Weddings are big business. We've all heard that the word "wedding" in front of photographer or caterer will automatically double the price you're quoted. But did you know that the average U.S. couple spends $26,542 on their big day? With the majority spending between about $19,000 and $33,000.
So how can you stop your fairytale day from turning into a financial nightmare? It's worth remembering the financial impact of your wedding day. One of the biggest causes of divorce is debt and financial worries - so don't start married life with financially crippling debts.

Here are some tips for holding your wedding on a budget.

Set a Budget to Begin With
This might seem an obvious point, but so many couples fail to start at the very beginning: work out what your maximum spend can be. Before you book anywhere or buy a single thing for your big day, figure out how much money is in your wedding fund. This will ensure that you don't have a mountain of debt to come home to from your honeymoon.

If you can possibly avoid it, don't borrow money for the wedding. Credit cards or loans will start married life with unwanted debt. If you absolutely must take credit for your wedding, it should be well planned and controlled. A good rule is to never borrow more money than you can afford to pay back within one year.

Once you know exactly how much money you have to spend - whether in cash or planned borrowing - you can start to plan your big day. Do not forget this important step.

Cut the Venue Costs
The venue is usually the biggest expense of any wedding. If you can make savings here then you will be on your way to a wedding on a budget.

If you can bag a free venue, this would be a huge help. Perhaps you know someone with a large yard you can use, or an empty barn. Or how about using a public park for your reception and holding a large picnic for friends and family?

If you can't get a free venue, then perhaps you could pick an unusual date for your wedding. Having your wedding on a Friday or a Sunday could save you a large percentage on the venue costs. Equally, how about a winter wedding? Although winter weddings are becoming more popular, there tend to be fewer bookings leaving you more space to negotiate on price.

The Dress
When it comes to buying your dress, don't be shy - visit bridal departments and salons and inquire about upcoming sales and designer trunk shows. Smaller boutiques may also be willing to bargain.

If you really want to make savings, consider buying your dress from overseas. For example, China has a roaring dressmaking industry that you can access via eBay. Quality and reliability will vary between sellers, so do your research, ask questions and request samples before buying – but you could buy a made to measure dress for around $200.

Wedding Gifts
Many couples only consider gifts at the last moment, but this can help you with your wedding and related costs. Nowadays, many people already live together when they get married, and thus do not need the toasters, silverware and other home items that were historically given.

Therefore, don't be afraid to ask for cash on your wedding day. There are many ways you can do this. Envelopes on the day, money into a special bank account, even a 'honeymoon' fund.

You could also ask friends to offer their skills to you as their wedding gift. This will make your wedding day all the more personal and memorable, and will seriously cut costs.

Do you have a friend who could make your wedding cake? Someone who is handy with a camera who could take your wedding photographs? A friend who can craft the wedding favors or place-settings? Do you have a friend who is a DJ? Could a beautician friend do the hair and make up?

All of these things will avoid the price trebling effects of getting married, and your nearest and dearest will be delighted they can help you on your special day.

Aim Low on the Guest List
Last, but by no means least, it's very easy to over invite people, so think very carefully about the guest list. The numbers will soon add up, and if you are having a sit down meal, this will send the price up and up. Stick to close friends and family, and do not feel obliged to invite plus-ones or distant relatives. Consider whether you would happily buy them a meal and drinks on any other day of the year. If the answer is no, perhaps they don't need an invitation!

The Bottom Line
Don't ever forget the purpose of your wedding day: to get married. If you spend $5,000, you will be just as married as the couple who have spent $30,000.

Related Articles
  1. Economics

    Explaining Cost Control

    For a business, cost control entails managing and reducing expenses.
  2. Economics

    Calculating the Consumption Function

    The consumption function shows the level of consumer spending as it relates to disposable income.
  3. Insurance

    5 Ways to Lower Life Insurance Premiums

    Learn several effective methods for lowering life insurance premiums. These include quitting smoking and considering term life insurance.
  4. Budgeting

    The 7 Best Ways to Get Out of Debt

    Obtain information on how to put together and execute a plan to get out of debt, including the various steps and methods people use to become debt-free.
  5. Economics

    Is a Recession Coming?

    In the space of a week, the VIX Index, a measure of market volatility, spiked from 13, suggesting extreme complacency, to over 50, evidencing total panic.
  6. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    4 Mutual Funds to Consider If Interest Rates Rise

    Learn what mutual funds will perform best if interest rates rise. Interest rates can rise due to inflation or to an improving economy.
  7. Economics

    Understanding Switching Costs

    Consumers incur switching costs when they receive a monetary or other type of penalty for changing a supplier, brand or product.
  8. Investing

    What’s Holding Back the U.S. Consumer

    Even as job growth has surged and gasoline prices have plunged, U.S. consumers are proving slow to respond and repair their overextended balance sheets.
  9. Economics

    Explaining Market Penetration

    Market penetration is the measure of how much a good or service is being used within a total potential market.
  10. Economics

    Calculating the Marginal Rate of Substitution

    The marginal rate of substitution determines how much of one good a consumer will give up to obtain extra units of another good.
RELATED TERMS
  1. Cost Accounting

    A type of accounting process that aims to capture a company's ...
  2. Internal Rate Of Return - IRR

    A metric used in capital budgeting measuring the profitability ...
  3. Duty Free

    Goods that international travelers can purchase without paying ...
  4. Negative Option Deals

    A dubious business practice that involves supplying a typically ...
  5. G.19 Report

    A monthly statistical report from the U.S. Federal Reserve that ...
  6. Drip Pricing

    A pricing technique in which only part of a product or service’s ...
RELATED FAQS
  1. Is Japan an emerging market economy?

    Japan is not an emerging market economy. Emerging market economies are characterized by low per capita incomes, poor infrastructure ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Are Social Security payments included in the US GDP calculation?

    Social Security payments are not included in the U.S. definition of the gross domestic product (GDP). Transfer Payments For ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. How does a bank determine what my discretionary income is when making a loan decision?

    Discretionary income is the money left over from your gross income each month after taking out taxes and paying for necessities. ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. What economic indicators are important to consider when investing in the retail sector?

    The unemployment rate and Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) rank as two of the most important economic indicators to consider ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. How do changes in interest rates affect the spending habits in the economy?

    Changes in interest rates can have different effects on consumer spending habits depending on a number of factors, including ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. What is the difference between an OEM (original equipment manufacturer) and a VAR ...

    An original equipment manufacturer (OEM) is a company that manufactures a basic product or a component product, such as a ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Trading Center
×

You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!