Posts

Money-Saving Tips for Planning Your Own Wedding

Start strong – save together for your wedding and your marriage.

Prioritizing your marriage over your wedding is a beautiful place to grow from. While you dream of, save for and plan the wedding day, it can be magical without hurting you financially. You’ll have some of the same conversations you had while planning your wedding when you talk about preparing for marriage. Those “money-saving” talks for the big day can lead you to some great ideas after the wedding.

It wouldn’t surprise me if you talked about:

  • Cutting down on how often you eat/drink out
  • Combining music/streaming subscriptions
  • Buying used things vs. buying new
  • Setting saving goals
  • Packing your lunch
  • Paying off debt
  • Asking friends and family if they have something you need

Gottman Institute research shows that one of the biggest reasons couples fight is… money. You can avoid this by getting on the same page and goal-setting together! Talk about how you spend and how you can save as a team… you’ll align your priorities, practice making important decisions together and strengthen your relationship. It’s a win-win. 

Let’s get down to business. Here are some great bits of advice to help you save money on your wedding from NerdWallet and my own wedding experience!

Money-Saving Tips for Planning Your Wedding:

If you think you’ll get engaged soon, start saving ASAP.

My husband and I looked at our monthly income and cost of living and found areas where we could save. Some months we saved $500 each – some $300. Figure out what works best for you. Starting a few months before the engagement allowed us to pay for things as we made decisions. And we knew we had stability from the get-go.

Consider having an intimate wedding!

COVID-19 made guests joining in over Zoom or Facebook Live sexy. You can save on food, beverages, a DJ, venue, and extra hours from photographers. You can also save on the rehearsal dinner with extended family, bridesmaids and groomsmen. That savings can go straight into investing in your marriage! Maybe you can put what you were willing to pay for a bigger wedding into an emergency or fun fund instead!

Skip the Saturday wedding.

Planning your wedding for a Sunday or weekday can save you thousands! (My husband and I saved $1.5k by having a Sunday wedding!)

Think outside the box for a venue.

Vacation home, someone else’s property, government-owned historical sites, restaurants, State Parks (so affordable), etc.

Use the venue’s resources.

Using a venue that offers chairs and tables is a huge plus! Ask what’s included.

Design and send your own invites. Go paperless for the younger friends!

Canva has tons of free designs. The two best pro-tips I can give are sending formal invites to those who aren’t as tech-savvy and emailing the rest. 

Here’s part 2: Use Staples if you decide to print. Upload your design as a postcard instead of as an invitation! It cost us around $48 for 250 “Save the Dates.” Postcard postage costs less, too! We did the same things with our invitations but put them in an envelope and used the back for more info. (P.S. The average cost for stationery/postage items like those listed is over $400… I just told you a way to do both for about $100). My wedding planner book told me to budget $800?!?

Buy wholesale flowers.

Putting your own arrangements together can save $150 alone on what people charge for making bridal bouquets!

Check the sale rack and wedding dress samples first!

Your dress won’t be any less beautiful if you get a great deal.

Borrow anything you can!

Accessories, centerpieces from married friends or family, decorations… anything!

Cut down on a store-bought cake.

Trust me, you don’t need as much cake as you think. Get a nice personal cake for you and your spouse to cut into. Ask friends and family to make the rest. This worked out beautifully for us.

Limit plus-ones.

If someone isn’t seriously dating, they don’t need one! On the flip side, you don’t have to invite someone’s significant other—especially if you aren’t close to them! Offering a plus-one for an out-of-town guest to travel with is thoughtful.

Be upfront with each other while planning your wedding. Figure out your priorities. Remember, your wedding day is the beginning, but your marriage is the rest of the story. One of the best reasons to save money on your wedding is to invest it in your marriage! Enjoy this season, but anticipate the sweetness that follows. Being married is just the best!! (I’m biased, but I’d like to think I’m also honest.)

Image from Pexels.com

Build an Unbreakable Marriage Right from the Start! 

