6 Ways to Cut Wedding Costs and Still Have the Day of Your Dreams

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Student Loan Hero Advertiser Disclosure

Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality and will make a positive impact in your life. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print understand what you are buying, and consult a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time. Please do your homework and let us know if you have any questions or concerns.

gay couple dancing on wedding day

You’ve fallen in love and are now planning the day when you can say “I do.” But you’re starting to realize that anything with “wedding” attached to it is costly.

The average cost of a wedding in 2017 was $25,764, according to The Wedding Report. Here are the steps you should take to avoid starting your marriage with wedding debt.

1. Create a budget

While it’s nice for parents to foot the bill, 73% of couples contribute to their own wedding, according to a 2016 study from Brides. The best way to know how much money you’ll be spending is to put a cap on it right from the start.

Ellie Thompson, CEO of Venyou, a company that helps make your property an event venue, said you should start making a budget before you even look at anything related to weddings.

“You don’t want to fall in love with something you cannot afford,” she said. “Once you establish your wedding budget, you may realize some things will have to go. Be prepared to make sacrifices.”

Decide on the one thing that matters most to you. Do you want your wedding at a resort or specific destination? Do you want food from a certain restaurant or caterer? Pick your one must-have and work around it.

2. Don’t use the ‘w’ word

My husband and I had already been married for eight months when we planned our reception. As I researched caterers, locations, and other bedvendors, I made sure to avoid saying we were having a wedding-related party. It was true for me, and you can bend your truth a little to save a lot. Others have done the same.

“We purposely avoided anything marketed as a wedding venue when we looked for a place to hold our event because that made the price exponentially more,” said Eric Roberge, founder of financial planning firm Beyond Your Hammock. “We ended up renting a large beach house on the water for our ceremony and reception, and it was probably a third of the cost of what nearby wedding venues rented for.”

3. Pick a different day or time

Unless you have to get married on a specific date, shoot for getting hitched on any day but Saturday. Better yet, opt for a nighttime ceremony between Monday and Thursday. Weekends are convenient, which means they’re expensive. My best friend saved $10,000 by getting married on a Thursday instead of a Saturday night.

If you can’t budge on the wedding date, try changing the time of day. My bed-and-breakfast locale took off $2,000 when I said I wanted a brunch reception instead of dinner. I was also able to save on food since breakfast and lunch are cheaper than dinner.

4. Cut the guest list

Creating the guest list might be one of your biggest stressors, especially if you’re feeling pressured by family and friends about inviting people you wouldn’t otherwise consider. But stand firm in your decisions. Tiffany Hayden, a Los Angeles-based wedding planner and owner of Detailed, suggested keeping your guest list small.

“There’s no need to invite everyone you know,” she said. “Only invite the most important friends and family to surround you on your special day.”

Skip invites for anyone you don’t actually want to see on your wedding day. Every person needs a chair and a meal, so budget accordingly.

5. Rent and borrow — don’t buy

You know what you’re never going to use again? Anything from your wedding. Unfortunately, everything for weddings is notoriously overpriced.

See if your venue includes essentials, such as linens, tables and chairs, and dinnerware. If it doesn’t, shop around for party rental supplies instead of buying them. You could also rent or borrow your wedding dress or tuxedo — unless you plan to wear it again.

6. Limit your alcohol

Open bars are nice, and guests appreciate them, but liquor is expensive. While your friends will love you, your bank account won’t.

Stick to beer and wine or create a signature drink. At my brunch party, we served mimosas and coffee. You don’t need to have unlimited choices. In fact, giving your guests a small number of options shows you put in work to pick the right drinks while also being conscious of what you can afford. If guests are up in arms about it, let them bring their own drinks.

Weddings don’t have to break the bank

Your wedding day doesn’t have to be the day you go into debt. It’s great to invest in the things that matter most, but be careful about throwing money at everything. It can be tempting to say “It’s my wedding day!” to justify an expense, but your postnuptial bliss will fade when you see those bills.

You can get a wedding loan if you need to, but try your best to budget carefully. You can have a great wedding day while also going into your marriage debt-free.

Interested in a personal loan?

Here are the top personal loan lenders of 2018!
LenderRates (APR)Loan Amount 
1 Includes AutoPay discount. Important Disclosures for SoFi.

