Avoid Going into Debt While Planning Your Wedding

No one said planning a wedding was easy, but with careful budgeting and mindful decision-making, you can have the wedding day of your dreams without going into debt. By being proactive about your finances and making smart choices along the way, you can save big in the long run.

wedding ring
Photo: Weirdo Weddings

Planning a wedding can be an exciting and overwhelming experience all at once. Amid the flurry of fittings, guest list decisions, and venue scouting, it’s easy to forget that budgeting is just as much a part of tying the knot as anything else. While you may want your big day to reflect luxury and romance, one key factor should not be neglected: how much you will invest into your wedding day. Read our top tips from pros sharing their best advice for managing your spending during the planning process.

"Think ahead. Before you start planning your wedding, create a budget that outlines how much money you can realistically afford to spend on your wedding. Have realistic expectations, and remember that breaking the bank with your wedding is unnecessary." —Jacqueline Vizcaino, Tinted Events Design & Planning

"Decide on your priorities and anticipate compromises. Most people don't have the budget to have the 'dream wedding,' but your wedding can still be perfect. Focus on what is most important to you. Is it having your whole family there? Then maybe you are serving simpler food. Is it having the biggest and best band? Then maybe you have to compromise by having modest table centerpieces." —Jeri Solomon, Co-Author of Real Deal Wedding Insiders® Guide to Smart Wedding Planning

"Headcount is the number one driver of cost. On average, each person invited can cost $400-500. Couples can save money by paying cash via bank transfer to lessen fees. Paying in cash also ensures you are only spending what you have, helping you avoid debt. This may mean booking your wedding pros has to be spread out more than you'd like, but there is always enough talent to make that worthwhile." —Amber Anderson, Refine for Wedding Planners

"Opt for an all-inclusive destination wedding — did you know the average destination wedding couple spent less than $6,000 in 2021 on their celebration? This includes airfare, accommodations, and a wedding package with all the trimmings. This is a huge cost saving compared to the average $30,000+ price tag of a domestic wedding. All-inclusive wedding packages bundle all of your vendors into one affordable price, so they're both budget-friendly and a massive convenience during the planning process. Destination weddings also help you save money on unnecessary decor details because the beautiful scenery does most of the talking with minimal effort!" —Jen Avey, VP of Marketing, Destination Weddings Travel Group

"Don't forget to include a miscellaneous line item in your budget! There are so many unexpected costs, like extra alterations, added printed items, or last-minute splurges like branded water bottles, that can add up. It's best to budget high and come in under rather than the other way around.” —Nora Sheils, Bridal Bliss

"Adjust your expectations of what you truly want for your day — you can still have your dream wedding, but you probably also want a marriage after the day. Think about where you are as a couple, housing, finances, goals, and dreams for your marriage — not just your day." —Jen Sulak, Lead Wedding Photographer, Weirdo Weddings