Budgeting for Your Big Day: How to Pay for a  Wedding

how to pay for a wedding

According to a recent survey, the average cost of a wedding in the United States is now over $20,000. For many couples, this is simply not an affordable option.

A wedding can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to put you into debt. There are many ways to fund a wedding without breaking the bank. We have researched various options on how to pay for your big day without going into debt. 

With the added expenses of catering, photography, and entertainment, it’s no wonder that so many couples have to take out loans or use credit cards to cover the costs. However, it’s important to remember that relying heavily on credit cards can be dangerous. Credit card debt can quickly add up and become incredibly burdensome. 

The best way to pay for a wedding is by setting aside money you save specifically for that purpose. Start saving early, even if you don’t know when you’ll get married; contributions to an in-house savings account should be part of your regular budget. 

Consider setting up automated transfers from one account to another each month to help you reach your goals more quickly and efficiently. Trying to pay off a wedding using only credit cards could leave you with additional financial pressures long after your marriage day has passed. Take precautions now by saving wisely and using credit cards only sparingly to ensure lasting financial stability for years to come.  ​

Getting Started With Wedding Payment Plans

Weddings are notoriously expensive, and many couples feel anxious about money in the lead-up to their big day. Some couples’ families may contribute a certain amount or offer to pay for specific costs, such as the rehearsal dinner, while others may have to cover everything out of their pockets. Discussing and planning your wedding budget as early as possible is essential. Here are some tips to help you get started.

  1. Find out the specifics in advance, or make alternate plans that don’t rely on those funds. It’s not worth the added stress and social awkwardness to make plans based on finances that are up in the air or a certain sum of money you’re not sure of.
  2. If you’re uncomfortable discussing finances with your partner, it can be helpful to plan your wedding if you don’t have any money to spare. This means setting a realistic budget and sticking to it. Of course, this can be easier said than done, but it’s important to remember that any money you receive as a gift will be a bonus rather than a necessity. By taking this approach, you can avoid unnecessary stress and focus on enjoying the lead-up to your wedding day.

6 Ways to Pay For Your Wedding

No one said that getting married would be cheap, but there are ways to pay for your wedding without going into debt.

Wedding Loans

How wedding loans work

While some risks are associated with taking out a loan, there are also many benefits. Wedding loans can help couples save money on interest rates and offer flexibility regarding repayment terms. In addition, most online lenders will work with couples to create a payment plan that fits their budget.

Open A Wedding Specific Savings Account And Make Regular Deposits

One of the best ways to save is to open a dedicated wedding savings account. By making regular deposits into this account, you’ll be able to quickly build up a nest egg that can be used to cover all of your wedding expenses.

Plus, having wedding savings account for your wedding funds will help you to stay on budget and avoid overspending. So if you’re looking for a smart way to save for your big day, open a wedding savings account as soon as possible.

Credit Cards

Using a to pay for your wedding can be a great way to earn rewards and points that can be used for your honeymoon or other expenses. However, it’s important to be aware of the potential risks involved. If you’re not careful, you could end up with a huge bill that you can’t afford to pay off.

Before using a credit card for your wedding, create a budget and compare interest rates. You should also consider your credit limit and whether you’ll be able to pay off the balance within a few months. If not, consider other options, such as personal loans or layaway plans.

Retirement Account

With careful planning, you can withdraw money from your 401k or IRA without incurring any penalties. And if you’re worried about depleting your savings, you can always replenish the account after your wedding. So if you’re looking for a way to pay for your dream wedding without debt, consider using your retirement account.

Asking For Help From Family and Friends

Weddings are expensive, and there’s no denying that. And while some couples are fortunate enough to have parents who are willing and able to help with the cost, others are not so lucky. If you find yourself in the latter camp, you may wonder if it’s appropriate to ask family and close friends to help cover some of the expenses or for a personal loan.

The answer is not a simple one, as there are pros and cons to this approach. On the one hand, you may feel like you’re taking advantage of your loved ones if you ask them to help pay for your wedding. On the other hand, they may be more than happy to contribute and may even be offended if you don’t give them a chance, and you can work up a convenient monthly payment option for a personal loan.

Ultimately, it’s up to you to weigh the pros and cons and decide what’s best for your situation. Asking for help with wedding expenses should not be taken lightly, but if you decide to go ahead with it, be sure to express your gratitude properly; this should be a last resort.

Breakdown of Wedding Expenses

When it comes to wedding expenses, there are a lot of different things that can add up quickly. For example, the venue cost, food and drink, transportation, decorations, and more can all start to add up. 

