Ok y’all. We’re tackling something big here because we care about your financial well-being and your personal well-being. However, we need to be up front: we’re not wedding experts. There are a lot of them out there, and we’re not trying to pretend to join the ranks of the people who eat, sleep, and breathe color schemes, bouquets, and first dance songs. We are going to give you a few tips and tricks for financing, budgeting and just getting the big day paid for in a way that will have you glowing in wedded bliss at the end of it. (Not sweating bullets about the bills piling up while you’re on a honeymoon you can’t really afford.)
The Knot has been a source of wedding tools, guides, cheat-sheets, and resources for more than a decade, and not for nothing. Those folks know the industry of planning, pulling off, and budgeting for the wedding of your dreams inside and out. They even conducted a survey to arrive at a national average for the cost of a wedding…$33,391. (Don’t let that number freak you out. You’re driving this train!) As big fans, we’re going to introduce you to a few of their top tools here.
- The Wedding Budget Calculator- This was designed to be a highly personalized interactive tool that will let you plug in all your details and preferences and will help you arrive at a budget for all the aspects of your wedding day and events.
- The Wedding Budget Quiz- This fun quiz will test your knowledge about how much things really cost!
- The Average Catering Costs- They have little micro-articles about a bunch of different aspects of budgeting for a wedding day. It’s a good way to gain some knowledge before you take the quiz—and will arm you for conversations about where you want to invest, and where you want to scale back.
Now, some real actionable ways to pay for the big day are consistent with the advice we give about budgeting for anything:
- Create a separate account so you can easily track what funds are coming and going.
- Time is money. Take a hard look at how much you can set aside each month for your wedding budget. How long will it take you to reach the total you arrived at when you used The Knot calculator? Your date may need to be pushed back a few months based on how much time you’ll need to get funds together.
- Plan for the unexpected. Don’t forget tips, services that charge an hourly rate (and the fact that you may need more time than you think), little extras that pop up at the last minute, and weather-related expenses.
- Use credit cards that earn rewards and pay them off ASAP. Keep things on one card so you can easily track and make payments in one place.
Who Pays for What?
Some aspects of budgeting for your wedding are unique to this kind of an event. For example, there aren’t going to be many more times in your life that your parents and other family members will chip in to pay for a huge party in your honor. For better or worse, that’s still a very vibrant tradition.
If you’ve got a bride and groom tying the knot, traditionally the bride’s parents will still foot the majority of the bill, with the groom’s family taking care of the rehearsal dinner. For some families, however, the groom’s family will expect to split all costs. If you’ve got two brides or two grooms, the split is up to you! In any case, each family should have their own conversation about what they are planning to and able to contribute, and if they have any specific wishes about where that money goes.
Then there’s the two of you. Maybe you want to do it all on your own, but don’t have a lot to spare at the end of the month and aren’t willing to have a 10-year engagement. There’s always the option of a personal loan. Take a look at the APR rates you qualify for and discuss this option honestly with each other before taking it on—it’ll be the first of many financial decisions you make together!