Personal Finance

How to Prioritize Spending for a Memorable Wedding on a Budget

How to Prioritize Spending for a Memorable Wedding on a Budget

Eager couples getting married should be ready since wedding expenses are high nationwide.
(Photo : by HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images)

Eager couples getting married should be ready since wedding expenses are high nationwide. According to a 2023 study by The Knot Real Weddings, the typical wedding and reception cost the happy couple $35,000. For some couples, this kind of expenditure can be manageable, but for many, it is just too much.

If you don't have a lot of extra money, it's a good idea to begin preparing as soon as you can. Prices for venues, food, and services are rising due to inflation and post-pandemic demand.

To ensure you have enough money for the big day, you'll need to plan ahead, figure out how much you can afford, hunt for deals, and be prepared to make some sacrifices.

The Average Wedding Cost

Numerous things affect the cost of a wedding, one of which is the state in which you reside. According to The Knot survey, the average cost was $31,000 in Cleveland and $63,000 in New York.

Naturally, the more complex your ideas are, the more expensive they will be. A celebrity-style wedding with a destination venue, fancy gown, large guest list, excellent cuisine, and open bar may easily cost more than $100,000. In comparison, courthouse ceremonies can be had for less than $100.

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So, Who Covers All the Costs?

Despite the custom of the engaged couple's parents helping out, most couples really pay to their wedding expenses, according to a 2024 poll conducted by the online wedding planner Zola. When the numbers were added together, 32% of respondents stated they would optimize credit cards, 50% said they would save money, and 17% said they would put cash funds on their registries to meet the expenses.

Define Your Wedding Budget

When starting the wedding planning process, it's essential to prioritize various elements of the event. A good approach is to rank categories such as flowers, food, and music on a scale from 1 to 5, with 1 being the lowest priority and 5 being the highest. This prioritization helps couples identify what is most important to them and build a budget accordingly. It's crucial to establish this budget before booking venues or vendors to avoid overspending on less important aspects.

For example, if a couple doesn't have enough budget allocated for a band, they may decide to reduce spending on flowers to reallocate funds. This approach ensures that the most valued elements of the wedding are adequately funded. Completing the budget before making any bookings prevents common pitfalls, such as spending a large portion of the budget on a dream venue, leaving insufficient funds for other necessities.

Even with financial assistance from relatives, additional savings might be necessary to cover all expenses. It's common for couples to receive help from their families but also save for high-priority items, such as opting for a live band instead of a less expensive DJ. This combination of support and strategic saving helps ensure the wedding aligns with the couple's priorities and vision.

Factor in Inflation

When developing a wedding budget, it's essential to account for inflation, as prices for goods and services may rise by 5% to 10% over a year or two. Starting your savings early can make a significant difference, and consulting a financial planner can help you prepare for these cost increases. For young couples balancing multiple savings goals, such as a wedding, home, or family, creating a budget and sticking to a plan are crucial steps toward achieving long-term objectives. Regardless of market or economic conditions, the earlier you begin saving, the better.

Reduce Monthly Expenses

As the wedding approaches, consider cutting back on spending to save more money. This might involve reducing dining out, taking fewer vacations, canceling cable in favor of cheaper alternatives, shopping at thrift stores, and reviewing credit card bills for unnecessary subscriptions. These small sacrifices can provide more financial flexibility when choosing wedding options, like a five-course meal versus a buffet.

It's important not to make these budgetary changes alone. Regular financial check-ins with both your finances and your partner's finances are crucial. Remember, managing finances as a couple means making these decisions together, ensuring both partners are aligned and grounded in their financial planning.

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The content provided on is for informational purposes only and is not intended as financial advice. Please consult with a professional financial advisor before making any investment decisions.

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