So my fiancé and I got engaged Valentine’s Day weekend if this year. Our wedding is august 12, 2023. We’ve been together 6 years this august 12 and wanted a two year engagement to give us time to save money and for covid to hopefully normalize life. We have a joint account and with our wedding we have a budget and a set amount that we are willing to spend. So are putting aside money together monthly in our account as if we are spending the max of the budget. We are paying for our wedding ourselves which isn’t an issue we expected that as we both have siblings and our parents are willing to help with what they can but for the most part our wedding is on us and we’re proud to do it. But I am a stresser about money and life. We both have very good jobs. But we are in discussion about getting a house before we get married and if not we’ll rent. Any suggestions on easy ways to save or advice or why we should wait for it to be closer to the wedding. I don’t want us to go into something prior to the wedding and we’re not able to keep up with every month bills, life, and wedding money. Any advice would be great. Im a nurse so my schedule varies but I even got a side job for every now and then for extra money for us to have so stress less. But looking for other peoples opinions so I don’t make myself sick. Thank you!!
A wedding is a day and a house is for a lifetime and an investment. Weddings are important but don't need to break the bank. For example, buffet brunches are at least 1/2 cost of a plated dinner reception (savings in both food/alcohol costs). You can do florals through Fifty Flowers.com or Costco rather than a florist.
Just think about what's more important to you & put the most money towards that! Save where you can for the wedding and don't go all out in unnecessary things. My husband and I had our minimony, bought a house 6 months later, & our big wedding is 6 months after that. It's definitely possible you just have to prioritize. But it's alotttt of money lol
It definitely just depends on what you guys want and what works for you. If you both are good with renting until your wedding is over, then do that. If you think a house is more important then try to scale back your wedding a bit to put more towards a house. No one can tell you what's right for you. I personally believe that as long as you're not putting yourself into debt for your wedding then however you decide to do it is the right way.
The amount we're spending on a wedding could completely pay off half of our total student loan debt, and sometimes when I think about that I think we need to stop the wedding planning and pay for loans. But we have both agreed that after 5 years together this is the wedding we want and we are not going farther into debt by having it. If we can save this much for the wedding then once it's done we can focus even more on our loans. We're not struggling by any means, we've just decided at this time that we don't want to wait longer than 2 years to get married the way we want to.
FH and I are paying for our wedding ourselves aside from 2 aspects of it which are gifts from family members. We were in the same boat as you at the beginning of planning. I was ready to be in a house since we've rented an apartment our whole relationship, but we decided that we wanted to focus on one financial situation at a time. It just makes more sense for us to save up for just the wedding and make sure that's paid for THEN start saving for a home.
Don't go all out on unnecessary aspects. If you can DIY it for less than a vendor, then give that a shot. Before booking vendors make sure you've looked at all of your options. For dinner options, we've found that plated dinners cost WAY more than a buffet dinner. If you haven't found a venue yet, I highly suggest finding one that has a majority of stuff included like table linens, tables & chairs, real dinnerware/china, decorations you can use. You may think renting all of that stuff would be cheaper, but if you can find a venue that offers most if not all of those, then it'll save you a ton of money.
My one piece of advice would be to not buy a house in the few months leading up to your wedding - both are big time and money commitments so it'll be hard to juggle all those bills due at the same time. My brother and SIL closed on their house the day before their wedding and IDK how they survived
For my Fiance and I we moved and put off our wedding until we knew the bills we had. So budgeting wasn't stressful. We are also pretty much on our own paying for things. When buying our house our realtor told us about a 1st time home buyers grant. It helps pay for almost all the closing costs and fees. That alone helped so much. If you rent you could potentially have less stress because if something breaks your landlord takes care of those expenses. 🤷♀️
There's definitely a lot of factors there that depend on what exactly you want and how much you can stretch your budget. FH and I planned on a 2 year engagement with the set goal of buying a house before we got married. We prioritized saving for the house first, bought it 6 months after we got engaged (had already been saving a bit) and then moved our focus to wedding saving. Right now is a TOUGH time to buy a house in most markets, so that probably means you will need more money up front. I would definitely NOT suggest buying a house within the last 6 months before your wedding, as there are tons of little costs you might not consider and lots of time goes into moving and organizing your new home, not to mention possible renovations you need. IF you think you can reach your wedding savings goal and still put aside additional money towards a house, definitely do it. At the very least, once you do get married, you will be ready to seriously focus on the house. In the meantime, see how much you manage to save in the next year, see how the market is, and then decide if you can feasibly buy a house without tapping into your wedding fund.
