How To Pay For A Wedding (Even When You’re Broke)

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How to pay for a wedding when you don’t have a lot of money is a question that many couples have when starting out on their planning journey.

According to The Knot, the average price of a wedding in the US is around $28,000. That is a lot of money!

Don’t worry, we have come up with a few ideas that you can use to help pay for your dream wedding.

How to pay for a wedding when you’re low on funds?

A few ways to pay for a wedding when you don’t have a lot of money include doing some DIY projects, starting a side hustle, trading services with some of your wedding vendors, and setting up a fund so you can collect money from family members.

Here is what we cover in this article:

Starting A Side Hustle

If you want to pay for your wedding yourself, you and your partner should consider getting a side hustle (or starting one).

While this might not seem practical if you’re already working 40+ hours per week at your day job, there are many side hustles that you can create and grow slowly in your spare time.

Here are a few side hustles that couples can do to make extra money for their wedding:

  • Social media management for local businesses (running Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest accounts).
  • Starting a niche site (a blog that focuses on a specific topic like cooking a certain kind of food, a specific type of pet, fashion ideas for a certain age, makeup/hair tutorials, cars, instrument lessons, college hacks, etc.).
  • Affiliate marketing (recommending products on social media and earning a commission on those sales).
  • Selling digital products on sites like Etsy and Teachers Pay Teachers
  • Starting your own virtual assistant business (this can be anything from email management, photo/video editing, social media, web design, etc.)

When choosing a side hustle, try to pick something that can grow and eventually make money even when you’re not actively doing it (blogging, YouTube, selling digital products, etc.).

In my opinion, a side hustle is the best way to raise extra money for your wedding day.

A bride and groom walking down a path. This is for the article called how to pay for a wedding.
Starting a side hustle during wedding planning will help you earn enough money to pay for your dream wedding day.

Trade Services With Your Wedding Vendors

If you have good relationships with some wedding vendors, you could consider trading services with them instead of paying cash for their products or services. 

For example, running a successful local blog could feature your caterer’s company in exchange for discounts.

We have put together a free downloadable PDF that goes over some amazing ways to put this into practical use.

This PDF will give you ideas on blogs that you can start that will pay for your entire wedding day (yes, we just said that).

A few additional ways that you could trade services with wedding vendors include:

  • Running their social media accounts for them instead of paying them cash
  • Offering virtual assistant services
  • Writing blog posts, articles, or sales copy for them
  • Offering photography/video services

Doing DIY Projects

While this isn’t a tip on how to pay for your wedding, doing a few DIY projects can save you lots of money on smaller items, so you can spend more on bigger things like your wedding venue, food, and photography.

There are so many wedding elements that you can do yourself.

A few wedding DIY examples:

  • Making your own wedding invitations for free using Canva
  • Designing your own centerpieces and bouquets with flowers from Costco or BJs
  • Making your own wedding party gifts and guest favors
  • Putting together a DIY dessert table with the help of family and friends

You could also ask a creative friend to help you. For example, if your friend is good at photography or catering, requesting their help can enable you to reduce your wedding expenses on your big day.

A bride and groom kissing with flowers all around them.
DIY projects will allow you to save money on some of the smaller wedding details. This will allow you to use that money for some of the bigger expenses.

Cut Back On Your Non-Essential Daily And Monthly Expenses

One of the easiest ways to start saving money for your wedding is to reduce your daily expenses.

You do not have to cut these things from your life completely, but by reducing some of these costs during the wedding planning process, your savings will add up quickly (very quickly!).

Here is an average of what people spend on non-essential items each month:

  • $70 at Starbucks and other coffee shops
  • $50-$110 on Netflix and other tv streaming
  • $10 on music streaming
  • $200-$300 on eating out instead of cooking at home or packing lunch (this includes going out for drinks)
  • $100-$150 on impulse purchases at malls or stores like Target
  • $20-$50 on gym memberships
  • $100 per month on non-essential Amazon purchases
  • $40-$100 on subscription boxes
  • $20 on bottled water
  • $20 for paid apps for phone/tablet

That comes out to $630-$930 per month.

That is $7,560-$11,160 per year (per person if living separately)

If you are a couple who does not live together, and you are engaged for 18 months, you could save roughly $22,680-$33,480 if you cut out everything listed above.

That is the average cost of a wedding in the US!

We know that not many people would be willing to cut out everything but what if you agreed to cut it down by 50%?

That would still be $11,340-$16,740 that you could put towards your wedding.

See how easy this gets once you start doing the math?

A Pinterest Pin that shows different ways to save money each month when paying for a wedding
There are so many ways to cut expenses each month. Use these savings to help pay for your wedding.

