How To Pay for Your Wedding
Your wedding will more than likely be the biggest, best, and in some cases, most expensive, party you will ever throw. It’s exciting, fun and all-consuming planning for what’s sure to be one of the best days of your life. Anyone who says it’s not a little stressful would be lying – especially with the ever-rising costs of venues, photographers, wedding bands and more to juggle. In fact, weddingsonline.ie found that the average couple spent €24,427 on their big day in 2017. The good news is - with some careful planning and clever saving, the financial side of your big day need not cause you any sleepless nights.
Read on to find out how to pay for your wedding and get all the beauty sleep you need!
Once the excitement from your engagement has died down, it’s time to get organised. Put some time aside with your partner to sit down together and start making lists. Ideally, you will want three wedding planning lists; must-haves, nice-to-haves and no-ways. And you’ll need to agree on a final version of all three lists. ‘Must-haves’ are those items you both agree are worth saving for and spending on (like your dream venue, a great photographer etc.). ‘Nice-to-haves’ are the things you can pick and choose from with the money that’s then left-over. ‘No-ways’ are those things you both agree are not important enough to prioritise, so you can write them off from the get-go and not be tempted to spend money on them half-way through the planning. Once your lists are finished, it’s time to call vendors and gather quotes.
Set Your Budget
You would be crazy to throw yourself into planning a wedding without working from a budget. When you have a number of quotes gathered, you should have some idea of what you are going to spend – but you need to agree on a final figure with your partner. If parents or relatives are contributing towards the cost, involve them in this budget decision at the outset, so everyone is clear on how much they will be spending. Once you have your budget agreed, do a little simple math. Divide your budget figure by the number of months you will be planning your wedding. Once you are clear on your budget this, should be your go-to-guide when making decisions on everything from your flowers to tips for venue staff.
When you and your partner have sealed your budget with a kiss (!) then siphon off a certain amount as an emergency fund in case you go over-budget. Research by weddingsonline.ie in 2017 found that a whopping half of couples end up going over-budget!. So a fund like this will definitely come in handy for those unforeseen circumstances.
Save the (best) date
Some wedding dates are more expensive than others. Weddings around Valentine’s Day, New Year’s Eve, Christmas bank holidays etc. tend to be a lot are more costly. Why not opt for a date that is personally significant to you and your partner instead.
Commit to cutbacks
You’ll need to make cutbacks elsewhere to balance things out as you start to book vendors etc. Examine all your outgoings each month. Do you really need that gym subscription? We know everyone likes to look their best for their wedding, but getting out for a walk or a jog is just as good, with the added bonus of not costing you anything. Skip the queue at the deli counter and start bringing packed lunches to work. Aside from treating yourself here and there, cut out the regular habit of popping in for take-away coffees. Why not even switch your electricity or gas supplier to take advantage of switcher/new customer deals.
Resist the credit card
Don’t start off on the wrong foot by paying for things with money that you don’t have. Our advice would be to resist the credit card for the vast majority of your wedding expenses. However, in certain cases, such as booking venues, you might have no choice but to use the card. Ensure however that you are paying off the balance in full and on time every month. If you fall into the trap of only paying off the minimum payment the interest charged on this alone could see you raiding your emergency fund!
Need to borrow? Use an ethical lender
If you find yourself needing to use the credit card more than you would like, then perhaps you and your partner need to consider a loan. Ideally, no couple would have to borrow for their big day, but with venue costs rising by 9% and photographers increasing in price by 8% in Ireland it’s understandable that a loan might be necessary. Indeed, weddingsonline.ie found that 17% of couples needed to borrow for their wedding day in 2017. For the most straightforward loans that don’t carry any hidden fees or admin charges, and with very competitive interest rates to boot, look no further than your local credit union. Credit unions are not-for-profit, ethical lenders and will ensure that you don’t take out a loan that is unrealistic for your financial circumstances.
Don’t fall for wedding myths
We’ve all heard it. ‘A wedding pays for itself’. Don’t be under any illusion that this is the case. If you’re dreaming of recouping the cost of the wedding through cash gifts from your guests, think again. You can’t predict how much your guests will give, or how many might not opt for alternative presents. Even if all of your guests give very generous cash gifts, it would be very unlikely that you would cover the full cost of the wedding. As with any significant life event, the best option is to save, budget, borrow prudently if needs be - and treat any additional cash you recoup as a bonus.