When you get engaged, you may start immediately wondering how much you should save for your wedding. It’s no secret that the average wedding costs anywhere between $19,984 and $33,306 depending on where you live and what your wedding entails.
So, should you start saving up $20k to $30k, lean on credit cards, or take out a loan?
If you want to avoid getting into debt for your wedding, realize that there are plenty of ways to determine how much you should save for your big day so you can start preparing ahead of time.
A Breakdown of Your Wedding Expenses
If you’re planning on having a traditional wedding, below is a summary of the expenses you can expect to pay along with how they will affect your budget.
Reception/Venue (Including food, decor, entertainment) – 45% of your budget
Ceremony – 5% of your budget
Attire – $8-10%
Flowers – 10%
Photography – 10%-12%
Stationery – 2%-3%
Wedding Rings – 4%
Parking – 3%
Misc. – 7% – 8%
Come Up With a Budget
Determining a budget for your wedding is the best way to narrow down how much you should save. A budget will help you prioritize your expenses and tell your money exactly where to go. Knowing how wedding expenses typically break down will help you as well because if you plan on spending $15,000 on your wedding, you’ll know that your venue and reception alone could easily cost $7,000.
Getting clear on who will be saving for your wedding is also important and can affect how much you save personally. For example, if you and your future spouse are going to be splitting the costs of the wedding 50/50 and your budget is $15,000, you each only have to be responsible for coming up with $7,500. If parents or family members will be pitching in, be sure to make note of what their contributions will be.
Consider Guest List Size
The number of people you plan to invite to your wedding will play a huge role in determining the amount you need to save. The bigger your wedding, the more expensive it will be. If you can cut the guest list, you will be able to get by while saving less.
Consider the Setting, Date, and Time
When you have your wedding can affect your wallet quite a bit. If you’re planning on having your wedding in a large city like Chicago or New York City, it could cost several thousands of dollars more than if it were held in a rural area or suburb.
Also, Saturday is the most expensive day to have a wedding. Since we had a strict budget, my husband and I saved at least $1,000 by moving our wedding to a Sunday but if you’re planning on getting married during the popular wedding season or on the busiest day like a Saturday, be prepared to save more.
Start By Setting Aside 20%
A good rule of thumb is to set aside 20% of your income when you’re actively saving for a wedding. If you earn $4,000 per month after taxes, that means you’ll ideally save around $800 per month or $9,600 for the year. This is challenging to do but a good tactic to use if you’re getting married in less than 18 months.
You may even want to start slow by saving 5%-10% of your income, then start bumping it up as your wedding date gets closer.
Save Extra For Surprises
Don’t forget to save a little more than you think you’ll need in case there are any surprises. While it’s great to come out under budget, there are often so many surprise expenses that will pop up as you’re planning your wedding and you don’t want to get stressed out or resort to getting into debt. This is why it’s best to set aside an additional 3%-5% of your wedding budget for unexpected expenses.
If you don’t spend it, you can always use it for something else or add it to your honeymoon fund.
The Earlier You Start, The Better
When it comes to saving for your wedding, the earlier the better. Set a date that allows you and your fiance to have plenty of time to gather the funds necessary to meet your wedding budget.
You can start saving for your wedding before you set a date and theme, or even before you get engaged. I know that might sound weird, but if you’re in a happy and serious relationship where you can see marriage in the near future, it doesn’t hurt to start stashing money aside that can be used to cover any future expense.
How much did you save for your wedding or how much do you plan to save?