Whether you’re planning a relatively modest wedding or an extravagant blowout, figuring out how to pay for it all may be giving you headaches. To make matters worse, everyone has an opinion to offer for wedding planning. If you’re going for something small and inexpensive, your parents might be nagging you about all the relatives you need to invite while if you’re looking to spend big, there’s probably at least one person in your life offering unsolicited advice about what a waste it will be. The fact is that it’s your wedding and you should have the kind of celebration you want, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t plan carefully. Here are some things to consider.

What Are Your Other Expenses?

If you’re looking to free up some cash, you may find places in your everyday spending where you can save, but you might look at other costs as well. For example, if you or your spouse plan to return to school and you’ve been saving toward that, you may want to consider taking out a student loan instead and using some of that cash toward your big day. Interest rates for student loans can be favorable, and you might have an easier time paying them off once you’re employed in the higher-paying position you get after graduation. You may be able to cut back on both transportation and housing costs by moving closer to work, or maybe you’ll agree to skip the birthday and holiday blowouts this year. Just be sure you don’t start digging into your emergency savings.

Just Say No

Are you feeling pressured by wedding planners, venues and vendors offering upgrades, or parents insisting you have to invite your third cousin twice removed or there’s sure to be terrible offense taken that will reverberate down through the family for generations? Stand your ground. If either set of parents are paying for the wedding, you’ll probably have to compromise a little bit, but if their requests are unreasonable, you might want to consider whether it would be easier to just forgo their contribution. These kind of family dynamics can be tricky because while it is absolutely your day, it also won’t be much fun if half your family is no longer speaking to you by the time it rolls around. The best solution is to start early, have a plan, and remain gentle but firm in your negotiations.

Spend on What Matters

Maybe you don’t care for cake but always wanted a wedding album with photos so beautiful you’d want to go back to them again and again, or maybe you’re passionate about food, music or fashion. Being thrifty and firm means you can spend your money where it really matters to you whether it’s having a terrific photographer, a great caterer, your favorite local band or the wedding dress of your dreams. Budgeting for your wedding doesn’t mean having to go lean on everything. Instead, it can mean paying careful attention to what everything costs so you can direct the bulk of your spending toward what will genuinely make it a special day for you.

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