Can you get married for $12,000 in the US? Budget-Friendly Tips

Are you dreaming of a beautiful wedding but worried about the costs?

You can absolutely get married for $12,000 in the United States. With some careful planning and smart choices, your big day can be both memorable and budget-friendly.

A wedding chapel with a simple altar, chairs for guests, and minimal decoration. A sign outside advertises "Affordable Weddings - $12,000"

Many couples have proven that a fantastic wedding doesn’t need to break the bank.

From choosing an affordable venue to DIY decorations, there are plenty of ways to save.

Sites like The Pinckards have shared how couples have pulled off amazing weddings for under $12,000.

If you’re ready to tie the knot in 2024, it’s possible to have a special day without spending a fortune.

By prioritizing what matters most to you and being creative with your budget, a stunning and affordable wedding is within your reach.

Understanding Tax Filing Status

A couple exchanging wedding rings with a $12,000 sign in the background

When it comes to filing your taxes, choosing the correct filing status is crucial. Your filing status can affect your tax rates, deductions, and overall tax liability.

There are several filing statuses to choose from:

  • Single
  • Married filing jointly
  • Married filing separately
  • Head of household

If you and your spouse combine your incomes and deductions, you can file a joint tax return.

This often qualifies you for lower tax rates and bigger deductions.

Some couples prefer to file separate returns. If you file as married filing separately, you might lose some tax benefits, but it can be useful if one spouse has high medical expenses or debts.

If you’re unmarried and not supporting any dependents, you’ll likely file as single. This filing status usually has higher tax rates compared to other statuses.

If you’re unmarried but support a dependent and cover more than half the cost of maintaining your home, you can file as head of household. This can lead to lower tax rates and higher deductions.

Each filing status comes with different tax brackets, which determine the rate at which your income is taxed.

For example, Married filing jointly generally offers wider brackets compared to single filers.

Be aware of the marriage penalty. This occurs when married couples end up in a higher tax bracket together than they would as single filers.

You can find more information about tax brackets on the IRS website.

Deductions and Credits for Married Couples

A couple's hands signing a document with a dollar sign and tax forms in the background

When you get married, you can benefit from several tax deductions and credits that can help lower your tax bill.

Standard Deduction

For married couples filing jointly, the standard deduction is currently $27,700. This is much higher compared to single filers.

Itemized Deductions

You can choose to take itemized deductions if they sum up to more than the standard deduction.

Common itemized deductions include mortgage interest, medical expenses, and charitable contributions.

Tax Credits

Tax credits reduce your tax liability directly. Here are a few you might qualify for:

  • Child Tax Credit: If you have kids, you might get up to $2,000 per child.
  • Earned Income Credit: Depending on your income, you may qualify for this credit, especially if you have children.
  • American Opportunity Credit: If you or your spouse are paying for college, this credit can offer up to $2,500 per student.

Spouse Education Deduction

Married students can deduct education expenses but need to file jointly to qualify. This can help reduce the total amount of taxable income.

Income and Adjustments for Couples

A wedding ring and a stack of bills totaling $12,000, representing the cost of getting married in the US, with a calculator and financial documents nearby

When you get married, your income and tax situation may change.

Gross income is the total of all your earnings, including wages, tips, interest, and other sources. For couples, this amount combines both partners’ earnings.


  • John’s wages: $45,000
  • Jane’s wages: $35,000
  • Combined gross income: $80,000

You may then calculate adjusted gross income (AGI). AGI is your gross income minus certain adjustments.

Adjustments can include IRA contributions and student loan interest.

For instance:

  • Combined gross income: $80,000
  • Adjustments: $5,000
  • Adjusted gross income: $75,000

Using an income tax calculator can help estimate your tax.

It considers your combined earnings, taxable income, and deductions. If you file jointly, your standard deduction for 2023 is $27,700.

Income Tax Rates for Married Filing Jointly:

Tax Rate Taxable Income Range
10% $0 to $22,000
12% $22,001 to $89,450
22% $89,451 to $190,750
24% $190,751 to $364,200
32% $364,201 to $462,500
35% $462,501 to $693,750
37% Over $693,750

Using tools and calculators, like those on NerdWallet, can be helpful.

These tools will simplify the process of figuring out your income adjustments and tax obligations.

Special Considerations for Married Couples

A couple exchanging vows in a simple, budget-friendly wedding ceremony, surrounded by close friends and family

Getting married involves several financial and legal decisions. As married couples, you may need to navigate through various aspects like taxes, retirement plans, and benefits.

If you or your spouse are eligible for Social Security benefits, getting married might affect these benefits.

For instance, you may qualify for spousal benefits, which can be up to 50% of your spouse’s benefit amount.

You can contribute to an IRA as a couple, even if one spouse doesn’t work. This is known as a spousal IRA.

For 2023, a couple under 50 can jointly contribute up to $12,000 to their IRAs.

If both are over 50, you can contribute up to $14,000.

Your income as a couple might change your Medicare tax rate. Higher combined incomes could incur an additional 0.9% Medicare surtax.

If one spouse is a U.S. citizen and the other is a resident alien, you can still file taxes jointly.

This can sometimes lead to better tax benefits.

Professional Help and Resources

A wedding couple stands in front of a courthouse with a sign reading "Marriage License Office" while a professional officiant and witnesses await nearby

When planning your wedding budget, it’s important to consider professional help and resources.

Hiring a tax professional or CPA can be beneficial.

A CPA can help you navigate your new tax situation. They can assist with tax preparation and ensure you file the correct tax forms based on your filing status—married filing jointly or separately.

If you need help with your taxes, a tax preparer can guide you. They will make sure you understand your tax benefits as a married couple.

The IRS website is a great resource for information.

It offers detailed guides on various tax topics, including your new filing status.

For those on a tight budget, many communities offer free tax clinics.

These services often use trained volunteers to help prepare your taxes.

Using these resources can help minimize stress. They ensure you take advantage of all available tax benefits, saving you money in the long run.

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