Your wedding day should be one of the best and most important days of your life, so it makes sense that some people choose to spend a lot of money on it. But often, there are many aspects of a wedding that people don’t even think about (a wedding cost estimator can help you anticipate costs).
While the wedding day is important, many people wonder at the end of it how it went by so fast and where all the money went. You have to determine with your partner whether you want a big (or even a small) and expensive wedding, or if you want to put the money elsewhere. If you decide to go for the wedding, you can still save money by following these tips. However, if you decide that you want to use your money elsewhere, here are some ideas.
1. Put the money toward savings (or keep it there)
If you have no emergency fund, you need to think about whether paying for a big wedding is a dangerous financial move. If your parents or other family members are giving you money for your wedding but you have no emergency fund or very little future savings, ask if you can use the money for that purpose. Many family members want to be a part of your big day, and you can always consider having a less expensive, simple reception without spending lots of money on a lavish wedding. If your parents want to help you start your life together, it’s possible that the best way they can do that is to help you get on solid financial ground.
If the money is your own, and you or your partner have been saving for a wedding, you should still discuss your options. Ten, twenty, or even five thousand dollars spent in one day can be quite a shock – you may find that the dinner and dancing isn’t worth the price tag.
2. Pay down debt
Another way you can start your marriage off right is to be debt-free, or at least, reduce your debt. Reducing your debt will free up more money for other parts of your budget, and it will also take a huge weight off your shoulders. Consider paying off your debt, or at least paying some of it, instead of having a big wedding. If you are really attached to a wedding, try to use some of the money to reduce your debt and some of it to pay for the wedding itself. It’s easy to buy into the dream wedding fantasy or to compete with friends or family members, but remember that after your friends and family go home, you will be the one stuck with the bill.
If you don’t have much money saved for the wedding, you might be considering going into debt in order to pay for one. This is usually a bad idea, because you will be paying for your one day of fun for a long time, and you might even rack up credit card debt.
3. Put the money toward a downpayment
The average cost of a wedding in the U.S. is $25,200. Most people try to put down at least 20 percent of the cost of their new home when they take out a loan, although this isn’t always possible. If you choose to put the money you have saved toward a downpayment instead of an expensive wedding, you will see many advantages. Obviously, the more money you can put down when you pay for a house, the lower your mortgage bills will be each month.
Putting down at least 20 percent will also save you on interest payments (and may actually get you a lower interest rate), and you will be able to skip the mortgage insurance. Also, a large downpayment may protect you later if you have to sell your house and the market goes down, because you don’t want to find out that you owe more than your home is worth.
4. Go on a nice honeymoon
Many people pay for the wedding and the honeymoon, and this can really add up. The average cost of a honeymoon is $4,466. This is much less than the average spent on a wedding, but isn’t a small amount of change. Some people use the money that they get from their wedding to help finance their honeymoon, but unless you are having a huge and expensive wedding that brings in tons of gifts, or you have a lot of very generous friends and family, you probably won’t escape without paying for some of the honeymoon yourself.
One idea is to consider just going on the honeymoon and escaping the wedding costs altogether. Or, as mentioned before, have a small and intimate event instead of an expensive one. Weddings are definitely romantic, but the honeymoon can be, too, because it is a chance for you and your partner to be alone, and it will probably cost you a lot less than a big wedding.
5. Buy something you need
If you and your spouse have two unreliable cars, you might want to spend your money on a newer, more reliable car; that way, if one car breaks down, you will at least have one car you can depend on. Or perhaps neither of you have very much kitchen stuff, but you are moving into a bigger home and you need appliances and new place settings. You could add these items to your registry, but the amount received via gifts will almost never add up to the amount you will spend on the wedding. The same is true of furniture or other household items. If you want to save money, you’re better off purchasing the items yourself and skipping (or reducing) wedding costs.
While these ideas do show you how you could spend your money if you choose not to have an expensive wedding, the choice is really up to you. For some people, the wedding day needs to include family and friends, and if that is the case for you, then you should make your day special. On the other hand, if you are worried about going into debt or if you are having a wedding just because you think it’s what other people expect from you, you might want to reconsider how you are spending your money.