Tag: Wedding

 

How Much Does It Cost to Get Married?

Americans spend an average of $33,391 on weddings, according to a study by The Knot. But depending on where you live, your wedding may cost more or less than that.

For instance, New Yorkers living in Manhattan spend an average of $76,944, and New Mexico residents spend only $17,584. Keep in mind that neither price-tag includes the honeymoon.

Does a $17,584 wedding bill still sound too steep for you? I’m here to tell you that it is possible to get hitched for much less than that. When my wife and I got married in Utah in 2010, for instance, we spent a tad more than $3,000 on the festivities.

Indeed, where there’s a will, there’s a way – so to speak. If you’re looking for a budget wedding but don’t want to skimp on the essentials, here are some tips on how to do it.

1. Start saving now

Roughly three-quarters of couples go into debt to pay for their wedding, according to a survey by Student Loan Hero. The sooner you start saving for your big day, the easier it will be to cover the costs without having to borrow money.

Set a goal to save with each paycheck. Also, consider automating your savings. Chime offers an Automatic Savings program that sets aside 10% of every paycheck in your savings account. What’s more, when you use your Chime Visa debit card, Chime will round up each transaction to the nearest dollar and transfer the round-up amount to your savings account.

2. Set a budget

For many people, their wedding day is the most important day of their lives. So, it can be easy to get carried away with the planning  – to the point of overspending.

The first thing you can do to limit your wedding spending is to set a budget. This includes:

Who’s going to contribute: According to the aforementioned study by The Knot, the bride and groom typically pay just 41.1% of their wedding costs on average. The rest is covered by the bride’s parents, the groom’s parents and other sources.

This may or may not align with your specific situation, but it’s important to know upfront who’s going to help pay for what.

A list of priorities: As you’re budgeting, it’s important to know where you should economize and where you shouldn’t. For example, avoid asking a friend or family member to do your photography or bake your cake for free or cheap. Why? This can end up backfiring on you, especially if your friend isn’t really up to the task. My sister, for example, had a friend make her wedding cake for free, and one of the tiers collapsed midway through the reception. In other words, don’t get so caught up in saving money that you end up regretting it.

While you’re figuring out your budget, make a list of your other priorities. There’s no right or wrong answer, and your priorities may be different than your parents’. It’s your day, so focus on what matters most to you.

Do your research: If you’ve never been married before, you likely don’t have a good idea of how much things cost. Do some research in your area to get an idea of what to expect. Get estimates from several different vendors to get a reasonable average.

3. Don’t be afraid to enlist amateurs

My wife and I were able to save on our wedding because we had connections with people with applicable skills. For example, my friend’s mom had experience making wedding cakes and offered to make ours as her gift to us. This saved us a few hundred dollars, and she knew what she was doing!

Another family friend had a hobby of designing floral arrangements and offered to do ours for a little more than her cost. I knew she did good work because she did the floral arrangements for my sister’s wedding.

Depending on where you live and the wedding culture in your area, getting help from amateurs can sound tacky. But as long as you get what you want for your special day, does it really matter if your vendor is a hobbyist or a professional? Of course, it’s important to make sure you’re still getting good quality products and services. Remember my sister’s cake story. You certainly don’t want to regret your frugal choices.

 4. Be picky about who you invite

My wife and I chose not to have a wedding dinner, instead offering hors d’oeuvres that we bought and prepared. Why? Catering can be expensive. The Knot estimates $70 per person on average — so it’s important to keep your guest list contained to the people you absolutely want at your wedding.

For example, consider making your reception an adult-only affair. Or, consider sending just an announcement to distant relatives you’ve never met. Trimming just 10 people off your list could save you $700.

5. Do it yourself

It’s easy to outsource most of the work in the wedding planning process, but there are some things you can easily do yourself for less money.

For example, my wife and I spent an evening designing our own wedding invitations, then another evening addressing the envelopes. While you may think you need superb handwriting to do this, this is simply not the case. You’d be surprised at the free help you’ll find via online calligraphy tutorials.

