5 Wedding Budget Traps to Watch Out For

Jessica Bishop
December 30th, 2021 | 7 mins

This post about planning a wedding on a budget first appeared on The Budget Savvy Bride, and is shared here on The Money Date to provide some helpful information to our Zeta couples who are planning weddings!

Weddings are expensive, or at least that’s what the media wants you to think. In 2019, the average cost of a U.S. wedding was reported to be $28,000. If you’re not careful, you could end up paying a year’s salary on a party.

It’s important to get very clear about what you’re willing and able to spend, and avoid falling into wedding budget traps! Because we love having your back and are your advocates for planning a smart and sane wedding celebration, we’ve got some advice to give you a heads up.

Don’t fall for these wedding budget traps!

Below, we’re sharing five financial pitfalls to avoid during the planning process. Keep these in mind and you’ll keep your savings and stress in check!

Don’t stray away from your budget

Before starting to plan your wedding, sit down and set up a budget. Everything you plan from that point on should be within that budget. Increasing the guest list by 50 people may force you to reconsider the flowers you ordered for your centerpieces. Sticking to your designated budget means prioritizing your wedding expenses and compromising. Make sure you have a solid system for tracking your wedding spending such as a wedding budget spreadsheet.

Don’t give in to societal “traditions”

You’ll face all sorts of pressure when planning your wedding: pressure to conform to tradition, to what your peers are doing, and to what you see in magazines. If you don’t like cake, then don’t have a wedding cake just because it’s “tradition.” Don’t buy into wedding trends if they aren’t your thing, either. And finally, don’t give in to the pressure to imitate previous weddings you’ve attended. You don’t know who paid for that 400-person wedding you went to last month!

Don’t buy the expensive dream dress

Wedding magazines are fun to look through and gain inspiration from, but a designer wedding dress will only be worn once. That Marchesa gown you’re swooning over is most likely $5,000 over your budget and may not even look the same on you as it does on the model. With time, patience (and possibly the help of your mother and your closest friends) you can find an affordable dress that was made to be worn by you. Our tip for those of you with your heart set on a designer gown is to consider searching for a pre-owned wedding dress to save 50% or more!

Don’t get pressured into spending more than you can afford

Caterers, florists, and venues might try to increase your spending with an up-sale. But if you’re patient, determined, and creative, you should have no trouble sticking to your budget. If your caterer suggests serving guests a seven-course dinner that’s over your budget, it’s time to get honest. Tell him what your budget is and ask him to work with you to serve a less lavishly organized meal. Have a florist create a centerpiece and use it as a template to make the rest yourself. Finally, don’t settle on the first venue you see—create a spreadsheet of each venue’s details and come to a conclusion by weighing all the options.

Don’t go into debt

Going into debt while planning your wedding is the worst of all the wedding budget traps. Taking on additional debt is perhaps the least financially promising thing that you can do at the beginning of your marriage. There are many reasons to avoid taking on debt to pay for your wedding, but the most important is to avoid the stress it will put on your relationship. Think about what comes after the party is over: the start of your marriage! No one should have to spend the first years of their marriage paying off debt for a party.

We hope these tips are helpful to you! Our goal is to help more couples start their married lives off on the right financial footing, a solid relationship, and shared values to live a life they love!

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