How Much Money Should You Save For Your Wedding?

Your wedding day is one of the biggest days in your life. It symbolizes unwavering devotion between you and your spouse. You've overcome the talking stage, thrived in the exclusive relationship phase, and that glorious next step has finally arrived. Couples should feel nothing at this moment except pure happiness. Yet, even as they walk down the aisle among doting spectators, some cannot help but think of the hefty price tag that came along with their holy matrimony.

Unfortunately, many couples exceed their budgets as they begin factoring in more long-lost cousins, childhood friends, and colleagues they want at the ceremony. With every new person in attendance comes an additional expense. According to The Knot, the average cost of a wedding is nearing $30,000 in today's economy. It's hard to pinpoint just how much money people should save to have the wedding of their dreams. However, couples can make a realistic budget and stick to it if they are disciplined with their spending.

Every paycheck serves a purpose in the wedding budget

For couples getting ready for their wedding day, the saving process should begin as soon as the engagement occurs. There is no such thing as "too early" to start preparing, as wedding expenses can mount quickly. No matter how glamorous or subtle you want your ceremony to be, stashing money away from each paycheck is the only way to accomplish your ideal celebration.

Most financial experts recommend that couples put aside somewhere between five and ten percent of each paycheck into a designated wedding account. For instance, if you and your partner each bring home $1,500 bi-weekly, you should strive to put away up to $150 from your paychecks. This equates to roughly $600 a month, which is $7,200 annually. If this is a two-year engagement, that's $14,400 towards the wedding. Thankfully, many families pitch in to cover a portion of the nuptials, with parents typically contributing 55% of the total cost, according to what co-founder of financial planning app Vimvest, Justin Bailey, told Inside Weddings. However, expecting loved ones to give up thousands for a one-day event is not always feasible. Albeit a special occasion, saving more than the minimum can cover you if you and your spouse are the only ones footing the bill.

Find shortcuts that'll save you money

The reason why it's so difficult to determine how much money you should save for your wedding is that there are so many factors to consider. The wedding dress, groom's tuxedo, venue, decor, food, live entertainment, and photographer are all costly. You must also factor in expenses for grooming and makeup services. Where you have your wedding will likely take up the bulk of the budget. A 2022 study by The Knot found the average cost of a wedding venue was $11,200. However, couples can drastically cut down on this expense by having the wedding in a church. Most spiritual buildings offer price cuts for members or local residents.

After the venue is secured, couples can move on to the prized wedding gown. The average bride will spend around $1,800 on her stunning dress. However, bridal rental services have become popular over the years, saving couples thousands of dollars. Some wives do elect to pass their dresses down as family heirlooms, while most brides will only wear the pricey garment once. For this reason, some couples choose to rent a gown that they can return after the ceremony. Rent the Runway advertises wedding dresses you can rent for less than $100 per day. Compared to a few thousand that most brides spend, this service is a steal. Tuxedo rental companies, such as Men's Wearhouse, have also offered an alternative for grooms who don't want to spend a fortune on a one-time suit.

Fortunately, there are plenty of hacks for planning a wedding on a budget.

Stick to the budget at all costs

Yes, sticking to your wedding budget is easier said than done. However, unless you want to begin your life together with a mountain of debt, it's a must. If you and your loving partner have decided $20,000 is the most you want to spend, you'll need to reasonably cut back on the venue. A church, a park, or a beach wedding is much more cost-efficient than a formal event space.

Approximately $2,300 is spent on floral wedding arrangements, per The Knot, but fake flowers can save you tons of money. Artificial flowers for your centerpieces may take some DIY skills, but crafts stores such as Michael's and Hobby Lobby can offer gorgeous silk plants that look authentic. Fortunately, they may only cost you a few hundred dollars versus a couple of thousands. Or, if you're set on real greenery, you can create your own bouquets using grocery store flowers.

You can cut back in many ways, but the goal is to stay within your designated budget while dedicating funds to the aspects of the wedding that are most important to you. However, you may have to sacrifice a few of your must-haves for the sake of the overall wedding — especially if your household is already spread thin financially. Remember, money woes are the cause of many divorces, so ask yourself whether or not your love is worth unnecessary spending. You can absolutely have a perfect wedding day without going outside or your means.