Ways to Actually Make a Wedding Affordable

Engagement season has come and gone, and now all of our newly-engaged peeps are in the midst of a wedding planning frenzy. As a former newlywed, I know exactly how it feels to plan a wedding. There is so much to think about: flowers, a dress, food, rings, etc. The list truly does go on and on. There is something very special about planning such a milestone, but there is also a lot of stress that comes with planning such a milestone -- financial stress.

Let's be real, weddings are freaking expensive. We're talking thousands upon thousands of dollars. In fact, the average wedding in the United States costs $26,645. That's some people's entire salary for a year! It's overwhelming to think about how much debt we could all go into just to say "I do!" As someone who has recently been through this stress, I thought I'd embark some wisdom that could hopefully help you along the way.

Focus on the things that really matter...to you

When you sit down to start breaking down the budget of your wedding, pick the top five things that will mean the most to you going forward. These will be the things that you'll give yourself the "okay" to splurge on. Whether that be flowers, a videographer, or your dress -- you get what you pay for and if you want the best, it's going to cost you. I promise that the invoices won't hurt so badly when you see the outcome. It'll make it all worth it.

Talk with your friends

If you're lucky enough to have friends who are talented musicians, photographers, or florists, then you're in luck! Instead of a wedding gift, maybe they could do you a favor and give you a discount (or maybe even a freebie?). They get to eat and drink and contribute to their friend's happy day -- what's better than that?

Keep it small

The easiest way to cut down on a wedding's cost is to keep it small. My husband and I had 86 people at our wedding (including our wedding party) and we saved a bundle. Remember, the more people you have, the more you're going to pay. More food to provide. More drinks to have behind the bar. More tables. More chairs. More everything. This is the #1 way to keep a wedding cheap.

Completely skip it

This one is pretty extreme, but hear me out. When my husband and I first got engaged, we sat down and went through a full-on audit of our savings and what we'd want to spend on our wedding. It was astronomical. We seriously considered going to the courthouse in our county and just doing the Carrie and Big thing. In this case, you'll only have to pay for your marriage license. You'll need to check your state's laws for how much that'll cost. We've had friends who do the courthouse thing and then do the big party later on. There are no rules.

Weddings are a special thing. A wedding shouldn't be a stressor or a burden or drive you into massive amounts of debt. It should be a joyous and wonderful occasion that is shared among friends and family. It should be a timeless piece of history in your life that you save for the rest of your days. If you want to have a big, fancy wedding -- I say go for it! It's your life. It's your wedding. But if you're more inclined to buy a house or finally pay off that car loan, then maybe cutting some corners here and there when it comes to your wedding is the answer.