Money + Love Part II: Wedding Planning within Budget

About the Episode

Welcome to the second part of our Money + Love mini series where hosts Cristina and Will discuss wedding planning within a budget with four special guests. They’re joined by two returning newlyweds from Addition Financial, Jordan and Katie George, and Kaila and Eryn from the Frugal Twins. In this episode, they’ll review the best wedding money saving tips while sharing their own experiences with getting married on a budget. Finally, we wrap up this episode with our classic rapid fire round with a mix of serious and fun wedding related questions.


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Will asks Question 1: "How much should people spend on their weddings and how do they determine that amount?"

Jordan responds: "I don't think there's a one size fits all answer. It's going to depend on the couple, their incomes, savings, and whether they have help from their families. There are a lot of different factors to consider. It's also a matter of priority. For instance, for some couples, it's more important to have a down payment on a house than a big fancy wedding so they're willing to compromise. For others, a big celebration has been something they've been looking forward to for their entire lives and they're willing to sacrifice to have it. It's ultimately up to the couple to decide what an appropriate budget looks like for their wedding."

Learn more: Average Wedding Cost & Budget Breakdown for Florida Couples



Cristina asks Question 2: "What's the best way for someone to start a wedding budget?"

Kaila responds: "There are a few things to consider when you're thinking about a budget. Start with your priorities. For instance, you may have your heart set on a particular venue or a DJ. And if that's the case, plan your wedding around the thing you have your heart set on. From then on out, figure out what you're willing to compromise. Have that conversation with your significant other. Some people might want more high-end food while other couples might have a backyard wedding instead. You should also think about breaking your wedding down into smaller categories. Your budget should include everything from the engagement ring, dress, and tux, to the catering, drinks, and honeymoon."

Learn more: 5 Creative Ways to Save Money on a Tight Budget



Will asks Question 3: "When you’re making purchases for your wedding, what are some ways to save money?"

Katie responds: "One way is to buy everything using a cash back or rewards card. That way, you’ll be earning money or points with everything you buy. You can use these points to buy your honeymoon tickets and book your hotel room. Keeping track of your expenses on a spreadsheet is another way to save money. Over inflating your budget also helps with covering unexpected expenses."

Learn more: Credit Card Points vs. Cash Back: 20 Pros and Cons to Consider



Cristina asks Question 4: "How big of an impact does the guest list make on your wedding budget?"

Eryn responds: "Your guest list can have a huge impact on your overall budget. Some people have a very difficult time eliminating people from a list once they’re there. That’s why people should make a preliminary list they can use to crunch the numbers. Once you've decided on the venue, it's a good idea to revisit your guest list since you may need to make cuts. Remember, if you’re paying for the wedding, you’re not under any obligation to include every distant cousin and aunt. It might feel mean to cut people, but it’s not. It’s your money and you get to decide how to spend it. However, if you have the budget for a huge wedding, that’s great. But most of us don’t and that means you’re going to have to make some tough decisions about who attends your wedding."



Will asks Question 5: "How rigid should a wedding budget be?"

Jordan responds: "The total amount you’re willing to spend may not change at all unless you have an influx of money or your future in-laws offer to foot the bill. You still shouldn't skyrocket your spending just because you've got outside assistance. You want to be reasonable about it. For example, you might allocate $3,000 for a wedding dress and then find a beautiful vintage dress for $300. You can either decide to have a wedding that’s less expensive overall – or you can take the $2,700 you saved and put it into the venue, catering, or honeymoon. You should be at least somewhat flexible with the budget, with the understanding that it’s a framework and not carved in stone. Things are likely to fluctuate a lot, especially early in the planning stages. Don’t stress about it."

Learn more: How to Set (and Stick to) Long-Term Financial Goals



Cristina asks Question 6: "What are some ways that couples can save in individual categories when hiring a vendor?"

Kaila responds: "We honestly started with our friends. There were services people were willing to do for us in exchange for a gift. For instance, one of our close family friends was a photographer. So she actually offered to do our wedding photos and engagement wedding photos for free as a gift. We also had another family friend who was a DJ who offered his services to us for free as a gift. Keep in mind that you’re asking a big favor – and also, that there’s a difference between asking someone to do something ahead of time such as making the cake or arranging flowers, and working on the day by acting as a DJ or photographer. That fundamentally changes their experience of the wedding, so keep that in mind. When you're planning a wedding you should also think about quotes. Get at least three quotes to be sure the money you're paying is reasonable."



