How are people able to afford weddings?

Question by Kanyeen O: How are people able to afford weddings?
My really good friend is getting married next year, so I’ve been doing research around the cost of planning, and the figures are like north of 25K. I want to get married in 2012 if possible (fingers crossed), but the cost of a wedding scares me. How are people able to afford weddings? The cost of the average wedding is higher than the median income in the US. What are good ways to cut costs?

Best answer:

Answer by Bride on 08/08/09
We are just having a small wedding. Only invite your close family and friends. Don’t go for the ritzy places. We are having a backyard BBQ.

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22 Responses to “How are people able to afford weddings?”

  1. MarshaMarsha says:

    People start saving years in advance, that’s how! Some also go into tremendous debt, but I don’t think it’s worth it.

    Here are some ways you can probably save money on a wedding:

    1. Have a destination wedding (come to Jamaica). It sounds more expensive, but fewer people will travel and you’ll therefore cater for less. Someone else will also do most of the groundwork for you.

    2. Have a morning wedding (like I did) … brunch is less expensive than dinner, and you don’t need an alcohol bar. You rent the hall for a shorter time if you don’t have any dancing afterwards.

    3. Have a small event!

    4. Elope.

  2. Blunt says:

    People save over time, get second jobs to be able to afford the wedding they envisioned.

    The trick is to envision the wedding that you can afford within your means and do not get in debt over it. Couple’s need to be realistic of their financial standing and plan accordingly.

    The best way of cutting costs is to cut the guest list. You can have a great wedding on a small scale and save big bucks. Weddings of 75 people or less are maneageable. We only had 38 guests at our wedding and we were able to have much better stuff and we did not have any stress at all.

    Good luck

  3. Terri F says:

    Do most of the work yourself. I took a class to learn to make flowers and wedding cakes. The classes were very short and very inexpensive. I also made my own center pieces. You can also have the wedding at someone’s house rather than a reception hall and have family cater it.

  4. casper4 says:

    * hold the wedding in the off-season (late November-early April) and consider a time other than a Saturday night (Saturday afternoon, Friday/Sunday night, weekday night)

    * keep the guest list very small

    * keep it casual

    * spend money on food, drinks, photography and entertainment, and try to cut back on things that people won’t notice or that won’t last beyond that day (flowers, limos, attire, invitations, etc.)

    * cut out anything you don’t really need (multiple paper products like programs and menus, expensive DJ packages, designer shoes, etc.)

  5. Mrs. Bethy O. in 72 days! says:

    Mommy and daddy pay sometimes, sometimes the couple pays because they make $ $ $ or they are frugal people, and sometimes people put themselves into debt (morons). OR you could have a more modest wedding. There is no rule that you HAVE to buy this or that. It’s all about what is important to you. My fiance and I are marrying for around $ 5800, half paid by us (because we saved and saved) and half by my parents (because they wanted to help us). So in the end we will pay for everything with cash, no debt, and its going to be a lovely small wedding.

    The biggest hting that drives up the cost of the wedding is the # of guests. We figured this out early, so we made the guest list very close family and friends only. No co-workers, no extended family we havent seen in a couple years…etc. Honestly, I only want family and friends who I know well and spend time with to be there. Otherwise you are just paying for other to “see you” get married. Those people can just read about it in the paper like everyone else.

  6. Ashley Herring says:

    First of all it depends on where/when…

    get married in the offseason (not summer) and also try and do it on a Sunday… I am saving 2000.00 on the reception venue alone by getting married on Sunday.

    Just make sure that you are watching the details… that is what gets expensive!! Hang in there!!

  7. Oot n Aboot says:

    1. Start saving when the proposal happens. Even if this is only $ 100 from each paycheque from each partner, by the end of the year you have $ 4800

    2. If you are looking at the average wedding cost as 25K then I think you have to take that with a grain of salt. Because I am sure this number includes all the really expensive 6 figure weddings paid for by the rich who make up 1% of the population. These weddings construe the statistics. Also I am sure the wedding industry likes to spread that figure around so that overinflated weddings look like run of the mill for the average person.

    3. Cut the things that you don’t really need and reduce where you can. If you don’t need flowers, don’t have them. If a dress from a department store is good enough, go for it. The best way to reduce the cost is to invite less people because the reception is where the majority of your budget goes.

    4. DIY

  8. Tarah says:

    you can have a wedding for 500 dollars or 5million the cost is really what you prefer.. dont let it scare you.

