How to budget for a wedding while paying off student loans

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If you’re planning a wedding and juggling student loan repayments, there are several ways to cut wedding-related expenses without sacrificing any of your dreams for the big day.

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Here’s what you need to know about budgeting for a wedding while simultaneously working to pay off student loan debt.

Prioritize what you want

One of the first steps in planning a wedding is prioritizing what you want and staying within budget. Brittney Castro, Mint’s in-house certified financial expert and financial planner, recommends following these steps to ensure you don’t get carried away or overwhelmed with wedding expenses.

  • Start by establishing how much you’re willing to spend on the big day. Castro said you should also be able to determine if the money is coming from your family, your savings or other means.
  • Assess what you want to prioritize. Think about the areas you’re willing to splurge on that matter to you on the big day.
  • Make a list of all major expenses. This list will include location, attire, food, and photography, to name a few. Next, estimate how much you would be willing to spend in each area.

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Put more money to pay off your loan

Charles Moll is a wedding photographer at Charles Moll Photography. Moll has worked with a wide range of couples and a wide range of wedding budgets. He recommends spending more money on paying off your student debt than on your marriage.

Why should you focus on paying off student debt and not spend more money on your wedding day? Moll said it’s important to remember that a wedding isn’t the culmination of your marriage. On the contrary, a wedding is the beginning of your marriage.

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“It’s much wiser to invest in your future by reducing your debt,” Moll said. “It will give you enormous financial freedom in the future.”

If you’re receiving money for the wedding, Moll recommends talking to the person who gave it. See if they are open to you using the money for anything other than your wedding. If they agree, use as much money as you received on your wedding day to pay off your student debt.

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DIY Your Wedding Day

Cut corners by being cunning when it comes to paying wedding expenses. Castro recommends getting creative and making your own floral arrangements, creating a free wedding website to email all your date invitations, and dividing the wedding chores among friends and family (if they are able to step in and help) instead of hiring a wedding planner.

Amy McCord Jones, owner of Flower Moxie, said there are many ways to save money on weddings and the decision comes down to the couple’s priorities. As a seasoned wedding planner, McCord Jones says couples can easily cut their budget by DIYing their wedding flowers and invitations, hiring a solid photographer for a few hours instead of all day, sparing food and by having a wedding in the afternoon. with cake, champagne and punch before meeting friends that evening.

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“I’ve learned that it’s not the couture dress, the getaway car, or the open bar that makes a wedding spectacular, but planning a wedding that fits your budget, lifestyle, and personality. of the couple,” McCord Jones said.

Explore non-traditional wedding options

Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the norms of traditional weddings have been turned upside down. Wedding days don’t have to be over the top or incredibly expensive. Many couples make the decision to marry in a courthouse, elope, or hold “minimonies” which are smaller, more intimate wedding ceremonies. Those who are paying off their student debt might consider heading into a non-traditional marriage to stick to their budget and stay focused on their love for each other.

“If you’re working on a tight budget, consider downsizing your wedding and opting for a smaller, more affordable ceremony. Downsizing a little can feel more intimate and special knowing that only your closest loved ones are in attendance. said Castro.

Consider Post-Wedding Considerations

As you budget for your upcoming wedding and work to pay off student debt, Castro said it’s important to keep the bigger picture in mind.

Don’t forget to anticipate your other long-term goals as a married couple, such as buying a house together, and be sure to allocate enough money to meet your financial goals after marriage. Your wedding may take place in one day, but you have the rest of your life to spend together.

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About the Author

Heather Taylor is Senior Financial Writer for GOBankingRates. She is also the editor and brand mascot enthusiast for PopIcon, Advertising Week’s blog dedicated to brand mascots. She has been featured on HelloGiggles, Business Insider, The Story Exchange, Brit + Co, Thrive Global and other outlets.

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