Often pairing the warm weather of early summer with the beautiful blossoms of late spring, June is considered to be an ideal time to say “I do” for most of the country. But no matter how picturesque the wedding’s setting, many couples may have a hard time seeing anything but red as the big day approaches and the wedding bills start rolling in.
Depending on the size and location of your wedding, the total cost can easily end up in the five-figures, making it all too easy to start off your married life already in debt. However, paying for your dream wedding doesn’t have to be a nightmare, particularly if you start saving as soon as — or even sooner than — you start planning.
Save, Save, Save!
When all’s said and done, the most important part of paying for your wedding is to start saving well before June — of the previous year. Many venues will require up-front deposits when you book your event, and given that popular venues can have waiting lists 18-months long (or longer), having wedding savings early on can be a boon.
What you generally don’t want to do is take out a personal loan, get a second mortgage, or tap into your retirement fund to finance your wedding. These methods can be extremely expensive, with interest fees alone potentially adding hundreds to thousands of dollars to the total cost of your wedding.
To avoid the need to finance anything, it’s important to build a wedding budget early in the process — a realistic budget, one based on what you can actually save in the allotted time. If your nuptial aspirations are beyond your financial means, you may want to consider scaling back here and there, be it at the wedding, or in your daily life leading up to the big day.
Book Venues & Make Purchases with a Credit Card
When you’ve saved up enough to pay for the whole wedding and it comes time to book venues and make other wedding purchases, the best method is often to use a good credit card. Not only can credit cards actually help you save money through purchase rewards, but many offer secondary benefits that can come in remarkably handy. (*Note: If you do not have the cash saved, we do not recommend using credit to fund your wedding!)
For example, there are a ton of options for earning travel rewards on your purchases, which can turn all those big-budget wedding buys into things like free flights and hotel stays (perhaps like the kind you’d need for a honeymoon). And using a card with purchase protection to buy your expensive gown can save you a bundle if the worst happens and it gets damaged (gasp!) before you make it down the aisle.
Credit cards can also help if you run into some last-minute expenses that don’t quite fit in the budget, particularly if you qualify for an introductory 0% APR offer. These deals usually last 12 months or more, giving you plenty of time to pay off those unexpected purchases without worrying about interest fees accruing.
Have the Guests Pitch In
Another increasingly popular way of helping keep wedding costs down is to have your guests help foot the bill. Rather than registering for asparagus dishes and salad spinners you’ll likely never use, modern couples can set up funding websites so guests can easily contribute a little toward the wedding expenses and/or honeymoon costs — no gift wrapping required.
Be sure you’re set up for financial success as you embark on this journey with your new mate! If you would like some help setting up a budget or making a plan as you merge your finances, our certified nonprofit credit counselors are available!