We accidentally fell into buying a house last year (my wedding is next year) - our landlord sent a letter that he was planning on selling, and we didn't want to move! I highly suggest finding a mortgage broker you trust to walk you through the whole process, mostly because we didn't have a realtor in our situation. He suggested that we look into an FHA loan as it was our first home purchase, which is great because it allowed us to only put 3% down on our house. However, FHA loans do come with some stipulations (you can't have any flaking paint, all stairways need railings, house must sell below appraised value, etc.), but since we had a relationship with the owner (our landlord), we were able to work together to make sure the house was in the right shape to be approved. Since we only put 3% down, we still have to pay the PMI, but interest rates were so low at the time, it really isn't that big of a deal. Plus, our house is two units, so we're also getting rental income from the upstairs unit to help pay the mortgage. With the way the housing market is right now (we're outside of Boston), we probably won't be able to afford to buy another house and keep this as an income property like our initial plan, but it's in a good location so we'll probably convert it back to single family in the next few years (hoping we get money for wedding gifts!!) So overall, our house buying process wasn't crazy expensive. I think we spent 12k on our downpayment, and now our mortgage is about the same as our rent was once you subtract our rental income.
HOWEVER, I would still suggest to really space out the wedding and the house buying. If you find a house soon, great! But I would not want to put that up that downpayment at the same time as paying for wedding vendors. It all adds up very very quickly. Not to mention, renovating is also stressful if you plan on doing work to whatever how you buy. My FH and I had many arguments while tearing up old carpets and ripping down wallpaper - it was not like an episode of Fixer Upper that I imagined, haha!
Also, for wedding vendors, I've found that using bigger, national companies that source locally usually gets you a better deal. Just a thought!
I totally relate stressing out about money. Luckily we are getting a lot of help from family, but we are also paying for a lot ourselves. I agree with everyone else, that you should wait to buy a house until after the wedding. If it's not an option, I'd put the wedding out of your mind until you get a house. I could never imagine juggling both those things at once.
I don't know if it's a "good" way to save money, but buying anything you can for the wedding early on is a big help. I started buying decorations almost immediately so that it doesn't all pile on at once. It's much easier to deal with expenses like a wedding when large sums are paid out over time. If you put a downpayment on a venue, see if you can pay the remainder in installments, etc.
I don't think you should take on both big commitments at once. Planning a wedding can be stressful, but buying a house is like 20x more stressful because you really don't realize what goes into the process until you start it. Unless you have a house in mind that you absolutely love already, you will have to start the process of looking for a house which is REALLY draining, especially when you don't find one right away. Then, once you do find the house and the process begins (assuming you're financing), you can't spend money over a certain amount on credit cards, checking, everything basically completely freezes because any significant change can mean you won't get your loan. You have to provide bank statements and literally explain almost every penny and if anything goes over $1,000, they question you. Can't use credit cards because you can't risk your credit score dropping. It's very difficult in those months leading up, never mind if you have big payments for a wedding that might be due. So I would highly recommend either waiting until your wedding is over, or putting your wedding on hold to buy the house (whichever is more important to you!). We bought our house before getting married, and we've been in it for 3 years now so we were able to get used to our budget and really have a grasp on what we could spend for the wedding.
I agree with what someone had commented above, that buying a home is a lifetime investment, and weddings do not have to break the bank! Do you already have your venue set in stone? If not and you are looking to save some money try looking in restaurant type venues! My fiancé and I are paying for our wedding mostly on our own with some help from parents. We agreed early on what our budget was and stuck to it. We 100% agreed we did not want and expensive wedding.
Our reception venue is in the second story ballroom of a beautifully restored historical fully functional restaurant/tavern. Going this route we are saving a TON and feel like we can still have a gorgeous wedding without breaking the bank. I feel that upon our research that restaurant type venues that offer a banquet space are SO much more affordable.
For us we got married during covid, and opted for the small wedding so we can have a house. Sunday we put a deposit on our new home. Our venue had given us our money back and we used that money for a down payment. Looking back on it, we wish we had originally had a small wedding and put majority of the money towards a house. Everyone is different in what they want ! There are ways to have a budget friendly wedding too, like a lot of DIY, cutting back on your guest list, and for food we did our wedding cake from the grocery store and our food from a local soul food restaurant.
We are also having a long engagement in order to save money (engaged 1/1/21, wedding will be October 2022) as we are paying for it ourselves. My first instinct was to have as small a wedding as possible and save everything else for a house. Since then, we've had lots of long conversations about it and it's important for both of us to have our family and friends to be able to celebrate with us and have a memorable day. We're only planning on marrying once, so we might as well make it our dream wedding. I think now we've reached a happy medium between elopement and huge wedding. We've set a wedding budget and we've been doing good about sticking to it and only inviting people we truly want there. We are going to continue to save aggressively, and use what we have planned to use for our wedding. Anything extra will go towards our house, which will be the next big spend (we also live in a big city on the West Coast and the market is crazy right now, we are ok with waiting a bit). Most importantly, we're making it a habit to save towards common goals together.