Alternatively, if you have the time and ambition, you can learn how to arrange your own wedding flowers or DIY another aspect of your wedding. Not only can a DIY approach help you save money, but it can also create an opportunity for you and your future spouse to spend time together working on a common goal.

6. Consider all the costs

When choosing your venue, it’s important to consider the full cost. You may think you’re saving money by opting for a raw space rather than a reception hall. But after renting tables, chairs, decorations, and equipment for the caterer, you could easily spend more than you bargained for.

Like everything else, this requires research. Get some estimates from venues that include all the basics, as well as quotes for a raw space plus all the extras. The same goes for every other aspect of your wedding. Look for hidden or extra costs you can avoid by choosing an alternative instead.

The bottom line

Your wedding day is one of the most important days of your life. To this end, if you don’t have tens of thousands of dollars to spend, you may need to be frugal. As you start planning your wedding, start walking through the financial side of things before you make any big decisions. With a budget in mind, it’ll be easier to avoid letting your emotions run the show.

Also, start saving now, and if you haven’t set a date yet, consider delaying your wedding day until you have enough cash saved up to pay for it.

 

How to Plan a Wedding Without Your Bridal Party Going Broke

When I got engaged in 2016, I knew I didn’t want our best friends’ budgets to suffer as a result. I decided to get creative and keep costs as low as possible for my bridal party. Here’s what I learned: With a little bit of research and the ability to think outside the box, the costs for a bridal party member can significantly shrink.

It’s expensive to plan a wedding. It’s also expensive to attend one. Millennials spend an average of $1,532 per destination bachelor party and $1,106 per bachelorette, according to a study by The Knot, a wedding website, and that’s not even for their own wedding — it’s for their friends’ big days. The worst part? Even if the bride and groom plan to keep the party local, bachelor and bachelorette parties are only the beginning. With gifts, wedding day travel expenses, attire and lodging, most bridesmaids spend close to $1,200 per wedding.

As a result of careful and creative planning, most of our bridesmaids and groomsmen spent less than $400 each.

Here’s how we made it happen.

Dresses: $60

Bridesmaid dresses can vary in price, but they typically cost between $100 and $300. To avoid the hefty price tag normally associated with bridesmaids attire, I got creative. I knew I wanted my bridesmaids in long, flowing dresses, but I also knew I didn’t feel comfortable asking my friends to pay $100 or more for a dress for my wedding. The solution? Amazon. I found the exact dresses I wanted on Amazon for a fraction of the price. I selected the color and had my bridesmaids choose the style. The dresses ranged from $40 to $100, and most of my bridesmaids selected dresses that rang in at $60. With free shipping and free returns, the process was simple and quick.

Genius tip: If you can’t find what you’re looking for on Amazon, experiment with bridesmaid dress rentals. Websites like Rent the Runway and Union Station offer dress rentals that start at $50.

Bachelorette Party: $75 to $250

Instead of hopping on a plane or partying for an entire weekend, I decided to keep the bachelorette local and short. Here’s what the day entailed and how much it cost each person: bottomless mimosa brunch ($25), poolside cabana at a local casino resort ($25), downtown dinner ($25). We didn’t splurge on a hotel room or rent a house for the weekend. Instead, we spent the day by the pool at a local casino. The best part? It had a lazy river, three pools and a delicious bottomless mimosa brunch. After the day ended, we drove home, got ready and went to our favorite local restaurant for dinner. It was the perfect end to a fun-filled day with my favorite people.

Three friends traveled from out of town. Only two of those friends had to get on a plane. The price of their flight was $100 round-trip. Once they arrived, they spent the night at our apartment to keep costs down.

Genius tip: Change your perspective and get creative. There’s a good chance brides and grooms from other cities in America travel to your city for their parties. Instead of daydreaming about an expensive and time-consuming trip to a new city, come up with locations for a local party. When I first thought of my bachelorette, I wanted to spend a weekend in Las Vegas, but once I got clear about the parts of Las Vegas I love — bottomless brunches, pool parties, lazy rivers and good food — I realized I didn’t have to travel to a different state to experience them.

