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Ask CJ: How can we afford the wedding without breaking the bank?

June 18, 2022
June 18, 2022

Ask CJ Dickson | Founder of CJ's Off the Square


“As a parent, I think the biggest question I have is How can we afford this celebration without breaking the bank? Coming from the Mortgage Industry I think some couples are juggling between Dream Wedding and/or First Home.  Can they get both?”  – Nancy



Hi Nancy,


This is such as great question and a rich topic for discussion!


It’s my belief that anytime you are working with money and budgets, it really comes down to what a couple and/or their family values the most. And in my experience that varies widely client to client.


In my career, I’ve worked with clients on a shoestring budget as well as those who have spent more on their wedding then I did on my home! Is one better than the other – not at all. Just very different approaches and a different idea of what is important to them. This is also often connected to family expectations as well.


There is no right or wrong amount when it when it comes to a wedding budget …just as there is no right or wrong on the price of a home. It’s all relative and very market driven.


Have you had a conversation with the kids about priorities for the wedding? It might be helpful to have them make a list of wants and needs, discuss those as a family, set priorities, and then start exploring the market to see what your options are.


Only then can you get a clear idea of what you want actually costs and if you are or are not willing to wiggle to get as many of those boxes ticked as possible.


wedding planner to help with budget


We’ve had several clients choose to have a much smaller weddings that are still beautiful, romantic and memorable in order to prioritize the purchase of a home. And I love that they were so clear on their priorities from the beginning. It makes the entire planning process so much easier to have this as a guiding principle when making the many decisions that are required.


I will also through in that the size of the wedding guest list is the #1 factor that will impact the budget.


My best advice when it comes to budgets is to have an honest conversation with the couple before a single vendor contract is signed. Discuss what you are and aren’t willing to contribute to the wedding as a parent along with what is most important to you so your expectations are clearly communicated from the start.


Then, if the kids would like to invest more to achieve a certain look or have a specific experience that they see as valuable, they can consider how to work it into the budget. Maybe it is worth it for them to contribute for that, or perhaps other family members may wish to contribute to see thier priority come to fruition.


There is no right or wrong way to fund the wedding budget.


But having these conversations ahead of time will go a long way to reducing wedding planning stress for everyone involved.


For perspective, about half of the weddings in the US today are funded by both parents/family members and the couple. Less than 20% are funded solely by the bride’s family.


Just a little food for thought Nancy. Hope it helps give you some perspective and perhaps some ideas to start a healthy conversation about the wedding budget with the kids.



CJ Dickson, Master wedding planner and creative director of CJ's Off the Square