(And get a discount* on your marriage license at the same time!)

Preparing for Marriage is an online course that will guide you and your bae on a journey to build a solid foundation for your marriage! From communication to intimacy, conflict to in-laws, we unpack 8 fun and fast-paced lessons in short videos that will provide you with all the essential tools to create a thriving marriage.

Plus you’ll have access to healthy relationship experts, Reggie & Lauren, by email every step of the way to answer any questions or just give you a little encouragement!


*Must live in a qualifying state where a discount is offered on your marriage license for completing premarital education or counseling.

Do you ever wonder at the end of the month where in the world your hard-earned money went? It’s like money is falling out of a hole in your wallet!

Consider this: if you buy a cup of coffee for $1.96, one chicken biscuit for $1.99, and a $3 magazine, you’ve spent almost $10 at the drop of a hat.

“Little expenses really add up,” says Laura Coleman, personal financial educator with LFE Institute. “Most people don’t think about where their money is going. They make money and spend it, but they don’t have a system for managing it.”

Coleman worked with one couple living paycheck to paycheck. With five children and a sixth on the way, the couple’s goal was to live on one paycheck so she could be a stay-at-home mom. When Coleman started working with them, they had basically decided they had to have a second income.

“Money was causing a lot of conflicts and they had no idea what was happening with their finances,” Coleman shares. “They moved to a smaller home, lowering their monthly payment and got rid of a vehicle, but still needed two incomes. I worked with them to open communication and develop an overall strategy to find extra money and plug leaks. Within a short amount of time, we found $1,600. They were shocked.”

Coleman contends that two of the biggest issues for couples concerning money are different spending styles and lack of open communication.

When people don’t have control over their money and have no idea where it is going, they buy things they can’t afford, use their credit cards as part of their income, and there’s never anything left to save for the future.

“I have been helping people with their finances for many years, starting out as a mortgage originator,” Coleman says. “Our clients were buried in debt and struggling to pay their bills. What they needed was education and the skills to manage the money they had, not another loan. I wanted to provide solutions, not create more problems.”

As a financial coach, Coleman helps people develop a plan for managing their money. One of the first steps is to understand that spending is often a choice and as consumers we only have one chance to spend that dollar. A good way to understand how you (and others) would spend that dollar is through this Financial Would You Rather game from Annuity.org!

LFE’s “$1,000 Card” helps people ask the right questions to make smart choices and save money.

  • Did I plan to buy this?
  • If I have to pay cash do I still want it?
  • What will happen if I don’t buy this?
  • Do I need this or just want it?

The next step is to discuss financial goals.

“When people tell me they want to be financially successful I ask them to define success,” Coleman says. “One person might consider success being able to pay down their mortgage while their spouse defines success as having money in the bank. We work together to establish goals the whole family can get excited about.”

But there’s more! Once couples have common goals, Coleman teaches them strategies to stretch their paychecks, reduce debt, avoid financial traps and ease family conflicts over money. “Financial freedom comes from taking control of your finances,” Coleman asserts.

Image from Unsplash.com

How can you save money? The media often talks about the economy, and they usually say it will probably get worse before it gets better.

“Families are getting hit hard on the basics like gas and food,” says Debbie Brown, vice president of investments with Raymond James & Associates.

“Studies indicated that close to 43% of American families spend more than they earn each year. People have been so focused on buying what they want regardless of the terms. Now, they are forced to rethink how they spend money.”

An analysis of Federal Reserve statistics in early 2015 revealed that the average U.S. household owes $7,281 on credit cards. Average indebted households carry $15, 609 in credit card debt.

“When people make decisions about spending they often operate out of emotion instead of thinking through the decision,” Brown says. “I know people who purchase items based on what their next paycheck will be versus what they have in the bank. In this economy nothing is certain. I encourage families to take a hard look at their spending, to set priorities and a budget and to live within their means. With energy and food costs going up, this can truly be challenging.”

