Weddings are expensive.
According to CostofWedding.com, the average wedding costs just over $26,000. The biggest ticket items, according to the website, are venue, catering and rentals (as a group), jewelry and photography. Together those three groups make up over $18,000 of the average wedding cost.
But these aren’t the only costs of a wedding. According to the last US Census, the median household income in Louisiana was just $44,555 a year. So, unless you want to spend about 60 percent of your household’s annual income on your wedding, you’ll probably follow the path of many couples and figure out how to both save money while still providing that magical experience you’ve dreamed about since you were a child.
Stephanie Willette has been doing just that as she prepares for her upcoming wedding. She said that by the time she gets married, she’ll have been engaged for four years, so she’s had some time to research.
“One of the first [things] you do with wedding planning is figure out what your total budget is, and then there are different tools that you can look up that help designate how much money you are going to spend on each aspect,” she said.
Willette said Pinterest has been a huge help for her. She decided that she will be making many of the things that would otherwise be purchased for the event, which will save her money in many areas from the guest book to the invitations and a number of other items. She encourages everyone to start the planning early and to look around the website thoroughly to figure out what’s best for your wedding and what can help you the most.
She also urges people to attend as many bridal shows as they can because businesses often give discounts to people who attended the shows. Overall, Willette estimates that she has been able to save somewhere between eight and $18,000 on the cost of the wedding.
Willette said many people save money by using their mother’s dress, getting married in a park or having a friend officiate the wedding.
Stacey Parker, owner of Gala Productions, a local wedding planning company, said “the number one thing that’s important when planning a wedding is managing your expectations.”
She said it’s important to do a budget estimation and to budget every expected expense.
“Twenty-six thousand seems like a lot of money, but in the wedding industry that’s not a lot, it adds up quickly,” Parker said.
She said that, especially in the South, we have huge networks of families and friends, including in many cases church networks, that people always want to invite.
“For every eight to 12 people, that’s another table, another centerpiece, another eight to 12 chairs, another linen, not to mention another eight to 12 meals,” she said.
Parker said that costs can be managed, in many of the same ways that Willette is utilizing, but that planning is the most important part. She emphasized to, when planning, make sure that key players in the actual wedding ceremony aren’t working on major organizing that is happening the day of the event because it could cause more stress.