  9. doug m says:


  10. scorpiowoman1028 says:

    Let me say we had a gorgeous wedding that people thought cost over $ 30k, but we did it for $ 10k. You have to make sacrifices, do the work yourself, be flexible (our wedding was on a Thursday evening and we limited it to 75 guests), negotiate and do your research.

    Some of the things I did:
    I made my own invitations and all other paper goods (menus, programs, etc)

    Found an amazing caterer that also served as a day-of wedding coordinator, charged no corking fee or cake cutting fee.

    Wore a Maggie Sottero gown (which people said was the most beautiful gown ever, but only cost $ 600)

    The florists used flowers in season and incorporated fruit (apples and limes)

    Made my own ceremony decorations

    Negotiated the fee on the location, photographer, DJ, and bartender due to the wedding being on a Thursday

    Stocked our own bar including wine, beer and all liquor

    Made custom monogrammed notecards, hand-knitted scarves and made sugar scrub and bath bombs as gifts for all my maids

    And on and on…..

  11. Linda says:

    Mine was $ 105,000. Its formal and in a beautiful hotel.

  12. Amy says:

    *many of the bride’s and groom’s parents pay for some, or even the whole wedding.
    *trim your wedding guest list, because every time you add a guest, you increase the budget significantly
    *shop sample sales or the internet for your dresses & brides maid dresses (jessica mclintoc outlets have cheap, and great bridesmaid dresses!)
    *look for cheap food and drink, instead of the caviar and the expensive wine. you can have a cocktail hour during the reception, instead of having a bar open the whole time. this will save money.
    *you can make your own wedding invitations. this will save LOTS of money.
    *find musicians, entertainers, etc. that are your friends, because your friends may give discounts and such.
    *you can make it easier for yourself if you can find an all-inclusive package in which the wedding, reception and even the honeymoon are all included in the deal.
    *also, if you choose a wedding location where that is already decorated, you’ll save big.

    well goodluck to your good friend! and you’ll get married. don’t woorry. :]

  13. daVIDica says:

    We had a beatiful wedding for $ 5k. We did the ceremony and reception at the same venue, we made sure that the venue we did choose offered tables, chairs and dinnerware with the price, we used silks for corsages, bouttonieres and bouqets and we did h’ordeurves for food. We did not have a bar (less expensive and I didn’t want to do a cash bar). Also, mid afternoon ceremonies/receptions are alot cheaper especially when it comes to food costs. You really have to set an established budget and stick to it to cut costs. Look for deals everywhere you go.

    Remember, you shouldn’t have to break the bank just to be married because you’ll be married at the end of the day anyway.

  14. nova_queen_28 says:

    My fiance & I are both in our 30’s and had some savings to start the process with, we are also established within our careers. We purposely are having a nearly 2-year engagement so we we used our savings to make the deposits to the vendors, and are using the rest of the time to make a payment to the different vendors each month up until the wedding.

    It is scary to think that we have a large budget but have still had to scale back on things we wanted for the wedding to keep the costs down.

  15. Luv2Answer says:

    It’s very rare that those weddings (over $ 25k) are paid for by the couple unless they are in their mid to late 30’s. My parents paid for our wedding. They had been looking forward to hosting it my entire life and wanted a huge party. All my friends were married in their 20’s and the bride’s parents paid for them. I’ve never known anyone who foot the bill themselves. It would be very hard.

  16. kmjackman says:

    you scrimp and save on everything to get the day you really want. Yes, wedding can cost that much, they can cost as much as you allow yourself to spend. I am going to Las Vegas for my big day (with about 30 close friends and family) and then having a large reception when I get back and you’d be surprised how much I saved.

  17. sunlitskin says:

    These are all cost-cutting proven, not opinions of how your wedding “should be”, FYI 🙂

    Having your wedding in the “off-season” helps tremendously, so avoid May, June, September. Getting married on a Friday or Sunday is a great way to cut costs- I saved $ 5k just by moving my wedding to a Friday night. Thursdays are even cheaper.

    Be sure to ask! You will never get what you don’t ask for! I asked every vendor:

    1. Do you discount for my day of the week/time of year?
    2. Do you discount based on my location (preferred vendor program)?
    3. Can I swap anything out within my package?
    (This one worked insanely well for my photographer, I traded my bridal portraits for a 2nd photographer)

    REFER! Before you sign the dotted line, get in writing that you want to receive a discount for referrals given. Example: My stationer gives me $ 5 per referral and 5% off for every booking. It’s adding up! My photographer gives me $ 100 print credit for every referral, % discount for bookings.

