Will you marry me? That magical phrase is shared between two people in love every day whether it be on a baseball scoreboard or with the entire family watching on in the living room. Today student debt for Generation Y graduates is approaching an all-time high. About two-thirds of college grads in the Class of 2013 will graduate with some student loan debt. The average debt for these students is about $28,000. (source: www.usatoday.com). The real question couples should be asking when they tie the knot is “Am I marrying you or your debt?” It’s important to have these discussions as financial items including your credit score can have an impact on loan status and job employment as you grow your future together. If you both agree that money is tight, what are the best ideas on how to do your wedding right but still have fun within a reasonable budget? Here are five smart money moves tips for you to consider.
- The Day Of The Week- Most of us would prefer Saturday as the day of the week we get married. If the weekend is the only choice you have, Sunday can be a better day of the week to negotiate a deal especially if you are considering doing it at night. Many venues will be able to offer you the same sit down dinner on a Sunday night versus a Saturday night at a better price. Obviously doing a wedding of any proportion on a weekday is extremely difficult, but will be the least expensive route if you can swing the planning. Remember, the day of the week may also dictate flight and hotel prices for your guests.
- The Venue- If you are running tight on your overall budget, is it possible that your parent’s house or the home of a close friend can be used that has a backyard to entertain your guests? There may be other low cost venues, but this type of outdoor wedding with (or without) a tent can save you thousands of dollars. Your money with this type of wedding can be spent on decorations, food, and fun.
- The Food- Avoiding a sit down dinner and opting for a buffet will generally save you a bunch of money right off the top. If you are doing a more causal wedding, doing a limited choice buffet such as beef or chicken barbeque with some sides can be a relatively inexpensive idea. You can also limit your bar to wine, beer, and perhaps one or two house drinks along with iced tea and lemonade and still pull off a good time. Remember, the more fancy the venue and the more courses you serve the higher your budget will run.
- Music- You could go for a five piece band with two singers or even a top notch local DJ, but the truth is that if you’ve chosen the route of a smaller wedding in a local or backyard venue, the music choice can be all up to you. Create your own music list and spend a few bucks on the right outdoor wireless equipment and you can get a microphone to still do toasts and announcements throughout the wedding.
- Photography and Video- With many young budding photographers and videographers starting their own small businesses, you can usually get a good deal on someone to shoot your wedding professionally. There are many recent college graduates from colleges who specialize in this field and the new breed of photographer can get their business up and going quickly after graduation. If you want to really lower your cost, you can approach one of the local schools (like SCAD in Atlanta) to find someone to shoot the wedding at low or no cost. The cheapest option may be to give each guest a disposable camera or leave one on the table to take pictures. I have also seen apps (i.e. Wedding Snap) where your guests can use their smart phones to take pictures and then they go to a website that you can personally go to for pulling down photos later in the day.
Your wedding day will go by in the blink of an eye, but your memories will last a lifetime. The last thing you want to do is make a bad financial move and put yourself in more debt. So if you need to get the wedding done for less, these smart money moves should put you on the right track as you start your life together!
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