7 Tips to Reduce Wedding Costs

Know anyone getting married this year? The wedding day is sure to create lots of memories. For many it will also create substantial cost.

TheKnot.com surveyed 17,500 brides in 2012 and found that the average couple spent $28,427 to get married — a 5.2% increase over 2011. Weddings in some locales — like Manhattan — cost an average of $70,000.

These figures exclude the cost of a honeymoon, which typically adds thousands of dollars more to the tab.

Here’s the breakdown:

  • Engagement ring - $5,431
  • Wedding gown - $1,211
  • Ceremony site - $1,711
  • Reception venue - $12,905
  • Rehearsal dinner - $12,135
  • Catering - $63 per person
  • Wedding cake - $560
  • Ceremony musicians - $554
  • Reception band - $3,084
  • Reception DJ - $988
  • Photographer - $2,379
  • Videographer - $1,619
  • Flowers/décor - $1,997

Weddings are meant to be joyous occasions, but they can produce regret when people discover they spent more than they could afford. (One of our clients still has $10,000 in credit card debt from wedding expenses incurred eight years ago!)

Parents who pay the bulk of the expenses for their children may also experience regret when they realize they put their own retirement in jeopardy to finance the party.

Here are ways you can reduce the cost and still enjoy a wonderful wedding:

  • Reduce the guest list. The biggest factor in the wedding’s cost is the number of people invited. Limit the event to certain family members and closest friends.
  • Hold the wedding on a Friday or Sunday. Venues are cheaper to rent then than on Saturdays.
  • Fire the wedding planner.
  • Hold the wedding and reception at the same place — ideally at a place (like your church) that doesn’t charge for its use.
  • Buy (or rent) a pre-owned wedding gown.
  • Avoid the cost of a band and DJ by using smartphone apps.
  • Hire less well-known photographers who charge less than others. Or skip the pro altogether and ask guests to use their smartphones to record photos and videos for you.

Whenever I ask brides-to-be if they prefer to spend $30,000 on a wedding or a down payment on a house, they almost always choose the wedding. But when I ask wives, they often say they wish they’d chosen the house. After all, the wedding is just a four-hour party, while the home is something far more.

If you need help determining how the wedding bill could impact your overall financial situation and thus how much you can reasonably afford to spend, contact us.

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