I’ve been hanging around online forums lately (yup, file that under “things I do while wedding planning but otherwise wouldn’t”). Yesterday, I happened upon a WeddingWire forum where a newly engaged woman put out the very obvious and very blunt question: How are you supposed to pay for a wedding?
Girl, I am still trying to figure that one out but here’s what I’ve got eight months in:
Get smart about saving
The average American wedding costs $35,329… or at least it did in 2016, according to a survey by TheKnot. I work hard and earn a decent salary, but that’s definitely more money than I’ve ever had in my bank account at once.
So, rather than start with a target budget, my fiance and I worked backwards from the question “How much can we save between now and our target wedding date?”
Looking at our spending patterns and what was a realistic budget for living in NYC with a cat, we decided on an amount to divert from our paychecks each month. With that, we set up a savings account with a great interest rate. We also agreed to assess the account, estimated wedding costs and our budgets throughout the process to see if we could increase contributions at any point.
Consider how a credit card can help
As someone that has been in serious credit card debt, I was very hesitant about the idea of opening a credit card for wedding expenses. On top of that, after lots of Google searches, the most recommended credit cards (Chase Sapphire or Freedom) for wedding planning were ones that we already had.
In the end, we decided to open a new credit card that had an introductory 0% APR that went for eight months after the wedding date. The credit card:
- Helped cover large sum down payments that needed to be paid before we really got saving
- Gives us a cushion of eight months to pay off expenses without incurring any interest
- Has no annual fee, so it doesn’t cost us anything to have it after the initial 0% APR promotion ends
Hope for cash gifts
Just kidding, friends and family! The plan is to cover all of the wedding costs ourselves… but also, I’m not planning on turning away gifts from anyone who offers.
And somewhat more explicitly, rather than filling our Zola registry with household goods, we are using it primarily as a honeymoon fund. We’re hoping that contributions to the fund will cover the honeymoon (in case you forgot, that’s a wedding expense too!) and if absolutely needed, can be used for some of the wedding costs.
Any advice for me or Forum Question Lady on saving for a wedding?