Planning for your wedding is a thrill of limitless possibilities and romantic creativity. Paying for your wedding, for most people, is a point of stress and uncertainty. To help ease some of the burden of this formidable task, and ensure you are staying within your budget and not going into debt for your big day, create a schedule for when your payments will be due. Not only do couples need to know how much they need to pay, but when they need to remit payment. Having a plan will also help you to pay vendors timely and help you minimize credit card debt.
While you will want to read every vendor contract in detail to ensure you know exactly when payments are due for your specific relationships, what follows are some general guidelines to refer to during the early phases of your planning.
Wedding Vendor Payment Plans
Your vendors understand that some costs associated with a wedding—such as the reception venue—are significant. For this reason, most vendors allow couples to pay in installments. Typically, they will want a portion of the cost—likely a third—at the time of booking as a goodwill gesture to hold your reservation. Another payment will probably be due one month before the wedding, and the remaining amount will be due the day of the event. Yes, that means you need to remember to bring your checkbook in that cute little wedding clutch.
A Note About Deposits
Again, check your contract language, but know that in most cases, your deposit will not be refundable. Vendors and businesses take this step to protect themselves. In a competitive industry, if a company is going to reserve a date, it must know that the couple is serious about their commitment to the venue, and must protect itself from a late-notice cancellation that would make it challenging to rebook with another party. Be sure about each vendor before you enter into a commitment and issue a deposit. Everyone understands that the unexpected can happen, but don’t let changing your mind about a reception space, the date, or your theme to be a reason why you lose money.
Credit Cards vs. Personal Checks
Ask your vendors if they have a preference for your method of payment. Some may request checks to avoid the fees associated with credit card payment processing. If you plan to use a credit card, consider using one that will allow you to accumulate valuable points. When creating your wedding budget, ensure you are not spending beyond your limits. While you might be able to max out your credit cards to pay for the wedding of your dreams, you won’t want to start your married life in debt. You’ll want to start planning for a house, a dog, and 2.5 kids, so spend within reason and only use plastic if you can pay it off timely.
Keep Your Receipts
To help you stay organized with your planning and budgeting, keep receipts for every payment installment, from the initial deposits to the final payment. Also, keep notes in your budget spreadsheet (a couple’s must-have) for what you have paid and what is outstanding, and when remaining payments will come due.
Plan Accordingly for Destination Weddings
If your wedding will take place out-of-state, know that banks may hold checks over $10,000 for up to one week before being processed. Build this delay into your schedule to ensure your payment is not inadvertently late for your vendors. If you are planning an international destination wedding, make sure your budget accurately converts any costs into American dollars to ensure you aren’t accidentally underestimating costs.
With proper planning and discipline, paying for your wedding doesn’t have to be a stress point that causes anxiety for you and your honey. Stay organized, keep a calendar, and make a plan. With proper foresight, you’ll be able to plan for the logistics and focus on more important matters, like peonies or pansies in your bridesmaids’ bouquets.