Getting married is fun. Planning a budget is not.

But here’s the thing:

It’s necessary.

While most guides to wedding planning and planning your wedding budget focus specifically on the big day, that’s not all that matters. To revel in a stress free married life, you should plan in three parts:

  • Before the Wedding
  • The Big Day
  • After the Wedding

You’ll see that a little planning will go a long way. And it’s not as stressful as you’d think. Okay, let’s get into it!

Planning a Wedding Budget

Before the Wedding

Saving money and budgeting pre-wedding is one of the most important measures you can take. Here are a few big ticket wins to focus on:

Engagement Ring

We actually wrote a whole guide on how to choose an affordable engagement ring. But if you want the SparkNotes, here’s the gist of it:

Tip #1: Stay away from platinum. 

While both gold and platinum are priced similarly per gram, platinum is denser. It’s a wonderful metal, but it’s the most expensive. The best options for beautiful and affordable engagement rings are 14k white gold and palladium. (side note: all of our rings are ethically made with 100% recycled metals, whichever metal you go with)

Tip #3: Consider Moissanite or Sapphire.

Moissanite was originally discovered in a meteor crater and is a super rare mineral. It looks very similar to a diamond. Actually, it’s more brilliant than a diamond, which is why some people prefer Forever Brilliant Moissanite to diamonds. Check our our post on diamonds vs moissanite if you’d like to learn more.

Though more people think of sapphites as being blue, they’re actually available in all the colors of the rainbow. Even excellent quality sapphires (AAA rating) can offer substantial savings over a diamond.

For more tips on color and clarity, check out this article.

Engagement Ring Insurance

Engagement ring insurance is probably a good idea. It usually costs from $1-$2 per year for every $100 it would cost to replace. Basically this means if your ring would cost $7000 to replace, insurance would be $70-$140 per year. This goes back to our previous point – if you save money on your engagement ring, you’ll save money on your engagement ring insurance.

The Key to Saving for Your Wedding

The strategy is simple:

Set small goals.

Instead of impossibly ambitious goals, set yourself up for victory. When saving for the wedding, set up little challenges. One example: eat dinner at home 5 days a week. Other than that, indulge guilt free.

In addition, if it helps you shop, it’s okay to go to Whole Foods instead of a cheaper grocery store. Overall, if you shop and cook at home, you’ll eat healthier, eat at home, and save money. Whatever incentivizes you to do that will result in a small victory that adds up over time.

Finally, when you cook at home, make extra so you have lunch leftovers. Again, this helps you eat more healthfully and saves you money. Though for the sake of sanity, you should definitely feel free to hit up Chipotle now and then still 🙂

The important lesson to take away:

Set up savings habits that will not only carry you to your wedding day, but will allow you to flourish for a lifetime in financial stability.

The Big Day: How to Plan a Wedding on a Budget

As for the actual wedding, there are a thousands ways to save money and still enjoy your most special day:

  • Schedule the wedding in off-peak season.
  • Don’t get married on a Saturday.
  • Consider an on-campus marriage ceremony.
  • Fake your wedding cake (or forego it).
  • Hire a friend as a DJ.
  • Choose a nontraditional venue.

There are also a ton of creative and green ways to save money on your wedding. Let me give you a few ideas:

  • Consider buying instead of renting a tuxedo. Something you can wear the next 10 years. Chances are, it will look better than the one size fits all that you would have rented. Plus, you’ll get to wear it on swanky occasions for a while.
  • Champagne toasts are one of the biggest wastes of money at a wedding. Do a clean water toast instead and use that moment to be thankful for having clean water.
  • Get creative with wedding favors. Often, these are wasteful trinkets. Instead, think about donating some dinero for each guest in a cause you like.

The Honeymoon

Go nuts. It’s your honeymoon; enjoy it!


After the Wedding

Truth is, after the wedding, saving is just a continuation of your pre-wedding habits.

Small wins, automated savings, open communication, etc, etc.

There are a couple creative habits you can set for your relationship, though. Here’s one from Do Amore founder, Krish:

“Set expectations for gifts. For example, my wife and I love to travel. So we decided that each year, instead of traditional anniversary gifts, we trade turns planning our annual trip. On our anniversary day, we’re excited to hear this year’s travel plans. It’s actually much more fun than opening a box of chocolates! And it’s a lot more practical, since we’d take a trip anyway.”