Weddings and engagements can be very expensive – and there’s a good chance you don’t have an unlimited money. However, you still want to have a great wedding and an amazing engagement, so you’ll need to do some budgeting and smart spending to make everything fit.
Here are some tips for having a great engagement and a great wedding on a budget.
Engagement Budget Tips
Proposing to the person you love is an absolute joy and a wonderful moment in your life. However, you’ll also still need to pay attention to your budget so you don’t break the bank. Here\'s how you can do just that!
Know your Budget
Before you head out to buy an engagement ring, you’ll want to make sure that you have a budget. You may have heard “rules” that state you should spend two months’ salary or three months’ salary on the ring, but these are just guidelines. They’re not written in stone.
Your engagement ring budget will depend on several factors and the most important is your current financial situation. Someone who is paying off a mortgage and making student loan payments will be in a different financial position than someone who isn’t making these payments, even if the two people earn the same salary.
Sit down with the numbers, calculate how much you can afford, and use that as your budget. For some tips, read our Guide to Making an Engagement Ring Budget. Remember, after you propose, you’ll almost certainly start planning your wedding pretty soon, so you might not want to spend every last penny on the engagement ring.
There Are Many Options
The good news is that there are many different rings at many different price points. You don’t need to have a ridiculous budget to be able to afford a great engagement ring. Take some time, do some research, and shop around. You’ll likely find that there are more rings in your price range than you initially assumed.
Looking for some help? Take a look at our Buying the Perfect Diamond guide as well as our list of Things to Consider Before Buying an Engagement Ring.
Wedding Budget Tips
Once you’ve proposed (and she’s said yes!) it’s time to start planning your wedding. Even if you’re not thinking of getting married for a year or two, you’ll need to start budgeting and preparing pretty quickly. Weddings are complex and expensive events, so the more time you have to budget and plan the better.
Figure Our Who Is Paying
How much you have to spend on your wedding will depend on who is paying for it. There is a big difference between a wedding where you are your partner are footing 100% of the bill, and a wedding where both sets of parents are also contributing.
Once you’re engaged, and once you’ve celebrated your engagement (of course), you’ll want to sit down with your partner (and perhaps your partner’s parents) and discuss the budget. Who is going to contribute? How much will they contribute? How will these payments be made? Figure out all of the contributors and all of the numbers early on, as this will influence your planning.
Know Your Guest List
One of the biggest factors, as it relates to the cost of a wedding, is the number of guests. Simply put, in most cases, the more guests you have, the more the wedding will cost. More guests mean more food, more drinks, more invitations, more flowers, a bigger hall, and more, more, more.
Think about who you wish to invite and how you will pay for these guests. You might have to make some hard decisions at this point, but its better to make these decisions early in the process as they affect nearly everything else about the wedding.
Consider Off-Peak Dates
The most popular wedding dates are also often the most expensive. This means that you can save some money by having your wedding on a Friday instead of a Saturday (for instance) or by having your wedding outside of “wedding season.”
Picking a less popular date won’t just save you money on the hall, but many of your vendors (such as florists, photographers, limousine services, etc.) will likely give you a price break as well.