Wedding Finance

How to have the wedding you want for less

This one is for all the lovebirds who got engaged over the holidays and now need to plan a wedding without any event planning experience.

Either way, you’re meant to create a day that’s both traditional and modern. Well attended, but intimate. It’s about you as a couple, but it shouldn’t be offensive to your guests either. Most importantly, don’t overspend, but make sure it looks expensive.

Sure, weddings are fun, but the most important part of any wedding is everything that happens afterwards – your real life, together. Don’t start this life with credit card debt that lasts until your fifth birthday.

If you focus your spending on what you and your guests will actually notice and avoid expensive things that no one really cares about, you’ll have a beautiful debt-free wedding.


Before planning anything, budget for what you (and your families, if they are contributing) can afford. Make every decision with that number in mind, whether it’s $ 250, $ 5,000, or $ 50,000.

Basically, a wedding is simply “a celebration of love,” says Jen Glantz, founder of Bridesmaid for Hire and an email newsletter called The First Years of Marriage. “In this celebration, there are no rules. … Think of your wedding as a blank slate, an empty room. What do you want to fill it with? What can you afford to fill it with? “


“This is the most important thing I have to tell everyone when planning a wedding: you don’t need anything at your wedding to get married,” says Glantz. “If you don’t want a cake, don’t have one.” If you don’t want to wear a dress or a tuxedo, then don’t.

Here are more ways to save.

– DECOR: the guests remember the general atmosphere, not the small details. “People at weddings are busy,” says Glantz. “And when you’re busy you can’t see things.” Save on decorating by renting it or browsing Buy Nothing groups on social media. Already married friends may have items they would be happy to lend or pass on. There are even services where you can share flowers with another couple who are getting married in the same week.

– TRANSPORTATION: “We’re locked into the idea that the big limo will take you to church or venue,” says Sheavonne Harris, owner and senior coordinator of Events by Sheavonne in New York City. But your guests will be seated inside when you arrive, so this car won’t be part of your grand entrance. Car services also require you to book for a minimum number of hours, according to Harris, so you’ll end up paying for the time you don’t use. She recommends booking a carpooling service – yes, just like when you need a ride to the airport.

– INVITATIONS, PROGRAMS AND MENUS: All those paper items that you carefully select will go in the trash. Programs are left on chairs after the ceremony, and menus are stored under plates after a quick sweep. Even your invitations will only stay in guest refrigerators for a few months before they’re sent to landfill. “They just threw a $ 10 bill in the trash,” says Harris. If you want the tradition of paper at a lower cost, skip menus and programs. You can also find beautiful paper invitations at some online retailers for a fraction of the cost. Many of these print shops also have seasonal sales.

– HOLIDAY HOLIDAYS: Please let 2022 be the year we are canceling holiday giveaways. Guests leave them behind, and you’ll be stuck with 75 personalized beer koozies for the rest of your life.


– PHOTOGRAPHY: Long after your wedding, you will only be left with memories and photos. This is not the task for this cousin who took some photography courses at the university. “If you want to invest the money in something, put it in the photograph,” says Harris. “With photography, you really get what you pay for. “

– THE GUEST EXPERIENCE: Glantz and Harris both recommend paying attention to weddings you attend as a guest before your big day. What made you feel welcome? Customers won’t remember you got married in a quaint historic mansion, but they will remember if that mansion only had one bathroom with a 20-minute line to use it. Cut spending elsewhere to focus on food, drink, entertainment, and guest comfort.

– PROFESSIONAL SELLERS: Hiring a friend or doing a task yourself can seem like a decision to save money. Harris warns that unlike a professional salesperson, your friend likely won’t have a back-up plan when the flower order is late or the sound equipment is down. And book a pro at the last minute because that friend retires will end up costing you even more.


Many independent sellers don’t accept credit cards, but if possible, pay for the wedding fee with a reward credit card. Not only can you earn cash back or travel rewards (hello, discounted honeymoon!), But if a supplier doesn’t live up to their commitment to you, you can dispute the charge.

This column was provided to The Associated Press by the NerdWallet personal finance website. Sara Rathner is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @SaraKRathner.


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Sara Rathner of Nerdwallet, The Associated Press