Venue (30%)

 It can be easy to overlook, but venues take up approximately 30% of a wedding budget and are crucial to bringing your special day to life. The right venue will set the tone for you and your guests, being beautiful and functional for organizing all other wedding elements. When selecting a venue, always keep in mind what services they offer and always have a backup plan in case of bad weather or other unforeseen circumstances.

Catering (20%)

When planning a wedding, the cost of catering can take up a large portion of the budget. About 20% of wedding budgets are allocated for catering expenses. It aptly makes sense then that couples should carefully consider their food choices regarding menus and vendors. 

From deciding what type of meal will be served (buffet style or sit-down?) to choosing delicious dishes that reflect the tastes and preferences of the couple and their guests, the catering aspect requires lots of thoughtful consideration. 

Couples may work with an experienced caterer who is familiar with their vision and can guide them in making smart choices that fit within their budget. For example, although offering steak may appeal more to guests, cutting down on meat options can still result in delicious -and budget-friendly – alternatives for the wedding day menu. 

Music and Entertainment (10%)

When it comes to wedding planning, music and entertainment are traditionally one of the most enjoyable tasks for newlyweds-to-be. However, setting aside an appropriate wedding budget for music and entertainment can take time and effort. Carefully consider all the choices available to ensure you get the biggest bang for your buck. 

Depending on what type of entertainment you want, you could spend up to several thousand dollars on this aspect alone. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to control costs without sacrificing quality. For example, booking DJs or bands locally to reduce travel expenses. Also, shop around and compare prices from multiple vendors. 

Finally, ask if any family members or friends have experience providing musical services and see if they would be willing to lend their talents for free or at a discounted rate. All these actions can help ensure that music and entertainment take up only their fair share of your wedding budget – leaving plenty of room to allocate funds elsewhere!

Wedding Rings (7%)

The typical engaged couple spends roughly seven percent of their wedding budget on engagement and wedding bands. This can come as quite a shock to many couples who thought they would only be spending on one or two pieces of jewelry—and suddenly have to set aside hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars for this item alone.

Photography (7%)

Photography plays an important role in any wedding – capturing those special moments and allowing couples to look back fondly at them for years to come. As such, it’s common for photography services to take up around 7% of a wedding budget. 

Of course, this percentage can vary depending on the size and scope of the event. Still, no matter what a couple is looking for, plenty of professional photographers offer a range of packages and services tailored to fit any budget. Whether couples prefer candid shots or posed group photos, spending money on capturing those treasured memories is always worth it.

Couples’ Outfits (6%)

Couples’ outfits take up an average of 6% of a wedding budget. This means grooms can spend up to 4K on their look, while brides will shell out closer to 9K for their dream dress. While allocating such a significant portion of funds might seem counter-intuitive at first glance, these expenditures make perfect sense. After all, when it comes down to it, the bride and groom are the event stars – so why not purchase something that truly stands out?

Videography (5%)

Usually, couples set aside 7% of their wedding budget for videography services. This decision is wise since wedding videos easily capture precious memories in stunning visual form. Moreover, having a skilled videographer cover the event ensures that every meaningful moment is recorded effectively. 

By hiring a pro, couples will get more than just a video of their special day; they get priceless memories frozen in time – captured with amazing clarity and brilliance. Furthermore, videographers can fulfill special requests such as scenic shots or drone footage that add extra beauty to the film. Thus, if couples want to maximize the value they receive from their wedding budget, selecting a talented videographer should always be high on their priorities. 

Decorations and Lightning (5%)

While this might seem like a small portion of the overall budget, the money spent on decorating and lighting can make all the difference in creating an atmosphere that no one will forget. Adding these decorative touches can help turn a venue from dull to delightful, from elegant centerpieces to twinkling string lights. 

A skilled wedding designer or event planner can work within budget constraints to maximize impact, using high-impact elements such as uplighting or specialty backdrops instead of more costly fixtures. 

Wedding Planner (5%)

Not only can Wedding Planners provide valuable insight into hidden costs or budgetary concerns for certain items such as flowers, but most importantly, they can help prevent common, costly mistakes and oversights from being made by inexperienced brides and grooms. Additionally, they are well-connected within their market, which can often mean leveraging discounts from other vendors and venues. 

Wedding Planners have reviews to back up their experience and a track record of success that potential clients may ask for before deciding to hire. Most planners prepare by meeting with couples early to create a timeline and set expectations accordingly. 

