Krista Gramstad of South Carolina, an October bride, said she sometimes wishes she and her fiancé had just eloped.
The 31-year-old has already spent around $10,000 on her wedding and is trying to find ways to cut the extra costs. But with high demand and inflation driving up prices, she said budgeting was tricky.
Gramstad has already reduced the guest list from 250 to 180 to cut costs and is trying to find 30 more names to drop.
“I didn’t realize how necessary wedding planning was until I got engaged. It’s an endless list,” she said. “The more we fill up, the more I’m like, ‘Oh my God, where are we going to get all this money from?’ “
Wedding website Zola found that two-thirds of more than 3,000 couples surveyed were overspending on their 2022 wedding. Industry experts shared seven tips with USA TODAY on how couples can cut costs. costs.
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1. Cut the guest list
The most common tip for saving money on a wedding: Cut the guest list.
“Most couples want this big experience where you have over 150 guests, and I have a few brides who want 300 guests to show up at the wedding,” said wedding planner Simone Sophie Walker. “(Sometimes) it won’t be in the budget.”
Wedding planner Alyssa Pettinato of Alinato Events said a higher percentage of guests this year said “yes” to weddings.
“People used to do this thing where they over-invited and then had a 20% dropout rate or something. And now it’s like, oh no, people respond. We could be above our numbers,” she said. “Apart from (moving your wedding) to a Sunday or Friday, I always say to people trying to save money: hey, the only way to cut the money without compromising too much is to cut the list guests.”
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2. Get a credit card with rewards
Maria Roloff, a wealth management advisor at Myklebust, Horne and Fies Financial Group, a subsidiary of Northwestern Mutual Private Client Group, said using a credit card for wedding purchases to earn rewards points for the honeymoon can be a “great idea”.
“If you’re going to put expenses on a credit card, I always say pick one that offers rewards,” Roloff told USA TODAY.
She warned couples to check the interest rate on the credit card before signing up to make sure they’ll be able to pay the full balance, otherwise the card ‘could potentially become more expensive than points that you accumulate”.
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3. Delay marriage
Shane McMurray, CEO of The Wedding Report, said couples can push back their wedding date to see if inflation and demand go down.
“The best thing to do is probably wait,” he said. “I know it sounds crazy, but the supply chain issues and the demand for supplies and services (will) subside at some point. Things will catch up. We’re going to get back to some sense of normality of supply.”
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4. Budget for the unexpected
Wealth management advisor Roloff suggests couples set aside 10% of their overall budget to cover unexpected costs and last-minute expenses like tips from vendors or transportation.
“It’s not something that will save you money at the moment, but it can definitely keep you out of debt while you plan and give you some peace of mind,” she said. .
5. Cash payment offer
Taking the time to find the right supplier – or negotiate with your chosen one – can be worth the extra effort.
Roloff suggests shopping around with different wedding vendors to find the best value. Once you have chosen your supplier, prices can be negotiated further.
A simple way to cut costs: offer to pay in cash.
“If sellers know they won’t have a credit card charge for the transaction, they’ll often offer a small discount,” Roloff said.
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6. Assess “wants” versus “needs”
Barbara Hearne, owner of wedding planning firm Barbara’s Brides in Texas, recommends couples reassess their “wants” versus their “needs” for the wedding to cut costs.
Some examples include customers using Uber or taxis instead of renting a shuttle; opt for a DJ instead of a band; or using a DIY “selfie booth” instead of a photo booth rental.
Jove Meyer, owner of Jove Meyer Events, also said couples looking to stay on budget need to be more flexible this year due to supply chain issues. Being flexible with the type of flowers you use, for example, can help your florist avoid species that have skyrocketed in price.
“Find the places where you can cut and feel good about the party you’re throwing with the resources you’ve allocated,” Meyer said. “I don’t encourage anyone to go into debt to pay for the extra costs that have occurred at a wedding. In my opinion, it’s just not worth it. I think it’s about be honest, have an honest conversation with your organizer, with your suppliers, and then trust their recommendations because they are the best.”
7. Avoid getting into debt
As lenders offer wedding loans, wealth management adviser Roloff said couples should consider other ways to raise money before borrowing.
“If you can’t dip into your savings for this, you might consider taking out a wedding loan,” she said. “However, I recommend looking at other options first. Often these wedding loans have higher interest rates, and often times you might find a family member or a grandmother or someone who is so delighted that you are getting married that he will lend you money at low or no interest.”
Roloff added that taking out a loan and going into debt can make sense for “some people,” such as couples with “a good income” who expect to be able to pay off the debt fairly quickly after marriage.
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But for others, Roloff advised reevaluating their budget.
“There’s so much you can do today to make a wedding special where everything doesn’t have to be super expensive,” she said. “Remember: it’s a moment in time. It’s a super, super special day. So it’s good to get it right and spend time planning, but it’s never good. to have regrets if you have a lot of debt that persists afterwards.”
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