We have responded to some questions from a reporter and thought you would find the answers interesting.
Is the idea that a wedding has to be a $30,000 staged luxury event keeping some couples from tying the knot until they have more money or the economy improves?
We have heard from some couples who have been engaged for years and are still putting off their wedding date primarily for financial reasons. They didn’t think that they could afford their dream weddings and didn’t want to give up on their dreams either so they were waiting and waiting.
It naturally takes a young couple just starting out a long time to save 20-30k for a wedding so, often, they continue to wait until they finally decide that they really need to just get married.
Usually at this point they start looking for ways to plan their dream wedding at an affordable cost — that’s when they find us.
The truth of the matter is that this idea that a nice wedding event has to cost tens of thousands of dollars is simply not true.
The problem is that many brides and grooms often do not have the discipline to stay within their wedding budget.
Most brides and grooms have an idea of how much they can afford for their wedding but they do not have a plan for achieving their goal and end up spending twice as much as they expected.
They have an attitude that as long as they are going to go into debt for their big event they might as well go all out.
What they don’t know is that most brides and grooms do not spend anywhere near as much money as these numbers we hear in the media.
You see, when you hear that couples on average spend $30,000 (now, it’s closer to $20,000 with this recession), you think that the average couple spends that much on their wedding. Not so!
Back when we were hearing that the average cost of a wedding was nearly $29,000, wedding industry insiders could have told you that actually 4 out of 5 couples would spend less than that. In fact, a full 50% of couples would spend less than HALF of that!
We suspect that this is still the case with today’s national average of $20,398. So, the average couple spends much less than the average cost of a wedding. It is the not-so-average couples from wealthy families that skew these numbers. (statistics from TheWeddingReport.com )
But the wedding industry doesn’t make money by putting brides and grooms in touch with reality — the wedding industry makes money by telling couples that this is the most important day of their life and that it is their once in a lifetime opportunity to make their dreams come true.
At least that has been their strategy. Perhaps the strategy will change now that they have a bunch of couples fooled into thinking that they cannot afford to get married.
According to a recent FindLaw.com survey, 40% between the ages of 18 and 34 say they are waiting to get married and have children due to the current economic climate. So, there are a lot of couples out there who aren’t giving the wedding industry a dime right now because they think they have to save up for a wedding costing a small fortune.
Is it ever smart to delay a wedding just because you haven’t saved “enough?”
Couples need to be financially responsible; however, they must also be practical about their relationship. Couples need to be aware of extra stresses on their relationship while they are waiting to tie the knot.
They have chosen to live the remainder of their lives together and it is natural for them to want to begin experiencing as soon as possible the complete unity found in marriage.
Some couples seem to be able to tolerate long waits while they are saving up for the wedding and honeymoon. Others find the waiting period to be stressful and uncomfortable and are eager to discover how they can achieve their dream wedding at an affordable cost.
On the other hand, is it ever smart to go into debt for a wedding?
We think that couples understand better now the importance of avoiding wedding debt. Job security is at an all-time low and couples now realize that they cannot assume that they can be happy living with wedding debt hanging over their marriage.
We know that financial troubles are very much connected to marriage troubles. The two go hand in hand. That is why we find it so sadly ironic when couples go into debt on their wedding day of all times. They create debt trying to start a happy life when in fact that debt will invariably produce stress and tensions in their new life together making it more difficult than ever for them to have a happy marriage.
Brides and grooms should keep in mind that whether they are on a tight budget for their wedding now or not, they will very likely be on a tight budget once they are married and trying to build a life together. Will they remember their marriage day as a happy event in their life? Or will they wish they had a way to go back in time and spend their money more wisely so they wouldn’t be starting their new life together with so many financial headaches?
We feel that there is an unfortunate superstition among brides that their wedding day will foretell the quality of their future married life together. They feel that if they have a ‘perfect’ wedding day then they can expect a ‘perfect’ married life together.
This superstition does not hold up under analysis and if that ‘perfect’ wedding day was achieved through debt then it may more likely predict a difficult life together with some real struggles ahead.
Are parents still paying for these $30,000 affairs?
Even before the recession, many couples were paying for their own weddings. TheKnot.com did a survey of 18,000 couples married in 2008 that reveals that 43% of couples were paying for their own weddings. 44% of the brides were receiving help from their parents and 12% of the grooms’ parents also contributed.
Whether the parents will be paying or even contributing to the wedding costs has always depended on a number of factors.
First, is the couple financially dependent on the parents? If so, they are more likely to have their wedding taken care of too. However, the marriage age is rising and most young people have left the nest and are on their own by the time they get married.
Couples who have started their careers and have left the home or have independent attitudes will probably not receive much help from their parents because their parents feel like the couple can take care of themselves or because the couple themselves feel like they should provide for their own wedding needs.
Second, we should ask if the parents’ are financially able to pay for a wedding. With many parents getting laid off and seeing their stock-market based retirement funds shrivel up, they may not be able to help much, if at all, with the cost of a wedding. Also the young adults are not as likely to seek help from their parents when they know that their parents are struggling to make ends meet.
The percentage of couples paying for their own wedding expenses has been steadily rising and we expect to see this trend continue.
It isn’t common wisdom, but we wouldn’t be surprised to see the cost of weddings drop further even after this recession as more young couples take responsibility for their own wedding costs.
Paying for an event out of your own bank account (instead of your parents’) has a way of making people more practical.
We hope the weddings of the future are not so much about things that money can buy but more about celebrating love and unity with friends and family.
Anyone who wants to have a beautiful special wedding can easily achieve their goals without going into debt. We see it all the time with the couples that visit the resources on our site and share their success stories with us after using the guidance available in our Seven Wedding Planning Secrets mini-course and our instantly downloadable book ‘Wedding Planning on a Budget.‘
Couples are happily surprised to find that their wedding day is actually even more special to them because they had to prioritize and plan the day for the purpose of celebrating their marriage commitment (not just a showy event) and they find that their wedding day is not impersonal but truly reflects who they are because they put their own special touch on each aspect of the carefully planned day.