Your wedding day is a super exciting event in your life, but nothing can be more of an energy drainer and a stressor than to see the potential or total cost. Even with cost-cutting tricks and keeping the guest list to a minimum – it still can feel incredibly expensive. Naturally, it results in the question of how do people even manage to pay for it?
So, how do people afford weddings? People afford their weddings with a wide range of cost-saving and budgeting strategies, from receiving money from the bride and groom’s parents, purchasing things early, paying vendors in installments all the way through to DIY centerpieces, making compromises and sacrifices along the way.
A wedding costs a huge amount of money, and it can seem like a burden.
But thankfully, there are a number of ways to work around the total cost.
Besides, you will likely be paying for things for up to and over a year if you plan ahead of time.
And there are always new ways to keep it a little cheaper.
I get it, though.
From that answer alone, your head may still be spinning.
Just where are you going to get the money from?!
So, let’s break down what makes a wedding more or less expensive and all the different ways to help you afford it!
Why Do Weddings Cost So Much?
Weddings cost a lot because there are a lot of different people you have to pay for and a lot of different services that all need to come together. Besides, ensuring the bride and groom have the best day possible usually requires the outsourcing of quite a few responsibilities.
Let’s take a deeper dive into the different costs that can certainly give us a better idea of why a wedding tends to cost so much.
A cost that cannot really be offset – unless you have land or a dedicated space to hold your wedding yourself!
And because certain venues are in such high demand and are so picturesque, they will naturally cost quite a bit.
Of course, you can always get married somewhere a little less fancy.
Some venues will charge you a flat rate for renting out space, whereas others can make it more complicated by charging you by the hour or charging you by the occupancy.
Then there is a time of year and day of the week to consider too.
A wedding venue will typically be much more expensive in the height of summer, on a Saturday, than a cold and wet afternoon on a Monday in the Winter!
Catering costs are going to be one of, if not your largest expenses.
Some wedding catering costs can get pricey with the per headcount, and it depends on how extensive your menu is or the type of food you are looking to serve.
This is completely separate from your cake baker and the costs of that as well.
And you will likely need to pay not only for a sit-down meal but for food in the evening as well.
Hiring someone to figure out all the details for you is also going to be a decent expense.
Dress/ Styling Services
Everyone wants to look good on their wedding day.
While the price of the wedding dress is completely up to the bride – in reality, they do still cost quite a bit.
Sometimes because the bride’s dress is expensive, they may ask their bridesmaids to pay for their own dresses to help save costs.
But it is normally the decent thing to do to pay for those too. So you have to factor in those expenses as well.
While this will not be a cost for every bride and bridal party, it is nice to be able to have a professional hairstylist and/or makeup artist on the day.
Of course, paying for the expertise is an expensive one; not only will they be using quality products, but their time along and amount of work on the bridal party just adds to the expense.
A lot of venues do not come decorated. You’re literally hiring an empty and blank canvas.
Wedding flowers and décor transform a venue. But due to the size of a venue, these costs can escalate.
Different flowers will cost different amounts, and you can go as elaborate or as simple as you want here.
Nevertheless, flowers are generally quite expensive. Especially if they are not in season or a rarer flower.
Bouquets (for the bride and each bridesmaid), corsages, buttonholes – these are all additional flowers accessories required beyond the flowers needed to decorate the venue.
For other décor, centerpieces, venue items (candles, etc.) are other costs to consider.
Many couples decide to DIY this, but professional services can be used if the budget stretches that far.
Those save the dates, wedding invitations, announcements; these all cost.
And depending on how many guests you have, your supplier and the quality of stationery – this can be quite a lumpy one.
You may even need to consider postage costs if you do decide to do these yourself.
Your wedding is going to require entertainment.
Whether it is a DJ/Band or live music.
There are ways you may be able to offset the cost here – perhaps the venue will provide your entertainment at their price.
But, entertainment is another expensive one.
How Can I Spend Less Money on my Wedding?
To spend less money on the wedding, you will have to cut costs and make certain arrangements work; being able to compromise with a number of things is the most difficult part for the happy couple to understand when wanting to save.
Everyone wants their perfect wedding, but not everyone can afford it.
