If you recently got engaged and are looking to start planning your wedding, congratulations! We all want our wedding day to be the happiest day of our lives. The question many people are asking at this point is: how do I get the perfect wedding without breaking the bank?
Set a Realistic Budget
The truth is, you’re probably going to spend more than you originally intended. Even if you say you want a small, simple wedding, you’re still likely to overspend that lower amount in your head. So, instead of going way over budget and hurting your wallet or feeling disappointed in yourself, set a realistic budget. Don’t base it off of “what do I want to spend?” but more “what will I actually spend?” If you’re someone with extreme control, maybe these two ideas are synonymous. Or maybe you’ll end up with extra money that you can use on a down payment for a house. Either way – build in a little wiggle room when you’re budgeting.
Money saving apps are great for this, especially the ones that are designed specifically for weddings. You can also go to a professional for budgeting help. Look to your local bank or credit union. Patriot, for example, has a team of in-house financial advisors that would be happy to help you dig through your finances and come up with a realistic budget and financing options.
We all want to have it all. Not only in your dream wedding, but also in life, where a gorgeous home and a beautiful family are very important. Keep in mind that your wedding day is about you and your soon-to-be-spouse, not about impressing your cousin that you’ve been secretly competing with since middle school.
So, what is most important to you? Usually in the grand scheme of things, when it comes down to a home, a wedding, and financially-stable family, the wedding is where some things can be pruned if necessary so that you don’t go into major debt. This is where we prioritize. What is non-negotiable? What have you dreamed about since you were a child? What is most important (besides marrying the love of your life)?
Realistically, you probably want to pick one or two things to prioritize. If it’s not one of these top one or two things, you can cut back and even cut some things out. For example, open bars at weddings are great, but you don’t absolutely need fancy signature drinks – most people are happy with a selection of complimentary wine and beer.
You can save tons of money by doing things yourself! Get crafty – or find someone you know who is crafty – and figure out what you can make to save yourself money. Invitations are often one of the more expensive things for a wedding – borrow a Cricut and design them yourself or use websites like Shutterstock or Canva to create invites that are still nice, but less expensive.
Centerpieces and other decorations are also things you can easily DIY to save money. Design decorations yourself (and with help from your trusty craft-loving friend) to put your own spin on things without costing too much. Think centerpieces, table numbers (or have a “seat yourself” option so you don’t even need table numbers!), head table decorations, signs, wedding favors, and more!
We all know June is the “wedding month” but being a little different can save you tons of money. The largest portion of wedding expenses are usually venue related. If you choose a month that isn’t in peak season, like November, you can save lots of money. For those of you wondering, peak wedding months are June and September and will be the most expensive. July, August, and October are also very popular and will still be expensive, but possibly less so. In December, you’re competing against holiday parties at venues, and in February, flower prices are out of this world. November and January are two of the calmest months and will likely be the easiest on your budget.
If you’re set on a June wedding, consider a less typical day, such as a Friday evening or Sunday afternoon. Choosing alternate days of the week can also save you tons of money.
You can also bypass the usual tuxedos for the men in the party and go with a more casual look. For warmer months, suit pants with a button down shirt and suspenders will be more comfortable for him, anyway.
THE dress is probably an area where you are less likely to compromise, but you can find gorgeous, one-of-a-kind, tailored-to-you gowns on Etsy for a fraction of the price of a designer gown.
Planning early means you can avoid any kind of bind that may force you to spend extra money – like an expedited dress or tuxedo fitting. It also gives you plenty of time to scope out the best sales and save up for those things you can’t live without. Summer is a great time for wedding sales at retail stores. Late fall is also great for picking up inexpensive used decorations on places like Facebook Marketplace. When you’re not rushing around, you have time to price shop everything to make sure you aren’t spending additional money that you could be using somewhere else. Planning early gives you lots of trial and error time for any DIY wedding projects you have decided to undertake. And – possibly the best part of planning early is that it will cut down on the stress of wedding planning when you don’t feel rushed.
Touching again on the point of cutting down wedding planning stress: accept help! Obviously, choosing people who may try to take over all of the wedding planning would probably create additional stress, so choose wisely. If someone offers their artistic gifts – again, like that crafty friend of yours, or your cousin’s wife who is an awesome professional photographer – take them up on the offer! They wouldn’t offer if they didn’t want to.
On the other side, don’t feel bad refusing help if maybe the photos your cousin’s wife takes aren’t your cup of tea or your nephew’s punk band isn’t exactly what you had in mind for your wedding. Otherwise, if your future mother-in-law offers to help your dreams come to life and keep everything on track on your special day – let her! This can save you money on a wedding planner and also open the door for valuable bonding time.
Save, Save, Save
This almost goes without saying, but the main and most important way to afford your dream wedding is to save! After you set your realistic budget and figure out how much everything should cost, figure out how much you will need to save a month. If the number you come up with seems like it might not be possible, consider pruning costs back a little more or pushing the wedding date back to give yourself a few extra months.
You can also start a side-hustle for a while, such as a part-time job or an Etsy shop. This doesn’t have to be permanent, just until you have enough!
Get a Great-Rate Personal Loan from Patriot Federal Credit Union
If you have your heart set on getting married next June and you need a little extra money to make your dream wedding happen, Patriot can help. We have personal loan options that range from $1,000 to $75,000 and have competitive low rates. Call us at 717-263-4444, come into a branch or visit our website for more information on how Patriot can help make your wedding day perfect.