I’m Not Engaged Yet, But I Want To Save for My Wedding. How Do I Start?

Our editor-in-chief gives her two cents on saving for a wedding

Headshot of Kristin Myers between illustrations of people.

Dear Kristin,

What is the best way to prepare my finances for my wedding? I'm not even engaged, so I have time! I'm in a long-term relationship and just want to be prepared since weddings are so expensive and stressful.

Sincerely,

Nebulous in New York

Dear Nebulous,

I absolutely love that you asked this question. For some reason, people believe that you can only prepare for a wedding once you’re engaged. But that isn’t true! As you said, you have time, and the more time you have, the more money you’ll be able to save for your wedding. I’m not sure why more people don’t financially prepare for their wedding as far in advance as possible—but they should.

So what should you do to prepare? While you haven’t started wedding planning yet, the best way you can get started is to have a financial goal. Set a target amount of money you would like to save for your big day. It’s OK if it’s less (or even more) than you eventually will spend on your wedding. This financial goal can always be adjusted the closer you get to the big day.

I’m not sure if you’re anticipating that your partner will propose soon, or how much time you believe you have before wedding planning begins, but if it’s longer than a year, I would recommend that you actually try to invest for the wedding, instead of just saving for it. With a year or more, you won’t have to pay as much in taxes on your earnings from your investments.

Considering the average wedding in America cost about $34,000 in 2021 according to The Knot’s Real Weddings Study, it’s a lot of money to try and save on your own, in addition to the other financial goals you might have. Investing will not only help you reach that goal faster, but it will also require less money from you. 

If you already have a brokerage account, you can open a separate investing account where you set aside money each month just for the wedding. Using a compound interest calculator, I’ve determined that with an original investment of $100 and $150 additional each month, you’ll have over $6,000 in three years, assuming the markets increase the historical average of 10% annually. Your contributions would total $5,500. 

Of course, the more time you have, the higher that number goes.

But you don’t just have to invest. You could also include saving for your wedding as part of your budget, tucking aside some money each month.

If you do both of these things with the time you have, you’ll have a sizable sum of money you can use for your wedding—which will definitely help alleviate the stress of having to come up with tens of thousands of dollars by the time you get engaged.

And since you won’t be paying alone, I recommend you get on the same page with your partner so that you aren’t preparing for the wedding alone. That way, you’ll both have the money available to pay for the wedding of your dreams.

Good luck!

-Kristin


If you have questions about money, Kristin is here to help. Submit an anonymous question and she may answer it in a future column.

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Article Sources

  1. Internal Revenue Service (IRS). “Topic No. 409 Capital Gains and Losses.”

  2. The Knot. “The Knot 2021 Real Weddings Study.”

  3. Investor.gov. “Compound Interest Calculator.”