Setting a budget for your wedding can be a significant source of stress for couples still finding their footing, and it can also influence what your finances look like during the first years of your marriage. Is one half envisioning a wedding that goes above and beyond, spending $26,000 or more, as is the average for a modern American wedding? And what do you do if the other person would prefer to save that money for a downpayment on a house? This is supposed to be one of the most special days of your life, but it’s can also require compromises.
As you plan your wedding, there will be a few key expenses that become priorities and others that perhaps can go by the wayside, but the most important aspect of budgeting is coming to an agreement. Here are 3 things you should consider before you spend money on anything.
Who Has The Money?
One common issue that emerges during wedding planning is that the person with the money often tries to take control of the planning, but you and your spouse to be may not be the only people spending money on your celebration. That’s why one of the first things you should do is clear up whether or not either person’s parents plan to contribute money. If you don’t want the parents to feel like they have control of the guest list or other aspects of the wedding, don’t accept money from them.
Similarly, if one person has the money to spend on the wedding but feels that entitles them to make all of the important decisions, consider taking a different route. We wouldn’t ordinarily recommend taking out a loan for wedding expenses, but if a shared loan will resolve financial tensions, consider it a good investment in your future together.
The venue is often one of the most expensive parts of planning a wedding, so it’s important to think carefully about what you want. Renting a hall, for example, means you’ll certainly have enough room for tables and dancing, and you’ll likely have access to waitstaff, place settings, and other needs. On the other hand, halls are expensive and not the only way to hold a pleasurable reception. Church fellowship halls, for example, are great for wedding receptions, often inexpensive, and you may even be able to have the ceremony and the reception in the same place.
Delicious food doesn’t need to be expensive, but it’s important to enjoy what you serve at your wedding. That’s why when budgeting for food, we recommend thinking outside the box. Food trucks are a popular, hip alternative to catering today, but they can also be pricy, while potlucks are simple, but not reliable.
Spend some time thinking about what you like to eat and how to make those foods in bulk for easy service, then shop around for the best prices. You might also get in touch with a favorite local restaurant and ask about including them in your special day. You’re likely to get higher quality food than you would get with a traditional catering situation.
Maintaining a sense of financial equality while planning your wedding should be a high priority for couples, particularly if you plan on blending your finances after the the wedding. Beyond that, though, focus on creating a day you’ll remember for the joy and love, not for the bills that arrived afterward.