If you’ve read my posts about how to choose a wedding date and how to create a wedding budget you’ve probably noticed that there’s a pretty strong link between those two decisions: wedding date and wedding budget.
For example, the sooner the wedding date, the less time you have to save money for it (i.e. a sooner wedding date yields a smaller budget). The later your wedding, the more time you have to save up for the wedding (i.e. a later wedding date yields larger budget).
If you’re in the beginning stages of wedding planning, this can be a tough decision!
It’s kind of like the-chicken-or-the-egg scenario, right? Should you choose a date and let that determine your budget? Or should you set your budget first and set the date based on that? Today, I’ll help you decide.
The Trade-Off: Wedding Date and Wedding Budget
What this really comes down to is a trade-off between your date and your budget. So which is more important to you – budget or date? In general, here are the trade-offs between these two:
- If you want to get married sooner, and you don’t mind having a smaller budget (and consequently, a smaller wedding), then choose your wedding date first. Once you have a general idea of when you want to get married, you’ll be able to figure out how much money you’ll be able to save by then.
- If you want to have a big wedding (and need a bigger budget) and if you don’t mind delaying the wedding in order to have the kind of wedding you want, then start by deciding on the budget first. Come up with your ideal budget, and plan to delay the wedding for as long as you need to save up enough to meet budget.
Nothing is final at this point! You’re just brainstorming possible dates and budgets. Consider as many scenarios and options as you need until you find the right combo.
Still Don’t Know Where to Start?
If you can’t decide whether the date or the budget is more important to you – I have a quick tip for you. Do this super easy exercise:
- Start with a one-year timeline. Pretend for a moment that your wedding is exactly one year from today. Write this down.
- Figure out how much you and your partner will be able to save each month; multiply that figure by 12 months. Write that number down.
- Think. If your budget is too small, choose a later date and figure out your budget based on the longer timeline.
Follow these steps until you find a date and a budget that you and your partner are comfortable with. Fair warning: this might take several rounds!
Increase & Maximize Your Budget WITHOUT Delaying Your Wedding
I’d like to point out that there are some ways to get a bigger budget without delaying your wedding:
- Wedding Debt: It’s not ideal, and you have to be careful – but taking on some wedding debt can be an effective strategy.
- Choose a Strategic Wedding Date: Getting married during the off-peak wedding season on a weekday can save you thousands! Plus, getting married on a weekday is a sneaky way of keeping your guest list under control, which will also save you money. (This decision saved us $2,000 on our venue alone.)
- Negotiate Everything: This strategy is especially effective if you get married during the off-peak season on a weekday, because you’ll have more leverage in the negotiation process with wedding vendors. We negotiated absolutely EVERYTHING and we saved nearly $15,000.
How We Did It
Luis and I had opposing ideas about our budget and our date.
I wanted to get married within six months and have a smaller wedding for about 50 guests; Luis wanted a wedding for 300 guests and didn’t mind waiting 3-4 years to have a big wedding.
After several rounds of brainstorming, we came to a compromise. We decided to save up for two years maximum and we agreed to take on some wedding debt so that we could get married sooner. But even with the wedding debt, our budget was still lower than we wanted, but we found ways to save – and it all worked out!
Do the exercise above and discuss it with your partner. Choosing a date and a coming up with a budget are both very big decisions, so be patient and communicate with your partner to come up with a decision that you’re both happy with. Best of luck 🙂