Advice on planning a wedding from a Financial Advisor
You’ve knelt down on one knee and proposed to the love of your life, but now what? Planning a wedding can be overwhelming, especially when it comes time to design the budget. It’s easy to get overly excited throughout the planning process and throw caution to the wind, along with your money. If this resonates with you, we have a few steps to help keep your financials in check while still having the wedding of your dreams!
Create a Game Plan
Before any spending takes place, create a game plan. Sit down with your partner and make a “must-have” list. This can be anything from party favors, entertainment and themes to types of flowers! Whatever your list consists of, be sure to listen and take one another’s ideas into consideration. Your wedding should reflect both your styles and taste, so be open to anything.
Once complete, start researching and scanning the market for the most affordable vendors in relation to your budget. Also, take this opportunity to create a planning timeline, putting more urgent items first to account for any vendor time constraints. Dress fittings, venues and catering menus are more time-consuming than other details, so check these items off your list first to ensure everything runs smoothly on your big day. Smaller details like music playlists or floral arrangements can be set aside and addressed closer to the date of your wedding.
Design Your Budget
With your vendor options and timeline outlined, you can begin to establish the desired budget for your wedding. If you plan to pay for all or part the wedding yourself, you will want to reference your current monthly income and expenses. Couples often make the mistake of tapping into their emergency fund to cover some of the higher cost items. To avoid this, start saving the day you get engaged, setting aside 10% of your disposable income into a separate wedding fund. Be sure to surpass your goal budget to create a safety net in case there are hidden fees you didn’t account for. This is also a great time to talk with friends or family who may want to contribute to your big day and factor this amount into your wedding budget.
Again, it’s important to get the larger expenses out of the way first (e.g., venue, caterer, photographer, entertainment). Wedding experts suggest that these higher-price items will account for 50% of your budget. Keep this average in mind while shopping around to prevent overspending, and so there is plenty of money left over for the smaller details. Your budget will also depend on your guest list, so narrow down who will be attending your big day sooner rather than later. Send out save the date cards with an option to RSVP digitally for more timely responses. If you are feeling overwhelmed, do not hesitate to connect with a wedding planner that will manage all of the financials and keep the smallest of details organized so you can focus on the bigger picture. A planner let’s you actually participate in your wedding day rather than coordinating or micro-managing your wedding day.
Budget for Life Post Wedding
A wedding budget goes beyond just the big day and should include a section for honeymoon costs! Start by determining where you would like to go, receive an estimate, and begin saving at least six months prior to your travel dates. If traveling internationally, do research into affordable airline offerings and stays. Contact a honeymoon travel agency to help map out your trip if necessary, and consult with them about different destinations to make your trip even more tailored to your interests. If staying closer to home, consider using sites like Airbnb for a more unique stay, being sure to research the surrounding area for things to do during your trip! Factor excursions into your budget as well so you can enjoy the time away without worrying about your finances.
This may also be a great time to plan for life as newlyweds. You may want to set aside a portion of your budget or make it a goal to finance buying your first home together. Use a home affordability calculator to determine what you can afford and adjust your wedding budget to accommodate this expense. If you plan to start a family, you may want to consider a smaller wedding budget and increase your contribution to a separate family fund instead. Both of these factors may have an impact on your wedding budget, so talk with your partner to organize your priorities prior to spending.
Find Ways to Save
If the wedding expenses begin to add up and you are feeling stressed, consider finding ways to save. The most obvious is to revisit your guest list and narrow it down to those you are closest to. This may seem daunting but take your time and consult with your partner to figure out who you definitely want in attendance and those who you may not be as close with. Condensing your guest list will help to reduce the cost of the venue and catering services and create a more intimate wedding experience.
You can also cut costs by getting crafty! Look into different DIY projects that you can do yourself or with the help of your wedding party. Design your own centerpieces, or a photobooth where guests can capture moments from your day! Tie these projects into your theme for a cohesive look. Your guests will be impressed, and your wallet will be thanking you. If you are feeling lost for inspiration, here are a few of our favorite DIY wedding projects!
(Not the crafty type? My fellow peers that I can highly recommend can help you with budget and planning to provide their excellent services and make it easy for you.)
If you are still worried about the amount of money you are spending, you can take out a personal wedding loan. This will give you the money you need at a fast rate but be sure to consider the interest that will follow. To learn more about how to manage these types of personal loans, contact a local financial advisor who can walk you through the process.
We hope these tips will help you design the wedding of your dreams while taking some financial stress out of the wedding planning process.