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In my years of officiating weddings, I could not believe the amount of money that some families spent on the wedding day itself.  There is a lot to pay for! There is the cost of venues, food, photographer, rings, flowers and dresses! After some research, I found that the average cost of a wedding is between $24,000 – $34,000!  I wrestle with those numbers, because in reality, who can afford putting on a wedding today?  I know that I have been at weddings that cost a few thousand dollars from beginning to end. I have also been invited to weddings where clearly there were 6-Figures spent on the wedding! Today, though we are in the middle of what I call the Wedding Season, some will be getting engaged around this time and will need to prepare for their wedding in the next 6-18 months or more.  With that thought in mind, I thought that it would be good to discuss how one can save for, and even reduce the cost of weddings!



“The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it.” – Proverbs 27:12



The reality is, as we age and have more responsibility, more “buckets” are calling for more of our resources. So we are not here to shame anyone. Pre-saving is obviously the better option for paying for big expenses, such as weddings. Unfortunately, many people put weddings on the plastic and pay for it over the following years. So, we wanted to lay out some saving examples at different stages of life. In the ideal world, the following examples would be best. However, we recognize that most people are not able to operate under these ideal circumstances.

Here are some examples:

Saving from birth:

If you are a parent, and you have a daughter, a high recommendation would be to around the time of their birth, consider putting some money away in an investment account and let it grow over time to fund a wedding.  A simple scenario would be at birth, but $1000 in a new mutual fund.  Add $30 a month for twenty years for a total investment of around $8,200.  With a 5% growth rate over 20 years, that money could grow to be just over $15,000 for the wedding of their [reasonable] dreams! However, consider the impact this would have on FASFA. Talk to a financial professional to get a better idea of how this would impact your financial situation.

Saving in the early years:

But, if you have not started to save for the wedding, and your child is a little older right now, you still can take advantage of some investment time.  You will need to put a little more away each time (and initially) to get close to the same results, but you still have that “investment” time in your corner to see some growth increase.

Check out this online investment calculator. You can run multiple scenarios and plan accordingly.

Saving in the teenage years:

When your child is a little older (in the teens and above), you have lost some of the time-value of investing money, but not all is lost. At this age it would be wise to invest something and put into it regularly or monthly.  Your initial and monthly investment will need to be much greater than if you started at birth, but you will at least have some money to help pay for your child’s wedding. It would be very prudent to, as close to the birth of your child, start the process of putting money away for that future wedding for them!

If investing is not an option and the wedding of your child is closer within a year to three years, you can still, with intentional work on your part, have some 

  1. If you have not, set up a personal budget (using the 5 Biblical Sequential Priorities Model –
  2. Within that budget, include a line item for WEDDING COSTS
  3. Set a realistic monthly dollar figure to save for the wedding
  4. Set an overall budget that is realistic that includes saving for the wedding
  5. Stick to your new or newly adjusted budget and take the “wedding costs” money and tuck it away on an online bank account (

As you put your budget together, come up with a realistic monthly budget number that you are willing to save for the wedding.  In this you may want to work backwards and say that:

  • You are willing to put $8,000 toward a wedding.
  • You have 24 months till the wedding.
  • You would need to put $334 away monthly to meet that goal.
  • Again, I would recommend putting it into an online bank account that most likely will have a greater interest rate than your local bank.


Now, this is your “investment” into the wedding.  Your child should be able to help out and cover some of the expenses. So go into this knowing that you will be doing what you can (without jeopardizing your financial future) and anything over and above your wedding gift expenses would be their responsibility.

Some other ways that one can “save” for a wedding outside of one’s regular employment are:

Alternative Income Sources for a wedding…Consider taking on a side job for a season to increase your income to make some additional money to pay for the wedding.

    • I was just with someone the other day and they shared with me that they are producing games for student ministry and are selling them on a subscription website.  Last month they received a check for over $4000 for this side-hustle!



There are many different ways that one can save money on the actual wedding expenses.  By taking what you have saved for the wedding, and choosing some unconventional and non-traditional directions and purchases for the wedding your dollars could go much, much further! After doing some research, the “upcharge” for a “wedding” over other events I saw as a minimum of 40% up to 68%!  Why?  One person said that it is because “they can get away with it!”  

