How to Save Your Wedding When You Run Out of Money

Planning a wedding is so much fun that it can be easy to get in over your head. You splurge here, spend a little extra there, and before you know it, you have committed to a wedding that is beyond your means. With deposits placed, and final payments looming, this can be a very scary situation for the bride or her parents to find themselves in. Find out what steps you can take to save your wedding when you run out of money.

It is really, really easy to end up planning a wedding that costs too much, especially because the planning can be spread out over many months. When you are only paying one-third to one-half of what things actually cost, it can be easy to lose track of the grand total. For some families, it is not until they get close to the wedding day and they start adding up all the final payments which are due that they realize they can’t cover their bills. This is a horrible situation for any family. What do you? Cancel the wedding? Stiff your vendors? Charge admission to the reception? No, no, and no.

What you should do first and foremost is have a frank conversation with your wedding venue and vendors. Explain your situation, and ask them how you can work it out. Be clear with them that it is important to them that their bills get paid so nobody thinks you are trying to weasel out paying what you owe them. Maybe the florist would be willing to downsize the centerpieces to trim costs. Or she could skip the expensive extras, such as the crystals in the bouquets to match your crystal bridal jewelry. The photographer might allow you to cut back to a smaller package or to have him come for the ceremony and through the cake cutting only, instead of taking pictures from pre-ceremony until the last dance. As long as the vendors have not actually spent money on supplies for your wedding, they might be willing to re-negotiate your contract.

As for your reception venue, call the event manager at once and make an appointment. Figure out your finances before the meeting so you have a clear idea of the difference between what you owe and what you can actually pay. If the gap is not insurmountably wide, it might be possible to get creative with the wedding menu to get your balance down (again, this would have to be before anything has been ordered for your reception). Choose less costly entrees and appetizers, substitute sparkling wine for imported French Champagne, or change from a full open bar to wine and beer only. In some cases, this will be enough to get your balance down to what you can afford.

If you still cannot afford what you owe the venue, you will have to consider more dramatic measures. Could they change the time of your reception from an evening wedding to a brunch? You could save …