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Wedding Planning Guide: The Basics

Wedding bells are ringing, and this time they’re for you! There’s a lot to think about, so let’s get started.

wedding planning guide

There’s a lotadulting buttons to think about when planning a wedding. Beyond the venue, the dress and tux fittings, the cake tastings and bachelor/bachelorette parties, there’s your life together as a married couple. This wedding planning guide will help kickstart your plans for the big day and beyond with tips on saving money, insurance considerations and more.

Getting Started

Start by making a good old-fashioned list. Brainstorm what you and your spouse want on your special day and jot it down. Include the over-the-top requests you’ve been dreaming of since you were a kid like a castle honeymoon or writing your own vows. You’ll be surprised at how much easier your vision will come together when all your ideas are in one place. Get yourself a wedding planning notebook if it helps. Think about things like the time of year you want to get married, how many people you want to invite, if you want a destination wedding and the big one – what is your budget?

Establishing a Wedding Budget

It wouldn’t be a proper wedding planning guide without a section on budget.

Nailing down a budget can seem like the most unromantic part of planning a wedding but setting your monetary limits and goals as soon as possible will help you to prioritize and allocate your finances wisely. You don’t want to start your life together financially struggling ever after.

Some of the largest wedding costs include the reception venue (which may include food and beverage), the band/DJ, florist, photographers and plane tickets for a destination wedding. Weigh these expenses and decide what is worth saving and splurging on. If venue prices are a little too crazy, you may want to opt for a wedding in your parents’ backyard instead. If you can’t find a photographer within your price range, maybe there’s a friend that’s willing to volunteer.

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Wedding Money-Saving Tips

Once you have an idea of the type of wedding you want to have and where you’d like to honeymoon, you can start putting money aside.

Shaun McGee, vice president of financial services for AAA Northeast, suggests opening a dedicated savings account. “Covering such a large expense can seem like a dauntless task, but it is achievable. Opening a high-yield, online savings account and contributing to it through payroll deduction is a great way to reach your goal,” he said.

Here are a few more simple tips to keep in mind to save and stay within your set budget.

    • A longer engagement could mean more time to save. We know you can hardly wait to tie the knot but having an extended period to save could make it easier to make all your wedding dreams come true. Break down how many months you have until your wedding and decide on a weekly or monthly savings goal. Implement this with simple changes like skipping your daily $5 latte or cooking at home more.
    • Use tools. There are lots of convenient money saving apps that can help you track your spending and saving. Keep each other accountable and have fun with it.
    • Have your wedding cake and eat it too. You can skip a few luxuries here and there without sacrificing your overall vision. While all the upsells will be tempting, your wedding will still be amazing without the ice cream sundae station. You can still have your dream Ireland castle honeymoon, too, you just may need to shave off a few days or opt for three- or four-star accommodations instead of an extravagant resort.

Wedding & Honeymoon Money Spending Tips

Ask all your wedding purveyors how you can cut costs. They know that everyone’s budget is different and will work with you. For example, the date you choose could make a huge difference in price as weekdays are generally less in demand and less expensive. Also, the type of reception. If the cost per plate is too much for a sit-down dinner, you may want to consider having a cocktail party or a brunch instead.

Planning your honeymoon flights on certain days can also significantly cut the cost of your tickets, saving you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars. Do your research and be sure to compare different dates when booking. A travel agent will also help you find as many savings as possible. Schedule an appointment with a AAA travel advisor.

Keeping your trip domestic will also be less expensive. Click here for epic honeymoon destination inspiration within the U.S.

Another smart spending tip for your wedding is to rent instead of buying your jewelry, tux or wedding dress. Sample sales can also save you some big bucks. If you’re buying a wedding dress, buy it well in advance (at least 8-10 months ahead) to avoid rush fees on shipping and alterations.

Overall, it’s pretty easy to find deals and sales on almost all things wedding and honeymoon related. Sign up for newsletters for brands you like, follow their social media accounts and grab all the latest wedding and honeymoon magazines.

wedding planning guide

Protecting Your Wedding 

When you’re planning for the best day, you don’t want to have to think about the worst, but life and the weather are unpredictable. If something happens that is out of your control – like a snowstorm or hurricane – that forces you to cancel or postpone your wedding, event insurance can be a life safer. It can also protect you from financial losses if one of your vendors calls out sick or if someone gets hurt. You hopefully won’t need to use your event insurance, but at least you can have peace of mind knowing that it’s there. Start by requesting a quote. If you are planning a destination wedding, you may also want to think about group travel insurance.

And don’t forget about your rings! Wedding ring insurance is also a good idea to protect your bands from loss, left or damage.

After the Big Day…

Time to do some adulting! Marriage is a major life event that merits a review and update of your insurance policies.

“One way newlyweds can save money on their insurance is to combine auto policies,” says Emily Buckley, AAA Northeast senior insurance agent. “Most of the time this means going from a single- to multi-vehicle policy, which allows you to qualify for a multi-car discount.”

This may be also good time to look into an umbrella policy. This liability insurance provides coverage above and beyond the limits of your car and property policies. “When you and your spouse combine policies, it’s important to understand that you’re also combining your funds,” Buckley said. “The perfect policy to protect your lifestyle? An umbrella!” Umbrella insurance covers the policyholder and members of the family/household, making it especially practical for homeowners and married couples.

And of course, life insurance. While you are combining your finances, take a look at your life insurance policies. If you already have a term plan, this is an opportunity to convert it to a whole plan. And if you don’t have a policy yet, now is a good time to look into one.

Get in touch with a AAA Insurance agent to learn more about your insurance options.

Congratulations! As you prepare for this milestone event, remember to keep your budget in mind, take an organized and thoughtful approach to planning and don’t get too caught up in the details. Most importantly, enjoy this exciting time!

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