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How to Afford a Wedding in Your 20s


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Congratulations! You’ve met your Prince (or Princess) Charming and you’re thinking about tying the knot. You’re young, ambitious, passionately in love, and everything seems to be going your way. But so much good fortune at once is not without its strings attached, especially when you’re in your 20s. What I’m referring to is the bane of many of our existences: money! With the age of first-time marriages on the rise due to crippling student loans and higher cost of living, it can make getting married in your 20s seem like somewhat of a fantasy. However, it shouldn’t be necessary to postpone the most sacred of ceremonies until all of your financial woes are gone (who knows when that will be any way). Here are some tips for all you quarterlife(ish) club lovebirds who are ready to make the big leap!

Be transparent (and realistic) with your partner about finances

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What is one of the best signs of a healthy relationship? Communication. That goes for your finances, too. Especially since money is one of the most common reasons people end up getting a divorce. It’s important that you have a conversation early on about your expectations for your big day, based upon a realistic budget that you and your soon-to-be-spouse come up with. To do this, you’ll want to consider how much you and your partner currently have in your savings, how much you will have in your savings by the day of the wedding, and any additional financial assistance you may be getting from family members.

Do you have 18 months to plan and a savings target of $20,000? You and your partner would need to set aside $1,100 each month to get there. Do you have 9 months or less to plan, or are finances tight? You may need to revisit wedding expectations to incorporate more budget-friendly options, or set the date of your big day a little later. This may feel like a sharp blow at first, but the additional time (and savings) will allow you to live a bit more comfortably and free up more room in your wallet, so that your budget won’t be as tight when it comes to booking wedding vendors.

One way to add to your wedding fund effortlessly, is to put your savings on autopilot. Some mobile banking companies can do just that by adding to your savings fund automatically, each time you get paid. This will make sure you are proactively contributing to your wedding savings fund, as opposed to spending it on something else. Once you start to get an idea of what your total budget look like, it’s time for the (mostly) fun stuff: planning!

Plan your wedding with your budget in mind

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It’s no surprise that your wedding venue carries one of the loftiest price tags of any other item on your list. After all, it’s where most wedding festivities will take place. So it’s also no surprise that choosing the right venue on the right date will save you from penny-pinching the rest of your budget. Have your eyes set on your dream venue? You might be able to nab it for cheap! Just be open to setting your wedding date during an off-peak month. In most areas in the U.S., peak months typically range from late spring to early fall, with most weddings held in June and September. Therefore, choosing a date outside of this range can be a real money-saver for you and your guests! You may also find that wedding vendors are more willing to negotiate or offer lower prices right off the bat during off-peak months, as business is slower than usual.

Of course, peak months also depend on the region where the venue is located. Venues located in areas where summers are hot and humid, like Arizona for example, might have off-peak seasons during typical peak months in other places. If don’t want to risk any weather extremities on your big day, many indoor venues are still considerably cheaper during their off-peak months. Just be sure you’re mindful of any other major events in your area, like a professional sports game, that could potentially inflate hotel and transportation costs for your guests.

Scale back wherever possible

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Weddings are expensive, sure, and we’d all love to have the millions that went into making the wedding from Crazy Rich Asians so mesmerizing. But let’s get real. After wedding expenses comes a house, homeowners insurance, babies, et cetera, et cetera. Anything you can do to mitigate costs now will put yourself in a better position in the future. And your hubby will surely thank you for it! Therefore, consider eliminating any unnecessary costs that add little to no value to making your day truly unforgettable.

Perhaps the most obvious place to scale back is your guest list. It can cost as much as $100+ for each guest you invite to a wedding. That adds up fast! Consider refraining from inviting Steve from accounting, and keep your guest list more exclusive to your family and closest groups of friends. Keep your floral inclusions limited to flowers that are in season, and avoid needlessly expensive flowers, like peonies. They will all likely get thrown out anyway. You can save big on stationery by getting single-page invites, or save even bigger by partnering with a graphic designer and sending out digital invites. Are you open to discussing an engagement or wedding ring with your partner? Ordering a wedding ring online can save you as much as 40%-50%! With all this to consider, it’s easy to see that there are so many ways to live out your wedding dreams, no matter your age or financial situation. For a list of other ways you can save money on your wedding, click here.

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