If googling 'how to get money for a wedding fast' isn't proving too fruitful, let us help you with our go-to guide to how to actually pay for your wedding
It may be all quaffing champagne and choosing peony shades when you first get engaged, but the reality that you actually have to pay for your wedding quickly sets in for most couples. "Why are weddings so expensive?" cries every newly engaged couple ever, and we're not surprised.
Confetti's annual survey results this year revealed the average Irish wedding now costs €27,120, a notable increase from the previous year's figure of €25,000. We had a pretty even split between couples who are paying for their wedding themselves (41%) and couples who get a little financial help from one or both sets of parents (42%), so couples are footing a huge chunk of the bill these days.
So how did couples actually pay for their weddings? 37% of those surveyed said they used savings to help cover their wedding costs, while 4% took out a bank or credit union loan, and 23% used a mix of savings and a load to help them on their way. With nearly a third (30%) of couples going over their original budget, maxing out credit cards has become the new normal as the wedding day grows closer for many newlyweds and nearlyweds.
With that in mind, your wedding budget becomes all the more important. Here are some great guides to creating your wedding budget, which will hugely impact how you pay for your wedding:
How to pay for your wedding: saving for your big day
While €27k is no small sum, saving up for a wedding isn't an insurmountable task, we promise! Every couple's income and expenses are different, but this really comes down to the kind of wedding you want vs the kind of wedding you can afford vs the amount of time you have to save for it.
You can use a simple maths equation to solve how to pay for your wedding. Start by taking the sum you plan to spend on a wedding, and divide it by the number of months you have to save up. So if you plan on getting married in 20 months (the average engagement length) with a budget of €27,120, you'll need to be saving around €1,350 per month, assuming you're starting from scratch with no other savings. If you can only afford to save, say €700 a month between you, that same wedding will take you just over three years (39 months) to save for. If whatever the figure comes out at seems do-able, go forth and get planning!
If the per-month figure you end up with seems impossible, either add more time to save, look at your big-ticket monthly expenses and see if you can reduce them so you can save more, or look at how realistic that budget figure is. If you don't want to extend your engagement, perhaps you'll have to cut a few corners on your wedding expenses to make it work in the time you have. You're going to have to really honest and realistic with yourselves on this one - if it's not possible to save €500 per month, it's not possible - you'll have to work within your own parameters. Once you've come up with a per-month savings figure you can live with, you can start planning.
Ideally whatever money you're saving every month for your wedding should go into a newly created 'wedding savings account'. It will make it super easy to see how much money you've got so far, and once you start paying deposits, you can pay it directly from your wedding account so you don't end up eating into your monthly expenses money. You've still gotta eat, remember!
How do I save more money for a wedding each month
1. Cut back on monthly expenses: Easier said than done, we know, but take a good hard look at what you're spending on. Do you both have a Netflix account because neither of you have been bothered to close one of them? Cancel it, stat. Got a monthly gym membership payment going out that you literally never use? You know what to do. Would switching networks, or even from bill pay to pay as you go on your phone, make a difference to that monthly expense? Think you can live without Spotify Premium for a year? The small things add up. Even if you cut €20 off your expenses per month, at the end of the year that's €240, which is nearly the average spend on a makeup artist for the bridal party, or a wedding cake.
2. Check your little spending habits: You've heard this before, but that latte a day habit is really adding up, and so is buying your lunch at work every day. They're just small transactions, and you probably don't even think about them, but you're going to have to start. If you're spending a fiver on lunch every day and three quid on coffee, that's €8 a day, €40 a work week, €160 per month, or €1,920 per year. Yes, nearly two grand - that's the cost of that videographer you weren't sure you could afford.
3. Think about bigger sacrifices: This isn't possible for everyone, but if you're willing and able, more drastic measures might help you rack up your budget figure faster. Can you move in with your parents to save on rent? Or move in together if you haven't already? Do you both own cars and do you both need them? If your car isn't an absolute essential, selling it could pay for a big chunk of your wedding, but of course, selling a car is no small sacrifice. If you can't afford to make drastic cuts, you shouldn't feel pressured to - it's a wedding at the end of the day, and what's important is you two spending your lives together, so spending a little longer saving is no biggie in the long run.
4. Consider ways you can cut corners on your wedding: This isn't technically saving, but if you don't want to compromise on certain aspects of a wedding - for example, you have a designer gown you've always dreamed of wearing, or a country manor venue is non-negotiable - think outside the box. Maybe that designer has a sample sale coming up where you can pick up a bargain, or getting married off-peak at that dream venue might knock a couple of grand off the final bill. You're going to have to come at this from all angles.
You might like: 50 ways to save - planning your wedding on a budget
5. Is getting a side hustle an option? Weddings can be just as expensive as a house deposit, and plenty of people end up looking for a side hustle for a few months to generate some extra cash to squirrel away. Again, it's not an option for everyone, and there's no doubting a second job is no joke, but a flexible option like taking on some extra freelance projects, starting an Etsy shop, or taking on some shifts where you can work for yourself, might be workable depending on your skillsets, and hours available.
Can I pay for my wedding on my credit card?
Most financial advisors suggest you don't pay for your wedding on your credit card. We've heard credit card use described as 'stealing from your future self'. That will never ring more true than when it comes to starting your life together with a maxed out credit card debt. Obviously, credit cards are handy when a pile of deposits are due at the one time. Most couples rely on credit cards during planning, and never more so than to sort cash flow issues.
But try not to start using your credit card to pay for your wedding with money you don't have. Bridging the gap isn't a problem. But consider if you will have that money next month or the month after. You're soon going to land yourself with a pile of interest and no where to go, otherwise. If you know you won't be able to save enough in time for your big day and you don't want to push the wedding out, or even if you've just gone over budget, it may be smarter to take out a small loan to cover yourself. It's a more planned, measured approach to getting into debt before the big day - at least you can figure out in advance the instalments you'll be able to pay after the wedding
How do I pay wedding deposits? Is there a smart way to manage them?
Most vendors that you book will require a deposit to secure your booking. In nearly all cases, these won't be refundable. So before any money changes hands, make sure you're sure. Many couples don't expect the level of deposits when they first start looking to book their wedding vendors - many vendors will look for 20-25% deposits, which in real money terms could be anything from €50 to €5,000.
Your venue deposit will likely be the largest one, but it's also often the one you pay first. If you haven't got savings racked up from before you were engaged, this can be tough. So it's worth planning in advance how you'll pay it. After that, make a plan.
We've got a 12 month planning timeline, which will give you an idea at what stage you should be looking to book each kind of vendor. Tie that in with a financial plan, so you can avoid paying half your deposits in one pay day. Otherwise you'll leave yourself eating beans on toast for the rest of the month. If it's mid-month and you're strapped for cash, ask the vendor can they hold your date for you until pay day - many will be reasonable about it. You're for sure not the first couple who've needed the wiggle room!
Final payments will also sneak up on you. Jot those dates down in your diary as soon as you sign the contract. Some vendors will take the full payment on the day of the wedding. But most will require payment two, four or even six weeks before the big day. Keep a record of each payment in writing - just via email to confirm receipt is fine. It just means there's no mix ups down the line as to what you owe.
How to pay for your wedding: what now?
Once you have a plan in place to actually pay for your wedding, start your wedding budget. It's also worth looking into expensive wedding dates to avoid, and keeping an eye on our planning advice to help you get ahead of the planning process.
Honestly, the budgeting and financing a wedding is the least romantic part, so once you've got all this out of the way, you can move onto the fun stuff - get your moodboards ready and head straight to our supplier directory!