So, what are some ways that one can reduce the cost of their upcoming wedding and the surrounding expenses

  • Pick a time of year when there are usually not weddings!
    • Between 70 and 75 percent of all weddings happen between May and October.  So, to get a better rate, consider an “off season” wedding date!
  • Most weddings happen on Saturdays.  Consider another day of the week or even a weeknight!  This could make a major reduction in the wedding cost.
  • Consider ditching the catering hall and go with a non-traditional venue or location!  I (Drew) had our wedding reception in my wife’s parents backyard!  The savings were great!
    • Recreation enters.
    • Campgrounds.
    • Camps.
    • A friend or family members land/home.
    • Public park or beach/
    • YOUR home.
  • NEGOTIATE!  Never take their first price unless you are picking a prime month for weddings like June!
    • Also, when you get the final bill, if there are additional expenses listed on the receipt, question them and negotiate that cost!
  • Consider having friends and family take care of some of the wedding needs, like:
    • Photography.  If you are not interested in the timeless wedding books that many couples get, just hire someone to take pictures and request the digital version of all photos…and later on print your own wedding album!
    • Music – do you really need an expensive DJ or band?  If not, find someone you know that has a decent sound system and have them put some playlists together and ask them to do some simple music for the wedding.
    • Wedding invitations – have a friend or family member create one on their computer and consider sending out digital invitations!
  • Wedding Dresses – 
    • Department stores…sometimes have some for sale, and at a fraction of the cost of the bridal store!
    • Consignment stores are a good place to get a decent wedding dress. Consider the “sample gowns” (the ones that people try on in the bridal stores). They sell them cheaper!
    • Any and all gown accessories can be created or borrowed from family, especially consider using various heirlooms as accessories
  • Flowers and other decorations – 
    • Borrow decorations from others that you know recently had a wedding. That is totally okay!
    • Craft stores are a great place to find and get various wedding decorations
    • For your flowers, consider using those flowers that are normally in bloom in the season of your wedding. This will help ensure the cost isn’t crazy expensive.
    • Consider doing your own flowers!
    • A new trend is considering a “non-flower” route. Consider eliminating this cost or keeping it a very simple minimum!  
  • Caterer – 
    • Ask for multiple meal options…and pick and choose what would work for your wedding
    • As for drinks, keep it simple…and inexpensive.  Liquor can increase the cost immensely!  Consider not having liquor or keeping it very, very simple
  • Dessert – 
    • Consider a non-traditional cake or dessert
      • Getting a cake from a discount club (costco, sam’s club) and decorating it more to the event.
      • Consider getting a non-traditional dessert.
  • Guests – 
    • Limit who and how many can come.
    • Limit the “plus-one” guests to only those individuals that you know
    • Consider not having or limiting kids at the wedding
    • The smaller the guest list, the more intimate the wedding and reception.  Consider keeping your wedding and reception to a smaller number
    • Invite many to the wedding, but not all have to come or be invited to the reception.  I dont have the exact number, but I believe that about 20% or so that came to my wedding were not invited to the reception…and that is okay!
  • Know what you DON’T need!
    • Once the world knows that you are getting married, the social media and stores will bombard you with advertisements telling you what you NEED for your wedding day!  
      • Make a list of your “non-negotiables” and stick with those



The goal is to get married that day!  Also you want to have a good time, and you can have one on a budget! Too many people spend an amazing amount of money on the wedding day and leading up to it and then they have debt or nothing left afterwards.  We recommend that you spend only what is needed and necessary to get married, and have a decent reception with those that you know and love the most.  A good priority would be to spend the least amount that you can to have a good day, have an enjoyable wedding/reception, and have money left over to put down on a home or pay for a honeymoon without going into debt.   

In all that we do, especially in our wedding planning and spending, it would be very good for us to remember this key verse as we go through this process:

Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful. (1 Corinthians 4:2, ESV)  

As one saves, plans, prepares for and pays for their wedding or their child’s wedding, a choice to be a faithful steward of God’s resources entrusted to us should be a pressing thought and action!



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The topics discussed in this podcast are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific investment advice or recommendations.  Investing and investment strategies involve risk including the potential loss of principal. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results.

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