I’m getting married! The love of my life finally got down on one knee and proposed to me last month. I was so happy but now I’ve started to worry about the wedding. How are we going to pay for it?? We have some savings but I don’t want to blow them all on just one day. BUT…that doesn’t mean I want to get married in a brown paper bag either! Can you give us some tips on how we can have a fantasy wedding with a realistic budget?
Prince George, B.C
First of all, congratulations! I’m sure he’s a very lucky guy. And second of all, it’s good that you are already thinking about this. It means you want to start life off on the right financial foot. A wedding is a great celebration and a very important event in your life but…it is just one day. It’s not worth it to go into debt to finance it.
So, is it possible to have an inexpensive wedding? Of course it is! And no, I’m not going to suggest you become a paper bag princess! With some careful planning, you can have the wedding of your dreams without spending too much money.
Here are some tips:
- Limit the guests: If you want to save money, you can start with not inviting your sister’s boyfriend’s cousin’s daughter’s hockey coach. Keep the guest list small and include only the people you really want to share that special day with. The smaller the group you have, the less you’ll have to pay for dinner, drinks and the venue.
- Choose your date wisely: Wedding venues have different prices depending on the day of the week and the time of the year. Do some research in your city and see when it will be cheaper to rent the venue your looking at. I would guess that 98% of weddings are on a Saturday or Sunday but why not have a Friday evening ceremony? You’ll probably get a big discount and your close friends and family won’t be too inconvenienced.
- Rent the dress: I know that some people would find this concept blasphemous but just hear me out. You are paying hundreds, if not thousands, or dollars for something you will only wear once. Is it worth it? You can rent one for much cheaper and save money.
- No diamonds Rings and weddings go hand-in-hand (literally and figuratively). They are a symbol of love and commitment. Well, this symbol can cost thousands of dollars. Go with a cheaper gem or just a simple wedding band. And then, if you are in a better financial situation on your 10th anniversary, you can upgrade to a diamond.
When planning your wedding, make a budget and don’t go over what you can reasonably afford. Look for areas to save and take pride in doing so. Weddings are special not because of the expensive floral centerpieces, but because of the memories they make. And finally, am I getting invited?
Jeffrey Schwartz is the Executive Director of Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada and President of the Credit Association of Greater Toronto (CAGT).
If you have a question about a debt management program or just about finance in general, Jeff is here to help. Send us an email with your question to [email protected]. You’ll get the expert advice you need and your question may be featured here on our website.