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You want your wedding day to be memorable, beautiful, and personalized. But even the perfect wedding can lose some of its glow if you have to go into debt to pull it off. Fortunately, you don’t have to.

Following a few simple strategies can help you avoid wedding debt while still having the special day of your dreams. Here are three pieces of time-tested advice from the experienced wedding planners at Windows on the Water at Frogbridge. 

Start Budgeting As Soon As Possible

Your initial wedding budget should reflect the no-strings-attached cash you have available to spend on a wedding if it were to happen today. It shouldn’t count your credit card limits, and it shouldn’t include the year-end bonus you hope you earn or what you think your parents might agree to contribute. 

It’s the amount you and your spouse-to-be can commit to spending right now that you know you can cover down to the last penny without having to owe anyone, leave everyday expenses or debts unpaid, or sacrifice on major life goals. Don’t worry if the amount you can budget this way seems too small to get the wedding you want. It’s just a starting point for figuring out what you can afford without going into debt. 

Your budget may increase as your parents contribute funds or your savings grow between now and your wedding day. Budgeting in the present this way forces you to focus on what you can truly afford so that debt never casts a shadow over your special day.  

Prioritize Your Must-Haves   

Every couple has at least one “must-have” for their perfect wedding day. Maybe it’s a stunning dress, a picture-perfect setting, or the presence of a family member who lives on the other side of the globe. It’s that one thing that you know in your heart will make your day extraordinary. By contrast, lots of elements of your wedding day won’t have huge importance to you. For example, maybe you don’t have a strong view on whether you have a live band instead of a DJ. For most couples, the list of these lower-priority parts of their wedding is much longer than the list of must-haves. 

But must-haves can be expensive. So, to avoid going into wedding debt, set aside enough money to pay for the must-have element(s) of your wedding first before you spend a dollar on anything else. Wedding debt happens when couples don’t prioritize their spending. They swipe their credit cards or put down deposits on features of the wedding they don’t really care that much about, only to discover they need to borrow to make the most important part of their day a reality.

Be Creative and Thoughtful About Raising Funds 

It’s traditional for parents of the couple to contribute financially to a wedding, though it’s certainly not a given. Many couples, however, cannot or choose not to rely on parents and family to pay for a substantial portion of their wedding. Instead, they find other creative and thoughtful ways to raise funds to help them avoid going into wedding debt. 

One popular strategy for paying wedding expenses is to include them on a wedding registry. Instead of suggesting household appliances or fine china you’ll probably never use, you might ask your guests and loved ones to help pay for specific elements of your special day, like the music, venue, or wedding cake.

Often, the most creative and thoughtful solution to paying for your wedding is to find ways not to spend money. For many couples, some of the most special elements of a wedding consist of personal touches that no budget can buy. It’s the help they got from a friend creating bouquets or it’s the bride’s decision to repurpose her mother’s (or grandmother’s) wedding dress rather than buy one new. Choosing those options can make your wedding day particularly memorable while also helping you avoid debt.

Contact Windows on the Water for an Unforgettable Wedding Experience

Windows on the Water is New Jersey’s premier wedding venue. Nestled in the heart of horse country in Millstone Township, Monmouth County, our 86-acre private facility provides the wedding setting and services of your dreams. And with wedding packages for a range of budgets, our team can work with you to ensure your special day with us is also affordable.

Planning a wedding in New Jersey? Windows on the Water’s experienced, responsive wedding professionals can be your partner in creating the most special day imaginable. Contact us online or call (609) 208-9475 today.