Wonderful Wedding Advice – Spending Plan Part 1

by financialmom on July 9, 2012

in Debt, Marriage, Money

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The most popular blog post I have ever written continues to be Things I Wish I Knew Before I Got Married – Part 1.  I find this fascinating.  Out of all the topics I have written about, this article still gets by far the most views. 

I have weddings on my mind again, since we attended the first of our four weddings this summer this past weekend.  The picture above is of our niece and her new husband getting ready to drive off in a fire truck (he is a volunteer fire fighter).  How cool is that?  Before I say anything else, here’s the disclaimer – I love weddings. 

While I am do not consider myself an expert in wedding planning, I have participated in or attended well over a hundred weddings over the years, as an organist/pianist, or a relative/friend.  So I have seen it all – the good, the bad, the beautiful, and well, the not so beautiful.

The current average wedding cost in the United States is around $27,000.  Note I said average.  I have some issues with this.  If you have the money, and spending this much money on a wedding is not going to stop you from managing your finances the way God would want you to, then have at it.  For the rest of us, read on.

I have a huge problem with going into debt to fund a wedding.  I understand it may be the most important day of your life.  Please take advice from someone who has been married over 30 years.  In the end, the only thing that will really matter to you is the pictures of all the people who cared enough about you to be there.  Really!

Don’t let your wedding become a weight around your neck for years, as you struggle to pay it off.  Don’t spend so much on your wedding that it stops you from doing the longer lasting things, such as paying off those student loans early, or buying a house. 

As you are considering the costs of your wedding, think about the opportunity cost of what you are giving up in the future.  For example, this will make you think twice about spending thousands and thousands of dollars on a wedding gown.  It could have been the down payment for your house.

Even if your parents are paying for the entire cost of your wedding, do not guilt them into spending more than they can afford.  You are now an adult.  It’s time to act like one, and be responsible about money, even if it’s not yours.

Since I have children in their 20’s, two of whom are married, and whose friends are getting married on a routine basis, here’s my next recommendation.  Please consider who your wedding party is before you choose what they are going to be required to wear for your wedding. 

If your wedding party consists of younger unmarried family members, and recently graduated college friends, do not require them to buy the $300 bridesmaid dress, or the $250 groomsman tuxedo.  They probably can’t afford it.  Chances are those college friends will also have to travel a good distance to be at your wedding.  They do want to come and share your special day. 

Don’t make your wedding party go into debt to pay for travel, clothing, and gifts.  One of my sons told me a recent wedding cost them $700, between the costs of all of those things.  If you have to indulge your expensive taste for your wedding, pay for it yourself. 

While you are at it, make arrangements for your wedding party to stay with family members, or pay for their hotel room while they are at the wedding.  I am not kidding.  Look at this from their point of view.  You may think this is all about you and your wedding, but even though they really want to be there for you, you are not the only person in the world getting married.  They may have other weddings to attend and pay for.  Make it easy for them to be at yours.

This may sound really obvious, but if you are getting married in summer, do everyone a favor and make sure the venues where you are having the wedding and reception are air-conditioned.  This may sound picky, but you can thank me later, both for your comfort and for your guest’s comfort too J.  Don’t make the only thing they remember about your wedding how ridiculously hot it was.

Stay tuned for my next article on easy ways to make your wedding beautiful and elegant for reasonable amounts of money.

Otten 2853 Color Background cropped Wonderful Wedding Advice   Spending Plan Part 1Pamela Otten is CEO of Pamela Otten LLC, a Registered Investment Advisor. She loves to work with women business owners and entrepreneurs, and women in transition due to job change, death, or divorce. Pamela will help you set and reach your financial goals, educate you to understand your investments, and teach you how to do more charitable giving. Pamela is a Qualified Kingdom Advisor, trained and committed to integrating biblical principles with her investment advice (www.kingdomadvisors.org).

cc smallest Wonderful Wedding Advice   Spending Plan Part 1Photo Credit – Hannah Huschens

Financial Planning, Investment Advice, and Investment Management provided through Pamela Otten LLC, Registered Investment Advisor.

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