Weddings are joyful celebrations. Unfortunately, 1 in 4 couples said weddings are a source of financial stress in our recent wedding survey. It’s not surprising that couples are worried about the big day. Wedding information website The Knot putting the average cost of one in 2017 at $33,391.
Brides and grooms typically paid around 41% of costs themselves, with contributions from parents covering around 57% of expenses. But not everyone has parents who’ll spend thousands. So how do you pay for your wedding when your parents can’t help you?
Here are five steps to funding your wedding without relying on the bank of mom and dad.
1. Set a wedding budget
According to our survey, around 89% of people planning a wedding set a budget, and doing so is important. Setting a budget affects what venues you look at and how much you spend on wedding necessities, such as food, refreshments, and attire. Decide on your budget together, taking into account:
- Your current financial situation: If you have a lot of debt and no savings, set a lower budget.
- Your future financial goals: Do you want to travel, buy a house, or start a family soon? Setting a smaller budget could make sense.
Whatever you decide, make sure you’re both comfortable with the budget. This is one of the first financial decisions you’ll make together, and you don’t want it to be a source of conflict.
2. Prioritize what’s most important
Typical expenditures for a wedding include:
- Ceremony site and reception venue
- Photographer and videographer
- Wedding planner
- Band or DJ
- Flowers and decor
- Wedding dress and the groom’s attire
- Catering and the wedding cake
- Wedding favors
- Rehearsal dinner
- Hair and makeup
There’s a lot of things to spend money on. If you try to make every single aspect of your wedding Pinterest-worthy, you’ll blow through even the largest budget. Instead, decide on what’s most important:
- Do you want to include all of your friends and family? A bigger guest list may mean you need a cheaper venue.
- Do you care a lot about where you say ‘I do?’ If you have a specific location in mind, cut costs elsewhere.
- What are your must-haves? Maybe one of you is a big music lover and would like a great band. Or maybe you want a fantastic photographer.
Talking about how you envision your wedding will help you decide where to splurge and where to save.
3. Make your celebration an affordable one
As you plan your wedding, look for ways to cut costs. A few ways to save include:
- Getting married on an off day: You’ll pay more to get married on a Saturday during peak wedding season than if you get married on a Sunday or during a month when there’s less demand. If you have a preferred venue, ask what days you could score a discounted rate.
- Renting a wedding dress: You’ll only wear it once, so there’s no need to spend a fortune when there are rental sites such as Rent the Runway. Or shop for a pre-owned dress if you’d prefer to own.
- Skipping the pricey decorations: Pick a venue that’s naturally beautiful, such as a national park. If you’re crafty, make your own decor.
- Tapping into your network: Do you have friends or family with a lot of talent, such as a photographer, DJ, or baker? Ask if they’d help out as your wedding gift. Just make sure they have some time to enjoy the festivities.
- Getting creative with food: Out-of-the-box solutions such as a food truck wedding could be cheaper and more memorable. Cupcakes or a pie buffet, for example, are a lot less expensive than a fancy cake.
- Negotiating with vendors: Some couples have been able to secure discounts on a wide range of wedding services simply by asking for a better price.
The more areas where you can cut costs and choose creative solutions, the less you’ll need to save or borrow.
4. Figure out your wedding finances early
No matter how creative you get, no wedding is free. You’ll have to figure out how to pay for your wedding when your parents can’t help you. Most couples fund their wedding with savings. This is the best approach, since going into debt means everything costs more due to interest.
To save for your wedding:
- Make a plan ASAP: Specify how much you’ll need and your deadline date.
- Work out a wedding budget: If you’ve combined finances, set a monthly budget to live on so you can save. If you’re maintaining separate accounts, decide how much you’ll each contribute. You might decide to split bills evenly or according to a percentage of your individual incomes.
- Look for ways to cut spending and increase savings: Have dinner dates at home and put off exchanging gifts for holidays until after the wedding. Put any savings into your wedding fund.
- Consider a side hustle: Doing a little extra work could give you more money to spend on your big day.
When you’ve made a plan, open a joint wedding account so you can both watch the money grow. By teaming up, you’ll stay motivated and accomplish your first financial goal as a soon-to-be-married couple.
5. Be smart about borrowing
Despite your best efforts, you may not be able to save enough to fund your big day. If that’s the case, shop around carefully for financing.
Our study found that credit cards are the second-most popular way to fund wedding costs. But interest rates on credit cards tend to be higher than for personal loans.
Personal loans allow you to borrow a fixed amount of money. You have a set amount of time to repay what you borrow. If you choose a fixed-rate loan, you’ll know exactly how much your monthly payments will be and how long you’ll be in debt.
With credit cards, however, you borrow up to your card limit. As you pay down your credit card debt, you can borrow more.
Compare credit card interest rates and personal loan rates, and see which option offers you affordable payments and the lowest overall cost. The less you borrow — and the better the terms — the more money you’ll have available to enjoy life as a married couple. You may also experience less stress while planning your wedding and as you embark on your future together.
Interested in a personal loan?Here are the top personal loan lenders of 2018!
|Lender||Rates (APR)||Loan Amount|
|1 Includes AutoPay discount. Important Disclosures for SoFi.
2 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
* Important Disclosures for Upgrade Bank.
Upgrade Bank Disclosures
|7.73% – 29.99%||$1,000 - $50,000|
|6.28% – 14.87%1||$5,000 - $100,000|
|6.87% – 35.97%*||$1,000 - $50,000||Visit Upgrade|
|8.00% – 25.00%||$5,000 - $35,000|
|4.99% – 29.99%||$10,000 - $35,000||Visit FreedomPlus|
|5.99% – 18.99%2||$5,000 - $50,000||Visit Citizens|
|15.49% – 34.49%||$2,000 - $25,000||Visit LendingPoint|
|5.99% – 35.89%||$1,000 - $40,000||Visit LendingClub|
|5.49% – 18.24%||$5,000 - $75,000||Visit Earnest|
|9.95% – 35.99%||$2,000 - $35,000||Visit Avant|