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Aja Dang is no stranger to creating a budget to reach life’s milestones. In 2020, she documented on her YouTube channel her journey towards paying off $200,000 in credit card, car and student loan debt in just two years. This year, she’s given herself a new challenge: planning her destination wedding on a $45,000 budget.
Originally, Dang wanted to keep the spending threshold to $30,000, which is more in line with what average newlyweds-to-be paid last year. According to The Knot Real Weddings Study that surveyed about 15,000 couples across the country, the national average cost of a wedding ceremony and reception landed at $28,000 in 2021. Dang decided to increase to $45,000 as she found that planning a wedding in Hawaii was quickly adding up, yet the location was important to her.
“I was born and raised in Hawaii, so I wanted to head back home for our wedding,” she tells Select. “More importantly, my Popo is the only grandparent still with us and since she will be 95 by the time we get married, it was important for us to go to her for our wedding so she could be a part of our day.”
Destination wedding or not, and regardless of the budgeted dollar amount, wedding planning is a stressful undertaking. Below, Dang shares three tips that she learned when trying to stick to her financial goals for now and in the near future.
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1. Prioritize what’s most important to you
When wedding planning on a budget, choose a few things that are most essential to making your special day happen. This may mean spending more of your budget on music and an open bar, while cutting expenses on things like invitations, flowers and decor. Or, perhaps you want to allocate more money to a photographer and rather cut costs on the entertainment or food. Prioritizing what is most important to you helps you make the day perfect while also finding areas where you can save.
For Dang, her and her fiancé are prioritizing spending their money on the experience, meaning anything that makes their wedding more fun for everyone. Their big-ticket items include rentals, catering and entertainment, while they’re cutting costs in other areas. For example, they’re reusing the same florals from their ceremony for the reception, only sending physical invitations to …….