These three couples recently got married.   Here is how much each one spent on their wedding.

Heather & Bruce $ 65,000
Susan & Matt $17,500
Natasha & Brian $6,000

Question: who spent too much on their wedding.

Answer:  It depends on a number of things, like the total income and debt of the couple, and if someone else was paying for most or all of the wedding.   Natasha and Brian for example may have spent too much on their wedding if they have the highest debt and the lower household income when compared to the other two couples.

Wedding days are special, emotional, and are supposed to be one of the best days of your life.  Making sure your wedding does not plunge you further into debt is priceless.  In case you are wondering, yes, I am married, and I am happy to say that we came out of the other side of our wedding ceremony with $0 in debt. Everything was paid for before our wedding day.  It set the tone for my wife and I to spend the rest of our lives with our finances in proper balance.

Here are a few tips to help keep your wedding expense on track.

1. Set a wedding budget based on your savings and current debt.  You and your partner should strive to start out your life together as financially strong as possible.

2. Stick to the budget:     I admit that this is easier said than done, especially since weddings can be so emotional.  However, let discipline, practicality, and the thought of managing your debt be your guide.  You will be happy you did when your credit card bill comes in the month after your wedding.

3. Wedding Dress:   Use the web to do your initial search for a wedding dress. You will be surprised how many companies sell amazing wedding dresses for between $150 – $500.

4. Tuxedo/Suit:   Guys, consider buying a suit instead of renting a tux. For about the same price as renting, you will at least have something you can wear in the future.

5. Stationary:   Design and print your own wedding stationary (Invitations, Thank-You cards, Ceremony schedule).  With your home computer and free templates or programs you can get from the web, you can create visually stunning and personalized stationary for your wedding. You can also buy specialized printing paper from your local office supply company or department store at a fraction of the price of what a commercial stationary business would charge.

6. Flowers:    Remember that the  flower section at your local department store can create flower designs and patterns for a less than specialized flower stores.  The key is to shop around to make sure you get the design you want for the lowest price.   Someone even suggested that if your wedding is in the summer,   you can pick and use wild flowers for part or all of your wedding.

7. Wedding Cake:   We all have a friend or two that have the magic touch when it comes to baking amazing cakes.  I bet you that if you ask them to bake your wedding cake, it would cost you less than going to your local specialty bakery  (they might even give it to you as a wedding gift).  On the other hand, you can get a cake make at your local grocery store for a fraction of other specialty bakeries.  Do a taste test before you place your order to make sure the quality is to your liking.

8. Limousine:   Instead of renting a limousine, use your car, or ask to use a family or friends car.    The truth is that on average, most couples are only in the limo for less than an hour.

Extreme Budget weddings:   How to have a great wedding for under $1000.  (comments from visitors to this blog)

1. Get a reliable friends to DJ,  have the wedding ceremony and BBQ in your backyard,  ask friends offering services as gift, pick wildflowers for your floral arrangements.

2. Get your wedding dress for under $60. You can find a pretty white dress at the department store for that price and hey, you can wear it to a party two weeks later . You can also buy a matching pair of shoes for $40

Men. wear the suit you have or buy one on sale at the department store.

3.  Rent a community center hall just outside the city for about $70

(Jenna P.)
Gary H writes:
“Many couples look back and wish they had the money they spent on their lavish wedding. For us we invited people to a summer party at our home / backyard, and when they arrived, they were surprised it was a wedding party.  Cost = only food to feed the guests = Awesome.”

I look forward to getting comments from all of you on this topic.    For those of you about to get married, I wish you all a wonderful wedding and the best of the best in your married life together.

6 Responses to Weddings

  1. Zibby says:

    These r really practical n useful. Will b referring to them for when d time comes.

  2. Darlene C says:

    Weddings are basically events that we put on for our friends and family. The marriage is the important part. Too much over the top can add a lot of stress to the couple and their budgets.
    We got married around Christmas time. We usually always have an open house around that time anyway. We had our immediate family present for the ceremony in our home around 1:00 and invited friends and family to an open house after the ceremony for 2-5. The house was decorated for Christmas so we saved on the decorations, we had prepared a chili and chowder and put out some sandwich meats and h’or deuves on the dining table. We made our own flower arrangements and had friends take pictures and made a nice album from them. Because many of our friends and family came to the party, we got to see most everyone that we would normally see over the holidays.

    Even though summer is the choice for most brides for the occasion, it is the hottest and most uncomfortable time to wear finery. More elaborate weddings take up the entire day and if many guests were surveyed, they would have said shorter and less formal would have been more enjoyable and memorable. So Save your money Princess brides…. smaller is almost always better.

  3. Kim B. says:

    I have long been a believer in affordable weddings. I’d much rather have a house to put my marriage in post-wedding than a great big fancy party.

    Some things my spouse and I did to save on our wedding:
    – Used centrepieces from a friend’s wedding (it was the year prior, and we changes a few elements to make them “ours”). Cost? FREE!
    – Printed our own invitations at home. Cost? Less than $60 for the kits.
    – Scoured online retailers for the best deals on whichever item we were seeking
    – Used friend/family connections for better deals on wedding day transportation, etc.
    – Evaluated what we were willing to cut (DJ – we used an iPod playlist and rented dancefloor lights) in order to afford slightly more elaborate taste in other areas (photography).

  4. Leah says:

    Great suggestions! Here are a few we used for our wedding that made it reasonable (and allowed us to use the savings towards a 2 week honeymoon overseas!).

    Wedding dress – be prepared to buy off the rack. You can get a gown at 1/2 or 1/3 of the cost. Bridal shops always move their stock around so there are up-to-date dresses marked down. I could not justify paying over $1,000 for a dress I will wear for a few hours!

    Stationary – great way to involved those in the bridal party. Create a night where you put the invitations together and do it over munchies and wine.

    Wedding cake – you can make it yourself and still have it professionally decorated. We did a dessert buffet with all homemade desserts (carrot cake, cheese cakes and white cake). Huge hit as my mother is the world’s best baker!

    Consider an evening wedding – that way you save on the overdone chicken you will pay a lot of money for ($4,000 to $10,000). We did our photos in advance so our guests weren’t waiting for the reception to begin. You can use that money towards cost sharing the drinks, or for a great honeymoon!

    Best advise for keeping it within your means is to make your priorities and not worry about what others think of your plans!

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