How to save for a wedding

Many people make big sacrifices for the perfect wedding, but you don't have to.

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Bride and groom cutting cake

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Your location, date and wedding preferences are key factors that will affect the cost of your ceremony. But according to The Knot, the estimated average cost of an American wedding is $35,300 — which is why most couples end up making huge sacrifices for their big day. By planning ahead and knowing how to save, you can avoid ending up in the same situation. Getting started early could also help you pick up a range of discounts and lay a financial foundation that will remain after the wedding.

How do I save for a wedding?

Starting a marriage with thousands of dollars in wedding debt is never ideal. There are several ways you can reduce or avoid this:

Determine what’s important

Figure out what you want out of your wedding. Think about how many guests you want to invite, what food you want to serve, what to do for entertainment, what you and your guests will be wearing and whatever else is important to you and your future spouse.

List expenses and shop around

Once you’ve figured out what you want your wedding to include, create a list of all of your expenses. Then, shop around and compare options for every purchase.

Create a budget

After shopping around and finding prices for everything, think about how you’ll pay for each of your expenses. Create a spreadsheet to map out all costs and where your money will go.

Set goals with timelines

Once you’ve broken down all of your expenses, create a timeline with goals to pay each of them off. This can help you break up the cost of your wedding by spreading out your expenses over time rather than paying for everything at once.

Start saving

Start setting money aside in your savings account or consider setting up multiple accounts to organize your savings goals. Take advantage of features like autosave or roundups to make regular contributions toward your savings.

Cut back

There are a handful of ways you can put aside more money for your wedding. Simple choices like spending less on certain unnecessary “luxuries” can make a huge difference.

Pick an account

Now that you’ve created a plan to save, you’ll need to begin setting money aside. The right savings account can encourage you to save and help you reach your goals sooner. Compare your options to find an account that works for you.

Editor's pick: Barclays Online Savings Account

  • Competitive interest rate
  • No monthly fees
  • No minimum balances to open

Editor's pick: Barclays Online Savings Account

Earn 20x the national savings account average with no fees or minimums.

  • Tools to help you save
  • Secure, 24/7 online access to your funds

How much should I save for a wedding?

The location of your ceremony will directly affect your overall spending, so here’s a breakdown of the average cost by state:

Average wedding costs

Based on a wedding with 100 guests, here’s how much you can expect to spend on the core expenses:

Venue$12,500
Food$7,000
Alcohol$3,000
Photography$2,500
Flowers and decorations$2,250
Wedding planner$2,000
Ceremony venue and officiant$2,000
Clothing, makeup, hairstylist and accessories$1,750
Entertainment (DJ, etc.)$1,250
Favors and invitations$750
Cake and cutting$500
Total$35,500

Data from theknot.com

Keep in mind that this number is only an average, so your costs could vary greatly depending on your number of guests, date of the wedding, choice of entertainment, food and more.

How to find an account that can help you save for your big day

Once you start looking for savings accounts, you’ll want to compare your options to find the best one for your situation. Consider factors like:

  • Fees. Find out how you’ll be charged to keep the account open and if there are any ways to waive the fee. Also look out for service charges for transfers, overdraft protection and more.
  • Access. Find out how you can withdraw and deposit money with the account. Compare branch, phone and ATM access along with online and mobile banking capabilities.
  • Interest rates. The higher your interest rate, the more money you’ll earn toward your savings goals. Look for the best rate you can find, but remember that other factors also matter.
  • Account features. Look out for account features that could help you reach your goal. Things like autosave, budgeting tools, round up applications and other similar features are all great to have.
  • Bonuses and rewards. If possible, try to find accounts that offer opening bonuses or rewards programs, as they could give you a head start on saving and provide an incentive to keep going.
  • Eligibility requirements. Keep an eye out for eligibility requirements that could limit you from opening an account or getting a signup bonus.
  • Initial deposit requirements. Find an account with an initial deposit requirement that meets your financial situation.

Best accounts to help you save for a wedding

Name Product Interest rate (APY) Fee Minimum deposit to open
1.90%
$0
$0
Earn 20x the national savings account average with no fees or minimums.
1.90%
$0
$0
Enjoy no monthly fees and a competitive APY with this online-only savings account.
1.90%
$15 per month
(can be waived)
$25
Earn one of the highest annual percentage yields (APYs) if you live in one of 42 eligible states, and access your money by ATM, check or bill pay.
2.10%
$0
$100
A super-high interest rate if you're in the habit of saving at least $100 per month or have $25K in the bank.
0.01%
$5 per month
(can be waived)
$0
Get a $150 bonus when you open a new Chase Savings account, deposit a total of $10,000 or more in new money within 10 business days and maintain a $10,000 balance for 90 days.
2.15%
$0
$100
Earn a competitive rate with a balance higher than $10,000.

Compare up to 4 providers

Tips to help you save for a wedding

Other ways to pay for a wedding

Not everyone has $35,000 in cash lying around, which is why many people turn to credit cards to cover expenses. While this approach could help you earn travel miles or other rewards, paying 20%+ APR can set you back in the long run. If you aren’t able to save up for all or most of your wedding expenses, consider these last resort options:

Wedding loan

Some lenders offer personal loans that are specifically designed for weddings. And with APRs that start as low as 6%, you could end up saving more money than if you were to use a credit card.

Cash registry

Instead of asking for appliances and other gifts for your wedding, consider using a cash registry website to offset some of the costs.

Line of credit

Personal lines of credit can have APRs as low as 5%, much lower than most credit cards.

Bottom line

With an average cost of over $35,000, weddings are one of the biggest expenses out there. Instead of making sacrifices or going into credit card debt to get your dream wedding, start saving early and explore other tips to cut costs along the way. Once you’re ready to start saving, compare your options to find a savings account that can help you reach your goals.

Frequently asked questions

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