I will start by saying this obviously depends on what city/state you are having your wedding. What I am spending in South Carolina is obviously not the same as what someone might spend in New York. The average cost of an American wedding was $35,329 in 2016. We are pretty close to that average. I am not going to share the exact numbers because, to be honest, I am not 100% sure. I have tracked all of our main vendors but I have not tracked everything I have bought on Amazon, on Etsy, at Hobby Lobby, or at Dollar Tree.
I am thankful I saved around $18k prior to getting engaged. There is no way we would able to pay for this wedding in a year without saving that amount before. My parents have been able to assist with some costs such as my dress, our invitations, and a few other things. We are very thankful and appreciative of their help. The majority of the wedding, like over 90%, we are paying for ourselves. I am not upset we are paying for our own wedding. It has been nice to be able to make decisions just the two of us.
Now back to the point of this post: why we are not having a cheap wedding. I would not even call our wedding budget friendly at this point because originally I wanted to spend like $27k. I quickly realized that was not going to happen. I will give you a little insight into our wedding so you can understand before you judge our spending.
-We invited 225 guests.
-We are having an open bar (ONLY beer and wine).
-We are having both a videographer and a photographer ($1,200 and $3,300 respectively).
-We are having food stations not a plated dinner.
-We are only having bouquets and boutonnieres for flowers.
-We are including our wedding bands but not my engagement ring in our wedding costs.
-We are having a DJ, not a band.
Those are the basics so you can understand the type of wedding we are having. We want it to be a party. It is by no means extravagant. We have chosen reasonably priced vendors (reasonable to us) and there is no expense I regret. I am not sure what else we could cut without sacrificing things that are important to us.
We are not having a cheap wedding for a few main reasons:
-We are still setting and reaching financial goals.
-We want all the important people in our lives there.
-We have a few non-negotiable vendors/items.
-We are paying cash for everything and we have the money.
My biggest non-negotiable was a videographer. I love photos but for me it was so important to hear voices, see my family and friends having fun, and relive our day through video. I am not sure what Joe’s non-negotiable would be, but he did care a lot about our DJ. Of course, we both wanted alcohol but liquor….y’all….liquor prices are CRAZY.
I was hesitant to write this because there are so many posts on how to have a budget/frugal wedding and people saying “oh I spent only $5k on my wedding.” If that is you that is totally fine. But it is also totally fine to spend $25k, $30k, $35k, or more IF YOU ARE PAYING CASH and if you and your fiancé/fiancée are on the same page.
My biggest hesitation with this post was someone saying, “OMG you are paying off six figures of debt and you spent all this money on wedding?! That is insane!!!” Maybe to you, it is crazy. Maybe this is something you would NEVER do. That is totally fine. This is something we both wanted to do and we are having the wedding of our dreams surrounded by the people who matter most to us. We have still paid, on average, $2,990/month to debt so far this year (it is currently June 2019). We still have a debt payoff plan and we are still setting financial goals.
Could we have eloped and put all of this money to debt? 100% but that is not what we wanted. Life is about choices and weighing the pros and cons of each option. We chose to have this wedding and neither of us regrets that decision. This might not be the decision you would make and that is okay. I respect your decision to spend your money how you feel is best and I hope you respect mine.
I won’t lie I am SUPER excited to stop writing checks to vendors for thousands of dollars. I am very ready to start saving for a house and putting more towards our debt BUT I have NO regrets about spending this money on our wedding.
Our wedding is NOT cheap. It might be cheaper than a NY wedding but it is definitely not cheap. It is not frugal or DIY. I have not DIY’ed anything. My friend has DIY’ed a few things for me, but I am 0% crafty. It would cost me more in materials and time than it would for me to buy it off Amazon or Etsy. I have chosen my sanity over potentially saving a few dollars. I have been reasonable in 90% of my purchases. Our invitations were from Etsy and were not expensive. I got my shoes on sale from DSW. My hairpiece and jewelry are from Amazon.
I have learned a few ways to save money like buying flip flops from Old Navy’s $1 sale and going to Facebook marketplace or TJ Maxx for some wedding décor. Also, Dollar Tree is perfect for your day of emergency kit, vases, frames, and other wedding decorations. Overall, the reason I am okay with spending the amount we are because everything is paid for in cash and we are still reaching financial goals. We are not adding to our debt. We are over our original budget, but we have readjusted and we will be able to pay for everything in cash.
At the end of the day, you have to live with the decisions you make. Whether you spend $10 on your wedding or $75,000, you (and your future spouse) need to be okay with that decision. Joe and I are okay with how we are spending our money right now. We are paying for a wedding, paying for his school, and paying off student loans. In 53 days, we will be able to stop paying for a wedding and of course I am excited about that but I do not regret our wedding expenses.
Did you have a frugal wedding? What is one thing you are SO happy you had at your wedding?