Jump to Main Content

So you’re engaged? Now what? Tips on how to save for your wedding

Krystle Ng-A-Mann is a blogger who writes in Dine & Fash

My fiancé proposed to me in December of 2015 with the engagement ring of my dreams. He planned the perfect proposal for a long time, and I emphatically said “yes”! But once the dust had settled and we were eager to start the planning, we were left thinking, “Okay, so now what do we do?”

There are lots of resources online on how to plan your wedding. But, when we began, we couldn’t find much on how to save for our nuptials. If you’re like us, you haven’t thought about how and how much to save for the big day before getting engaged. So, to avoid making the same mistakes we did (like going over budget), here are my 4 tips on how to save for your wedding.

1. Establish your budget (and stick to it!)

Establishing your budget is the most important thing when planning to say “I do”. But most people don’t know how to set their budget in the first place. Articles on “average” wedding budgets aren’t helpful because each situation is different. Setting a budget without at least some preliminary research will just be arbitrary, and you’ll end up going over budget when you realize the actual cost of things!

Ask yourselves:

  • Where do you want to get married?

  • How many guests will you have?

  • What are things you must have?

  • What ‘incidental costs’ (e.g. gown, tuxedo, accessories, wedding bands, rehearsal dinner etc.) will be included in the shared wedding budget?

Venue and catering are the 2 biggest wedding expenses. So, put together a rough guest count, and then call about 3-5 different wedding venues and caterers to get a quote. If the quote is more than you’re willing to spend or can afford, then you know you need to make some changes.

2. Speak to your families

Brides and grooms are often fortunate to have assistance from their parents. Don’t try to guess what contributions from family members might be. It’s better to have discussions with both sides as soon as possible to determine how much, if anything, they are planning to contribute. You can then more accurately calculate the amount you and your partner will have to personally save or acquire to meet your wedding budget.

3. Create your savings/payment plan

If your goal is to break even from your wedding, then once you’ve set your budget, add the amount to be contributed by your family to the amount you expect to receive from guests and then subtract from your overall budget. That’s the amount you and your partner will have to jointly come up with.

For example, let’s say your wedding budget is $60,000, your parents will donate $10,000, and you will have 150 guests. If you estimate at least $100 per person, then:

$60,000 – ($10,000 + $15,000) = $35,000

But, how do I actually come up with my share?

You mean, you don’t just have $35,000 lying around in your savings accounts? Well, this is the part where you might have to get a bit creative!

  • Additional Income. I received additional income from blogging during my engagement, which I put into a separate savings account and didn’t touch. If you have or can take up another job (e.g. consulting, free-lancing), then put all of the money you make from it in a savings account, so you don’t have to change your current lifestyle.

  • Monthly Savings/Joint Savings Account. If you don’t have income from another source, then take the total amount of money you need to save and divide it by the number of months you are going to be engaged. You’ll then have to save that much money each month to reach your goal (this may mean cutting back on those lattes and avocado toasts every day!). It’s a good idea to put your monthly savings into a joint savings account with your partner (preferably one with a good interest rate).

  • Financial Assistance. It’s never a good idea to enter a marriage in debt, so if you can avoid getting a loan, it’s always best. But, if you don’t have the financial means, then speak with a financial advisor about your options. You might be able to get a low interest loan and/or line of credit.

4. Give yourself a longer engagement

I’ve never understood why people rush to the alter after they’ve gotten engaged. Unless you have all the time and help in the world, planning a wedding in 12 months or less is just mind-boggling and overwhelming! You already know you want to spend the rest of your life with your partner, so what’s the rush? Giving yourselves an 18-month engagement or longer will give you more time to save and room to breathe!