Hey girl, hey!
Love is in the air as Cupid’s little pampered butt shoots his arrows into the hearts of couples all over the country. But here’s the thing… did you know that according to a study done by The Knot, the average couple is spending over $33,000 on their wedding!
Thirty-three. Thousand. Dollars, girlfriend!
That’s equivalent to what some people earn for an entire year! I mean, you could also pay off a whole baby Benz with that amount of money.
It’s a lot. It’s cray.
But people are actually spending this kind of money, all the time, on an event that only last a couple of hours... when really the focus should be on what comes after the wedding, because isn’t that what’s most important?
When you think about getting married to the person you love... do you think of a lavish wedding, in an opulent venue, filled with hundreds of guests who have come to witness your union? Or are you the kind of person that wants to save as much money as you can, but still feel like you didn’t jip yourself on one of the most important days of your life? In all honesty, weddings are beautiful experiences, and we all want to make the most of our big day, but regardless of what side of the fence you fall on... I’ve got 5 secrets to share with you today that will hopefully keep you from spending a small fortune on your special day, so you don’t have to worry about the stresses of on-going wedding debt. Let’s chat!
1. Plan Out Your Wedding Budget!
If you’re a regular reader, you’ll know that with me… everything begins and ends with a budget. So here’s my advice: Grab a piece of paper, sit down with your partner, and write down everything you think you’d want for your dream wedding. I’m talking everything... from the location, to the music, to the food and dranks! Everythang! Then determine how much “everythang” is going to cost you, item by item, and write it down. This may take some research on your part, but it’s better to do all this up front than to start spending money willy-nilly and end up broke as a joke before you even step foot down the aisle. So for example, let’s say your hypothetical dream wedding that you’ve written out is looking like it’s going to cost you about a cool twenty-five grand! And now that you’ve gotten the final number, from here you can do one of two things: 1). You can determine how much per month you need to set aside from your income to reach this amount. And depending on how long you extend your engagement period, time could be a major factor. So, hypothetically speaking, let’s say you’re planning a 12-month engagement with a $25,000 budget: $25,000 / 12 months = $2,083 set aside per month for your wedding alone. That’s some people’s home mortgage! However, if you have the means in your budget to achieve that goal, then by all means… do so. But if you’re not in a position like that… then girlfriend, see option #2. 2). You can identify that this amount of money is probably way more than you should be spending, review the list again, and cut out things that are not a priority. Like do you really need that $3,000 dress? Does the venue absolutely have to be $12,000? Is it really necessary to have $8,000 worth of food and an open bar? I think not.
So when it comes to putting together a wedding, you must know your budget and how much things are going to cost you. Perhaps it may help you realize that every, single thing you thought you wanted may not be in the budget, but that’s okay, because in the long run… spending the extra money will most likely not even be worth it. So prioritize what you really want, focus on that and stick to the budget! And for the love of God… whatever you do, please do not (I repeat) DO NOT take out a loan to pay for your wedding. There’s nothing worse than still paying off wedding debt, two, three, or five years into the marriage. It’s not worth it, sis. It’s just not worth it.
2. Research, Research, Research.
When planning a wedding, it’s a must to compare prices. If you’re not dead set on your wedding being during a certain month, or on a certain day… it’s possible you can find packages from venues that are significantly lower than it would normally be during peak seasons and/or peak days. Plus, some venues may offer more amenities than others, which could really give you more bang for your buck. Or if standard venues are appearing to be a bit too pricey, you could get real creative when it comes to the details of your big day.
Maybe borrowing the beautifully landscaped backyard of a friend or family member may suit your venue budget much better. Recently, as I was getting in some morning exercise, when I came across a wedding that was being held on the bridge of a local lake. It was beautiful, it was creative, and I would be willing to bet you… it was super cheap. But if a local wedding isn’t your thing, perhaps a destination wedding could be a better option. It’s not uncommon for a Caribbean wedding to cost less than $10,000 for 40 - 50 people with everything included (ceremony, the clergy person, food, drinks, decor, etc). Personally, my Wife and I decided on a destination wedding in Puerto Rico for a few major reasons: 1. We love the beach and we wanted our wedding pictures to be by the water. 2. We wanted to incorporate our wedding and honeymoon all in one to cut down on the cost. 3. It limited the amount of guests that could come to the wedding, which in our opinion made things much easier and much more drama free. Which brings me to my next point….
