This Couple Budgeted $215K for a Down Payment and a Wedding—Here’s How They Divvied It Up

Without feeling like they gave up everything.
Lydia Geisel Avatar

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woman in kitchen
Courtesy of Breegan Jane

Getting married and buying a home are two major (read: expensive) life events that couples often tackle at the same exact time. So the question becomes, how do you divvy up your savings to cover the cost of both? That’s the premise of designer Breegan Jane’s new HGTV show, The House My Wedding Bought, which started airing on Discovery+ on June 16. Jane helps couples navigate through the decision-making process, giving them the tools to differentiate between wants and needs—think: a dedicated drum room over a big guest list. 

Jane and her clients tour venues and potential homes at different price points to help determine the smartest way to get the best of both worlds. One of those couples is Lei and Jinxi, who were not only deciding between a large wine country wedding and a house with a yard but were also looking to save some extra cash for the baby they’re expecting. “It’s less about trying to eliminate everything than it is realizing that it’s really important to the groom to have his grandmother bake the dessert or for the bride to have a home office,” says Jane. “Once you know your first and second most important features, then it’s easier to let go of the fairy tale.” Read on for Lei and Jinxi’s final decision—it isn’t what you’d expect.

Their total budget for a down payment and wedding: $210,000 (with an ideal monthly mortgage range of $3,500).

Lei’s wants: An intimate wedding and a house with rustic character.

Jinxi’s wants: A wine country or exotic wedding location and a house with new amenities and a big yard.

The compromise: A $754,000 home with a $200,000 down payment and a $10,000 wedding budget.

Before coming to their decision, the couple considered a place that would offer them an $80,000 down payment and $50,000 toward the wedding (that would leave them with some money left over for the baby), but the space had no bathroom connected to the main bedroom. The second property they considered also left $50,000 for the wedding, but only $160,000 down on the house, which had a teeny balcony for the outdoor area.

So the pair did a 180 and landed on a more expensive place that had room to grow. The bonus? There’s a community center in the neighborhood that ultimately doubled as their wedding venue (it only cost them $200 to rent it out, which is a huge savings compared to the $10,000 the center usually charges). 

big bathroom
Courtesy of Breegan Jane

Designer-Approved Trade-offs:

  • Free up funds with a buffet instead of a plated dinner. (Psst: A food truck is 60 percent less expensive than a sit-down feast.)
  • Skipping the cocktail hour could save you $2,500, which you can use for new hardwood floors.
  • You can save a few thousand dollars for a half-bath addition by not having an open bar.
  • Get married on a weekday (Thursday is 17 percent cheaper on average than Saturday) and put that money toward new kitchen lighting.
  • A compromise can come in the form of painting cabinets instead of having a DJ and band.

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Lydia Geisel Avatar

Lydia Geisel

Home Editor

Lydia Geisel has been on the editorial team at Domino since 2017. Today, she writes and edits home and renovation stories, including house tours, before and afters, and DIYs, and leads our design news coverage. She lives in New York City.