Registry gifts: $6 to $100

Wedding registries are fun to create. You walk around the store and scan items you like. The most exciting part? There’s no limit. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of putting together your wedding registry, but it’s more exciting to choose items you’ll actually use.

Before you make your registry and get caught up in the excitement of scanning items or clicking “add” on a website, look at what you already have in your home. When my fiance and I looked at what we had, we realized we needed to replace some basic items we had purchased when we were broke college students. We didn’t need super fancy skillets. We needed plates that weren’t chipped. But even if you do need or want expensive items, it’s important to have less expensive items on your registry as well. The cheapest item on our registry was also one of my favorites: a kitchen towel with a cat on it. The cost? $6.

Despite our best efforts, some wedding costs, like flights and lodging, couldn’t be lowered. Here’s the truth: If members of your wedding party have to travel for the wedding, it’s going to significantly increase their costs. Though we couldn’t help our out-of-town bridal party members secure lower plane tickets or hotel rates, it was nice to know we had done everything we could to be respectful of their time and money.


This article originally appeared on Policygenius

 

5 Tips to Save Money When Someone Else is Paying for Your Wedding

So, your parents or future in-laws offered to pay for your wedding. Consider yourself lucky!

With the average wedding costing over $33,000, according to Business Insider, weddings can certainly put a dent in your wallet. If you don’t have to foot the bill, you can breathe a sigh of relief.

Yet, even though someone else is paying for your special day, you should still be mindful of the costs involved and offer to chip in and help your parents save money. Here are 5 ways to save money on your wedding when someone else is paying the tab.

1. Create a Plan

Let’s face it – everyone has different priorities. When your family is paying for part or most of your wedding, you do need to take their opinions into account. After you share your priorities, you can ask your parents to do the same and create a plan from there.

By being honest and open, everyone will be more apt to take each other’s desires into consideration. Plus, once you have laid out your priorities, you can better set a budget that works for both you and your parents.

2. Provide a proposed budget

It’s hard to know what a realistic wedding budget is unless you’re the one planning it. Before you dive head first into planning a wedding with your parents, do some research. Come up with a realistic budget that can work for the both of you.

From the start, a proposed budget can help show your parents the true cost of a wedding. As you walk through the necessary line items, you can then let them know what’s most important to you for your big day. At the same time, you can discuss spending areas where you can cut back if needed.

3. Location

Once you’ve agreed on a budget, it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty: where will you hold your wedding?

Not only is the wedding venue likely to be one of your biggest expenses, but it is a point of disagreement for many families. Your parents may have a certain venue price-point in mind, but that may not match the vision you have for your big day.

Don’t fret! With a little creativity and compromise, you can score your dream venue at an affordable price. For example, you can look at some less costly venues that don’t come with as many bells and whistles as an expensive hotel. Yet, you may be able to save money and bring in your own special touches, like table linens and centerpieces. You can also look at some out-of-the-box venues on sites like Venues & Vows and Mayflower Venues.

By doing research and asking questions, you can find a venue that fits your budget without sacrificing what you want. Better yet, you’ll find something both you and your parents can agree on.

4. Food

Next to the venue, food is one of the most expensive wedding costs. Depending on your location, a full-service dinner costs an average of $71 per person, according to The Knot’s 2016 Real Wedding Study. If you have 150 guests, that amounts to well over $10,000 just for dinner.

If you are looking to spend less on food, you have a few options. You can consider doing an hors d’oeuvres-only reception, which can save you the cost of a full meal. Or, you can get creative and hire food trucks instead of traditional caterers. Food Truck Invasion states the average cost of food trucks is $10 to $20 per person, which is a far cry from the cost to hire a caterer.

Food isn’t the only hefty cost. Beverages and alcohol will quickly run up your wedding tab. According to The Bridal Association of America, the average open bar package costs $16.50 per guest. If you have 150 guests, that adds up to $2,475. Ouch.