Professional Wedding Planners also handle all the administrative preparations such as contracts and permits and provide detailed itineraries such as guests list/addressing invitation lists – taking additional stress off of couples who are increasingly trying to stay within budget while still creating magical memories they will cherish forever. 

Hair & Makeup (3%)

One area of spending that’s often overlooked is hair and makeup. Hair and makeup account for roughly three percent of wedding expenses. This may seem insignificant compared to other wedding services, such as catering or music; however, overlooking it can have serious consequences. 

Professional hair and makeup artists are crucial for creating the desired look for your special day, giving the bride and bridesmaids confidence and a flawless finish. It’s important, then, to take time deliberating over appropriate hairstyles for the party before settling on vendors who share a common theme. By considering hair and makeup in your budget, you’re setting yourself up for success and guaranteeing perfect photographs from your memorable occasion.

Transportation (2%)

Transportation is important for any wedding, as it allows a couple to get from the ceremony to the reception easily. To save money without additional planning stress, couples may coordinate with other attendees rather than opting for private transport. 

For example, reaching out to nearby relatives or friends who have a larger car could be a great way to save some money on transport costs by taking multiple people in one vehicle. However, couples prefer the convenience and flexibility of hiring professionals when getting themselves or their guests between various locations. In that case, discounts are often available if they book several vehicles at once. 

Wedding Budgeting 101

The wedding of your dreams doesn’t have to be out of reach. Follow these simple tips to help you stay on budget without sacrificing any of the details that are important to you.

Determine A Budget

my wedding budget | real numbers | how to create your wedding budget | millennial money

One of the most important aspects of planning a wedding is creating a budget. However, you can follow simple steps to stay within your financial limitations. First, list all the expenses you will need to cover, such as the cost of the venue, food and drink, decorations, and so on. 

Next, research the average price of each item on your list. This will give you a good starting point for estimating your overall budget. Finally, be realistic about your costs and allow some flexibility in your spending.

Consider Payment Options (Cash, Credit, Check)

When paying for your wedding, you have a few different options. You can pay cash, use a credit card, or write a check. Each option has its advantages and disadvantages. For example, paying cash means that you won’t have to worry about accruing interest on your wedding expenses. 

However, tracking your spending when using cash can also take more work. On the other hand, credit cards offer the convenience of monitoring your expenses online. However, you’ll need to pay off your balance in full each month to avoid accruing interest. 

Writing a check is another option that can be helpful if you want to avoid paying interest on your wedding expenses. However, ensuring you have enough money to cover the check and any fees associated with writing a check is important. Whichever option you choose, consider all the pros and cons before making a decision.

Decide Who Will Handle Payments (Bride And Groom, Parents, Wedding Planner)

With so many things to think about when planning a wedding, it’s easy to forget who will pay for everything. Who pays for the wedding? The bride’s parents? The groom’s parents? The couple themselves? In reality, there is no definitive answer – it all depends on your circumstances and relationship with your family. 

If you’re fortunate enough to have parents who are willing and able to contribute financially to your wedding, then you should take them up on their offer! However, if you’re paying for most of the wedding, consider enlisting the help of a professional wedding planner. 

A good wedding planner can save you time and money by helping you secure discounts with vendors and keeping track of your budget. Ultimately, deciding who pays for the wedding is up to you – just make sure you sit down with your partner and discuss your options before making any final decisions.

Make A Payment Schedule Or Timeline

Creating a payment schedule or timeline is important when planning your wedding to stay organized and on budget. This will help you track what vendors need to be paid and when. To start, list all the vendors you will use for your wedding. Then, research the average cost for each service. 

Once you know the total cost, you can create a payment schedule. Typically, a deposit is required when booking vendors, with the balance due closer to the wedding date. However, some vendors may require full payment upfront. Be sure to ask about their payment policies so that you can plan accordingly. 

Keep Track Of Payments And Receipts

This will help you stay organized and on budget. To start, create a roadmap board with your vendors’ contact information. Include columns for the service date, amount owed, payment date, and other relevant details. As you make payments, be sure to update the spreadsheet. 

Keep physical copies of all receipts in a binder or file folder. This will be handy if you return any items or dispute a charge. By keeping meticulous records, you can ensure that your wedding stays within budget and runs smoothly.

Follow Up With Vendors To Ensure Payments Were Received

Your wedding day has come and gone, but there are still a few loose ends to tie up. One important task is to follow up with vendors to ensure that they have received payment for their services. It is essential to do this to avoid any potential problems down the road. 