Everyone is different, and I think you guys should sit down and talk about what you want and where you see yourself in the next few years. If buying a home soon is important for both of you, then prioritize that. I think we found what works best for us, but that may look very different for someone else.
You sound like a really responsible person who stresses about money not because you don't have the skills or self control to be fiscally responsible, but just because you pride yourself on being responsible, planning ahead, and being prepared for unforeseen circumstances. You don't sound like someone who spends money frivolously at all, and with that in mind, you'll probably be okay! I'm a "saver" and I always do a lot of research before making big purchases. One of the things I did that helped me save for the wedding was that whenever I got any sort of "bonus money" (holiday or birthday gifts, extra pay from working extra hours or a side gig, money I got from selling clothes on consignment or stuff I was no longer using, HSA reimbursements, etc), I would just put to towards the wedding. I paid my five year car loan off in two years using the same strategy. If you live well within/under your means right now and treat "extra" money as something to save for a big priority expense, you can save a lot. My husband and I are fortunate that we owned our home prior to the pandemic and resulting housing market absurdity, and we both have good jobs that were only minimally impacted by the pandemic, so we were actually able to save quite a bit during the past year because we weren't traveling or going out to eat at all. While I wouldn't have chosen to have almost nothing fun to look forward to or spend money on for a full year, it worked out financially for us and enabled us to pay for our wedding without feeling stretched at all.
I do think a wedding is a "one day" thing and buying a home you love is an "everyday" thing. Having done both, I would invest money into a house before splurging on an elaborate wedding. Having our own home (a small, very modest 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom ranch in a quiet neighborhood) that is well within our means has offered peace of mind during various circumstances (current crazy housing/rental market, when I was unemployed for several months, when Covid hit and we had no idea if we would lose our jobs) in ways that "remember how awesome our wedding day was" never would. However, the current housing market is nuts (although how nuts varies regionally), so I would consider that when deciding where you want to spend your money right now. If you are in a good, affordable living situation now, it might be the time to stay put and save, rather than overpay for a house while trying to fund a wedding as well.
The housing market is wild right now, with the level of wildness fluctuating depending on your region. A rule of thumb that I learned from work is that ideally, try to keep your housing expenses within 30% or less of your income. Over 30%, and you run the risk of becoming "house burdened." Even better, is if you can find a home you adore that fits within 30% of one of your incomes.
We weren't living together until we bought our home, and moving into each other's then-current places wasn't an option (zoning code, etc). So I was adamant that I was not going to agree to a wedding date when we didn't have a place for us to come home to on our wedding night. Dramatic, but it got my point across. While house hunting and discussing compromise within our price range, I explained that I wasn't comfortable edging above our price range for a home AND balling out on a lavish wedding. I was like, "the higher the house price tag, the smaller the wedding I'm going to need." It did (or didn't, depending on your view) help that I'd paid off all my student loans AND my credit card and had been living 1000% debt free for about 2-3 years. Once you get a taste of that freedom and how it leaves you with the ability to build savings, you get really comfortable about determining your budget for anything and sticking to it. A great thing about house hunting before your wedding is that the search can prompt a level of conversations that you might not have had before, such as each other's vision of your life together, your debts/earnings/financial goals/how risk averse you are. Even so much as "are we formal dining room folks?" Do we want to be able to grow old in this home?
As a reference, we got engaged in 2019. Closed on our home early 2020 (after 6-7 month search, touring 50+ homes and after three offers fell through). We didn't set our wedding date until after we moved into the house. Sometime around July 2020, we set our wedding for this September, then waited another 3-4 months before we sent Save-the-Dates to our immediate families.
I found it gave me peace to move my part of the wedding budget into a separate account and request a debit card. I took a sharpie and wrote "W" on the card so I know it's only for wedding purchases. It's not linked to any direct deposit or any bills. So once it's gone, it's gone, unless I choose to manually transfer additional funds into it. It's made us have really frank chats about increasing the guest count, adding extra meal courses, additional fees, etc. The separate card means I never have to worry about spending out of any of my other savings. After the wedding, I'll simply close the account and transfer any remaining funds back to other accounts.
On a lighter note, if you can find a home you adore first and buy within your means and live in the place for a few months, you can really make the most of your wedding registry!