Brown says these ideas can help families save their money as much as possible:

  • Establish a family budget. Use this as an opportunity to teach your children about the cost of living. Involve them in the process so they understand what it costs for electricity, water, cable, eating out, clothing, insurance, etc. Ask them to contribute ideas for ways family members can help conserve like turning off lights when leaving a room, carpooling or riding the bus.
  • Take your lunch. Instead of buying lunch at school and work, take your lunch. The Browns figured they could save at least $50 a week ($2,600 a year) by not eating out.
  • Be intentional about running errands. Think about where you need to go and whether or not you will be in the area for some other reason during the week.
  • Examine your cable options. You may be able to significantly reduce your fee by agreeing to fewer channels.
  • Buy your specialty coffee at the grocery store. Instead of spending $3.50 on a daily cup of coffee, get specialty coffee from the grocery store and brew it yourself for about 17 cents per cup.
  • Go through the drive through to cash a check. Paying ATM transaction fees can add up to some serious cash.
  • Don’t buy on impulse. Many times we see things we think we need, but the truth is we can live without it.

“So many people think of budgeting as a negative,” Brown says. “I think this is a great opportunity for parents to challenge their kids to see how far they can help make the family income go each month. Most young people have no idea how much it costs to fill up the gas tank or buy groceries, much less heat or cool a home.”

Image from Unsplash.com

Who handles the money in your home? What kind of debt load do you carry? How often do you argue about spending money?

The 2009 State of Our Unions: Marriage in America research conducted by the National Marriage Project and the Institute for American Values, focused on money and marriage, including the influence that debt, assets, spending patterns and materialism have on marriage.

The findings indicate a strong correlation between consumer debt and marital satisfaction.

The study found that money matters are some of the most important problems in contemporary married life. Compared to other issues, financial disagreements last longer, are more salient to couples and generate more negative conflict tactics, such as yelling or hitting, especially among husbands.

Contributing researcher, Dr. Jeffrey Dew, professor of family studies at Utah State University, found that credit card debt and financial conflict are corrosive to marriages. Couples who report disagreeing about finances once a week are 30 percent more likely to divorce than couples who disagree about it a few times a month. Dew also found that couples with no assets were 70 percent more likely to divorce than couples with $10,000 in assets.

Interestingly, perceptions of how well one’s spouse handles money plays a role in shaping the quality and stability of family life in the United States. And, people who feel that their spouse does not handle money well report lower levels of marital happiness.

Materialist spouses are also more likely to suffer from marital problems. Materialistic individuals report more financial problems in their marriage and more marital conflict, whether they are rich, poor or middle-class. For these husbands and wives, it would seem that they never have enough money.

Maybe you’ve never given much thought to how you spend your money. Perhaps it never even occurred to you that what you are or are not doing with your money directly impacts the state of your marriage. Want a fun way to understand you and your spouse’s spending choices? Check out this Financial Would You Rather game from Annuity.org!

It’s never too late to make changes. Here are some suggestions from financial experts:

  • Start with a conversation about your financial goals. If this is not something you can do by yourselves, consider attending a class on managing your finances.
  • Put all of your financial documents in a central location and go through them as a couple.
  • Track your spending. In order to make appropriate changes, you need to know where your money is going.
  • Start an emergency fund. Even putting a small amount in each month can be a safety net when you need extra cash.
  • Make a budget and commit to living within your means.

One of the secrets to marital bliss is making sure that you control the money together instead of letting money control you. There seems to be something powerful, even sexy, about working with your mate to control your finances.

Check out crown.org, daveramsey.com or MagnifyMoney.com for information on establishing a budget. You’ll also find information for reducing debt, eliminating unnecessary fees and saving for the future.

 ***If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, contact the National Hotline for Domestic Abuse. At this link, you can access a private chat with someone who can help you 24/7. If you fear your computer or device is being monitored, call the hotline 24/7 at: 1−800−799−7233. For a clear understanding of what defines an abusive relationship, click here.***