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Putting together the perfect wedding is difficult—even when you have unlimited funds at your disposal. But what if, like most of us, your funds are limited? What if, like most of us, you have to create the perfect wedding on a very strict and limited budget?
Figure Out Your Number
Come up with an “umbrella number” for your wedding. An “umbrella number” is how much you are able (or willing) to spend on your wedding. If you come in under it, great! You cannot, however, go over it no matter what the circumstances.
Break It Down
It is important to divide your “umbrella number” up among the different details of your wedding. When you operate with a single number in mind you’re more likely to reach that number before you’ve gotten even half of your wedding planned. Dividing up that number helps you make sure you’ll have money for everything (even if that amount is small). Keep in mind that venues, catering and photography are the areas of wedding planning that are usually the most expensive.
Pick two details of your wedding that matter the most to you. Maybe it’s the venue and your dress. Maybe you care most about the photos and ensuring that there is a vegetarian menu for your reception. The two details should be given the biggest pieces of your budget.
You can help yourself here by doing some research ahead of time. Figure out what a basic dress by your favorite designer costs. Get sample menus and pricing from local caterers. Start pricing photographers. Getting an idea of what’s out there and what it costs will help you figure out how much of your budget to allot for these details.
The DIY Stretch
How much of your wedding can you do yourself? The more you can and are willing to do yourself, the more room you create in your budget for the things that really matter to you. Invitations, favors, flowers, decorations—all of these can be done on your own (there are tons of tutorials online for intrepid DIYers).
Having a friend or relative get ordained is a great way to simultaneously save money on an officiant and include more people you love in your wedding ceremony.
Stretch It A Little
If you want to stretch your budget a little bit, apply for a 0% interest rate card to fund your wedding on NerdWallet. You can use the card to put down deposits or to raise your “umbrella number” a little bit.
Just remember: 0% interest rates are not often permanent. They are usually only applicable for six to twelve months. If you haven’t paid off the entire balance on the card by the end of the promo period you’ll get smacked with all of the interest you would have been charged (and all at once). So only charge as much as you know you can pay off within the promotional period.
Funding a wedding can be an adventure all by itself. Just know this: no matter how big or small your wedding budget may be, your wedding will be amazing.