If you’re reading this, it’s either because you’re getting married, or a loved one is and you’re helping to pay for the wedding. Either way, congratulations! There are few life events happier than a wedding. At some point, though, you may find that the stress of wedding expenses clouds some of the joyousness of the occasion. It doesn’t have to be that way! Here are a few tips to help you manage that wedding budget and reduce your stress level.
- Be realistic about how much you want to spend.
If you’re paying for your wedding, make sure to take a serious and honest look at your bank account, and be realistic about how much money you can expect to save before the wedding. It’s no fun to start a marriage already saddled with unnecessary debt. Don’t be those people. Set a firm budget and plan a wedding that fits within that amount.
If you aren’t paying, we recommend having a serious heart-to-heart conversation about the budget with the people who ARE paying. Just as you don’t want to enter a marriage burdened with debt, you also don’t want to enter it with hard feelings caused by mis-communications about money.
2. Keep track of what’s being spent.
The best way to not overspend is to be honest about wedding expenses. Create a spreadsheet and write it all down. And we mean, write.it.all.down. Yes, even postage. On your spreadsheet list all anticipated expenses, with your expected expense and actual expense. With any luck, your actual expenses will be lower than expected for many categories, allowing you to splurge in a different area. Or better yet, save that money for a mai tai on the beach during your honeymoon!
3. Plan on saving 5% more to cover hidden and forgotten expenses.
You are always better off overbudgeting. We recommend tacking on an additional 5% to the amount that you want to spend on your wedding. That should cover those things you forgot to budget for—like tips for the officiant, or even the marriage license! And if you do prove to be an exceptional budgeter, then you’re starting married life with some extra cash. That’s pretty great!
4. Now is the time to DIY.
There’s a lot that you can do yourself for a wedding. Or you can capitalize on the talents of your creative friends and families. Think about DIY with invitations, flowers, programs, centerpieces, or even the cake. A quick visit to Pinterest should give you plenty of ideas, and save you a lot of money! And if you really are a helpless DIY-er, then at least check out some wedding swap sites on social media.
5. Don’t get intoxicated by all of the hype.
Do you really need monogramed napkins? A chocolate fountain? Special toasting flutes? If you think about it, there’s a lot of stuff that people want to sell you that you really don’t need at all. Don’t let the excitement overwhelm your brain and your budget. You’ll—literally—pay for it later.
As a credit union that cares about our members, we really want you to save money and then budget that money wisely for your wedding. That’s the best course of action. However, if you do find that you need additional financial help, then instead of charging things on a high-interest rate credit card and paying over time, we suggest some lower interest rate options. For instance, you can apply for a signature loan from us, or get one of our low-rate credit cards (starting at 8.8% APY). Even tapping into your home equity is a better option than a high-rate credit card. If you need us, you know where to find us! 800-742-CU4U(2848) or riafcu.com. And, hey--congratulations on your big day!