Marc A. Hebert's Money Sense: Before saying 'I do' comes the planning to pay for the weddingBy MARC A. HEBERT
July 07. 2017 8:00PM
Congratulations, you're getting married! We know you are looking forward to the big day, but the planning and paying for the celebration can be overwhelming. A wedding might be the biggest party you will ever throw. According to a study conducted by The Knot, the national average price of a wedding in 2016 was $35,329. This represents an increase of $2,688 from 2015.
By doing some research, you can get an idea of what your wedding will cost and do some planning from there.
The first step is to sit down with your future spouse and decide what kind of a wedding you would like. Be honest with each other. What are your expectations? Do you want a large, elaborate wedding or would you rather have a small, intimate wedding? A discussion about what you feel comfortable spending is appropriate.
Sometimes families like to help with the cost. If they have expressed a desire to do so, ask them how or what they would like to contribute. Maybe they will give you a sum of money to spend however you would like. Another family member might want to pay for a particular expense, the reception for example. Knowing how much your family will do can really help. It gives you an idea of the balance you will need to pay.
Now that you have an idea of what you would like for a wedding, it is time to consider the particulars. This includes the venue, wedding dress, invitations, catering, cake, DJ or band, photographer, flowers, and more. The cost of these items can really add up, and it is important to get estimates of what each will cost.
Next establish priorities. What is most important to you? Maybe you want a spectacular gown. Instead, it might be a wonderful meal for your family and friends.
Deciding on the amount for each item will help you determine what to spend and then save for it. At this point, savings usually is a must. The sooner you start setting money aside for your wedding, the better off you will be. Set a goal of so much each paycheck until you reach the magic number. It is a good idea to set aside some extra. Costs could be higher than you expect.
In addition to saving, be sure to stay in line with your budget. Some expenses might seem minor like the stamps for the invitations and RSVP cards, favors, tips, etc. But costs can really add up. Also, look for those hidden fees. Do any vendors charge for overtime or delivery? Are there cake cutting or corkage fees? Does the DJ charge extra for that especially large venue?
If you spend too much on one area, it might be possible to cut back on another. The guest list could be trimmed. Maybe you could choose flowers that are in season. There might be a chance you could find a lower cost venue. Does a family member have a really beautiful backyard you could use for an afternoon? Being creative can help save money.
Even with all the planning you have done, unforeseen circumstances can still pop up to ruin your plans. To help negate the possibility, some couples buy wedding insurance. As the coverage options and limitations vary, read the policy's fine print very carefully. Your insurance agent and venders might be able to provide you with information on the available policies.
After all the planning, have a wonderful wedding and celebration to the start of your life together.
Email questions to Marc A. Hebert, M.S., CFP, a senior member and president of the wealth management and financial planning firm The Harbor Group of Bedford, at email@example.com. His response might appear in a future column.