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Engaged over Christmas? How to finance your dream wedding

Engaged over Christmas? How to finance your dream wedding

The holidays are one of the most popular seasons for engagements, and if you’ve recently popped the question or said ‘yes’ to your loved one, you may be wondering how exactly you’re going to pay for your dream wedding.

For most couples, planning a wedding can be a time of great joy, but also a time of serious stress. And outside of demanding mother-in-law and wacky distant relatives, one of the biggest pressure points will be your budget.

According to Emerald Bridal research, the median wedding spend for 2018-2020 (pre-pandemic) was $21,000. And if you’re already looking to purchase your first or next property, or you have ongoing expenses you need to budget for, saving up over $20,000 just for one day can be a tall ask for many Australians.

YearWedding Spend (Average)Wedding Spend (Median)
2018$ 24,562$ 20,000
2019$ 25,679$ 24,000
2020 (pre-pandemic)$ 19,429$ 21,500
All Years$ 25,222$ 21,000

Source: EmeraldBridal.com.au. Average wedding cost overall per year (excludes honeymoon-associated expenses)

Whether your ideal wedding will cost you $5,000 or $50,000, let’s explore your options to finance your wedding day.

How to finance your wedding day

  • Set a budget and stick to it

It goes without saying but setting a clear budget and sticking to it is one of the best ways to stay on track with your wedding spending. Whether you’ve built up some savings, are getting help from family, or borrowing funds, a budget is a tried-and-true way to ensure you spend your money well.

Consider categorising your budget into the main aspects of your wedding you’re willing to spend market price on and other areas you can shop around for a cheaper deal. Bigger items like venue hire, photography/videography and catering typically will take up the largest percentage of your funds. But you may be lucky enough to use a family home as the venue or nab a discount on photography from a talented friend.

Décor pieces, such as table setting and seating charts, may fall into a more affordable category, as well as hair and makeup, flowers, wedding dress and/or suit hire. But these items can still vary in price across the market. Therefore, it’s always worth comparing your options and shopping around for better deals when making purchases or booking vendors for your wedding.

  • Open a wedding savings account

Another option to consider while you plan your wedding is to open a joint savings account dedicated to your wedding budget. This way you may be able to budget for a portion of your income to go into this savings account, and you have greater transparency about any wedding day spending.

At the moment, savings account interest rates are pretty abysmal thanks to the Reserve Bank of Australia’s cash rate sitting at 0.10%. There are still some savings accounts offering interest rates above 1%, but realistically this may not help your wedding day funds increase much over your engagement.

It may be worth instead comparing savings accounts that will not charge you fees that may eat into your wedding nest egg. If you’re planning on purchasing wedding items online overseas, such as through Etsy or other overseas online retailers, you may want to consider prioritising a savings account that does not charge foreign transaction fees.

  • Sell some belongings

One of the easiest ways to make some quick cash is to sell your belongings. And thanks to platforms like GumTree or Facebook Marketplace, this has never been easier. And, if your engagement was over Christmas, you may have received one or more Christmas presents that may not suit your household or lifestyle. It may be worth considering selling unwanted Christmas gifts on these platforms as well to boost your wedding day funds (as long as the gifter never finds out!)

  • Wedding personal loans

Another way that Australians may finance a wedding is through a wedding personal loan. Personal loans can be used for a range of purposes and filling the gap between your savings and your dream wedding cost is one of the most popular reasons to take out a wedding loan.

If you’re not keen to start your marriage with a debt to repay but you’re still interested in taking out a personal loan, it may be worth prioritising low-rate and low-fee personal loans. Loan providers will typically reserve their lowest interest rates to borrowers with excellent credit scores. If your or your partner’s credit report isn’t where you’d like it to be, there are a few steps you may want to consider taking to boost your credit score.

Compare wedding personal loans

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This article was reviewed by Personal Finance Editor Mark Bristow before it was published as part of RateCity's Fact Check process.

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