3. Be Selective With Your Guest List.
This is where shit gets real. When it comes to your guest list girlfriend, really take some time to think about who you want to be in attendance on your special day, because everybody and their mama will not make the cut. The reason why you want to be selective with your guests is because when it comes down to dollars and cents… you’re paying for all this people to come to your wedding, eat your food, drink your drank, and possibly talk bad about your shit when they leave.
Listen Linda… as much as you may want to think everybody is happy for you, your love, and your union… they ain’t. So it’s up to you to weed out the bad apples and determine who will genuinely bring good energy and good vibes to the celebration of your union. Trust me, the whole world does not need to be invited to your wedding. It will drastically reduce the amount of stress and heartache you experience leading up to your big day by keeping your guest list small. It’s possible that some feelings may be hurt if they notice they didn’t get an invite from you… but they’ll be okay, and you will be too when you remind yourself of tip #4.
4. Remember This Is YOUR Day!
When it comes to your wedding, the key word here is YOUR. So do things the way you choose, and not what someone else wants you to do. If your family wants you to spend boat loads of money on your wedding because they didn’t get the chance to experience their own and are living vicariously through you… the answer is simply ‘no’. If your friends are encouraging you to spend more than what you can afford, because they’re pumping your head up with the idea that you’re wedding has to be lavish and expensive… again, the answer is simply ‘no’. The real question is… are they paying for it? Most likely not… So people who aren’t chipping in on the cost of your wedding, cannot afford to give their unsolicited two cents (and that’s all pun intended). Remember that this special day is about you, your partner, what ya’ll like, and what ya’ll can afford. Dassit!
5. The Wedding Is Just The Beginning.
While weddings are exciting to plan and look forward to, the fact of the matter is… it’s just one day in the whole grand scheme of life. Taking years to pay back a small fortune that you’ve spent on one day is ludacris when you really think about it! Because I mean... let’s be real. No one wants to imagine their blossoming love potentially going south, but with the fact that 50% of marriages end in divorce (most due to financial issues), it would be foolish to still be paying off debt, years later, for something that didn’t even work out… but it happens all the time, and that’s what I’m trying to save you from, sis.
At the end of the day, the wedding is just the beginning of the lifetime you and your partner are vowing to spend together. So start your marriage off on the right financial foot, and know that in doing so… you’re already ahead of the game!
So What Did You Do For Your Wedding, Elle?!...
Ahh well… thank you for asking, girlfriend. Actually, my Wife and I were engaged for 16 months before our wedding day. We chose to have a lengthy engagement because we wanted to give ourselves enough time to plan… both creatively and financially. Off top, we knew we wanted a destination wedding… and we also knew we wanted the ceremony to be in Puerto Rico (we visited 2 years prior and fell in love). We ended up finding this beautiful resort called, The Gran Melia nestled right in the heart of the Rio Grande. What we loved about this resort was that they really understood the meaning of a budget, and they were happy to work within our means. Their wedding packages were extremely reasonable, and their on-site amenities were an added bonus. But above all that, their customer service was beyond superb and upon arriving we were unexpectedly surprised with upgrades for both us and all of our guests! We were upgraded to a Villa, with our own private pool and outdoor shower. Plus, we were assigned a Butler, who was absolutely amazing and took care of all of our requests. Lastly we were accommodated with our very own Chambermaid, who made sure we were as comfortable as possible during our week long stay. Sounds real luxurious, right? But guess what?... We did it all for under $10K and didn’t have a dime of debt when we returned home. The things I slightly splurged on were my dress, makeup, and pictures… because I wanted to capture all the beauty that surrounded our special day. But a lot of the luxuries we were afforded just happened to be gifts from the resort. I truly believe that most of it happened because we remained patient, kind, and positive throughout the co-planning process, and they felt generous enough to gift us upgrades to make our stay special. All in all, it was absolutely amazing. There’s nothing that I would have changed about my wedding day, and I hope that when you look back on yours, you’ll be able to say the same! Happy Planning! Drop a comment below and let me know what you think of this post? Until Next Time, Elle