If providing alcohol is important to you, you may want to switch to lower-shelf liquor or provide beer and wine only. You can even try creating a signature cocktail and serve this to all – instead of paying for an open bar.

5. Limit the guest list

The easiest way to save money on your wedding is to have a smaller, more intimate celebration. Having a small wedding, however, can be challenging when your parents are paying. Typically, parents have friends and acquaintances of their own that they would like to invite to your wedding. Adding a few guests here and there can indeed add up quickly.

Your best bet here is to be honest about how many people you would like to invite to your wedding. For budgeting purposes, you need to have a solid idea of the guest count. Once you have your ideal count in mind, talk openly with your parents and ask them if you need to invite anyone not already on your list. If so, add them on as soon as possible. This way, you’ll feel more prepared right from the get-go.

Remember: Squeezing in additional people closer to your wedding date is stressful on everyone, plus it can ruin your budget.

Show gratitude

It’s important to remember that your parents are helping you have the wedding of your dreams. It should be a joyous day.

So, when all is said and done, let your parents know how thankful you are for their emotional and financial assistance. There are endless ways to show gratitude. Perhaps you can make a special toast to them during the reception or give them a thoughtful gift. Whatever you choose to do, be grateful and celebrate.

 

How to Save Money During Wedding Season

Wedding invitations are piling up on your desk and all you can think is: “How will I ever afford this?” You want to support your friends and celebrate love. But let’s face it, wedding season can wreak havoc on your wallet — especially if you’re attending multiple weddings in the span of a few months.

According to data from the American Express Spending & Saving Tracker, wedding guests in 2016 were expected to spend $703 — per wedding. Even worse, millennials spent about 27 percent more, or an expected $893 for every nuptial. With Americans slated to attend an average of three weddings per year, the costs of being a wedding guest can easily surpass the $2k mark.

So what can you do to save money during wedding season? Read on to learn more.

Save money on airfare

Traveling costs to get to the wedding can take the biggest chunk out of your budget, especially if it’s a destination wedding. To save money on flights, timing is everything.

Based on research from CheapAir.com, the best time to book travel is between one and three and a half months prior to the wedding. You can also use Yapta and Hopper to track prices so you can be sure you’re getting the best deal.

Lower costs on lodging

Do you have other friends attending the wedding as well? If so, share an Airbnb and split the cost. If you’re flying solo, see if you have any friends in the area that are willing to host you or let you stay at their place. You may be in luck. Last year I attended a wedding and stayed at my friend’s place while he was out of town. It worked out perfectly.

You can also use sites like Orbitz, Hotwire, Trivago, and Travelzoo to look for the best deals. If you’re willing to wing it, you can always use the Hotel Tonight app, which offers discounts on unsold rooms booked at the last-minute. For those looking to seriously save on lodging, consider a hostel or CouchSurfing.

How to gift on a budget

Wedding gifts are a big part of the wedding process.  But if you don’t play your cards right, you could be paying the price — literally.

Many wedding registries have tiered-prices — some low priced gifts, moderately priced gifts, and higher priced gifts. Guess which ones go first? If you don’t want to get priced out of affordable gifts from the registry, purchase a gift early on!

If you don’t act fast, you could also give cold hard cash and choose an amount you can afford. Based on the American Express Spending & Saving Tracker, cash came in second place for wedding gift preferences, behind gifts from the registry.

If neither a registry gift or cash fits your budget, you can always make a gift yourself. In the digital age, a printed photo and frame can go a long way. Check out more DIY wedding gifts for a boost of inspiration.

Dress for less

If you’re attending several weddings in a short period of time, the last thing you want to do is to be caught on the ‘Gram or Facebook wearing the same outfit again and again. But if buying several dresses or suits is just not an option, what can you do?

For starters, consider buying a staple like a black dress which you can accessorize with different cardigans, shawls, jewelry or shoes to give it a new look. An affordable place to shop is actually Amazon. Sure, you can’t try on outfits but in most cases, you can return clothing within 30 days.

