Congratulations on Getting Engaged. Here's How to Pay for the Wedding.

by Aaron Crowe

NEW YORK ( — After the calls have been made to relatives giving them the good news, congratulations have been given and rounds of drinks have been bought, the adrenaline rush of an engagement announcement can wear off and at least one reality sets in: We’ve got a wedding to pay for.

Unless you’ve planned financially for it for years or have rich parents, paying for a wedding can set couples back when trying to stand on their newly combined financial feet.

The average couple has a $26,989 wedding, according to Brides magazine, and nearly one-third of all brides spend more than they budgeted. A wedding calculator will help determine the costs, though couples may be scared to look at the final figures together.

Even if your wedding costs much less than the average, it’s still likely to be a big chunk of money, so planning for the expenses is just as important as deciding which caterer to use and which dress to wear. After enjoying the engagement “high” for a few days, here are five things to do with your money now in preparation for the big day.

1. Set a budget. Determine how much money you can save and what expenses you can cut so you know now how much you expect to have for the wedding. If your parents are willing to contribute, include that amount in your budget. With a budget in hand, you should be less likely to spend more than you have. And don’t count on gifts of money to pay the bills; save that money for the honeymoon.

2. Open a joint savings account. Start putting everything you can into it so you can afford the wedding you want. Don’t put in money for daily living expenses — leave that in a checking account. Put in only money you can afford to part with.