A wedding is a beautiful thing. It’s a chance to display the love you have for another person and bring together everyone you love most in the world. It really is a wonderful time.
But planning a wedding? That can be a less than wonderful time. In fact, planning a wedding ranks highly on a list of worst stressors. But it shouldn’t be that way.
A lot of the wedding stress comes from expectations. People everywhere have ideas about what a wedding is and what it can include. A lot of those more traditional elements can add up quickly and eat away a lot of that precious wedding budget.
The good news is you don’t have to include every “traditional” detail in your wedding planning. There are some more “outdated traditions” that many couples and wedding experts admit can be left out altogether.
The truth is a wedding is an expression of the two people being married. That means you can add a twist to your wedding ceremony with new trends and ideas. And a lot of inspiration can come from seeing how other couples have made their wedding ceremonies theirs.
But it’s also important to know that the planning doesn’t and shouldn’t end at the altar. As a soon-to-be married couple, you should start making plans about other aspects of life including finances, family planning, and even looking over a life insurance guide to find the right life insurance coverage.
Wedding Planning and Budgeting
As many people know, planning a wedding is time-consuming and costly. There are so many pieces of the puzzle to consider and decide on that things can quickly spiral out of control.
In order to keep things in control, you’ll need to start a list. Make a list of all the different wedding elements you need and want in your ceremony; from choosing the perfect wedding dress or planning the menu on the big day. Then, prioritize that list.
Rank each element as most important to least important. The items that come in high on that list are things that must be included and could cost more money. The items that come in lower on the list are things that can be excluded – in a financial emergency – or a more financially responsible option can be used.
With list in hand, it’s time to set a budget. The budget should be realistic for both your available finances and the current wedding industry. Take a little time to research the average cost of different pieces of a wedding in your area. This will help influence your budget and better ensure your “must-have” items are included.
Then it’s time to tackle the list, but what about some of those more “outdated traditions” for weddings?
Wedding Traditions You Can Skip
Weddings are usually very traditional affairs. The concept of a wedding ceremony dates back thousands of years, so a little tradition is expected. But in reality, some of those traditional elements just aren’t necessary – if they aren’t your thing.
Some of the more traditional elements can be ditched altogether. And, the best news, it will save you a little bit of money.
The first tradition to skip is the obligation. In years past, the parents of the couple would be heavily involved in the planning and financing of a wedding. This usually translated into some far-removed relatives or family friends being invited.
Even when parents don’t help in the paying or planning, the soon-to-be-wed couple can feel a sense of obligation to invite everyone – even people they don’t know at all. These obligation invites can add up very quickly and cost big bucks.
Ditch the guilt and the invitees you don’t want to have at the wedding. Invite the people you want to be surrounded by on your special day.
#2–Save the Dates
Traditional wedding protocol is to send out “Save the Date” cards many months before the wedding. These “Save the Dates” can be cute and fun, but the truth is most people toss them quickly. And that’s just money in the trash.
Most wedding invitations are sent out with plenty of notice. And that means that “Save the Date” cards just aren’t necessary and are quite wasteful.
If you’re worried about people making other plans on your wedding day, send the formal invitation out a little earlier and give your invitees plenty of time to plan for your big day.
#3–Big Ceremony and a Big Party
A common wedding trend is to have a big wedding ceremony followed by a big reception on the same day. And that gets expensive quickly. But there are a few ways around that traditional expectation.
One way around the big ceremony and big party is to have them on separate days. Some couples still want everyone to be involved in both the ceremony and the reception, but it’s too costly to do both back to back. Consider having the ceremony on one day, and then have the reception weeks or even months later.
Another option is to have a small ceremony – just close family and friends – and then a big party with many more invitees. A smaller wedding ceremony usually opens up more affordable venue options, too.
Big, flashy floral arrangements are often expected at weddings, too. But those big florals are very expensive. It’s much more cost effective and fun to DIY centerpieces that traditionally have floral elements.
If you still want to include florals in your arrangements or centerpieces, try using single long-stem flowers or smaller bouquets. Even these small changes can cut the total flower cost in half.
#5–Traditional Venues and Times
You can also change when and where you get married. Wedding tradition usually calls for a wedding in the evening on a weekend. This means that more traditional wedding venues can increase the price during those times.
Consider a week-day or morning wedding instead. This can lead you to some surprising venue choices and a little less venue cost.
There are dozens of traditional wedding elements that many people can and do include in their modern wedding. Some of the traditions can be skipped completely, but other couples choose to blend some of the elements. There is almost always a way to update those older ideas and create a traditional wedding with a modern twist.
Finances After the Wedding
Finances are a big part of the wedding day, but it doesn’t end there. Finances, especially when two people are involved, are part of everyday life. Finances are part of the essential things to discuss before the wedding, but that list should also include things like life insurance.
When it comes to managing finances, it’s just about setting a weekly or monthly budget. As two independent people coming together, how will you handle bigger budget issues? Are you both ready to give access to bank accounts and credit cards? You will need to discuss savings goals and processes, as well as how you will – or won’t – merge bank accounts.
Another big topic of discussion is family planning. You and your soon-to-be spouse will need to discuss hopes and desires for having or growing a family.
But one of the biggest topics of discussion is life insurance. A newly married couple will need to decide if they will amend a current life insurance plan or take out a new life insurance plan. Regardless of which choice is made, it’s important that the decision is discussed.
A wedding should be a time of fun. It should reflect the couple getting married in traditional or less traditional wedding choices. Traditional or less traditional, however, will play into the total cost of a wedding. But don’t let the financial talk stop with wedding planning.
Laura Gunn writes and researches for the insurance comparison site, ExpertInsuranceReviews.com. She planned her own wedding on a budget and has helped many other couples plan their weddings.