The pandemic has caused many couples to downsize their big day and have a smaller wedding. But COVID isn't the only reason you should reconsider a big, traditional celebration.
A lot of people dream about having a huge fairytale wedding with all the bells and whistles. They imagine a magical day spent with hundreds of their family and friends in a breathtaking venue. You may picture wearing a designer wedding dress or an epic, towering wedding cake. But despite the fun of a large celebration, maybe you should reconsider having a big wedding — and not just because of COVID-19.
Downsizing your wedding can give you the monetary resources to kickstart the shared financial wellbeing of you and your spouse. In this article, we’ll explore why you should save money on your wedding and what you could use the savings for. Plus we'll share how you can go about cutting costs on your wedding.
Smaller Wedding = Longer, Happier Marriage?
In addition to the obvious financial benefits of downsizing your wedding, have you considered other ways in which the size of your wedding could impact the quality of your marriage? A 2014 study found that there is evidence of an inverse relationship between the amount of money a couple spends on their wedding and the length of their relationship. In other words, there is a trend in the data that shows that couples who spend less on their wedding tend to have a longer relationship and vice versa. Obviously, this isn’t true for all couples. But the stress of depleted savings could lead to struggles in the relationship.
Some of the main findings of the study include:
- Expensive engagement rings were inversely related to marriage length among men
- High wedding costs were associated with a decrease in marriage length for women
- More modest wedding costs showed a positive relationship with marriage length in respondents, regardless of gender
- To be clear, an expensive wedding is not a bad thing, and does not have a direct effect on the trajectory of your marriage — the study just suggests that wedding cost can be a factor or indicator for some couples
And while the results of this study are a compelling reason to consider downsizing your wedding, another element to take into account is how crucial a mutual understanding of financial goals is to your relationship. Financial disagreements repeatedly show up in studies on the top reasons for divorce, so a failure to maintain a healthy and open conversation on finances could be detrimental to your relationship.
How Your Wedding Savings Can Be a Financial Springboard
Oftentimes, a wedding is a huge milestone for couples that marks the start of the rest of their lives together. It may also be one of the first times they’re doing some big-ticket spending together. The wedding is a great opportunity for couples to make wise financial decisions, setting themselves up for financial success with a strong start.
To put your wedding savings into perspective, we’ll be comparing the amount of money you’d be saving to three common things that people spend money on when it comes to establishing their families and working towards financial stability: starting a family, buying a home, and paying off debt.
Starting a Family
If you want to start a family, be prepared to pay an average price of $10,808 (depending on your state) just to deliver your baby. But if you can cut back on your reception venue — which costs $10,500 on average — you’ll be better equipped to afford it. If you do eventually have an in-person wedding, you can still save money by booking more extravagant venues during off-seasons or holding the reception on a family member’s property.
Buying a Home
One of the central components of the “American dream” is purchasing a house. With median monthly mortgage payments of $1,566, having a house can be pricey. Coincidentally, the average cost of a wedding planner is $1,500.
By planning your wedding yourself or enlisting the help of a particularly organized friend, you could save enough money to spend the first few weeks living in a new home without having to worry about making your mortgage payments. You could also consider hiring a point person for the big day rather than having someone on staff throughout your entire wedding planning experience.
Read this: 7 First-Time Home Buying Tips for Newlyweds
Paying Off Debt
Student debt and credit card debt can feel like a huge weight on your shoulders, dragging you down and making it difficult for you to achieve your financial goals or do things you love, like going on vacation. As of 2017, the average student loan debt was a staggering $37,172, with average monthly payments ranging from $231 to $382. Skipping wedding favors, which clock in at $400 on average, and using the savings to pay off your debt can help set the foundation for healthy financial habits.
How to Save Money on Your Wedding
If having a smaller wedding sounds like a great idea to you, you’re probably curious about how you can save money on your wedding. In addition to some of the suggestions above, here are just a few more ways that you can save money on your wedding. Feel free to choose the strategies that work best for your situation and wedding vision.
Read this: How to Plan a Minimalist Wedding
Plan Ahead for the Best Prices
If you’re able to plan your wedding date in advance, you can aim for the off-season, which typically spans from December to March. Booking during the off-season can save you money since many vendors offer discounts during this period. Planning your wedding well in advance will give you more time to call around and determine which vendors will offer you the best prices.
Craft DIY Wedding Elements
If you’re feeling especially creative, you can make your very own wedding elements at a fraction of the cost. In addition to saving money, you’ll also have the chance to let your personality shine through in everything that you create. Consider making your own all-in-one wedding invitations, decorations, and place cards.
Get Help from Friends and Family
Your friends and family are great resources for borrowing wedding materials and filling roles that typically require (expensive) professionals. Borrowing or renting things that you’ll only use once, like tuxedos or your wedding dress — which costs $1,600 on average — can add up to significant savings.
You can also save money by enlisting the help of talented friends and family as alternatives to professional photographers, planners, and bakers. While you shouldn’t expect your loved ones to work for free, they may give you discounted rates or offer their services as a wedding gift to you.
By reconsidering your big wedding, you can downsize the expense of your event and upsize your bigger money/life goals!
This article covers just a few examples of how downsizing your wedding can set the foundation for a successful financial future for you and your spouse. You can also use your wedding savings to set up an emergency fund, travel abroad, retire early, and other luxuries that require good financial health. There are countless ways that you can make prudent, cost-effective wedding decisions without sacrificing any of the magic of your wedding experience. For more ways that you can save money on your wedding, check out the visual below (provided by Rocket Mortgage):