Wise weddings: Avoid the 5 most common overspending woes
Everyone loves a beautifully staged wedding. Few are as enamored with the bills that roll in later.
The average cost of a wedding in the U.S. has become a substantial $35,329 according to wedding website TheKnot.com. And that’s not only due to longer guest lists; it is also the result of the desire of brides and grooms to create highly personalized, hard-to-forget ceremonies, receptions and after-parties.
“They’re more excited than ever to create the ultimate guest experience complete with out-of-the-box entertainment and exceptional amenities — everything from food trucks, lawn games and photo booths to aerialists, gospel choirs and live portrait artists,” writes Maggie Seaver in The Knot.
That said, a recent survey by wedding supply vendor Zola reveals that many married couples later regret going overboard on such expenses. And that becomes problematic when practicality goes out the door and wedding costs are added to credit cards — with no clear plans for repaying that money.
What’s the answer? When mulling over your wedding choices, credit scoring company VantageScore Solutions recommends carefully setting priorities so you don’t end up overspending on elements that don’t really matter to you. And when buying on credit, agree together how the charges will be paid off as part of your post-wedding budget. Handling your debt in a financially responsible manner will preserve a healthy credit score, which in turn may open the door to optimal purchasing opportunities in the future.
“When you’re planning, it’s important to think about the wedding day itself, but also afterwards,” advises Jennifer Spector on Brides.com. “We see trends come and go, but focusing on what’s going to greatly impact you on the day, and then how you’d like to remember that day, can help reframe some costs.”
The Zola survey reveals that the most common regrets about wedding expenditures cited by newly engaged and wedded couples, as well as possible alternatives, are:
Twenty-two percent of the respondents said they spent too much on flowers and décor. Savvier couples might avoid exorbitant floral costs by buying affordable containers, cutting flowers from backyard gardens and then paying a design-savvy amateur to beautifully arrange them. Other décor items that have only been used once can often be found secondhand.
Twenty percent reported overspending on hair and makeup. Smart brides and attendants could avoid pricey on-site professionals, instead meeting at lower-cost salons, helping each other or simply taking care of their own grooming.
Nineteen percent thought they paid too much for catering. Shop around, considering the options of serving only hors d’oeuvres or less-upscale but filling meals. The fact is, most guests don’t expect spectacular fare at weddings.
Nineteen percent believe they overpaid for day-of-wedding attire. That’s easy to understand, since prices can be phenomenal for an outfit that’s only worn for one day. Brides-to-be should at least check out the now-substantial secondhand market for like-new apparel, searching consignment stores, Craigslist, eBay and/or Etsy for wedding and bridesmaid gowns.
Seventeen percent regret spending so much on their invitations. Remember when choosing your invitations that they will make a fleeting impression before they are thrown away. Consider choosing simpler materials or have an artistic friend design a more modest alternative. Your post-wedding bills need not be out of control if you set your priorities early and handle your credit responsibly. Best wishes as you embark on your new life as a couple.