Something has changed. For the first time in recorded history, Valentine’s Day is no longer the Number One “get engaged” day on the American romance calendar. It has been supplanted by Christmas Day, with New Year’s Eve gaining quickly on Feb. 14. That means, in less than a month millions of couples are making the big decision to commit to one another. Enjoy the day because another question is on the way.
“When?” Then another question. “How much?” As in, how much is someone spending on this all-important day in the life of two special people. Money Examiners is a big softy where love and marriage are concerned, but we are also all about making sure your financial Ps and Qs are in order. That’s why we are here to ask direct questions about the wedding that will unite you forever.
1) How much are you going to spend on your wedding?
2) Wouldn’t the day be just as special at a lower price?
Why do we ask questions that could be construed as coming from Debbie Downer? The average price for a wedding in the United States is $33,000 and, as evidenced by the word “average,” is potentially much higher. While we believe every man and woman deserve a beautiful wedding, at least once, still we ponder that number. Thirty-three grand! Good grief!
You can buy a pretty nice car for that kind of cash money, but you can also do other things. Get out of debt. Put 20% down on a $165,000 home. Put it away for a ten-year anniversary trip to Tahiti, (pictured above) where you can learn to fire-dance! Ia Orana! (That’s “hello” in Tahitian.)
That said, some folks want a wedding to dazzle the neighborhood. Are you one of them? Ask yourself these four questions, and we will have our answer.
1) Is there something else you would like to do with the money? Will an expenditure of that size stall goals such as purchasing a home. Can you afford to have children when you want to have them? You and your spouse-to-be should list the things $33,000 will accomplish besides paying for a big wedding. If something on the list pops, consider skipping a traditional celebration, replacing it with an intimate and cheaper option.
2) Has a traditional wedding been a dream of yours? This is a no judgment zone. Some folks dream of their wedding day as soon as they can say the words. Others don’t have that same dream. If you are in the former group, don’t discount the idea out of hand. It is your day, after all. If you are in the latter group, a less-traditional (and probably much cheaper) option may fit you perfectly.
3) Does a big guest list sound like a fun party or a migraine-in-waiting? The average price of a wedding, per guest, is $267 when the wedding decorations and reception food and drink is factored in. Some folks love that kind of thing, but others are stressed right now, and all they are doing is reading. To thine own bride and groom be true. Do you want all of those people at your wedding, eating the food, and socking down the liquor? Or is your relationship with them a little more tenuous than that?
4) Who is paying for this soiree’ anyway? If someone else is paying, good for you, but remember that they get a say in this. If, however, you are paying, check yourself. Going deeply into debt for a wedding is foolish beyond belief! You have a household to start and monthly bills that have not stopped while you planned a wedding.
Now, that you have some questions to answer, accept our congratulations. She’s lovely. He’s handsome enough to make our teeth hurt. Both will still be true at a wedding that costs less than thirty-three grand if that is the direction you choose to go.