The best way to do this is to create a list of all the vendors you used for your wedding and their contact information. Then, send each vendor a quick email or call to confirm that they have received payment. This will put your mind at ease and help build strong relationships with vendors for future events.

Cutting Down Costs For A Wedding

There are plenty of creative ways to foot the bill, from thrifting to DIYing certain aspects of the celebration. Here are some tips for how to pay for your wedding without breaking the bank.

Avoid Peak Wedding Season Dates

Many couples dream of a June wedding, with the bride wearing a white dress and the groom clad in a tuxedo. However, planning a wedding ceremony during the peak season can be expensive. Venues and vendors are in high demand, and prices may be inflated.

If you want to save money on your wedding day, consider getting married during the off-season. October and November are advisable off-season periods for weddings, as the leaves change color and the weather is cool but not cold.

December is also advisable, as many churches and reception halls are decorated for the holidays. While you may have to contend with chilly weather, you’ll likely find better deals on venues and vendors if you plan your wedding during the off-season.

Negotiate With Vendors for Lower Prices or Discounts

5 Rules for Negotiating $$ with Wedding Vendors

One of the most common advice for couples looking to save money on their wedding is negotiating with vendors for lower prices or discounts. This can be an effective strategy, but it’s important to approach negotiations cautiously. 

First, ensure that you are confident in your budget and have a clear idea of what you are willing to spend. Second, remember that vendors are businesses and may not be open to negotiating on price. 

However, it’s always worth asking for a discount – you may be surprised at how often you get one. Finally, don’t be afraid to walk away from a vendor if they are unwilling to meet your needs.

DIY Décor or Choose Budget-Friendly Options

DIYing wedding decor (on a budget)

One option to cut costs is to DIY some of the elements of your big day. For example, you can create wedding invitations, favors, and decorations using canva. Or, if you’re not particularly crafty, you can ask friends or family members to lend a hand. Not only will this help save money, but it will also add a personal touch to your wedding.

You can also go thrifting for a wedding dress, wedding decorations, pairs of wedding shoes, wedding rings, and other items. For example, bridesmaids can look for second-hand gowns at consignment shops or online resale sites instead of buying new dresses. Similarly, grooms and groomsmen can often find suits and tuxedos at a fraction of the cost by shopping at thrift stores.

More and more bridal shops also offer rental options for everything from gowns to bridesmaids’ dresses to tuxedos. This can be a great way to save money on your wedding attire while still getting the look you want. It can also be more convenient than buying since you won’t have to worry about storing or preserving your gown after the big day.

Simplify Your Guest List

How to Narrow Down My GUEST LIST // tips & tricks for cutting back my wedding guest list

One way to cut costs is to simplify and downsize the number of guests. This may mean only inviting close family and friends or cutting back on the number of people in the bridal party. Regardless, downsizing will help to reduce the overall cost of the wedding. In addition, it can also help to make the day more intimate and memorable.

Choose a Less Expensive Venue

Many couples are now choosing to get married in nontraditional locations, such as their backyard or a beautiful park. This can also help cut costs while providing a stunning setting for your big day.

This can save thousands of dollars on venue rental fees, decorations, and catering. In addition, it provides a more personal and intimate setting for your wedding. Your guests will feel closer to you and your spouse, and you will have more control over every aspect of your big day.

Cut Down Monthly Expenses Months Before

Planning any big event, like a wedding, takes time and money. And while it’s normal to want everything to be perfect, keeping your finances in mind is important. One way to reduce the cost of your wedding is to cut down on your monthly expenses.

This can be done by eating out less, cutting back on unnecessary spending, and consolidating your debts. You’ll have more money to put toward your wedding by reducing your monthly expenses. And while it may take a bit of effort, it’s worth saving a bit of money on your big day.

Get a Side Hustle

A side job can be a great way to earn extra cash to cover wedding finances. In addition to providing additional income, it can also help to develop new skills and contacts. For example, if you take on a part-time job in customer service, you may learn valuable people skills that will come in handy when dealing with wedding vendors.

And if you work in a shop or restaurant, you may get to know the owner or manager, who could be a valuable resource when planning your big day. Of course, it’s important to consider the time commitment of a side job before taking one on.

If you’re already working full-time and trying to plan a wedding, there may be better ideas than adding another job to your plate. But if you can juggle both commitments, a side job can be a great way to offset some of the costs of getting married.

Patronizing Family and Close Friends’ Businesses

One way to significantly cut wedding costs is by patronizing businesses owned by family and close friends. Not only will this save you money, but it will also help to support your loved ones. While you may find cheaper options elsewhere, there is no substitute for quality for your wedding, and they should be able to work a discount for you.

