It might be hard to digest, but Bride To Be Magazine released figures in a bi-annual Cost of Love study which found that couples are now spending a record of $54,294 on a wedding (includes everything from rings, to honeymoon to reception). And that figure is rising!
The study also said that couples originally planned for $25,866, so in fact budgeted for less than half of what they could finally pay. This is problematic as couples are not adequately advised on how to put together a realistic budget from the start. It is also becoming more common for young couples to foot the total wedding and honeymoon bill without any financial assistance. As a result, many start their married life in a pool of dept.
Also, what I have found is many couples don’t realise that they will need to pay suppliers 100% upon booking, or 50% in the beginning and 50% a few weeks prior to the wedding. That means couples must have access to 100% of their wedding costs before getting married.
To ease the financial burden, many Brides and Grooms are now opting for a wishing well (cash gifts) at their reception. This is a wonderful way to help with some wedding cost. However, what I’ve found is that couples tend to plan their budgets based on what they think they will get from their wishing well. This is problematic as it is a complete guess and couples then spend money they never receive.
Here are a few quick tips on how to reduce upfront costs:
(1) Honeymoon Fund: Why not ask guests to help contribute to your honeymoon fund rather than purchasing you engagement or kitchen tea gifts. There are a number of companies that can help set up your honeymoon fund. Some sites also offer the option of purchasing experiences or gifts for your honeymoon, which may appeal to those who want to give something specific rather than just a donation. Check out: Travel Registry or Not Another Toaster
(2) Bridal Party Outfits: Ask your bridal party to purchase or hire their wedding attire (suits, shoes, dresses, hair pieces) rather that give you a wedding gift. Be clear with your bridal party from the start about the costs they might need to pay so there is no confusion. Set a realistic budget and be prepared to contribute if you choose something that exceeds the budget.
(3) Gifts: If you opt for a wishing well, why not politely ask a few close family or friends if they could give you their wedding gift a little early. That is, a month or so prior to the wedding. This will help with some upfront payments. If you explain your situation, I am sure they will be happy to oblige.
Final bit of advice to you all. Try not to rely solely on your wishing well. You should never plan a wedding based on what you think you may get back. This is never guaranteed and should not be a focus of your wedding budget plan or the day itself. Anything you are given should be considered a wonderful bonus.
To read more about putting together your wedding budget click here.