Here are the best tricks and tips to make your wedding a little more affordable.
- Prioritize your budget. When it comes to the list above, prioritize in numbers of important the must have’s and the things you can live with. In terms of the venue, if it is your priority to have the water views, then cut back on the fancy menu. Prioritizing the numbers will help you cut costs in areas where you need to and make the difficult decisions easier.
- Go through the guest list. Oh, the dreadful part. Cutting guests is never fun, but it is a priority when it comes to budget. Ultimately, you have to understand that this is your wedding and who you want at it is your choice. If you haven’t spoken to Susan in years, then she certainly doesn’t know much about your life and relationship; therefore no need for her to be at the wedding. Unless she’s family.
- Remember your tips. This isn’t necessarily a cost-saver, but something most people forget to budget for them and end up overspending. Some of the people that serve you for your wedding will expect and should be tipped. This is your hair and makeup, wedding officiator, and more. The tips add up quickly and can really push someone over the budget.
How Much Money Should You Save For A Wedding?
It’s recommended that you start saving on average 20 percent of your income per month if you are going to pay for the wedding yourself.
Here is a shocking number that might make your jaw drop to the floor.
Weddings in Massachusetts (one of the most expensive states to get married in) average at $30,000 per wedding, give or take.
A simple wedding across the country (simple meaning modest and small) can measure up to $9,000.
Still pretty hefty.
The best way to figure out how to save for a wedding is to figure out what you can reasonably afford and then also figure out how much your priority list is.
Sometimes couples find out that their dream wedding isn’t a reality because of the expense.
However, keep these few things in mind.
- Your dream wedding in one location may not be possible, but it may be possible to mimic it at a much more affordable rate in a close-by state or even at another venue.
- Getting married is about celebrating a new chapter in your life with someone very special. What most couples start to realize throughout the wedding planning process is that it’s the getting married part that is important.
- Not all weddings have to be glamor and perfect. Modest and simple weddings are special and can add the little things that big weddings might miss.
How Do People Pay For Weddings?
Average stats will show you the bride and groom will pay for most of their wedding and use a combination of their parent’s help, with typically the bride and groom paying 60 percent, the bride’s parents, 21 percent, and the groom’s parents the rest.
This has been increasingly less and less of a combination because couples have become more self-reliant, with the number one reason is that they want to have more control and less input from other people.
Younger generations are also working more, with both the bride and groom having jobs versus stay-at-home moms.
But is it possible to take out a loan for a wedding?
Generally speaking, couples will save up for a wedding and then place it on credit cards and pay it down.
Some places, though, like wedding venues, will require down deposits which is why it is so important to save as much as possible per month or at least 20 percent.
Tips are also something generally not put on the credit card and something that needs to be accounted for in cash or check.
Stay Within Your Means
It’s very easy for couples to get carried away in the moment and get excited about their wedding and engagement.
As couples should!
This is a wonderful moment, and instead of stressing about the wedding, enjoy your engagement first, then get to the logistics of the wedding.
And that is the important part remember that your wedding should be talked about in logistical matter.
You should always go over what is appropriate in terms of how much you can save per month in what amount of time to throw the wedding you want.
There are ways to throw your dream wedding while also cutting some costs.
After you decide what you can afford, you should prioritize what parts of the wedding you really don’t want to give up.
This may be putting the venue as the priority or having extra guests.
It may even be getting your dream wedding gown, but whatever your priorities are, just keep in mind you can’t have all of them be your number one if you are working with a budget.
It is possible to throw a perfectly great wedding without having to break the bank.
Most of the time, the groom and bride will pay for most of their wedding, which is different from a more traditional past.
This is because couples have become more self-reliant and want to have more control over their own weddings without feeling indebted to their parents.
Whatever you decide, remember the wedding is all about you and the person you are marrying, and that’s special enough.
Hey, I’m Allison – a recent bride, an expectant mother and the chief editor here at Everlasting Occasion. Here I document all the knowledge and experience I accumulated while researching and planning my dream wedding and ahead of our new baby. Here, I try to answer those many questions couples have when planning their dream wedding, while equally, helping expectant parents ahead of their new arrival!