Budgeting for a wedding

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The average wedding costs $32,641, according to a 2015 survey by wedding magazine The Knot. If you’ll be paying for nuptials soon, consider these steps to ease the budget stress and balance wedding dreams with financial realities. 

1

Start saving right away

Whether the big day is a few months or a few years away, it’s smart to stockpile cash for it as soon as you can. If you have a longer time frame before you’ll need to pay the florist and the caterer, consider ways to save that also provide some growth potential. For example, money market savings accounts tend to have higher interest rates than regular savings accounts. Bank of America’s savings goal calculator can help you figure out a time frame and savings plan. 

You could also devote the savings account to your future goals and expenses as a couple. If you don’t end up using all of your wedding fund, you can put it toward something else, such as a honeymoon or a down payment on a home.

2

Discuss contributions and expectations

It’s important to have honest conversations with everyone who will help pay for your wedding. Find out how much each party can contribute and whether that money comes with strings attached—for instance, parents may have a certain number of guests they’d like to invite. Some contributors might want to cover certain costs, like the wedding dress, while others may offer a lump sum. Settling these details early can help you avoid misunderstandings later. Once everyone has talked, you should have a clear idea about how much you can spend.

The average wedding: Who foots the bill? Bride's parents cover 44%, Couple pays for 43%, Groom's parents chip in 12%, Other sources cover 1%. Source: 2015 Real Weddings Study, The Knot.
3

Create a detailed budget

Creating a budget is a great way to help keep your costs under control. You can begin by learning more about the real costs of a wedding, from the ceremony to the celebration. 

Average costs. Dress: $1,469. Cake: $575. Invitations: $445. Source: 2015 Real Weddings Study, The Knot.

Then, set up a budget that includes all categories of expenses to help reduce surprises heading into the big day. Don’t forget about things like pre-wedding parties or showers.

A number of online wedding tools let you play with your budget and see what couples in the area typically spend. From there, you can prioritize what’s most important. Figure out where you might be willing to compromise and where you don’t mind spending a bit more. For example, you might choose to make your own centerpieces so you can afford your favorite band.

4

Consider cost-cutting measures

Experts say the easiest way to reduce costs is to cut your guest list. This can have a trickle-down effect, allowing you to pay less for everything from catering to favors. Renting a venue for any day other than Saturday is often less expensive, as is considering a location outside a metropolitan area.

Save money by skipping the city. West Texas: $19,261. Houston: $39,189. Chicago: $61,265. Central Illinois: $21,818. Source: 2015 Real Weddings Study, The Knot.
5

Don’t forget about happily ever after

Resist the temptation to dip into retirement savings to pay for your wedding. Not only are you likely to incur an additional tax from an early distribution but you also lose out on interest and earnings the money could accrue. Instead use flexibility and ingenuity to plan a celebration you’ll never forget.

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The material provided on this website is for informational use only and is not intended for financial or investment advice. Bank of America and/or its affiliates, and Khan Academy, assume no liability for any loss or damage resulting from one’s reliance on the material provided. Please also note that such material is not updated regularly and that some of the information may not therefore be current. Consult with your own financial professional when making decisions regarding your financial or investment options.

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