You’re ready to tie the knot — but your bank account isn’t. Whether you’re planning a destination wedding or a lavish affair in your hometown, you need to start saving.
In 2021, the average cost of a wedding was $28,000, according to The Knot. Considering the consumer price index has increased 8.3% — before seasonal adjustment — over the past 12 months, as of April 2022, this number will almost definitely rise for 2022.
However, there are plenty of ways to budget beforehand, so your special day doesn’t live on in the form of mountains of debt. Here’s some advice to fight inflation and keep your wedding spending under control.
Lock In Rates for Vendors
After selecting the vendors who will bring your dream wedding to life, get their rates in writing to avoid a nightmare situation of price increases at the eleventh hour.
“Make sure there is no escalation clause or anything in the contract that can be changed once you make your deposit,” said Gary Grewal, a financial planner and author of “Financial Fives.” “That way, the price is agreed on beforehand in case of any supply chain issues.”
Offer To Allow a Vendor To Advertise
Your wedding is likely filled with potential customers for your vendors. Therefore, Grewal suggested trying to score a discount on their services in exchange for free advertising.
For example, he said the linen vendor might leave cards by the centerpiece, the DJ could light their logo up on the wall and the florist could list their contact information on the ribbon in the arrangements.
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Start Shopping for Deals Now
Your wedding might not be until next year, but Grewal said you can cut costs by purchasing any items you need — i.e., wine glasses, table décor — as soon as you find a deal on them.
“Consider setting price alerts up on your favorite shopping site or scouring ads online,” he said. “Not only can this save you money, it can prevent you from rushing to buy things that are out of stock the week you start preparing.”
Choose an All-Inclusive Venue
Hosting your wedding at a venue that does it all is easier, and it can also be cheaper. Tiffany Johnson, MBA, CFP(r), co-owner of Piece of Wealth Planning, a virtual fee-only financial planning firm, said taking this route helped her save money on her 2021 wedding.
“One of the biggest ways we cut costs was by choosing a venue where most of the items needed — i.e., food, drinks, chairs, linens, etc. — were already included in the venue fee,” she said.
Writing smaller checks to many different vendors might seem more cost effective on the surface, but it can add up fast. Often times large vendors are able to offer lower prices, because they can handle everything in-house.
DIY as Much as You Can
When planning her wedding, Johnson said another way she and her now-husband cut costs was by having family members help DIY some items for the big day. If you or your loved ones are crafty, this can be a great way to save.
For example, the average cost of wedding favors and gifts is $450, according to The Knot. Even pricier, Zola cites the standard rate for centerpieces at approximately $50 to $500 per table.
Every dollar you save is more for your honeymoon, so gather your artsy family members and get to work.
Tap Into Your Network
Chances are, you know someone — or at least have a friend of a friend — who specializes in something you need for your wedding. Johnson said making this connection can be a great way to save cash.
“It is very important to start with your current network and see how they would be able to help,” she said. “We knew our wedding photographer personally, and she gave us a great discount on her services.”
Scoring a friendly discount can save you serious cash. After all, the average cost of a wedding photographer is $2,500, rising to $4,300 for a live band and $2,300 for a florist, according to The Knot.
Save the Date for the Off-Season
Certain months of the year are much more popular to get married than others. Specifically, October, September, June, May and August — in that order — according to WeddingWire.
Of course, this means others — December, January and February — are not so popular. Not only does choosing one of these months increase the chances that you’ll secure your top-choice vendors, but it also means you might get a discount.
In the busy wedding months, couples compete for the most popular vendors, but the tables turn during the off-season. When there are fewer weddings to go around, vendors lower their prices to entice couples to choose them. This can allow you to have your dream wedding at a serious discount.
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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: How Couples Can Budget For a Wedding and Fight Inflation