To save even more money, see if you can get a little help from your friends. Your friends might have clothes in a similar size that you can borrow. I did this a few years ago with no problem. I didn’t have to spend any money and I borrowed a dress that was sitting in my friend’s closet.

Looking for something a little higher end? You can also check out Rent the Runway to get serious discounts on designer wear. This way you can rent a different dress for each wedding.

Lastly, don’t forget to check out your local thrift shop where you might find some hidden gems.

Just say no

With wedding season in full swing, you may feel pressured to say “yes” to every invitation. But if you’re struggling to conquer debt or save money, consider politely declining. This is especially true if attending the wedding may send you into debt. Yeah, it’s not fun or ideal to sit out, but sometimes saying “no” is the best thing you can do for your finances. Here are some tips from The Knot on how to send your regrets.

Bottom line

Attending multiple weddings can add up fast. But with a little planning and creativity, you can lower costs as a wedding guest. By doing so, you can celebrate the nuptials of your closest friends, while keeping your financial life in good standing.

 

How to Avoid Breaking the Bank as a Wedding Guest

Ah, wedding season. The time when your friends are pronouncing their love to the soft sounds of Michael Buble, while your wallet slowly weeps in the background. Here you are, hundreds of dollars deep on a present. Your suit set you back $2,000. And the hotel you’ve picked for a crash landing charged you an extra $100 for a roll-away. The dollars start to add up in your head and you quickly move to boycotting weddings forever.

With Millennials forking out $893 per wedding they attend (up 27% from the general population) on average, we don’t blame you. However, before giving up completely, we have a few tips that can help you cut costs and be better prepared to spend once the big day comes. Here are five ways you can save on attending your next wedding:

Location. Location. Location.

If the location fits, turn the wedding trip into one of your annual vacations. Doing so will help you look at the event and trip as part of your yearly travel budget, rather than an additional unforeseen expense.

Set up an automated savings account.

Start saving early. Seriously. There’s no sense in waiting until the last minute or charging everything to a credit card that you’ll spend months paying off. Once you decide to RSVP, set up an automatic savings system that pulls money from your spending account into a savings account. It’s a great way to subtly force yourself to put funds aside for the celebrations.

Throw down on thoughtful group gifts.

Traditional wedding etiquette says attendees should spend as much on a gift as the soon-to-be-married spent on each guest. Considering the average wedding costs $32,000 and wedding attendees range from 50-500, it might be a stretch to keep the old tradition alive.

Millennials are driven by authenticity. Use this to create a less expensive but thoughtful gift (Note: This does not mean ignore the registry—it’s there for a reason). Find some items on the registry that can be presented together. Get some friends to include other unique pieces, with a bar theme for example. Carefully curating a gift wins a lot of points and you can easily get away with cheaper items in the process.

Ditch the hotel.

Typical hotel rates can run your personal budget over the edge, even with the blocked room discount the bride and groom may provide. Instead of booking individual hotels, get a group of friends together and rent out a house via Airbnb or VRBO. If you’re alone, consider renting out a private room as opposed to the entire apartment or house. It’s much cheaper and you won’t be spending much time there anyway.

Men: invest in a lightweight, standard suit.

Services like Rent the Runway are perfect for women who want to boast a thousand dollar dress for a fraction of the cost. However, for men it’s advantageous to invest in a lightweight, versatile suit that you can continue to use. Stick to neutral colors like black, grey or navy. Don’t get something with too much flair as you can easily change up the look with a new tie or shirt. Look for deals year-round and don’t wait until wedding season to purchase one.

Learn to say “no”.

When all else fails, then you may be faced with sending your regrets. FOMO may kick in, as will guilt, but let’s face it – the stress is not worth displacing your financial stability. Weddings will continue and you’re better off taking some of that cash and putting it away for next year’s season of “I do.”

Have other ways you save for weddings and other big life events?

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