In this day and age, more and more couples are paying for their own weddings. This is partly because couples are establishing their careers and getting married later in life (in their 30’s instead of their 20's) before they say their I Dos. As a result, the parents of these couples aren’t chipping in as much as they would, say if their daughter or son was 22 and fresh out of college.

Now, this doesn’t apply to everyone, but in a lot of cases, some couples feel awkward expecting their parents to cover their wedding expenses when they themselves have successful careers with decent incomes.

So, I want to give you 6 ways to have a Debt Free Wedding! This is a pretty long post but the information is priceless. It’s not only for those couples paying for their own weddings, but even if your parents or families are chipping in, these tips can still be applied. So, let’s get started!

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#1: Completely remove borrowing money as an option

Now, a lot of couples may go into their wedding planning journeys with every intention of doing it debt free. But what ends up happening is, they loosely follow their budget, if they have one at all, and realize they need more money than they originally thought. So, they just put whatever else they need on a credit card or borrow some money from their families.

Well, if you completely take borrowing money off the table as an option, you won’t end up in this situation. If you and your fiancé, both, agree that “we will not borrow any money, no matter what,” then you will automatically avoid going into debt. You will be forced to really focus on the next step and be very intentional in your decisions.

#2: Create a budget and stick to it

See my previous post, Creating a Wedding Budget, to get you started

If you choose to ignore every other piece of advice I give you, PLEASE don’t ignore this; I can’t stress this fact enough. Wedding expenses can get completely out of hand if you don’t have a well thought out budget in place. It is so crucial. So many people attempt to start planning their weddings and skip this step and it always comes back to bite them in the butt. So, let’s avoid that pain and just get the budget done.

Now many people think that a budget is restrictive, but it’s actually the exact opposite. A budget is like your roadmap to your destination. It will keep you on track to make sure you don’t end up somewhere you either weren’t expecting to be, or even worse, somewhere you regret all together. You can spend however much or little you want on your wedding, you just have to have a plan for the dollars.

So, let me clarify something, a budget is not just deciding on the amount of money you want to spend. That’s only the first step. A budget is detailed in that you must then assign specific dollar amounts to each category you plan on spending any money (for example, your dress, your venue, your flowers, etc.). It will take a little time and research but it’s an absolute must and will save you a lot of heartache if you, not just do a budget, but stick to it. See my previous post, Creating a Wedding Budget, where I get into more details on how to get started.

#3: Be realistic in your expectations

In this age of Pinterest and Instagram, it’s very easy to play the game of comparison and to have wide eyes for all the pretty wedding things in the world. But you must be realistic in what the money you actually have can afford you. If your total wedding budget is $20,000, then why are you looking at venues that cost $15,000? If your parents said they will buy your dress and they will not spend more than $1500, then why are you shopping for $5000 designer gowns?

Ladies, don’t do this to yourself. Don’t set yourself up for failure. Now, it’s perfectly fine to look at items outside of your price range for inspiration, but know in your heart and your brain that it’s just for INSPIRATION.

We have to be realistic in our expectations. And this does not just apply to wedding planning, it also applies to life in general. This is why Step #2 is so crucial. If your budget is detailed and specific, you will know exactly how much money you have to spend on what and avoid shopping for and booking vendors that are completely outside of your price range.

#4: Keep your sense of entitlement in check

Most of us ladies, at some point in our lives, have looked at different aspects of someone else’s wedding and said “OOOOOO, I want that.” And a lot of us may feel that we “deserve” to have everything under the sun for our wedding, especially if we are paying for it ourselves.

Well, girlfriend, I’m sorry to tell you, but that’s just not how life works. Don’t get caught up in the fantasy that just because you have always wanted ____________, that you should automatically get it. That sense of entitlement will slap you in the face every time. If you can get a grip on the things you can actually afford rather than the things you feel you deserve, you will save yourself a lot of headaches.

#5: Pick up extra shifts or get a part-time job for extra income

Now this isn’t rocket science, but who said, working a little more to cover the things you want is a crime? This is an excellent option if you decide that you have some wedding specifics you are not willing to forfeit. If you want them bad enough, you shouldn’t feel averse to working a little extra to cover those luxuries. Once again, if borrowing money is not on the table, what other option do you have? Either scratch the idea, or bring in some extra income to cover the costs.

#6: Keep your guest list in check

The largest expense of any wedding is “usually” catering, and most couples make their guest list and send out save-the-dates before they even consider who their caterer will be (which is completely backwards, in my opinion).

Now, if you and your fiancé are paying for your wedding, then you have absolute control over the guest list. This may be a little harder to do if your parents or families are paying for your wedding, but it’s still something they should consider when trying to manage expenses. So, let’s use an example:

You decide that you want to invite everyone you ever met to your wedding to celebrate with you. You, of course, must, give your caterer a head count and realize that you will be spending way more than you anticipated on food. So, instead of cutting the list, you pull out your credit card and just “charge it.”

After your wedding, the credit card bills begin to roll in and now it’s time to make payments. It may take you several months, if not years, to pay off credit card bills for the food and drinks consumed by people that you probably won’t even talk to again. They have gone about their merry ways, and you are now stuck holding the bill. Does that make any sense?

Why drag this burden with you into your marriage? So instead, streamline your guest list and invite those people that you truly want to be there with you. Yea, it may hurt some feelings, but it would be foolish and irresponsible to go into debt just to avoid some hurt feelings.

Why is this so important?

All of these practices will set you up to win not only during your wedding planning, but also in your marriage and in life. Marriage, on its own, is a huge transition for most people. And the first year is hard enough without adding the burden of debt from your wedding.

The sense of peace you will feel to come home from your honeymoon and not have the stress of wedding debt on your shoulders is incomprehensible. Even those of us who have been there struggle to find the words to explain it. So, why not start your marriage off on the best foot possible? I mean, that’s the whole purpose of a wedding anyway, right? Not the party, the food, or the flowers, but the celebration of the next phase in your journey of life.  

I know this was a long post, but I hope you found it useful and it inspires you to plan a DEBT FREE WEDDING.


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