth using these tools to help you contribute the right amount. Make sure that there’s still enough money in your monthly budget to suitably live on and that you’re not getting yourself into other debts just to pay for your wedding. It’s better to put off your wedding an extra year than to financially suffer for a couple of years (financial struggles could push your relationship to the limit – and then there might not be any wedding at all!).
Savings mistakes to avoid
There are lots of common mistakes to avoid when saving up a large amount of money. These mistakes include:
- Dipping into your savings for other expenses: Your wedding savings should not be spent on anything other than your wedding. When it comes to emergency costs, make sure you have a separate emergency savings account. There are some accounts that can restrict withdrawals or offer penalties to deter you from dipping into them.
- Not making your minimum contribution: In order to meet your savings goal by a certain date, you need to be making a minimum contribution each month. Setting up a direct debit could be the easiest way of doing this. This may not be possible with some savings accounts, however, you may be able to choose an account with penalties such as no interest every month you fail to make the minimum monthly contribution.
Not saving up enough: Fail to save up enough for your wedding and you’ll have to either make sacrifices or scramble around at the last minute to find extra sources of money. This could mean taking out loans and borrowing from family members – which isn’t ideal. Make sure that your savings goal covers all the costs of your wedding day. It can sometimes be worth budgeting a little extra for those small unexpected costs such as wedding dress alterations or forgotten last-minute details.