Will asks Question 7: "What's a common budgeting mistake that a lot of couples make that is easily avoided?"

Eryn responds: "Not doing proper research. The budget is a work in progress until you have contracted with vendors. Having a rough idea of costs in your area will help you to create a realistic budget. You should also budget for miscellaneous expenses. Almost every couple winds up with unexpected expenses – things they couldn’t predict in their budget. Padding by about 3% can help you avoid nasty surprises and unnecessary stress."

Learn more: Debunking Budgeting Myths with Expert Money Saving Advice



Cristina asks Quick Question 1: "What is your biggest money saving tip that you haven't discussed yet?"

Katie responds: "You have to be willing to make some sacrifices when it comes to sticking to your budget. You might not get everything you wanted but that's okay."



Cristina asks Quick Question 2: "What part of planning your wedding took you by surprise?"

Katie responds: "The additional expenses that added up in the end is what took me by surprise. For example, bridesmaid and groomsmen gifts, guestbooks, and menus. Just when I thought we were done, we were a couple hundred bucks away from being finished."



Will asks Quick Question 3: "How can couples use technology to save on wedding expenses?"

Jordan responds: "There are a lot of apps, websites, and tools out there that can inexpensively accomplish your goals. For instance, we created our own wedding invitations by using a design tool online. Some websites will allow you to download the file and print the invitations out yourself. You can also order the invitations directly from the website and have them printed and shipped to you. Additionally, there are wedding websites that will help you collect RSVPs which will save money on postage. You can also do thank you notes electronically by collecting email addresses from your guests as well. Photo sharing apps are another trendy way to connect with your guests."



Will asks Quick Question 4: "Where did you and Katie go for your honeymoon?"

Jordan responds: "We had a simple staycation in our town. I had a connection with someone who worked at the hotel in the area. So, we were lucky enough to receive an employee discount on a nice suite for our honeymoon. We got to experience fancy dinners, the lazy river, and trips to the spa."

The Principal Guide to Achieving Financial Security When Settling Down


Cristina asks Quick Question 5: "What are some ways that couples can save on catering?"

Kaila responds: "One way is to think about the timing of your wedding. For example, consider replacing a full evening spread for afternoon appetizers. I had a friend who had a morning wedding, so they offered bagels instead. The second tip is to have food you actually enjoy instead of having fancy plates of food. For instance, we went with barbeque at our wedding since it was something we both really enjoyed and it was quite cheaper as well. The third tip is to have a potluck wedding."



Cristina asks Quick Question 6: "Where did you get to go on your honeymoon?"

Kaila responds: "Since we tried to save so much money on our wedding, we were able to splurge on our honeymoon. We're from the Midwest so we flew to Daytona Beach, Florida. We booked a condo on the beach for about a week. One way we saved money was by going grocery shopping immediately once we landed off the plane. We would cook food for breakfast and lunch and then go out for dinner.”



Will asks Quick Question 7: "What are some ways that couples can save money on their wedding attire?"

Eryn responds: "For the bride, I recommend choosing an off-the-rack wedding dress. You could also go with a non-traditional option by choosing a handmade or vintage dress. I've had a few friends receive hand-me-down dresses within their families. You can also save money on bridesmaid dresses by shopping for them at regular stores. For the groom, you can save money by wearing a suit instead of a tuxedo."



Will asks Quick Question 8: "What was your favorite thing about your wedding?"

Eryn responds: "This is going to sound so cheesy, but I loved the fact that so many of my loved ones were there. I had my friends, my family, people from all across the country, all in one spot. I remember the conversations we had and the dances we shared. It was a fantastic day because I got to share it with the people I loved."



In this episode, Cristina and Will share a helpful resource called The Principal Guide to Achieving Financial Security When Settling Down. By the time you’ve finished reading, you’ll have a clear overview of the financial aspects of starting or growing your family. And, you’ll understand what you need to do to achieve the financial security you want for yourself and your family.

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