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How to Actually Pay For Your Wedding (Without Debt or Depleting Your Savings)

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With wedding season in full swing, it’s the perfect time to discuss how to pay for a wedding without taking on crippling debt or depleting savings.

How to Actually Pay For Your Wedding (Without Debt or Depleting Your Savings)
Jessica Bishop Headshot

Did you know couples in the United States spend an average of $30,000 on their wedding? We know It’s easy to get caught in a comparison trap while planning your special day, and there’s a societal expectation that the big day be perfect no matter the cost. Remember, the day itself is only the beginning of an incredible journey.

Overspending on your wedding will continue to cost you money in the months or years that follow. We’re passionate about helping you plan the wedding of your dreams without sacrificing long-term financial stability. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how perfect an affordable wedding will be. 

You can have it all while planning a wedding and staying on budget. Here are our best tips on how to pay for your wedding without debt or draining your savings account.

Wedding Financing Options

When it comes to paying for a wedding, there are a few different options for financing the big day


The cash flow method of paying for your wedding means you’ll be paying for things as you go from your checking or savings account. These funds could be coming from you and your partner or could include funds offered by either of your families as well. Of course, this is the preferred method since you’ll pay as you go and won’t have the burden of debt. It’s common for vendors to offer payment plans leading up to your big day. It’s wise to take advantage of these. 

Just keep an eye out for:

  • Accrued interest rates on payment plans
  • Penalty for cancellations or changes in your contract

It’s best to pay in full with cash when you can so the product/service is “out of sight, out of mind.” Having several outstanding payment plans leading up to your big day may be more stressful than it’s worth. 


We live in a time where it’s easy to apply for credit on the spot. Many wedding vendors even offer credit options for those that don’t have the cash flow to invest in their big day upfront. You may be in a position where planning for your big day is going to require you to put some big-ticket items on a credit card. Of course, cash flow is best, but if you have to use credit, we want to encourage you to use it wisely. 

Here are a few tips to keep on budget while using credit cards for your wedding.

  • Set a conservative credit budget regardless of your card’s limit
  • Make a plan to pay off the balance before introductory offers expire (i.e., 0% interest for 24 months)
  • Use credit sparingly
  • Revisit your list of “non-negotiables” and prioritize 

Wedding Loans

Millions of people have turned to personal loans to pay for their weddings. (Spoiler alert: we think taking on debt for a wedding is a BAD idea.) Financing your wedding could cost you thousands of additional dollars in interest. Taking out a wedding loan will follow you well into your first years of marriage. Remember, you can have the day of your dreams without the stress of debt. We’re here to guide you through all of your budget-savvy options. 

To keep money flowing during the wedding planning process, we encourage you to keep these three questions in mind. 

  1. What is the most important aspect of my wedding day? How are my spending habits getting me closer to that goal?
  1. How long will it take me to pay for this in cash or pay off the balance on my credit card? Is this [insert wedding detail] in the budget?
  1. Is my wedding budget still realistic?

6 Tips for Paying for Your Wedding

Now, let’s talk through tips for paying for your wedding without going into debt. These are guideposts to come back to if you get discouraged or need to reassess your finances when it comes to planning your special day. 

1. Set a realistic budget 

Determine who is paying and then do the math. You want a wedding budget based on numbers and not just a wishlist. The math will keep you and your partner focused as the wishlist grows. Planning a wedding is exciting, and it’s natural to have endless ideas that make your “non-negotiables” list without holding them up to the budget. 

Just the couple: Use this simple wedding budget calculator to figure out how much the two of you could realistically afford on your own. Then, consider your wedding timeline and how you may adjust it to be able to plan a debt-free wedding.

Family: See if family members are available and willing to front the costs of your wedding or a portion of the special day. 

Couple and family: Ask family and friends to chip in if they are able. Be clear about which area or areas you need contributions toward and come to an agreement with family members on who will pay for what.

2. Save during your engagement.

Cut back on monthly expenses. Halt excess spending on little things that add up and make bigger sacrifices if you’re willing. Save money for your wedding with an auto-saving app, Capital One 360.

3. Pick up a temporary side hustle.

Think of creative ways to make more cash and save by starting a “bride hustle.” There are so many side hustle ideas out there that won’t cost you money and don’t take a lot of time. Every dollar counts when you’re planning your wedding. Take a look at our linked blog post for ideas!

4. Cut costs on lower-priority items.

Think of creative ways to make more cash and save. Don’t underestimate the money-saving perks of DIY projects. Remember, a lower price doesn’t mean lower quality. Consider shopping sales, buying in bulk, or asking a friend to tackle a DIY project with you.

5. Take advantage of credit card rewards.

Use your credit cards—realistically, and don’t go overboard. The points you accrue can be applied toward more necessary wedding purchases. You can even use your rewards toward your next credit card payment.

6. Do your research.

Don’t get caught in impulse spending during your wedding. Set yourself up for success by researching everything before you buy. Sometimes taking the extra day or so will help you avoid impulsive purchases and overspending.

Paying for Your Wedding

We at B$B are here to cheer you on as you plan the wedding of your dreams while sticking to a budget. There are so many ways to plan a beautiful day without sacrificing financial security. You don’t need to spend $30k on your wedding for it to be magical. By following the tips we’ve shared with you today, you can absolutely plan a beautiful wedding within your financial means.

Whether you’re planning a large extravaganza, micro wedding, or intimate elopement, we’re confident you can make it happen without long-term debt. For more inspiration, check out our Real Wedding section for how you can plan the perfect day on any budget.

Jessica Bishop Headshot

Jessica Bishop is the founder of TheBudgetSavvyBride.com, and has worked in various areas and roles within the wedding industry since 2007. She is the author of the best-selling book,The Budget-Savvy Wedding Planner & Organizer and also hosts The Bouquet Toss Wedding Planning Podcast. Jessica's expert wedding advice and savvy savings tips have been featured by Good Morning America, COSMOPOLITAN, Glamour, and more. You can learn more about Jessica on her personal blog and professional website.