Getting married is a big commitment – emotionally and financially. Knowing your budget, and sticking to it, and avoiding unexpected charges, will help make your day as wonderful as you imagined. With the overall cost of a wedding in Ohio averaging $20,000 and the nearby city of Fort Wayne, IN hovering around $30,000, it’s important to find ways to cut down your wedding expenses while having your cake (and eating it too).
Who’s Paying for Your Wedding?
This can be a sticky topic, but one that needs to be discussed. According to The Knot’s 2016 Real Wedding survey, on average, the bride’s parents contribute 44%, the bride & groom contribute 42%, and the groom’s parents contribute 13% toward wedding expenses.
If family members are contributing, try to get an accurate number as possible to help you plan. Alternatively, asking them to contribute to a specific item for the day, for example, flowers or catering, will allow them to get involved in shopping for that vendor or service.
Your guest list is the single biggest factor in how much your wedding expenses will rise or fall. Venues usually charge by the head, especially if they are providing food and beverages. Although some venues utilize a flat fee, up to a certain amount of people. If you are bringing in an outside caterer, the caterer will charge you by the head or in groups of people. A $50-per-person meal can affect a wedding by $500 if you invite an extra 10 people.
Consider the size of your wedding party, too. More bridesmaids and groomsmen mean more transportation and gift costs. As groups of friends tend to get engaged and married around the same time, your close friend, who is in three other weddings that same year, may not mind coming as a guest. Have an open conversation about this with your partner, family and friends.
Stick to Your Wedding Budget
The reception is likely your largest expense, so make a wedding budget so you can narrow your list of locations within your price range. Once you find the right venue, you can see how much is in the budget for your other vendors.
Here’s a sample wedding budget breakdown from Martha Stewart:
- Reception (food, beverages, rentals, and site): 40% - 50%
- Flowers: 10%
- Photography/videography: 10%
- Bride and Groom’s attire: 5%-10%
- Band or DJ: 5% -10%
- Wedding planner: 10% - 15%
- Miscellaneous (favors, transportation, etc.): 10%
- Cushion for “extras”: 5 - 10%
Save Up for Your Big Day
Staying within your budget range for every item is key to help prevent you from spending more than you can afford. A few financial tools can help as well.
- Open a savings account with First Federal Bank to save up for your wedding. These accounts earn interest and may help to keep your money separate from your daily checking account.
- Consider rewards cards. If you charge some of the larger wedding-related purchases and get perks such as airplane miles or hotel rooms, those could help with your honeymoon expenses. Make sure you pay off each card from your wedding fund at the end of each month.
- Be frugal in the months leading up to the big day. If you can cut out unnecessary expenses, you can bulk up your savings and spend less time paying bills after the wedding. Read more about building a simple budget here.
- If you need any other information, feel free to stop by or contact us.
Watch the Extras
As much as you try to plan everything for the big day, unexpected costs pop up. Experts say to try to calculate between a 5-15% buffer for these surprises which can include invitation postage, taxes and gratuities, and any overtime fees from your service providers. Be sure to have your vendors estimate their total fees in your contracts before you sign.
Cutting Your Expenses
There are some great ways to save on wedding expenses, and still have your happily ever after. Consider these wedding planning tips:
- Have your wedding on a day other than Saturday. Saturdays are the most popular day but a wedding on a Friday or Sunday can save you big bucks.
- Consider seasonal buys. Watch for big sales and snag items like dresses and décor for less.
- Cut the cake. Wedding cakes can be very expensive so consider fun alternatives like mini pies, a milk and cookie bar or cupcakes.
- Rent the dress. Websites like Rent the Runway and Borrowing Magnolia offer more affordable ways to dress the part, without spending your whole budget.
- Ditch the flowers. Consider cheaper centerpieces like candles, faux flowers or even candy.
- Go digital. Save big on printing and mailing costs and support the environment by using services like Paperless Post or Greenvelope. Plus, all the RSVP tracking will be done digitally.
- Wedding album. Don’t pay for a traditional wedding album; instead, get the digital photos so you can print only your favorites.
- DIY photo booth. Photo booths are popular but can be pricey. Instead, put up a simple backdrop, buy some props and guests can use their own cameras and post on social media with your wedding hashtag.
At First Federal Bank we support you through all of life’s big moments. Enjoy your big day and let us help you with your financial needs now and in the future.