Saving for the big day & beyond

The cost of saying “I do” is on the rise. The average price tag for an American wedding rings in at $35,329, with some into the six figures.1  In fact, 57 percent of couples are borrowing from a credit card or financial institution to finance the big day.2

With a little planning you can have your special day and avoid any further debt as you prepare to build a solid financial foundation together.

Have “the talk”

Marriage is a partnership based on trust and both partners should have a clear idea about what they’re signing on for. Discuss your debts, credit score and any other financial skeletons before the wedding. If you start to discuss finances early, it’ll l be easier to make smart financial decisions together.

Stick to your guns

Your parents, family and friends may all have opinions about which traditions you must include in your big day. If you set a budget based upon your vision of the special day, you may resist the urge to pile on additional, unnecessary expenses.

Set up a savings plan

If your heart is set on a storybook wedding, saving for it is a better option than using plastic. Figure out how much the wedding will cost, and how much family is willing to contribute and then make a schedule to save the rest. With good savings habits, you can later convert your wedding account to a house down payment account or even a college savings plan for your children.

Reuse when you can

Every bride wants to feel like the belle of the ball, but a brand new designer dress is a budget buster. Look for a previously loved dress (or engagement ring, for that matter). There’s a bustling market for used wedding dresses at sites like PreOwnedWeddingDresses.com or NearlyNewlywed.com  and even options to rent with ready-to-wear sites like RentTheRunway.com.

Explore off-peak and off-season for savings

Saturday night is the most sought-after day and time for weddings, so expect to pay a premium. Or consider a more economical option with a daytime wedding or another day of the week. If you’re having a destination wedding, take advantage of their more flexible schedule by holding the event mid-week, or consider a more affordable off-season wedding.

Pare down the guest list

It’s simple math: more people means more cost. A smaller guest list keeps the celebration intimate, and lets you spend time enjoying people you may not get to see that often.

A wedding is just the beginning of many important financial decisions as a couple. Make yours a day of celebration, not debt.
 

1French, Sally. “What the average American Wedding looks like—and costs.” MarketWatch. February 10, 2017. http://www.marketwatch.com/story/what-the-average-american-wedding-looks-like----and-costs-2017-02-10 
2“Wedding Finance Survey.” The Knot & PayPal. September 28, 2015.
http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/the-knot-and-paypal-wedding-finance-survey-delves-deep-into-millennial-couples-wallets-300149802.html