Your wedding day is a BIG day. I get it. When I got married, over eight years ago, I wanted everything to be perfect. I dreamed about that day for years. And as someone who didn’t grow up knowing any happily married couples (and hardly any married couples to be honest), I was determined to make my wedding pretty magical.
And it was.
I don’t have a single complaint about how my wedding day transpired. Even the morning and mid-day rain turned out to be beautiful. But I do have one regret (and I don’t regret much). We spent too much money. And based on recent studies, that trend seems to be getting more and more out of hand every year. Based on The Knot 2016 Real Weddings Survey, the average couple spends $35,329 on their wedding.
And as a native New Yorker, imagine my shock when I realized that the average cost for a wedding in New York City and Long Island is $75,464. What on earth are people spending all this money on? But if NYC is too rich for your blood, you can consider moving to Utah where the average cost is $20,337. Either way, the point is that a lot of couples are spending a lot of money to make it a special day.
The new national average is up about $3,000 from the data collected on the 2015 survey. It’s a pretty significant change in just one year. And the saddest part is that this number doesn’t even include the honeymoon. The good news, though? It seems to include the cost of the engagement ring. Now that makes me feel a little bit better.
So if you are in the process of planning your wedding, you have to ask yourself if you both really want to spend an arm and a leg on your big day. Yes, it’s special and you won’t ever forget it, but you may also spend years suffering for your decision to overspend. After all, isn’t a healthy, long lasting marriage about so much more than one extravagant day?
If you are starting to feel the financial pressures that can come with wedding planning and you still have time to pivot,
Preparing to buy a house
I am sure you knew this would be the first thing on this list. Listen, owning a home with your spouse is major, and home ownership is not cheap. Not only do you need to save up for the down payment on the actual home, but you have to consider all the money you’ll spend once you’ve purchased a home. Things like repairs, new furniture, décor, and other essentials add up. It is no joke. So instead of spending a ton on one day, maybe you should consider spending that money on where you will live and develop some incredible memories as husband and wife.
Getting a new car
If you both have great cars, this may not apply. But if buying a car is somewhere in your near future, imagine what it will feel like to buy a car without having a car note (or at least a very small car note). Sure, we all talk about avoiding credit card debt, but car loan debt isn’t fun either. Avoid it if you can and cruise into your marriage with a car that’s actually all yours.
Investing in a dream you have
I am sure you both have dreams you want to accomplish. Whether it’s a business you want to start or a vacation home you’d like to build one day, I am certain your money will be better spent on a collective dream than on feeding 150 guests and overpriced invitations that will probably end up in the trash (yes, you are the only one saving the fancy invitation).
Starting a college fund for your kids
Planning on having kids? It’s never too early to save for their education. If you decide not to raise children, you can always find something else to do with the money. But if you do have kids, you will be so grateful you started saving early on.
Planning for annual vacations
Vacations are expensive. If you love to travel, you may want to create an account just for traveling. Life happens and you will find that you easily come up short when it’s time to plan that trip to Paris that you always wanted to take. The best and most enjoyable way to travel is debt-free. Do you want a lifetime of traveling and connecting with the love of your life or a big fancy party that leaves you feeling broke and wondering why you spent so much?
BMWK family, are you planning to spend a lot on your wedding day or do you have other plans in store?