How I’m Planning a Zero-Debt Wedding

How I’m Planning a Zero-Debt Wedding

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Many of you guys know that I’ve got my hands in a few different pots already in 2020 – launching my own photography business, planning a wedding, and helping Samuel launch Station 1923 handcrafted rubs and seasonings. Never in a million years did I think I’d find myself juggling so many major, life-altering projects at once.

And then, the other shoe dropped.

Samuel began talking about home buying. I kid you not, I thought my head was going to explode. It costs money to start a business. It costs money to start two businesses. It costs money to get married. It most certainly costs money to buy a house.

Homeownership is something we both aspire to, although I’m not quite sure where it falls in our timeline of things. Christina Patrice Creative has launched, but needs more love from me. Station 1923 is set to launch this spring, and we’re ramping up to meet that deadline. Our wedding is August 8th, and I’m already knee-deep in spreadsheets and emails with vendors.

Since Samuel officially put home buying on the docket for some time in 2020 (or even early 2021), that one thing became abundantly clear to us both – we could NOT go into debt for our wedding. To ensure that we’re taking the necessary financial steps to prepare for home buying, I’ll be working alongside for credit education and services (this is something I’m looking into, because ya girl most definitely has student loan and credit card debt).

The first and most obvious point: putting wedding expenses on credit cards was out of the question. Instead of racking up debt to pay for wedding costs, here’s how I’m planning to make our dream day one for the books while keeping us on track financially:

1. A Realistic Budget
We had an honest conversation about how much of our savings, current, and future income we could reasonably dedicate to wedding expenses. The goal is not to wipe out our savings accounts while maintaining our current financial obligations. We agreed that turning to credit cards is simply not an option, considering our goals. We decided that in total, we wanted to spend no more than $7,000 for our wedding and reception. $6,000 or below, even better.

2. Uncommon Venues
Admittedly, we have a few things working in our favor to stay within financial range. The ceremony venue itself is taken care of (he is the son of a pastor). That said, our primary focus is the wedding reception aka afterparty. Looking for venues on websites like Peerspace and Splacer has been major for us – we’re able to find atypical venues with flexible accommodations for things like food and alcohol – which are huge financial drains at a wedding (and general event) planning. Explore non-traditional ceremony and reception venues like warehouses, art galleries, and even private residences to keep costs on the affordable end.

3. Rethinking Food and Beverages
This tip goes hand-in-hand with venue exploration. If at all possible, avoid venues that require you to use their vendors – this will lock you into paying a lot more for food, beverages, service, and a bar (if you go that route). Our venue has no restrictions on either – so we’re able to bring in whatever we want. We’re going the pre-planned food truck menu route, keeping our per person cost to around $14. As an added bonus, we’re avoiding the bland protein, pilaf, salad, and dinner roll menu. The same goes for beverages. Since we won’t be selling or serving alcohol from behind a formal bar, Costco is our ace in the hole for big bottles and mixers.

As far as the cake is concerned, we’re not going to dump hundreds of dollars into a big fancy cake that looks good for the ‘gram. We’re going to have a small cake for ourselves, with a cupcake and candy bar for guests. Simple, fun, cute, affordable.

Don’t be afraid to do things a bit differently to cut costs where you can. If your guests would “feel a way” about your ceremony or reception being non-traditional, then they probably don’t deserve an invite to begin with. Just sayin’.

4. DIY Decor
Neither of us is into the super formal pomp and circumstance of typical receptions, and I don’t know the first thing about flowers. We’re both pretty easygoing, low-maintenance people, and want the celebration of our union to be reflected in that.

We settled on a venue that doesn’t require much in the way of decoration — the light fixtures, wall art, and furniture all fit our vibe and wedding afterparty goals. Therefore, we’re keeping decoration costs to a minimum. What we will need as far as centerpieces and decor will take the DIY route, thanks to, of course, Pinterest.

We’re going for a casual, rustic/industrial chic vibe – think pendant lights, wood, metals, greenery, and mason jars. Thanks to photography prop shopping, your girl knows her way around a Hobby Lobby and Michaels to make these decorative accents happen on a budget. Yes, my living room will be crafting central – but it’s worth it to avoid the debt.

5. Keep Track of Everything
With vendors and tastings and planning and shopping all swirling around my calendar, it can be hard to stay on top of dates, transactions, and of course, day-to-day obligations. While my days are filled with updating spreadsheets, ensuring deposits are paid, and making decisions about what sneakers to wear, I’m grateful for, who is able to assist people like us with the financial end of 2020 homebuying goals. I’m thrilled to spend more time on wedding details and fine-tuning our businesses and less time figuring which items on my credit report are inaccurate or erroneous.’s technology provides members with a personal online dashboard, a credit score tracker and analysis, creditor and bureau interactions, text and email alerts, mobile apps and credit monitoring. When considering working with a credit repair service, It feels good to know that I can trust to handle the things I need to assist us in our homebuying goals.

And while I’m excited to walk down the aisle with the man of my dreams, I’m even more excited that we’re able to do so on our terms financially, while setting ourselves up for success in the future.

While I’m by no means an expert in finances or wedding planner, I’m happy to answer any questions you might have. Leave them in the comments below! Here’s to a powerful, productive, and financially-sound 2020!

Visit to learn more about improving your credit and moving toward your financial goals!


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