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Aja Dang is no stranger to creating a budget to achieve life’s milestones. In 2020, she documented on his YouTube channel his journey to paying off $200,000 in credit card, car and student loan debt in just two years. This year, she has given herself a new challenge: to organize her destination wedding with a budget of $45,000.
Originally, Dang wanted to keep the spending threshold at $30,000, which is more in line with what the average bride and groom paid last year. According to The Knot Real Weddings Study which surveyed approximately 15,000 couples across the country, the national average cost of a wedding ceremony and reception landed at $28,000 in 2021. Dang decided to increase to $45,000 as she found Planning a wedding in Hawaii added up quickly, but location was important to her.
“I was born and raised in Hawaii, so I wanted to come home for our wedding,” she told Select. “Most importantly, my Popo is the only grandmother still with us and as she will be 95 when we get married, it was important for us to go and see her for our wedding so she can be part of our daytime.”
Destination wedding or not, and regardless of the amount budgeted, planning a wedding is a stressful undertaking. Below, Dang shares three tips she learned while trying to stick to her financial goals for now and in the near future.
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1. Prioritize what’s most important to you
When planning a wedding on a budget, choose a few things that are most essential to make your special day happen. This can mean spending more of your budget on music and an open bar, while cutting back on things like invitations, flowers, and decor. Or maybe you want to allocate more money to a photographer and cut entertainment or food costs instead. Prioritizing what’s most important to you helps you make the day perfect while finding areas where you can save money.
For Dang, she and her fiancé prioritize spending their money on the experience, meaning anything that makes their marriage more fun for everyone. Their most expensive items include rentals, catering and entertainment, while they cut costs in other areas. For example, they’re reusing the same flowers from their ceremony for the reception, sending only physical invitations to their elders and purchasing their alcohol from Costco, which accepts returns for anything that hasn’t been opened. Dang also mentions cutting wedding cake costs.
“A cake isn’t super important to us, so instead of making a multi-tiered cake that costs $600, we make an 8″ round cake, which more than halves our cake budget,” adds- she.
2. Find a venue that offers wedding packages
One of the very first decisions you will make in the wedding planning process is choosing a venue. In doing so, Dang suggests finding one that offers wedding packages so you can get high-quality vendors at a discount.
“When I first started planning a wedding, I was told that finding vendors on your own was the most affordable route, but that wasn’t the case at all,” she says.
After spending a few months trying to scout sellers on their own, she and her fiancé ended up opting for their site’s package deals — a decision that saved thousands of dollars.
“Vendors were offering deep discounts for the steady stream of customers the site was sending them,” Dang says. “For example, we once spoke to a caterer who had offered us $8,000, but when we decided to go with the venue package and discovered that he recommended the same caterer, our quote was lowered to $5. $000.”
If you are able to stick to your budget when planning your wedding, or if you have not yet decided what you and your partner will do with the cash gifts you may receive, think about where you can maximize these funds for the future.
Although you may wish to allocate this money to a honeymoon, consider putting some of it in a savings or investment account that can start your new life with your partner off on the right foot.
With a large contribution of $30,000 from her father for the wedding, Dang ended up having a considerable amount of savings. She only put half, or $15,000, of her contribution into the wedding fund (she and her fiancé financed the rest) and invested the remaining $15,000 in a brokerage account to save for the future. down payment on a future home. Select ranked TD Ameritrade, Ally Invest and loyalty like some of the best commission-free brokerage accounts.
“We’re lucky to be able to save for a wedding and a house, but since the LA market is so crazy right now, it gives us more time to build up a nice nest egg,” she says.
Although a substantial contribution from a family member can make a big difference in how much you end up saving when planning the wedding, the idea is that you have a goal for any amount of money you can store. It is important to think about financing married life beyond this special day.
Consider a high-yield savings account like the Marcus by Goldman Sachs High Yield Online Savings or other major bank options, such as a American Express® High Yield Savings Account or one Barclays Online Savings Account. Each of these options earns you more interest than putting that money in a traditional savings account. This way, you and your partner can grow your savings for a future expense, such as a down payment on a first home, without risking losing the money like you would by investing it in the market.
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At the end of the line
There are certainly many moving parts to planning your big day, but you can try to conquer the finances by following Dang’s advice above: Prioritize your “must-haves”, research venues with wedding packages, and book all the savings for you and your new partner. future together.
The interest rate and APY are subject to change at any time without notice before and after opening an American Express® High Yield Savings Account.
Editorial note: Any opinions, analyses, criticisms or recommendations expressed in this article are those of Select’s editorial staff alone and have not been reviewed, endorsed or otherwise endorsed by any third party.