I hate to be the bearer of bad news but, unfortunately, you have to have money to get married. Even if you do not have a big wedding, you still have to pay for the marriage license and maybe a couple of extra fees. And while a courthouse wedding is the cheapest option, I am going to assume that if you are reading this, you want to have something a little bigger and more formal. Since that is the case, let’s work on paying for a wedding with no money.
Let’s look at some of the possibilities you have. Some of them will maybe seem silly to you, but all of these can actually help you get the money you don’t have for your wedding. Some tips refer to money, other to your wedding and the entire logistics behind it. So let’s start.
Be Strategic About the Date
I know that you are excited and that you cannot wait to start your life together but rushing the date will only cause anxiety and probably debt, neither of which you want. If you have no money, having a wedding in three months is probably not going to work out the way you want it to. You do not have to hold out for five years but at least several months to a year would be a good time span. That gives you enough time to save some money yet not too long.
As much as it seems more of the bride’s day, the groom is also involved. Once married, the two of you will be making financial decisions together and working as a team. Why not start with the wedding finance now? The two of you should work out the budget now before any planning starts. Whether you decide to spend $50 or $50,000, it is a decision you should make together and commit to. Being on the same track and holding firm as a team will not only make you feel united but will also help you stand firmer when your well-meaning mother or aunt tries to pressure you into things that do not fit in the budget.
Cut It Out
This is the first place the commitment to your budget will come into play. Thanks to TV and fairy tales, we tend to imagine weddings with all the trimmings, but you do not need them all. Decide on the things you really want and forget the rest, even if that means you want nothing but rings and a dress. You are not obligated to feed your guests- it is just a tradition. You do not have to drive away in a limo or even have a reception. This is your day and your budget.
Start Your Engines
You have your date, your list, and your budget. Now it is time to figure out how to get the money. There are five basic ways to do that: find it, raise it, make it, stretch it, or borrow it. You may be able to get all you need with only one of those options, or you may need to try a combination. Let’s go over some ideas for each option:
Want to know something that most people do not? You have more money than you think hiding in plain sight. Really. If you take a good look at the money you spend, you will see that you spend more on some things than you think and you might be paying for things you are not even aware of.
For instance, I recently made some discoveries in my own finances. I pay for Netflix every month- the package that lets you watch it on multiple devices at once. I do this because there are six of us so there is a good chance many of us will be logged on at once- or so I thought. Then, I realized the other day that my four children watch YouTube and have not logged onto Netflix in months. I decreased the package and am saving $5 a month, or $60 a year. It does not sound like much but I am not done yet.
Next, I thought about my cable bill, which is very high. Again, my children have not watched it in a long time and I never have the time to. I can cut it in half, just enough to keep my Internet, and still save around $150 a month, or $1800 a year. I could continue but since I am already up to saving $1860 per year, I think you get the picture.
Take a real look at your spending and your bills. You might find that you are getting charged for things you do not have- like cable channels or additional cable boxes. It does happen.
Also, there is a nifty little app called Trim that you can link to your bank account. It monitors your spending and the bills you pay, then makes suggestions on things to cut out since you do not use it. It will also reach out to companies that you have services with and try to negotiate a better deal. I signed up without expecting much, but about a week or so later, I received an email saying that I was getting a $90 credit on my cable bill due to outages. I would have never thought to ask for that credit.
Guess what! You are not the only one that has found themselves faced with paying for a wedding with no money. I say that because if you put effort into raising money for your wedding, people will want to help. Crowdfunding is a way to do this by using sites such as GoFundMe. You may even find an official fundraiser with doughnuts or cookies. If you attend church, talk to some of the leaders about having a bake sale or car wash. There are people who will support you in your endeavor. You might even tell your maid of honor that instead of a bridal shower and bachelorette party, you would appreciate a monetary gift from everyone.
The best way to make money is definitely through a consistent income. If you cannot save anything from your main income, you can find an extra source to save for the wedding. This can be anything from cleaning houses to landscaping, babysitting to washing cars, delivering pizza to delivering magazines and phone books. You might also find a part-time job that you can do from home such as transcription work, data entry, online tutoring, and even customer support. They may not be loads of fun and you may have to give up some free time, but if you are currently paying for a wedding with no money, it is worth the trouble.
Ask friends and family if they know anyone who might need some housework done or their office cleaned. Even if you only do a couple of side hustles, you could potentially make an extra $100 to $500 or more per month.
Many people grow herbs and vegetables from home and selling them at their local farmer’s market. I personally love the idea of planting pumpkins and selling them at Halloween. There are many ways to make money that do not involve clocking in somewhere.
If you have done all that you can and you are still coming up short, borrowing it may be preferable to paying for a wedding with no money. There are a few different ways to borrow for a wedding:
- Ask friends and family,
- Use credit cards and/or lines of credit from your bank, or
- Through personal loans for wedding expenses
Friends and family members may be willing to loan you the money for such an important day.
