Financial Planning

Inexpensive wedding? It CAN be done!

Wedding My wife has a friend from high school whose father offered her $15,000 if she and her fiance would elope.

And why? Because it would have been way less expensive than staging a modern-day wedding.

You have to give Dad points for creativity there. That's certainly one way (albeit not a very romantic one) to save money on a wedding. When you consider that the average U.S. wedding costs nearly $29,000, eloping starts to look like an attractive alternative.

Still, you can have a fairytale wedding with all the trimmings without going broke in the process. With the summer wedding season in full force, this Money Management article from the AICPA offers some great ways to cut wedding expenses. Among them:

  • Aim for a white wedding: That's "white" as in "snow." "Caterers, reception halls and other vendors are much more likely to offer better pricing — or be willing to negotiate on costs — if you set the date during the slower months of the year, such as January, March or November," the article reads.

  • Focus on the priorities: Photos and videos of the event will last a lifetime. Most of your wedding flowers won't make it to the next day. Decide which is the really important stuff and spend accordingly.

  • Get creative: Those elaborate invitations with layers, inserts and random pieces of tissue? They don't come cheap. If you have any artistic souls in your family, put 'em to work on the invitations. Wedding cakes can cost a fortune, too. "Some couples opt for a tower of cupcakes or other fun and affordable alternatives," the column reads.

  • And a word about the dress: You don't have to sell your soul to some trendy bridal shop to pay for it. You'll find some stunning dresses at your local department store at a fraction of the cost. Or maybe your mom or mother-in-law still has her wedding dress. Having it altered and wearing that dress is not only cost-effective, but it will create even more special memories of the event. The dress my mother wore in her wedding has also been worn by my aunt, my cousin and two of my sisters. Years later, we put together a collage of photos from all five weddings and gave it to my mom as a gift.

The point is this: Don't feel compelled to spend a fortune just because all of those glossy wedding magazines say that you must. With a little thought and creativity, you can get married without spending a fortune. Or eloping.

Read all of the AICPA's tips here, then check out these other financial literacy resources:


Bill Sheridan