Does it seem a little strange that a financial advisor who focuses on comprehensive financial planning would be trying to talk to you about ways that you can afford having your dream wedding?


Will guess what? I think it’s a little strange that more financial advisors DON’T talk to you about ways that you can afford to have your dream wedding.

I’ve said it before 1000 times… Planning for, saving for, and paying for large purchases is important. I wish someone would have given me a guide to help me learn to save for a large purchase like a home, vacation, or dream wedding earlier in my life because I’ve made my share of money mistakes in my day. I think it would’ve saved me a ton of money and a lot of financial heartaches.

I started thinking about some of the larger purchases the people make in their lives and a wedding definitely sticks out as potentially one of the largest. Some people are out to throw a wedding on a shoestring budget, some people spend tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars on their special day as well.

I want to help you make smart decisions when it comes to planning for your dream wedding but I’m not an expert on that type of planning, so…

I Brought in a Wedding and Event Planning Expert for This Article…

Seattle area wedding consultant Nina Perceful has planned hundreds of events from weddings to large corporate parties both here in the United States and also internationally. She’s been doing it for close to a decade and she knows how to save money doing it, it’s her job.

I was lucky enough to interview Nina for this article because I knew she would give me some good nuggets of information and some great ideas to help you save the most money you can so you can get the most bang for your buck when it comes to planning your wedding day. She definitely didn’t disappoint me, here are 5 ways you can actually afford your dream wedding…

Tip #1: Establish a Budget

The first thing you should to do when planning a wedding is to figure out exactly how much the wedding will

Nina recommends taking an inventory of all available resources that you have at your disposal to pay for the wedding including savings and/or gifts from family to help you afford to pay for your dream wedding.

Establishing a budget early will help you know exactly what you can afford, exactly how much to save, and also help you determine when a good time to actually have your wedding would be.

“It usually takes between 12 to 18 months from start to finish to properly plan a wedding,” says Nina. Does that seem like an awfully long time? It certainly did for me before Nina explained how many moving parts there truly are to an event like this.

Lots of moving parts can also mean lots of money spent. So by having a budget and knowing exactly what you can afford to spend and how much things will cost can go a very long way in helping you not overspend your budget, which Nina told me can be quite common when it comes to planning for and paying for a wedding.


Tip #2: Do Your Research

The first thing Nina recommends to research when it comes to your dream wedding is the average price of the wedding in your area.

Depending on where you’re located, the different things that you could need to provide at your dream wedding like food, drinks, and entertainment could cost a lot less or a lot more than other places in the country. A good example is catering, if you live in an area where you don’t have as many catering options, you could end up spending a lot more because that caterer may know that you don’t have any place else you can get the food from.

I’m a huge advocate of doing your research upfront so you don’t have any surprises later on.

When it comes to hiring different vendors to help make your dream wedding spectacular, you’ve got to worry about a lot of different things at one time. Some common larger wedding expenses are things like DJs and other entertainment and the catering I was just discussing above. Don’t forget about flowers either, your bill from a florist could add up to thousands.

The best way to get the best deal when working with wedding vendors is to compare prices and services across several different companies, that way you know you’re getting the best service and the best price for your money.

Tip #3: Manage Your Budget

Having a budget is one thing, but sticking to that budget (especially when there are so many things to pay for) is an entirely different thing.

“You should always track your deposits at your vendors and all of your purchases and payments,” says Nina. It’s important to make sure that what you’re spending doesn’t get away from you when it comes to planning your dream wedding.

Another valuable tip that Nina gave me is to create a list of priorities for your wedding. All the individual add-ons and special things you want to do could cost you money. It’s important to decide up-front which types of special add-ons or experiences that you want to have at your wedding are the most important to you. For example, if you simply MUST have a photo booth but it costs more than you were planning to spend, you should have an idea of what other things you may need to cut out to be able to afford the photo booth.

According to Nina, overspending on hidden or unexpected event costs is extremely common when it comes to wedding planning, especially if you’re planning that wedding as a do-it-yourself type deal.

One of the largest ways that people overspend at their wedding according to Nina is by inviting more people to come than they had originally planned for. If you have space for 100 people at your event, but you decide to have 125 people, obviously, this will increase your costs. It’s important to have a good idea of the guest count and make sure that you manage your guest list so you don’t eat up too much of your budget just trying to get all your friends and family to come out for your wedding day.

Tip #4: Recruit Help


Nina actually took this picture of my wife Fiera and I at our wedding!

Do you have a friend who moonlights as a DJ? Do you know someone that owns a catering company? Do you have friends with artistic talent that could help you with your invitations or your floral arrangements?

Nina recommends thinking about enlisting the help of friends and family that may help you save money by offering discounts for things you may need at the wedding if available or to help you plan your wedding and make it run smoother.

Obviously, we’re not talking about taking advantage of people here, but especially when there’s money on the line, doing business with someone that you have a relationship with could save you some cash.

Nina also suggests working with a wedding consultant or wedding planner. Although there are costs involved in working with a professional, those costs can actually save you money in the long run when it comes to planning your dream wedding.

A good wedding planner or consultant has a network of vendors whom they can resource on your behalf to select the best services within your budget. Sometimes their established relationships with these vendors can open the door for negotiating prices or potential discounts.

Your wedding planner or consultant can also help you put out fires that you may not be able to extinguish yourself. Nina told me a story about a florist that pulled out of their agreement with a bride two days before her wedding. This means she was completely out of luck when it came to her flowers.

Nina told me a story about a florist that pulled out of their agreement with a bride two days before her wedding. This means she was completely out of luck when it came to her flowers.

The client called Nina in a panic and was extremely upset. Through a little extra legwork, Nina was able to get this problem solved, fill the wedding up with beautiful flowers, and no one even knew the difference. This was NOT something the bride or any of her friends and family had time to do, working with a dedicated professional can definitely help you when situations like this arise because Murphy’s Law says they probably will.

Tip # 5: Don’t stress, this is a celebration!

Seriously, don’t stress. “Your wedding day is a celebration of the love and unity between you and your partner,” says Nina. 10
years down the road, no one will remember if your favorite song didn’t get played exactly at the right time. As long as you stay positive, everyone will remember what an amazing time they had on your wedding day.

Your guests are looking for a reason to have fun and to be happy, they’re getting to watch an amazing ceremony, have some great food, and maybe have some drinks and dancing. There’s a lot less pressure on your guests than there is on you if it’s your wedding day, but my suggestion is to follow their example and just go with the flow.

The important thing is that all your friends and family are there to share your wedding day with you, they most likely won’t even notice if little things go wrong. You may notice, but that doesn’t mean you have to let it ruin such a special day for you and your family.

It Pays to Have a Plan

Whether you’re spending a small fortune on your wedding or operating on a shoe-string budget when it comes to your dream wedding it’s always a good idea to lay it all out ahead of time on paper. I would pay extra attention to your budget when it comes time to start putting together your dream wedding plans. Decide how much you can spend and stick to it!

What tips do you have for those looking to have their dream wedding on a budget? Let me know what worked best for you in the comments below?

Good Saving, Good Planning, and Good Investing!

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