From creating your wedding budget to saving without sacrifice, we'll show you how it's done.
illustration: Ursula Osteen
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Figuring out your wedding budget can be stressful, but don't worry -- whether you're dreaming of a lavish hotel affair or an intimate garden get-together, answering these questions will help you figure out what you have to spend to make it happen.
Who's Paying for the Wedding?
Talk with your families about who will pay for what: Some brides' families still pick up the entire tab, but more and more groom's families are participating too. How do you bring up the conversation? For many couples, talking to each family separately is the best way to have truly open discussions. When you do talk, here are strategies for determining your initial budget.
- Ask both of your folks to commit to a specific dollar amount, and then add up all the contributions to create your budget.
- Alternatively, it may be easier to ask each set of parents to finance a particular aspect of the wedding (such as the ceremony, honeymoon, or catering) instead of just committing to a dollar amount.
- Decide how much you two can contribute between now and the wedding. (37 % of the couples we polled say they're planning to contribute financially to their wedding.)
How Much Do You Actually Need for the Wedding?
Just like buying shoes, an apartment, or a pair of jeans, when it comes to financing a wedding, you should figure out how much you need to spend to get what you want. Set your expectations accordingly. Knot Note:
The average cost for a 150-person wedding is about $27,000 (higher in urban areas).
- Here is a basic breakdown of what you can expect to pay:
Wedding Rings: 2%-3%
- To avoid stress, allot about 5% of your budget for a "just-in-case" fund.
- If you're paying for your honeymoon yourselves, remember to budget for that as well.
How Much Should You Save for the Wedding?
As soon as you're engaged
, start putting aside as much of your income as you can for the wedding. Saving 20% of your monthly income is a good -- though painful -- goal. The longer your engagement, the more you'll be able to sock away.
- Ways to save: Limit your spending on small stuff (renting movies instead of going out; going to Starbucks once instead of twice a day; downloading just the song you love instead of buying the whole CD). These changes will hardly affect your quality of life, but after a year, the extra cash will cover some wedding essentials.
- Make the most of your money: Instead of stashing your money in a low-interest savings account, consider buying CDs or opening a money-market account. The interest rate can be double that of a savings account. Just check the fine print to avoid penalties.
See More: Wedding Planning Basics