Some ideas of how to reduce daily expenses include the following: 

  • Choose just one tv streaming service while planning your wedding. No need to have Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, and HBO Max.
  • Cook meals at home instead of ordering takeout. According to Forbes, it’s nearly five times more expensive to order delivery from restaurants than to cook at home. 
  • Buy a $10 water bottle and ditch the bottled water for the next year or 2
  • Watch yoga or workout videos on YouTube and cancel that gym membership
  • Pack lunches for work. Avoid buying food from restaurants or coffee shops. Yahoo News reports that this option can save you $2,000 per year.

Put Money Into Personal Savings Each Month

After cutting a few expenses from the list above, start putting that money into a wedding savings account.

Say you and your partner each make $3,000 per month ($36,000 per year).

If each of you takes 10% of your income ($300 each) and puts it into a savings account every month, you would have:

  • $10,800 for an 18-month engagement
  • $8,400 for a 14-month engagement
  • $7,200 for a 1-year engagement

That is a huge amount of money for very little sacrifice.

And just think, if you make more than $36,000 per year, you will have even more money!

If you make less than $36,000, no worries! Go back up to number 1 and earn some extra money for your wedding.

A bride and groom standing forehead to forehead in a field. This is for the article called how to pay for a wedding.
Putting even just a small amount of money into personal savings each month can lead to big amounts when it comes time to pay off your wedding vendors.

Ask Family Members For Donations

If you’re having trouble paying some of the wedding costs, you could reach out to loved ones and ask for help.

There are ways to do this politely and increase your success in receiving monetary support.

Here are some ideas: 

Let your family know what you plan to do with the money that they are donating. Don’t just ask for money.

Example:

Maybe your grandmother loves photography. Tell her that her donation will be going to book your favorite photographer who takes beautiful photos.

Show her the photographer’s website. Involve her in the process.

You could do the same thing for family members who love food, fashion, flowers, etc.

Another way to get wedding donations is to ask for cash gifts instead of physical gifts at your wedding shower or bridal shower.

You can let guests know that you will be using the money to pay for certain parts of the wedding.

You can also set up a wedding fund or honeymoon fund as part of your wedding registry.

A bride and groom dancing outside a green building.
Asking family members to pay for specific wedding expenses can make them feel more included instead of just asking for cash.

Use Credit Card Hacking To Pay For Honeymoon (Responsibly)

Only use the following idea if you can do it responsibly.

If you currently have credit card debt, we do not recommend using this idea.

This is only meant for people who can use their credit cards for wedding purchases and then pay them off each month.

If that’s you, keep reading…

Consider paying for some wedding items or services with a credit card instead of cash. 

Credit cards offer reward points that could balance your wedding spending or contribute to your honeymoon through air travel and hotel cost reductions.

We have worked with many couples who paid for close to 100% of their honeymoon by using this method.

They did this by signing up for a new card that offered big bonuses for spending a specific amount during the first 3 months, and then used that same card to pay for their entire wedding.

A credit card will also help protect your money when paying for your wedding.

Thanks to the Fair Credit Billing Act, using your credit card enables you to file disputes for products or services that didn’t meet your expectations, which will protect you when paying vendors, as Experian reports

A bride and groom sitting on a bench
Selling some of your old stuff is an easy way to earn some extra money for your wedding fund.

How To Pay For A Wedding By Selling Your Stuff

Selling off some of your stuff is a great way to raise extra money for your wedding. Plus it helps declutter your house.

We had a yard sale last summer and made $1,200. Think of what an extra $1,200 could do for your wedding day!

Here are a few easy ways to sell your stuff:

  • Yard sale/garage sale (this is perfect if you have lots of things or big items that would be difficult to ship)
  • Facebook Marketplace (Some people love FB Marketplace but others don’t like meeting strangers in person)
  • eBay (This is the best way to sell your used stuff if you have items worth more money like camera gear or electronics)

Lower Your Wedding Expenses

Sometimes the best way to come up with extra money for a wedding is to simply spend less money on the wedding.

We cover this in detail in these 2 articles:

Here are a few quick ways to lower your wedding costs:

  • Trimming your guest list (this will save you the most money)
  • Choosing a non-traditional wedding venue (like a local park, a family member’s backyard, a bed and breakfast, a local college, a restaurant, etc.)
  • Getting married in the off-season
  • Buying your wedding day attire on sites like Etsy

Taking Out A Personal Loan

Although a personal loan should be your last resort, it can be a convenient way to pay for your wedding, especially since so many vendors require large deposits at the time of booking.

This allows you to secure your vendors when as soon as you start wedding planning.

A significant benefit of personal loan applications is that they can be approved very quickly, with some lenders and financial institutions being able to deposit the loan into your account within a few days.

Loan repayments can interfere with your plans to buy your own home, or place you under financial pressure early on in your married life.

We only recommend taking out a loan if you know that you can repay it before the wedding day and if you have a great credit score.

More Wedding Planning Tips and Resources

Here are a few more articles from our blog that you might helpful:

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