How to Ease the Financial Burden of Wedding Season

In anticipation of wedding season, PNC helps provide tips to help reduce costs for the bride, groom and bridal party.

Wedding bells are ringing, yet you’re distracted by the expenses stacking up. Wedding season is a joyful time to celebrate with friends and loved ones, however, it easily can lead to financial woes. While it’s often discussed how much brides and grooms are shelling out for their big day, weddings also can be a financial burden for guests.

According to a recent Bridal Season Travel Survey, the average millennial wedding guest will spend approximately $600 on each wedding they attend in 2017. The bridal party has it especially tough. Approximately 24 percent of people will spend at least $800 to $1,000 on a bachelor or bachelorette party, according to the same survey.

Rebecca Kuhn, a PNC universal branch specialist, decided to alleviate some of the financial stress from herself and her guests when planning her September wedding in Milwaukee. In planning for approximately 200 guests, Kuhn decided to get creative in making her wedding an unforgettable event that everyone could enjoy without breaking the bank.

“We started by looking for expenses we could cut out from a traditional wedding that we believed we didn’t need. We didn’t like a lot of the traditional aspects either. We wanted a no-frills wedding where we could get to the fun part and celebrate being together as a family,” Kuhn said of her planning process.

By deciding what was most important to her and her fiancé, the couple was able to decide where they saved and where they splurged. One of the biggest cost savings came from deciding against a plated meal. Instead, they opted for passed appetizers, saving them from paying for table linens, silverware, floral arrangements and tables. Since food was important to the couple, this allowed them to provide the quality of food they wanted without the price tag of a multi-course meal. The passed appetizers also gave the couple the ability to mingle with guests and enjoy the food at their own wedding.

wedding to do list  notebook surrounded by flowers and personal items

Kuhn also wanted to be mindful of how expensive weddings can be for bridesmaids. Instead of having her bridesmaids pay for professional makeup, she asked her 12-year-old cousin who has a passion for makeup design to share her talents. “I got a ton of compliments on our makeup and I could proudly say that my cousin did it. It was a great way to make my cousin feel more involved in the process, while also saving money.”

She also allowed her bridesmaids to choose the style of their dress and wear a simple nude-colored shoe, to help keep costs at bay. “I chose bridesmaid dresses from a mall store sale, so my bridesmaids all got their dresses for 40 to 50 percent off. I wanted to stay out of the bridal boutiques because those can be really expensive.” Also noting that most bridal boutique wedding dresses start at around $1,000, Kuhn opted for a dress for herself from that same store for an impressive $600.

For Kuhn and her fiancé, the real celebration was seeing distant family and celebrating with their loved ones for an evening. She shares these additional tips for managing wedding expenses:

  • Create a planner and set reminders for payments. Being able to anticipate payments will encourage you to save while also alleviating some of the financial stress.
  • Avoid the traditional plated meal. Opt for heavy appetizers or food stations that allow guests to choose their own food and mingle at the same time.
  • Consider the unexpected expenses. Be sure to factor in any up-charges or vendor tips that quickly can accumulate.
  • Phone a friend. Make sure to use those extremely talented friends of yours, whether it’s for calligraphy, makeup application or floral arrangements.
  • Remember that weddings can add up for your guests, too. Try to provide cheaper options for guests when it comes to transportation and lodging.
  • Plan ahead for your dream honeymoon. If your wedding falls during peak season and the honeymoon costs are outside of your budget, consider delaying your trip until you’ve had time to save after the festivities. This may afford you the opportunity to take advantage of off-peak seasons deals.
image of Rebecca Kuhn and husband on wedding day
Rebecca Kuhn found creative ways to save money on her wedding.

Think Short-Term & Long-Term

Couples should keep in mind what they spend on their wedding will affect future spending, too. Consider putting money toward a goal such as buying a house, saving for retirement and college tuition or paying off existing debts. Although hard to imagine at the time, many longer-term goals will provide a bigger reward.

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