He proposed, you said yes, and now it’s time to plan a wedding. In 2012, the average wedding cost $28,400, according to The Knot—and no, that’s doesn’t include the honeymoon. Some brides dream of their wedding all their lives, visualizing every detail long before they even meet the groom. It can be devastating to not be able to afford the wedding of your dreams. We have some tips and tricks to get you darn close to it.
Hire an Expert
This is one area were spending a bit of money now can save you a bunch in the long run. Professional wedding planners are experts at negotiating great rates, understanding the day’s logistics and securing water-tight contracts. Use this interview sheet to interview potential wedding planners.
Know Your Budget
Examine what you can afford. The Knot has a wedding budgeting tool that can help you estimate your costs, eliminate some expenses and reallocate funds to other aspects of the party. If your budget is lighter than you expected, you may have a few options to help.
It is now considered within the bounds of proper etiquette to use crowdfunding to solicit money to help you pay for your wedding. Tell your story and ask for funds—friends, relatives and strangers can donate to the cause. This is a great way for people who can’t attend the ceremony to give a meaningful gift.
Examine your monthly income and eliminate the things you can sacrifice now to make your big day even more memorable. If you receive regular payments from a structured settlement, consider selling your future payments to a company like J.G. Wentworth for a lump sum of cash now. You can then use this money to help fund your wedding.
Typically, the venue is the most expensive aspect of the day. Saturday evening is the most popular day and time for a reception, so consider holding yours on an “off” day, such as a Friday evening or a Sunday morning. Your wedding will be different from everybody else’s, and muffins, fruit and mimosas are cheaper than steak and cocktails.
Keep It Green
Flower arrangements are the classic decoration choices, but they are also expensive. Depending on the season, you could pay an outrageous amount for something that won’t last much longer than the ceremony. It’s a “reduce, reuse and recycle” world, so why not decorate with the environment (and your budget) in mind? Visit websites such as Green Wedding Shoes for inspiration on unique and lasting decorations. If you insist on having flowers, consider them only for the bridal party, and if you are going to toss the bouquet—toss the original. Trust us, in a year you won’t even care.
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Paying for a wedding is one thing, planning it is a whole different beast. If you choose not to use a wedding planner, check out a few of our wedding posts to help you along the way:More Like This: Wealth