If you’re gearing up for your big day, you might have noticed a trend among the flower shops, bakeries and bands – the prices quoted for weddings seem to be about three times more than the average cost of bouquets, cakes or bands for other occasions. Vendors want that added element of security to help you put on the once-in-a-lifetime event. As a result, financing a wedding can have a tremendous toll on your bank account – and even your credit score – but keeping costs within your budget can be easier than you think. As you figure out your something borrowed and something blue, also consider VantageScore’s five tips for planning your dream wedding – without breaking the bank.
1. Plan ahead. It’s tempting to dive right in to purchases, but take a second to consider three key things. First, have a clear vision for what you want your wedding day to look like. Cement this plan, and stick to it! Changing your mind at the last minute is a perfect recipe to exceed your budget and spend unnecessarily. Second, bring out that piggy bank; most small vendors will give a 3% discount when you pay in cash, so consider cutting costs by saving up cash ahead of time. Third, don’t overcommit at the risk of driving yourself crazy by trying to do too much. Realistically, you can’t DIY it all, nor can you rely on your friends to do the work.
2. Rack up the rewards. As you begin planning, consider opening a credit card which offers rewards that will align best with your planned purchases. Some credit cards have sign-on bonuses that you will receive once you spend a certain amount in the first few months. Opening this type of credit card in time to charge those larger-than-normal deposits and other purchases can help you to unlock the benefits you might not otherwise come close to. Most major credit cards also offer a travel-oriented card which could even cover the expense of your honeymoon! Just don’t forget the golden rule of credit cards: only buy what you can pay off, and pay at least your minimum balance every month at the time it’s due.
3. Know your non-negotiables. Pick two or three aspects of your wedding that mean the most to you and have your partner do the same. These areas are your non-negotiables where you should concentrate on spending a major part of your budget, as well as where you might decide to splurge. If you and your partner overlap on areas, all the better! For those areas that are less important, consider ways to simplify. For example, if invitations aren’t a high priority, hire someone who’s building his or her portfolio; the designer will be more open to negotiating price compared to someone who is more established. You may also consider hiring a local college student who is looking for the experience or using templates that you can customize yourself.
4. Understand the meaning of “Once in a Lifetime.” Once you know your non-negotiables, consider compromising on the rest of the elements. For example, perhaps having multiple centerpieces is less important than hiring a great photographer to document your day. Also, consider attire: buying a gown from a designer trunk show, or even a consignment shop, could save you money to invest on that ideal venue. Timeless jewelry, on the other hand, can be the focal point, to be worn time and time again and without ever going out of style. For men, consider investing in the tuxedo or suit instead of renting. Oftentimes, these pieces can be worn for countless events and are sensible investments.
5. Use online tools to remain within budget. Online platforms provide widely accessible and largely free budgeting tools with trackers, goal setting features, graphs and more. During the wedding planning process, visualizing your financial goals can help you to stay on track.
Planning your wedding should focus on finding the right balance between what you’ve always dreamed of and what fits comfortably within your financial resources. With thoughtful planning, any couple can finance the ideal wedding and create a day to remember.