    Trade it in. If you have a business or trade skill that you could provide them, they may trade or discount. I am helping my photobooth guy get in to some parties I am planning and helping with his trade video.

    Negotiate & strike a deal… The price they offer means they are making a profit. Negotiating down won’t hurt their bottom line. Ask to even out the $ 3200 price tag on something to “an even $ 3000”. Or, ask them to pay the sales tax?

    Have friends and family help set up, assemble favors, tie ribbons, iron table cloths, etc. Having them set everything up can be a strain, so use your facility.

    Keep the wedding smaller and more intimate.

    Limit booze from a full bar to beer & wine only.

    Avoid shrimp an other shellfish/seafood on your menu, they drive up the price.

    I really hope this helps! Good luck!

  18. Free2BeMe says:

    I am a college student and my Fiance is a plumber with one year left to go until he gets his ticket…and we own a house together. Our wedding budget is $ 20,000 and we will only do it if we dont go into debt (a lot of people do). Fortunately, we made some smart decisions and we are renting out of main floor and living int he basement suite..this has allowed us to save tons of money. Along with smart financial choices we are great savers. We have always had no less then $ 10,000 in our bank savings but its not easy. If you cnat afford a wedding…then dont do it, never go into debt over anything (unless its a mortgage..thats good debt lol). Some people also have the help of their parents (we dont have that luck, were paying the whole thing ourself).

    Ways to save money:
    Cut down on the guest list
    Have your wedding on a friday or sunday
    Be creative.. no sit down dinner, there are appetizer weddings or dessert only weddings that are becomming more popular
    Get your tier cake fake and buy sheet cakes
    Do it yourself projects whenever you can
    Have your ceremony and reception in the same place
    eliminate alcohol, or just have beer and wine
    Skip the flowers…fake ones can be really nice and centerpieces can be more creative..candles etc
    Get your dress on sale or used

  19. Doodlestuff says:

    Part of the huge cost you are referring to are due to brides just wanting it all. In reality, a lot of unneeded stuff has been added to weddings since the 50s that are just plain not needed. You don’t need gifts to guests, you don’t need 4 bridemaids and groomsmen, you don’t need 3 or 4 parties, sucking money from your bridal party. Do you really need a church wedding? Formal wedding? Reception with dancing? Do you really need to have 150 guests? Do you have to have it on Saturday or could a week day serve just as well (have wedding in late afternoon and then reception in evening so that those who can’t take off work can attend one or the other)?

    One of the best ways to cut costs is to limit your guest list to those who are most important. If you can get it down to 50 or so, a restaurant is a great place to have a wedding reception if they have a banquet room. They do everything, sometimes even provide the decorated cake for free as they did for my sister. They also handle cleanup.

    My neighbor spent a fair amount of money fixing up his backyard and kitchen, but they held 3 weddings there over 2 years and now his niece is getting married in his backyard next week. Very friendly, not too formal and everybody will have a great time for a lot less money. They are paying a couple of their daughter’s coworkers (teachers) to heat up and serve food so that the family can focus on their guests.

  20. Seafoam Green says:

    I had a $ 16K wedding. When we got engaged, my parents told me that they were going to give us $ 5K toward the wedding. My mom and dad (who are divorced and remarried) both agreed to match eachother, so my dad and stepmom also gave us $ 5K. When my husband’s parents found out my parents were each pitching in $ 5K, they offered us $ 5K as well! Of course this worked out perfectly for us. We never had to ask anyone, they volunteered this themselves. We paid the rest of it (which was only $ 1K) and of course we paid for our own honeymoon.

    We’ve all said this was a wonderful way to work things out because $ 5K is much more affordable to each family than having 1 family pay a huge chunk of money!

  21. zeureeka says:

    I have no idea. My boyfriend’s sister’s wedding cost over $ 30,000. It was beautiful, but that amount of money would give me a coronary. In her case, their parents had saved her whole life for it and covered everything, but still, $ 30,000?? I can’t imagine. I know they’re well-off, but that just staggers me. That’s a downpayment on a house!

    If they think we’re paying that kind of money when we get married, boy do they have another thing coming, you know? That’s more than I make in a year.

  22. 4REEE says:

    You should do what you can afford *without* incurring debt.