By patronizing businesses you know and trust, you can be sure you are getting the best possible value for your money. So, before looking at outside vendors, ask your family and friends if they can help with your wedding preparations. You may be surprised at how much they are willing and able to do.

Hire Freelance Professionals

One option is to hire freelance professionals instead of traditional wedding planners. While you will still need to do some research and legwork, hiring freelancers can save you money on things like wedding cakes, décor, music, and photography.

Who Handles Payments For What In a Wedding

Setting up a wedding can be expensive, and coordinating all of the payments between vendors can be not only costly but also stressful. Therefore, it’s important to understand who is responsible for making the payments before committing to anything. 

Traditional Method

Most people would opt to go for the traditional method which involves both families taking care of different aspects of the wedding.

Bride and Brides Family

  • The bride’s attire, including the gown, veil, and jewelry
  • Photographer for the wedding
  • Everything about the reception, from the food and drink to the decorations and the entertainment
  • Wedding officials
  • The announcements, invitations, and ceremony booklets
  • Flowers for the centerpieces for the ceremony and reception
  • The grooms ring

Groom and Grooms Family

  • The wedding rehearsal dinner
  • Two of the bride’s rings
  • Flowers for the wedding, including the bride’s bouquet, the groomsmen’s boutonnieres, and the mothers’ and grandmothers’ corsages
  • The tuxedo or suit for the groom
  • License and registration costs
  • The honeymoon

Modern Day Method

Generally, the bride and groom should pay for any services relating to their special days, such as apparel, stationery, photography, ceremony facilities, entertainment, and decorations. The parents may help contribute towards these costs or provide extra funds for additional services. 

Meanwhile, vendors, including caterers and venues, will usually require deposits to secure dates and establish guarantees. In some cases, other family members might choose to pitch in with payment for a specific service – such as the officiator or cake baker – but the newlyweds must remember that, ultimately, they are accountable for executing funds necessary for their wedding celebration. 

Overall, understanding who handles payments for what when it comes to planning a wedding will save aspiring couples stress down the line.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who Pays for the Outfits in a Wedding 2022?

While the bride and her family traditionally cover the costs of the wedding gown and accessories, today, many couples choose to split the expenses evenly between them. This is especially common when both the bride and groom are working and can afford to contribute equally to the wedding budget. Additionally, more and more couples are opting to pay for their own wedding attire, as this allows for greater flexibility in terms of style and budget.

What Is a Waste of Money for a Wedding?

Distracting guests’ attention with extravagant wedding traditions like releasing live doves, lighting off fireworks, or employing professional dancers is not what a wedding is about and is a waste of money.

How Much Do Parents Give as a Wedding Gift?

The cost of a wedding is often prohibitively high, leading many couples to turn to family members like parents and grandparents for help. Research shows parents pay between 35 and 42 percent of the wedding bill. These figures are clear evidence of families’ dedication to their children! 

Do You Pay For A Wedding Upfront?

Some services demand payment in full, while others offer installment plans. Since they have to turn away other couples after you book them, many require a non-refundable deposit to hold your date. But the balance is typically paid one month before the wedding.

Who Pays The Bride Price?

In many cultures, the groom’s family pays a bride’s price to the bride’s family as part of the marriage process. The groom’s family may offer money, goods, or livestock to the bride’s family in exchange for their daughter’s hand in marriage. In some cases, the bride price is simply a symbolic gesture, while in others, it is an essential part of the marriage negotiations.

Final Thoughts

By now, you understand what it will cost to have the wedding of your dreams. You also know how much you can realistically afford to spend without debt. The most important step in wedding planning is determining the best way to pay for your wedding.

While it can be tempting to charge the entire event to a credit card and pay it off over time, this is not always the best option. Interest charges can add up quickly, and you may end up paying more for your wedding than you originally planned. 

Instead, it is best to employ a balanced approach, with savings playing the primary role. You can still use credit to cover unexpected costs or take advantage of early-bird discounts, but by starting with a solid foundation of savings, you can help ensure that your wedding stays within budget. By being creative and flexible, you can have the wedding of your dreams without spending a fortune.

Table of Contents

Discover More Gift Reviews


Join Our Newsletter

Don’t let the best deals slip away. Be the first to receive updates on our latest deals and offerings.

Don’t miss out—join now and start enjoying the benefits of being a valued subscriber.

We’ll be sending you our latest blog posts and software tools. Unsubscribe anytime.