How to avoid wedding budget “money blues”

Couples often become caught up in the anticipation of the “big day”, with many beginning to plan the perfect wedding just seconds after they announce their engagement. Searches begin for the venue, photographer, DJ, florist, wedding planner, dress maker, make-up artist, hair stylist – the list goes on and on. Helpful suggestions come by the bucket full from excited family and friends, and brides spend countless hours perusing all of the bridal magazines for the latest and greatest in wedding ideas. However, the one area no one talks about out loud is “Can we afford this wedding?”

The wedding budget should not be an oversight, especially if the groom and bride are taking care of some of the wedding expenses. “It’s becoming more common for the bride and groom to either share in the cost of their wedding with parents or pay for the entire event themselves,” says Jeffrey Schwartz, executive director of Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada. “Once they determine their contribution, we recommend they should create a wedding budget and save about 20 per cent of their combined monthly take-home pay, until they have reached their goal for their portion of the wedding.”

No one wants to incur huge debt during this happy time in life, and, as always, preparing a budget is the first step towards the success of this once-in-a-lifetime event. Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada has a few tips for anyone planning a wedding:

  • Something old – The concept of budgeting has been around for many years. It is the best place for couples to start when planning their wedding. After the couple has designed their wedding and included all the “must haves”, and pared down all the “nice to haves”, take that number and factor it into their monthly budget just like an expense. It will be amazing to see what other expenses really aren’t that important, and can be cut back, when paying for the wedding becomes a goal.
  • Something new, different and less expensive – Host a wedding brunch rather than a typical evening affair. If relaxed and comfortable best reflects the couple, this is a great way to go, and will save on wedding costs. To further keep costs in line, enlist the creative talents of relatives and friends who can help create imaginative centrepieces, bake the wedding cake or make party favours.
  • Something borrowed – Only borrow what you can afford to easily pay back without incurring huge debt. Counting on wedding gifts to make up the shortfall is not an excuse to spend more on the big day. It will only put you further into debt. The number one item couples argue about is their finances, and that’s no way to start off their new life together.
  • Something blue – Couples need not feel blue about editing their guest list. With the high costs associated with weddings and gift giving, those not invited to the big day will probably be relieved – especially Uncle Harry and Aunt Jane twice removed. This is the area that will have the most impact on the cost of the wedding. Almost everything from the venue to invitations to dinner revolves around the number of people invited.


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