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6 tips for a debt-free wedding budget

What we'll cover

  • Wedding expenses to consider when planning

  • How to make a wedding budget that fits your needs

  • Wedding planning strategies to keep you out of debt

Walking down the aisle is a huge life event, so you may be tempted to throw caution to the wind when it comes to spending on your big day. But you don't have to go into debt to have a spectacular wedding.

Average wedding costs in 2023

The average wedding costs just under $30,000. But the amount couples spend is as unique as they are. No two weddings are exactly the same, so your budget and how you pay for the big day may vary quite a bit.

1. Create a budget

The best way to ensure your spending stays on track is to establish a detailed wedding budget. Decide how much to spend on everything from the venue to catering and flowers. Use this handy worksheet to make sure you're factoring in all the expenses.

2. Determine your must haves

Remember: Wedding budgets are not one-size-fits-all. Identify your priorities and adjust accordingly. For instance, maybe you've always dreamed of a designer gown, so you're willing to splurge on it while opting for simple floral arrangements to offset the cost . As with any budget, it's all about balance.

The best way to ensure your spending stays on track is to create a detailed wedding budget.

3. Open a separate high-yield savings account

Making saving a part of your wedding planning from the beginning by opening a separate high-yield savings account to set aside money for the big day. With an Ally Bank Savings Account , you can organize all your line items into buckets to keep a clearer picture of your budget.

Tip: Put any interest earned toward something for you— a special dinner on your honeymoon, for instance.

4. Set a deadline for savings

Once you set a date, you can build a planning timeline for the big day. In addition to deciding how far out you should begin shopping for a dress, order a cake and book the venue, set a date to reach your savings goal. Then, establish smaller savings goals to make it more manageable and to keep yourself motivated.

5. Avoid peak times

One smart way to save on wedding expenses is to avoid the most popular “I do" times. You could land a discount on the venue if you get married during the week as opposed to prime weekend days. Similarly, a winter wedding may be cheaper than getting hitched during the peak seasons of spring, summer and fall. A daytime wedding can also be less expensive than a nighttime celebration.

6. Discuss finances often

Your wedding is just the beginning of a lifelong journey of sharing finances with your spouse. Use the planning and budgeting process to get to know each other's spending and saving habits, philosophies about money management, how comfortable you are with debt and financial goals. Open and honest financial discussions will serve you well not only for your wedding but for the rest of your marriage.

Head into happily ever after debt-free

Getting married is a joyous and exciting occasion. It can also be expensive. But you don't have to go into debt to have a beautiful wedding. Use these strategies to stay on budget while planning your big day.

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