Then again, if you explain that you are currently paying for a wedding with no money, they may possibly gift it to you as your wedding gift. Unless you have a generous rich uncle, you may be better off asking a few different people for smaller amounts than asking someone for a large amount. For instance, you may be more successful in asking five people to borrow $200 than asking one person to borrow $1000.
If you have credit cards, you might consider using them to pay for wedding expenses. Also, some banks approve their customers for personal lines of credit for weddings. Try applying for one to see if you can get approved. For credit cards or personal lines of credit, you have to pay attention to the interest rate. If the interest is low, then using these options and making payments over a year may be a good choice for you.
However, if the interest is high, a personal installment loan is probably a better choice for you. They usually have a low-interest rate. Also, the interest is fixed and the payments are spread over a longer repayment period. If you have to consider loans for wedding expenses, look into personal installment loans. If you don’t have time or patience to look for a lender yourself, Loanry can help you find the best fit for you.
When you are no longer paying for a wedding with no money, you have to be strategic again. The money has to stretch far enough to cover all of the expenses you choose to incur. Saving money on your wedding by stretching your budget is the key to making it happen in a wallet-friendly way. While there really is no one size fits all approach here, the following are some ideas on how you can cut wedding expenses down:
☛ Bridal and Wedding Expos
Around the times of year that weddings are about to begin, local businesses will host bridal expos. These businesses usually involve catering, photography, wedding party gowns, and more. The idea is to show you that you have these pros right in your backyard, but brides may also benefit from discounts for the participating businesses.
It may sound crazy, but if you see a giveaway at your local grocery store or retail store, even for a $20 prize or gift card, enter it. Sure, you may not win, but there is a chance that you will. Again, when you are paying for a wedding with no money or a low budget, you do all you can.
☛ Yard Sales/Garage Sales
You have probably heard it 1,000 times, but yard sales are a great way to make money. You just might pay a large chunk of your wedding expenses by selling stuff you no longer use. I know a few people who have made up to $800 and $900 in a weekend. I myself have made hundreds on quite a few occasions. And before you think that we had really valuable items to sell, think again. The majority of my money came from selling outfits that I never wear and my children’s clothes that no longer fit.
Men’s t-shirts are usually a hot yard sale item. Ask your dad or a cousin if they have any they would like to donate to your sale. Ask your best friends if they have any clothes they can donate to your cause. Chances are they do. Do not be afraid to ask for what you need. If you have to choose between paying for a wedding with no money or being vocal, this is the time to be bold.
Also, do not resist putting something in the sale because you think no one will want it. Some of the things I sold the fastest were things I did not expect to be sold at all. Gather your items, advertise your sale, and make some money.
☛ Forget Going Pro
If your budget is really tight, try to resist hiring professionals for your wedding items. It is very likely that you, a family member, or a friend know someone that can provide what you need just as well at no or low cost. You might consider hiring high school or college students for some of the work. They are always in need of some extra cash. You could hire them for things like serving guests at the reception, setting up the reception hall, cleaning up the yard if you are having an outdoor wedding, stuffing invitations into envelopes, and more. If you have a cosmetology school near you, the students will often cut or fix your hair, nails, and makeup at a good discount simply for the practice.
☛ There Is No Shame In the Thrift Store Game
It often makes me laugh that so many people are ashamed to shop at thrift stores and consignment shops. It is true that you will find some junk in them. However, I have kept my kids in nice, name brand clothing by shopping at thrift stores. You can find gorgeous dresses, accessories, shoes, decorations, and more.
Another overlooked treasure trove is places like the Dollar Tree. Most people have one of these around. When I was a kid, it was not an impressive store, but that has changed a lot. Every time I need to decorate for a party or event, I get those decorations at the Dollar Tree. I can decorate an entire child’s birthday party for around $20. I would pay at least double for those items in larger retailers. You may find that you can spend much less on the decorations for your wedding.
☛ Social Media and Craigslist
Though you need to be careful, you can often find items such as wedding dresses and bridesmaid’s dresses on sites like Craigslist and yard sale sites on social media networks. Take a look and see what is available to you there.
If you are approaching your wedding day and you are still paying for a wedding with no money or very little, you may find yourself in need of a fast, personal loan. If you do, save yourself some time and effort by searching for loans for wedding expenses online. Good luck!
Brandy Woodfolk is an educator, home business owner, project manager, and lifelong learner. After a less than stellar financial upbringing, Brandy dedicated her schooling and independent studies to financial literacy. She quickly became the go-to among family, friends, and acquaintances for everything finance. Her inner circle loves to joke that she is an expert at “budgeting to the penny”. Brandy dedicates a large portion of her time to teaching parents how to succeed financially without sacrificing time with their little ones. She also teaches classes to homeschooled teenagers about finances and other life skills they need to succeed as adults.
Brandy writes about smart money management and wealth building in simple and relatable ways so all who wish to can understand the world of finance.