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How to save for your wedding in less than a year

Saving money 12 months in advance of your nuptials can help you avoid having wedding bills ruin your honeymoon.

By Mar 24, 2014 11:08AM
This post comes from Abby Hayes at partner site on MSN MoneyWeddings are expensive. The national average cost of a wedding (excluding the honeymoon) is a whopping $28,427, according to a 2013 annual survey from TheKnot.

Mother and daughter looking at wedding dress © Image Source, Getty ImagesWith costs so high, it seems impossible not to go into debt for your wedding -- or at least settle for a 20-year engagement so you can save up!

But you don’t really need to spend anywhere near $30,000 to have a beautiful wedding. And you can save up for your wedding in less than a year. Here’s how.

1. Set realistic expectations

Here’s the thing: The Knot’s survey takes into account both super-frugal, backyard weddings and high-end, million-dollar Kardashian-style events. So that, in and of itself, drives up the average costs quite a bit. A million-dollar wedding can make a big difference when you’re averaging costs!

But you can have a perfectly beautiful, memorable event (and one that, most importantly, has you married by the end of the day) for a few thousand bucks -- or even less, if you’re creative.

So don’t start with that mind-blowing $28,000 figure in mind. Instead, start by examining your finances to set a realistic savings goal.

For instance, if you and your betrothed make $60,000 in a year, do you really want to spend six months’ worth of income on a one-day shindig? Probably not! But maybe with some scrimping you could realistically set aside 15% of your income through the course of a year -- giving you $9,000 to work with.

So start by looking at your income, and then by figuring out where you can cut back on spending to increase savings for your wedding. While you’re at it, consider asking your parents (politely and in a non-demanding way, obviously) if they’re planning to contribute, and, if so, how much. Add those contributions to your overall savings goal.

2. Cut back on yours pending

Now that you have a plan to save for your wedding, you have to actually follow through. This means doing the tough work of cutting back on your spending.

First, though, you and your partner (especially if you’ve already combined finances) need to decide just how much your wedding is worth. Not in terms of dollars, but in terms of sacrifice.

For instance, is the wedding dress of your dreams worth giving up dining out for six months? Is that expensive photographer whose work you adore worth cutting your cable subscription for a while?

There’s no right or wrong answer here. It’ll just depend on your priorities. If having a gorgeous wedding is important to you, you’ll be willing to make serious sacrifices to get there. If your main goal is to gather family and friends in a simple party that sees you married by the day’s end, then you may not need to sacrifice as much for your wedding savings.

And both of those things are OK!

But as you decide where and how much to cut back on spending, you may need to adjust your wedding savings goals. The more you sacrifice, the more you save, and the more you get to spend.

3. Set a wedding budget

Lastly, before you spend a dime on your wedding, set a per-item budget. For instance, you’ll spend $500 on your wedding gown or $2,000 on your photographer or whatever.

Before you can set a realistic budget, you will, of course, need to do some research. So get to looking around, calling for prices, and seeing what’s available in your area. Then, set realistic budgets based on your research, and stick to your budget.

When you set your budget, be sure to add a 5%-10% contingency, because you will overspend on some areas. And even if you only overspend by a little bit, you need to be able to cover that spending.

Once you have your savings plan rolling and your budget in place, you can begin to slowly spend on your wedding. Buy centerpiece fixings when they’re on sale at the craft store. Purchase your wedding gown during an annual sale. Spreading out your wedding spending can save you money, too!

By starting your wedding savings plan from the back end -- figuring out what you can afford instead of what you want to spend -- you can make saving for your wedding in less than a year an achievable goal. And if you take things slowly, plan carefully, and find ways to save, you can have the wedding of your dreams for way less than the national average!

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Mar 25, 2014 9:32AM

Get married at the courthouse and use the 28k to buy a new vehicle, some furniture or a down payment on a house. That way you don't force everyone you know to buy gifts they can't afford and you don't need.



Wrong story Bubba.

Jun 24, 2014 4:45AM
Anyone know any good sites to order wedding dress replicas from? I've looked at , but can't figure out if there is a way to look for a specific designer replica on there. Looking for a Maggie Sottero - Jocelyn replica. Thanks!!
May 10, 2014 4:28AM
I'd like to know if these websites are scams or you can trust their websites:


Mar 25, 2014 4:37AM

Don't vote Republican / GOP.  Their latest effort to "assist the middle class" is to DENY Federal Tax Credits available under the affordable care act law ("Obama Care").

• On February 6, 2014 Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette in Washington, D.C. to deny Michigan families federal tax credits to buy health insurance.

Other Republican states are doing the same thing.  Why?  Because they don't like black Obama.

The GOP can start a 12 year war in Iraq and Afghanistan and spend TRILLIONS of YOUR $$$$$ there - but they can't see fit to allow a FEW HUNDRED $$$$ assistance per month for YOUR health care ?!?!

GOP family values:  YOUR kids go to war in the Middle East - YOUR family gets no health care.

NICE !!!!

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