Wedding bells are ringing this year as more and more couples plan to finally have their nuptials but it could be a bit pricier than in the past.
An estimated 2.5 million weddings are expected to take place in 2022 as COVID-19 restrictions start to wind down.
There will be between a 10%-15% spike in wedding costs this year due to inflation amid high demand, according to The Wedding Report, a research company that collects and forecasts wedding statistics for the wedding industry.
Before COVID-19, wedding costs averaged at about $24,000 but that has since increased to around $27,000.
Additionally, newlyweds spend an average of $5,000 on a honeymoon and $6,000 on an engagement ring, driving up the total cost to $39,000. And while some couples may be able to lean on family members for financial help, that's not always the case.
So here are some ways for you love birds to save and budget for your wedding without going into massive amounts of debt.
FILE - Couple poses for their photographer as they arrive to Yosemite Valley with plans to renew their wedding vows. (David McNew/Getty Images)
Establish your budget
Before you plan anything, set a budget based on what you (and your families, if they’re contributing) can afford. Make every decision with that number in mind, whether it’s $250, $5,000 or $50,000.
The Knot offers a wedding budget breakdown to estimate how much you should allocate for expenses:
- Venue, catering and rentals (50%)
- Photographer and videographer (12%)
- Attire, wedding gown, hair and makeup (9%)
- Wedding decor and flowers (8%)
- Entertainment, live band or DJ (7%)
- Wedding planner (3%)
- Stationery (2%)
- Officiant (2%)
- Transportation (2%)
- Wedding bands (2%)
- Gifts for guests (2%)
Once you've determined your wedding budget, determine how many months you have left to save. For example, if you're planning a wedding two years in advance, then you may have about 18 months before you need to put down deposits. To save up $28,000 in that time, you'll need to put aside about $1,500 per month.
Decorations: Save on decor by renting it or scouring Buy Nothing groups on social media. Already-married friends may have leftover items they’d be happy to lend or pass along. There are even services, like Bloomernet, where you can share flowers with another couple getting married the same week.
Transportation: There’s really no need for a grand entrance with a stretched limo to get you to your venue. More likely than not, your guests will have already been seated preparing for your arrival so having a nice car service bring you to your wedding is unnecessary.
Car services often require you to book for a minimum number of hours, according to Sheavonne Harris, owner and lead coordinator at Events by Sheavonne in New York City, so you’ll end up paying for time you don’t use.
Harris recommends booking a ride-hailing service — yes, just like when you need a ride to the airport.
Invitations, programs and menus:
All those paper items you painstakingly select are going to go in the trash. Programs get left on chairs after the ceremony, and menus get tucked under plates after a quick scan. Even your invitations will get only a few months on guests’ refrigerators before they head to the landfill.
If you want the tradition of paper for a lower cost, skip the menus and programs. You can also find gorgeous paper invitations at certain online retailers for a fraction of the price. Many of these printing companies offer seasonal sales, too.
Spend on what gets noticed
Photographer: Long after your wedding, the only things you’ll be left with are memories and pictures. This is not the task to assign to that cousin who took a few photography classes in college. "If you want to put money into something, put it into photography," Harris said. "With photography, you definitely get what you pay for."
Guest experience: What made you feel welcome? Guests won’t remember that you got married in a picturesque historic mansion, but they will remember if that mansion had only one bathroom with a 20-minute line to use it. Cut expenses elsewhere to focus on food, drink, entertainment and guest comfort.
Use professional vendors: Hiring a friend or doing a task yourself might feel like a money-saving move. Harris cautions that unlike a professional vendor, your friend likely won’t have a backup plan for when the flower order is late or the sound equipment is on the fritz. And booking a pro at the last minute because that friend backs out will end up costing you even more.
Take advantage of credit rewards
While you should avoid taking out revolving credit card debt to finance your wedding, it may be possible to take advantage of credit card rewards to save money on wedding expenses or even finance your honeymoon.
If you decide to put wedding expenses on a credit card, only do so if you have the means and can pay it off with a designated wedding savings fund. That way, you can avoid paying high credit card interest rates that will add to the total cost of your nuptials over time. This will require advance planning, but a budgeting app on your smartphone may be able to help you track your expenses.
Look for cards with a sign-up bonus and cash back rewards if you're looking to maximize your savings. If your goal is to help finance your honeymoon, consider opening a travel rewards card that lets you accumulate airline miles or points for hotel stays.
The Associated Press and FOX Business contributed to this report. This story was reported out of Los Angeles.