virginia weddings

How to Budget for Your Wedding

Plan a wedding and…pay down your student loan debt?

It’s true. With the SmarterBucks rewards program now you can shop for all your wedding essentials and earn cash back in the form of student loan payments!

He got down on one knee, you said yes, your mom cried, you cried, his mom cried —it’s a beautiful start to a long life together. Then the wedding planning kicks in, expenses begin to pile up on one another, and, no matter how strictly you budget, there’s no escaping that this wedding is going to leave a serious dent in your wallet. If you have student debt, the financial prospect becomes even more daunting. That’s the situation I found myself in last year, when I kicked off the arrangements for my 150-person wedding in the summer of 2013. With a little advance planning, and a lot of help from the SmarterBucks rewards program, I found a way to put wedding expenses to work for me…in paying down my student loans that is.

How does it work? Signing up for a SmarterBucks rewards account is completely free. Once you have an account and are logged in, you can shop through their online Marketplace and earn anywhere between 1-15% back in rewards. These rewards are then automatically contributed to the principal of whatever student loan you want to pay down first. By contributing the extra payments toward the principal, you not only get out of student debt faster, you also maximize your interest savings – every $1 you contribute toward the principal could save you $2-$3 in interest over the life of your loan. By using the SmarterBucks Marketplace for my wedding shopping, I was able to earn $150 in student loan payments. But you could earn even more! Here’s a sampling of what you can find:

Item Retailer Price % back in SmarterBucks Student loan payment
His and her wedding bands Zales $1200 1.25% $15
3 Bridesmaids dresses J.Crew $300 2.25% $6.75
Custom suit for the groom Brooks Brothers $700 2.25% $15.75
Save the Dates, Wedding invitations, Programs, Place cards, Menu Cards, Thank you notes Minted $950 3.25% $30.88
3 Bridesmaids gifts (earrings) Anthropologie $75 3.75% $2.81
Wedding Favors $250 4% $10
Shoes for your wedding dress $50 4.25% $2.12
Rehearsal dinner dress Nordstrom $100 4% $4
Honeymoon Tripadvisor $2000 16.5% $330
TOTAL $417.31

Could you forgo all of the above, elope, and make an even bigger chunk in your student loan payments? Of course. But for those of you who have been dreaming about this day all your life, now there’s a way to have your cake and eat it too.

To learn more, visit
Written by Moira Finicane- Product Marketing Manager
Smarter Bucks

The author: Angeline Frame

Angeline is the owner/publisher of Virginia Bride Magazine and the show producer for The Greater Virginia Bridal Shows. She has a degree in Public Administration and Psychology from Virginia Commonwealth University. A former model and wedding venue owner- she loves all things wedding , fashion and decorating. In her spare time she likes to write, travel and get new ideas to share with brides.
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