Tips for cutting down on wedding expenses

The following article is provided by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling.

Summer may be a big season for weddings, but a recent online poll by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling© (NFCC©) revealed that many believe smaller is better when it comes to the cost of the celebration. Among those responding, 65 percent felt that it would be best to have an affordable wedding and skip or postpone the honeymoon.

“Many relationships are destroyed because of overspending and debt problems,” said NFCC vice president of public relations and external affairs Bruce McClary. “Starting with a healthy approach to financial management helps create a solid foundation for the long term success of a marriage.”

It is believed that the average wedding will cost couples as much as $30,000 this year. Lack of personal savings and costly student loan debt can make it tough for younger couples to transform plans into reality. Couples can consider the following tips for saving money and avoiding debt for their wedding and travel:

The Plan – Allowing more time before the ceremony in order to grow savings will help avoid credit card debt that will linger long after the festivities are over. Planning ahead also makes it possible to take advantage of seasonal sale prices on things needed for the ceremony and reception. Clothing and decorations can be purchased at different times through the year, making them easier to fit into a budget.

The Wedding – Nuptials that take place at beach resorts or other popular tourist destinations can drive expenses through the roof. Major cities can also make it expensive to book hotels and reception halls. There are a number of low cost venues for a wedding that can be found right around the corner. Places such as parks, art galleries, community centers, local bed and breakfast inns, or even the backyard of a friend or relative have the potential to help save hundreds of dollars. Stretch that savings even further by avoiding Saturdays!

The Party – The reception is a big deal, so it can be challenging to cut corners. Alcohol is the largest expense for most celebrations, and is an easy target for trimming the budget. One way to save in that category is to limit the types of alcohol that are available to guests at no cost, and have a wider variety available at a cash bar. Alternatively, guests could be invited to contribute by bringing their own favorite beverages for themselves and others.

The Honeymoon – Travel is a category that can drive costs through the roof just as easily as it can turn out to be very affordable. Experts often suggest taking the road less traveled in order to get the greatest value. Another suggestion for savings is to plan everything à la carte instead of booking a package deal that might include activities or amenities that could go unused. Book travel in advance and look for times of year that are considered off-season for the intended destination.

There are plenty of opportunities to save without sacrificing the fun and romance of a wedding and honeymoon. If debt is standing in the way of wedding plans, consider speaking with a certified credit counselor. They can help you budget and create a plan to reduce your debt.

Jesse Campbell is the Content Manager at MMI, focused on creating and delivering valuable educational materials that help families through everyday and extraordinary financial challenges.

  • The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) is an association of nonprofit consumer organizations that was established in 1968 to advance the consumer interest through research, advocacy, and education. Today, nearly 300 of these groups participate in the federation and govern it through their representatives on the organization's Board of Directors.
  • The National Council of Higher Education Resources (NCHER) is the nation’s oldest and largest higher education finance trade association. NCHER’s membership includes state, nonprofit, and for-profit higher education service organizations, including lenders, servicers, guaranty agencies, collection agencies, financial literacy providers, and schools, interested and involved in increasing college access and success. It assists its members in shaping policies governing federal and private student loan and state grant programs on behalf of students, parents, borrowers, and families.

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  • The National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC®), founded in 1951, is the nation’s largest and longest-serving nonprofit financial counseling organization. The NFCC’s mission is to promote the national agenda for financially responsible behavior, and build capacity for its members to deliver the highest-quality financial education and counseling services.