SoFi Disclosures

  1. Personal LoansFixed rates from 6.199% APR to 15.365% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 6.145% APR to 14.685% APR (with AutoPay). SoFi rate ranges are current as of June 15, 2018 and are subject to change without notice. Not all rates and amounts available in all states. See Personal Loan eligibility details. Not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, to qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including evaluation of your credit worthiness, years of professional experience, income and other factors. See APR examples and terms. Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at 14.95%. Lowest variable rate of 6.145% APR assumes current 1-month LIBOR rate of 1.97% plus 4.175% margin minus 0.25% AutoPay discount. For the SoFi variable rate loan, the 1-month LIBOR index will adjust monthly and the loan payment will be re-amortized and may change monthly. APRs for variable rate loans may increase after origination if the LIBOR index increases. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account.
  2. Terms and Conditions Apply:SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet SoFi’s underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. To qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. If approved, your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, years of experience, income and other factors. Rates and Terms are subject to change at anytime without notice and are subject to state restrictions. SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment or PAYE. Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Financing Law License No. 6054612. SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp., NMLS # 1121636. (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org)

2 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.

Citizens Bank Disclosures

  1. Personal Loan Rate DisclosureFixed interest rates from 6.49% – 19.49% (6.49% – 19.49% APR) based on applicable terms. Lowest rates range from 5.99%-18.99% (5.99%-18.99% APR), are for eligible applicants, require a 3-year repayment term, and include our Loyalty and Automatic Payment Discounts of 0.25 percentage points each, as outlined in the Loyalty Discount and Automatic Payment Discount disclosures. Subject to additional terms and conditions, and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change.
  2. Loyalty Discount: The borrower will be eligible for a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their loan if the borrower has a qualifying account in existence with us at the time the borrower has submitted a completed application authorizing us to review their credit request for the loan. The following are qualifying accounts: any checking account, savings account, money market account, certificate of deposit, automobile loan, home equity loan, home equity line of credit, mortgage, credit card account, student loans or other personal loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. Please note, our checking and savings account options are only available in the following states: CT, DE, MA, MI, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI and VT. This discount will be reflected in the interest rate and Annual Percentage Rate (APR) disclosed in the Truth-In-Lending Disclosure that will be provided to the borrower once the loan is approved. Limit of one Loyalty Discount per loan, and discount will not be applied to prior loans. The Loyalty Discount will remain in effect for the life of the loan.
  3. Automatic Payment Discount: Borrowers will be eligible to receive a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their Citizens Bank Personal Loan during such time as payments are required to be made and our loan servicer is authorized to automatically deduct payments each month from any bank account the borrower designates. If our loan servicer is unable to successfully withdraw the automatic deductions from the designated account two or more times within any 12-month period, the borrower will no longer be eligible for this discount.

* Important Disclosures for Upgrade Bank.

Upgrade Bank Disclosures

  1. Personal Loan Rate DisclosureFixed interest rates from 6.49% – 19.49% (6.49% – 19.49% APR) based on applicable terms. Lowest rates range from 5.99%-18.99% (5.99%-18.99% APR), are for eligible applicants, require a 3-year repayment term, and include our Loyalty and Automatic Payment Discounts of 0.25 percentage points each, as outlined in the Loyalty Discount and Automatic Payment Discount disclosures. Subject to additional terms and conditions, and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change.
  2. Loyalty Discount: The borrower will be eligible for a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their loan if the borrower has a qualifying account in existence with us at the time the borrower has submitted a completed application authorizing us to review their credit request for the loan. The following are qualifying accounts: any checking account, savings account, money market account, certificate of deposit, automobile loan, home equity loan, home equity line of credit, mortgage, credit card account, student loans or other personal loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. Please note, our checking and savings account options are only available in the following states: CT, DE, MA, MI, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI and VT. This discount will be reflected in the interest rate and Annual Percentage Rate (APR) disclosed in the Truth-In-Lending Disclosure that will be provided to the borrower once the loan is approved. Limit of one Loyalty Discount per loan, and discount will not be applied to prior loans. The Loyalty Discount will remain in effect for the life of the loan.
  3. Automatic Payment Discount: Borrowers will be eligible to receive a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their Citizens Bank Personal Loan during such time as payments are required to be made and our loan servicer is authorized to automatically deduct payments each month from any bank account the borrower designates. If our loan servicer is unable to successfully withdraw the automatic deductions from the designated account two or more times within any 12-month period, the borrower will no longer be eligible for this discount.
7.73% – 29.99%$1,000 - $50,000
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6.15% – 15.37%1$5,000 - $100,000
Check rate nowon SLH's secure site
6.87% – 35.97%*$1,000 - $50,000Visit Upgrade
8.00% – 25.00%$5,000 - $35,000
Check rate nowon SLH's secure site
4.99% – 29.99%$10,000 - $35,000Visit FreedomPlus
5.99% – 18.99%2$5,000 - $50,000Visit Citizens
15.49% – 34.49%$2,000 - $25,000Visit LendingPoint
5.99% – 35.89%$1,000 - $40,000Visit LendingClub
5.49% – 18.24%$5,000 - $75,000Visit Earnest
9.95% – 35.99%$2,000 - $35,000Visit Avant
Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality and will make a positive impact in your life. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print understand what you are buying, and consult a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time. Please do your homework and let us know if you have any questions or concerns.