So the big question was popped. Exciting times lie ahead. You tell your closest friends and family and start picturing the wedding ceremony and reception in your head. But another big question needs to be answered: How much do we spend on the wedding?
I spent last weekend at my very good friend Lori wedding day. Her handsome husband is a plastering contractor who runs his own business, Plasterer Central Coast. They are such a lovely couple.
There is a demand for weddings. Always. With need comes supply, and that supply is crazy-expensive. All businesses that provide services to weddings are undoubtedly charging more. The average cost for a wedding in the U.S. was $33,000. That is more than some people’s annual income per year. Imagine all the things you can purchase with that money.
In order to determine the specific amount you are willing to spend, let’s look at the factors that can affect your decision:
- How Much Do You Actually Have To Work With?
One of the first steps is to determine how much money you and your fiancé have gotten when you don’t mind taking out of your savings account right away. You would have to look at your current savings and ask yourself, is there a sufficient amount of money left that won’t drastically affect your lifestyle at the present moment. If you subtract a hypothetical amount and it doesn’t phase you, then you’ve got a good starting point. However, if it does worry you, then read on! These next steps are for you.
You would also need to take into consideration any contributions from your family. It certainly doesn’t hurt to assume and ask since this is common in many cultures. Families are just as excited to have a large, joyous gathering event.
- Number of Guests
The next decision to be made is the size of your party. This is the ultimate factor that determines the cost of your wedding. This factor affects the size of the ceremony venue and reception venue that you choose, as well as the amount of food (per head cost) and drinks you will demand from the caterers. The smaller the guest list, the more money you’ll have on the little details (stationary, rentals, décor, favors). So the question here is: a large guest list or the finer details?
- Pressure To Get It Right
This could be pressure from yourself and pressure from friends and family. A wedding is a momentous event and, in some cultures, an important value/custom. Your loved ones may view this is a time to gather after so long of not seeing each other. So there’s the pressure to deliver and invite the whole clan. There is also pressure to present a lavish, picturesque wedding to compete with other grand weddings that are portrayed in the media or by your friends. Admit it; some want to impress on this day.
There could also be pressure from oneself. After all, this is the only wedding you’ll have, so we don’t blame you if you want perfection. The stress may get to you, but remind yourself of this: an expensive wedding doesn’t correlate to a perfect marriage. Please sit down, organize your resources and spending, because it is possible to cut back.
- Your Financial Standing and Future Goals
Other than looking at your savings account (as we previously mentioned), the couple must consider their monthly income in the next few months and then subtract monthly living expenses, emergency money, and monthly payments towards any debt. The two latter could be reduced to accommodate the wedding. If you can sustain a good financial standing, then you’ve got a little more to add to the budget. Really try to ask yourselves if the money going into the wedding will hinder your future goals.
- How Important is the Venue and Dress
The two next things that cost a lot in your wedding are the venue and the dress. So, try to look at all of your options. Do you want a local wedding or destination wedding? If your dream venue is too expensive, can you search for something very aesthetically similar? For the dress, do you mind keeping it simple, or something vintage, or do you mind shopping off-season?
The real question is do you have the time to search for cheaper options actively? It takes a lot of effort and time to go to different stores, track down cheap tailors, buy the samples, and follow trunk or bridal shows. The same goes for taking the time to search for hidden-treasure venues.
- How Much Do You Value A Wedding
Finally, you have to ask yourself this question. As simple as it may be, you and your partner must sit down and discuss this. Do you really want a big wedding as much as your loved ones do, or do you want to focus solely on each other on the day?
Ask yourself all these questions and don’t stress about it too much. If you start to dread the planning process, then it isn’t fun anymore and you lose the purpose of what a wedding is. Take the average cost of $33,000 and ask yourself how you feel about that number. If it doesn’t faze you, then you’ve got a lot to work with. But if that number scares you, then don’t worry! As we mentioned, a fantastic wedding doesn’t have to be an expensive one.