By Beryl Jantzi
The average wedding in 2010 cost $20,000. This can be a burden to both the parents as well as the newly married couples. But there are steps couples can take to save money by being strategic in the planning and discussions that take place in advance. Consider a few of the following suggestions that can help keep costs down without diminishing from the meaning of this special event.
- Set a budget and stick to it
There are websites that can help with wedding planning such as costofwedding.com and the knot.com. Once you set up a budget, open up a dedicated savings account through which you channel your funds.
- Parents can provide incentives for simplifying weddings
Parents who decide to help with wedding costs could provide incentives to couples to simplify their weddings as well as plan for the future. Parents might consider determining in advance how much they are able to give to the wedding couple then hand that amount over to the couple to manage. The couple could determine whether to spend the full amount on the wedding or adjust their wedding plans so they could set aside any money saved for future needs.
- Picking priorities
There are so many touches that could be included in a wedding – or left out. The food, facilities, flowers, photographer – they don’t all need to be the very best or even included. Another way to save is to have the wedding on a Sunday rather than a Saturday. According to theknot.com couples can save as much as 20% per person on a reception if it’s held on a Sunday. An even greater savings that makes a wedding more community-based is to have it as part of a Sunday morning worship experience with the reception as a pot luck meal. We have tended to err on removing this covenanting celebration from the life of the church. Be a trend setter and try something different.
- Negotiate, read the small print and attend to the details
Don’t be afraid to negotiate with those you are paying to assist with the planning. If you are entering into agreements with wedding, music, flower contractors or managers of reception halls know what you are agreeing to. Don’t get carried away with the emotion of the event and neglect thinking through the details well in advance. Incidental expenses are often highlighted in the small print and may not always be addressed in your conversations.
- Keeping it simple and natural
Outdoor weddings may be thought of as a “simple affair” but in actuality take a great deal more work to coordinate, execute and clean up after. Contingency plans are needed in case of wind and rain. Stress levels are higher for all the unknowns that go with the backyard or seashore venue. Pastors and parents may want to raise questions to help couples think about the money that is spent on one day versus what can be done to invest in a lifetime together. Jesus calls us to not be conformed to the world. The wedding ceremony may be one place to truly put this value into practice. Too many couples have not had adequate training when it comes to setting a budget and committing to live within – if not below – their means. Reducing and eliminating the stress of debt may be one of the best practices to begin working towards as a couple – starting with the wedding celebration.