Life’s biggest moments often seem to come with the biggest price tags, too. Buying your first car was probably a financial milestone in your life, for example. The same is true for having children, buying a house, and, yes, getting married. Of course, the cost of a mortgage or investing in children is a little different than spending money on a one-day investment for your wedding. All the same, it’s one of the easiest events to overspend if you’re not careful.
In a few fortunate cases, couples might not have to worry about a budget for their big day. But in most cases, there’s a ceiling where you have to call it quits on spending for a wedding. According to recent surveys from The Knot and WeddingWire, average spending on wedding days has continued to rise. The Knot pegs the average wedding cost — not including the honeymoon — at $35,329 nationwide. WeddingWire estimates a more conservative $29,000, but that figure doesn’t include the engagement ring or honeymoon.
That might seem like a jaw-dropping amount to spend on one event, but those costs add up quickly. If you’re hoping to stick to that average — or end up way, way below it — you’ll need to have a money-saving mentality as you plan your big day. Here are a few mistakes to avoid, compiled from wedding experts.
1. Skipping the budget talk
First comes the ring and the few days of post-engagement bliss. But after that, you should sit down and have a financial heart-to-heart with your fiancé about a realistic budget and what you’re both comfortable with spending.
Financial planning can be one of the biggest stressors in marriage, so you might as well start practicing good habits ahead of time. Loop in family members at this point, if applicable, to know how much you’ll be responsible for covering as a couple and how much your family might want to help with.
“You can’t start planning and hiring vendors if you don’t know what you can afford to spend,” Anne Chertoff, WeddingWire’s trend expert, wrote in an email.
Break down spending into as many categories as you think you’ll need, including the venues, attire, photographer, florist, and more. If you think you might be missing something check out resources, such as WeddingWire’s budget tool, that give a list of pretty much anything you could want. Then, allocate your funds accordingly.