Are you still there?
When I first googled this number, I was flabbergasted. I thought I can do this for a third of the money, but when it was all said and done I too came close to that number. This is very shocking given that the average American has less than $4,000 in savings, while 57% of U.S. adults have less than $1,000 to their names. I paid for half my wedding in cash using “overtime money” and the rest was charged on a credit card. Since the wedding I consolidated my credit cards to get a lower interest rate and I’m on track to paying them off in three years. My advice to you, don’t be like me! Heres what I learned along the process.
Set a budget!
Not just any budget, but a realistic budget. A budget that you can stick to, a budget that can include all your “must haves”. Once the budget is chosen, make setting money aside for it automatic! My mistake was that I only included the church and reception in my budget. Or I did include it in the budget, but the cost was underestimated and unrealistic. I left out important things like dress, tux, hair, make-up, hotel suites, bridesmaids gifts, groomsmen gifts, DIY decorations, bachelorette and bachelor party and lastly the honeymoon. Something as little as stamps or sending the wrong program to print, can add up. I just figured that I’d have enough money to pay for all those expenses along the process. But the truth was, that because I didn’t include them in my original budget, I didn’t make saving for it automatic.
Get a wedding planner or a day of coordinator
At least I had the sense to include this in my budget! I can not stress enough how important it is to have someone help you throughout the process. You really need a professional to ensure the day runs smoothly and that you actually get to enjoy yourself. My event planner, Jessica of The Events Planner Miami was a total life saver. She pointed out countless things that go into wedding planning that I simply had no idea about. Wedding planners also know what’s a fair price for table and chair rentals for instance, and can guide you in selecting reputable vendors.
Realize when to splurge and when to save
This was something Jessica told me. An amazing wedding planner will go over your budget and list of “must haves” and advise on where you can splurge and where you can save some money. Mine were food, alcohol and flowers. I choose to serve the same plate for everyone (except vegetarians), we picked a venue that let us bring our own alcohol (which we bought at a wholesaler) and I picked bud vases with candles over floral arrangements for each table.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Asking for help doesn’t always have to be in the form of money. I would ask my bridesmaids to keep an eye out for sales or coupons. I also asked friends and family if they had connections in the wedding or event industry that could offer us a friends and family discount. Talk to past brides and get their feedback! It doesn’t hurt to ask, we actually saved money by doing this. We had friends and family offer their services to us as a wedding gift, which was truly thoughtful.