The Debt-Free Wedding Planner

Tie the knot without going into serious debt.

Wedded bliss without the debt

According to statistics, the average price tag for a wedding these days will run you over $25,000. Even worse, that doesn’t include the cost of the proposal or the honeymoon. You want your day to be one of a kind and absolutely perfect, but is it really worth it to put your parents into debt or start your own relationship in the red just to have one special moment?

Wedding debt fact:

The average proposal costs between $500 and $3,000, while the engagement ring costs an additional $3,456 to $5,598, on average.

The perfect wedding day isn’t a bad thing to want, but it shouldn’t come at the cost of anyone’s financial stability. And while having an over-the-top ceremony may be more memorable, there’s something to be said for returning from your honeymoon without the stress of huge bills to pay back.

The information below can help you plan your wedding without going into serious debt to tie the knot. If your current debt load is holding you back from finding wedded bliss or you get into trouble with the bills because you go a little overboard, remember that we’re here to help. Call us at or complete an online help form to request a free evaluation with a certified credit counselor.

Understanding wedding costs

Plan a debt free wedding togetherThe following list can help you understand the costs typically associated with a wedding. The costs below represent what you can expect to pay for a ceremony and reception for 125 guests. This will help as you move forward to plan what you need to save and so you can make a practical list for your own wedding of what you really do or don’t need.

Wedding debt fact:

Statistics show the average cost per guest averages out to about $204. Reducing the number of guests is an easy way to cut costs.

Deciding what you really need… and what you can get cheap

Give the gift of a debt free wedding

The prices above are taken from national average of prices paid throughout the year. But of course there are ways to cut some of those costs or eliminate them entirely. For instance, an off-season Friday evening wedding at a venue in a small town is going to be much more affordable than a Saturday ceremony for a spring wedding at a popular venue in New York City.

With that in mind, you may want to start planning by pricing out things in your area to see if they are more or less expensive. As you go through the list above, you can also decide what you really don’t need. For example, your bridal party may do hair and makeup but skip all of the extra pre-pampering that usually ends up costing more. Or you may decide that you really don’t need a cocktail hour or at least don’t need live music there.

Your next step should be to determine what you can get with the old “friends and family” discount. This is where you depend on the kindness (and talents) of your friends and family to provide things for you free or at cost. So if you have a friend with a flair for floral design, they agree to do your bouquets for as little as possible. Or if one of the sets of parents has a beautiful backyard for the ceremony and a big house for the reception, you cut out those costs entirely.

As you starting working your way down the list, get creative to see what you can make special by breaking tradition in an affordable way. Let’s say your father-in-law to-be is a classic car enthusiast – he may be able to get car club friends to provide transportation that tops a regular limo service for a much lower price tag.

Start saving even before you have the final price tag

Start saving up for your wedding day

Some people may recommend totaling everything above up once you go through the list and decide what you need, then break that amount up so you can set aside money every month from now until your wedding. However, that usually isn’t enough time to make enough difference to keep you away from credit.

Instead, you should start setting aside money as early as possible – ideally, you may start to put aside a little extra every month when the relationship is serious and you at least have an idea you’re both working towards marriage. Even if things don’t work out, that just means you have a nice cache of extra cash set aside for something else, like a vacation.

Just remember, whatever you don’t pay for immediately will likely be put on a payment plan or on credit, which may put you in the hole as you start your lives together. Ideally, you want to have the majority of your wedding budget paid for upfront to avoid debt on the back end.

Wedding debt fact:

If you put all the attire listed above on a credit card at 15% APR, the interest charges would total $1,600 on a minimum payment schedule.

Additional tips to cut your wedding budget

The road to a debt free wedding

The following tips can help you reduce wedding costs so you can stay on-budget to avoid problems with debt:

"We are really proud to recommend Consolidated Credit" Kathleen Cannon, President & CEO of United Way of Broward County. Consolidated Credit Counseling Services, Inc. is pleased to announce our partnership with the United Way as a United Way Chairman’s Circle Organization.

"We are really proud to recommend Consolidated Credit" Kathleen Cannon, President & CEO of United Way of Broward County. Consolidated Credit Counseling Services, Inc. is pleased to announce our partnership with the United Way as a United Way Chairman’s Circle Organization.

All Consolidated Credit counselors are certified personal financial counselors (CFC) We've helped 5 million people get out of debt! Call us today and see what we can do for you.

Consolidated Credit is honored to receive the 2012 Excellence in Financial Literacy Education (EIFLE) Nonprofit Organization of the Year award. The EIFLE awards acknowledge innovation, dedication and the commitment of organizations that support financial literacy education worldwide. See what Consolidated Credit can do for you.

Consolidated Credit is honored to receive the 2012 Excellence in Financial Literacy Education (EIFLE) Nonprofit Organization of the Year award. The EIFLE awards acknowledge innovation, dedication and the commitment of organizations that support financial literacy education worldwide. See what Consolidated Credit can do for you.

The National Industry Standards for Homeownership Education and Counseling are a set of guidelines for quality homeownership and counseling services. Industry professionals who adopt these standards can be trusted to provide consistent, high quality advice. Click here to learn more.

Consolidated Credit Consulting Services, Inc. has been verified as the owner or operator of the Web site located at www.consolidatedcredit.org. Official records confirm Consolidated Credit Consulting Services, Inc. as a valid business. Call us today and see what we can do for you.

Consolidated Credit is a Certified ISO 9001 company, as verified through Bureau Veritas Certification.

Time tested and customer trusted. Consolidated Credit Counseling Services has been a BBB Accredited Business since 1998 and has a current A+ rating. Call us today and see what we can do for you.

View the Consolidatedcredit.org review status

Time tested and customer trusted. Consolidated Credit Counseling Services has been a BBB Accredited Business since 1998 and has a current A+ rating. Call us today and see what we can do for you.

View the Consolidatedcredit.org review status

Consolidated Credit is proud to be an ANAB accredited member. Accreditation by a recognized and respected body such as ANAB ensures the impartiality and competence of our company. To see what we can do for you, give us a call.

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development - HUD's mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. Consolidated Credit is proud to be a member of HUD and also part of the Hope Now Alliance.

You can save!

With this amount of debt, you'd pay around $xx.xx on a DMP.

FREE Debt Consultation