The Cost of Love: Average Wedding Cost

Queen Elizabeth the second famously said, “Grief is the price we pay for love.”  Okay, I guess I see where she is coming from but, man, that’s a bit of downer isn’t it? Helen Rowland said, “Matrimony is the price of love — divorce, the rebate.” Pretty good, but I know a few people who have gone through divorce and they didn’t get any rebate. In fact, it cost them more than the marriage! Love seems a confounding thing, so I’ll just leave it to the poets and philosophers to deconstruct it. It’s wedding season, so let’s check out the cost of love or at least a wedding. How much should you spend on your wedding and how should you pay for it?

Plan

Start planning for it as soon as you can. According to the Better Business Bureau – The average wedding cost has reached $35,329. In Columbus, Ohio, the average wedding cost is $27,441! Holy smokes this better be love! Look, weddings are big business! Weddings certainly can have a lot of moving parts. You’ve got the venue, wedding dress, engagement ring, transportation, menu, wedding cake, hair and makeup, tuxedos to name a few. For a complete list of expenses and average wedding costs go this great article by the Better Business Bureau. This is where you set the goals for your wedding. Do you want a big wedding with lots of people or just a small gathering of close friends or somewhere in between? You want a big reception with a DJ or a live band? Do you want to get married at the town hall or do you want a big old church or winery? Look into what you can afford without using credit. Really it is no wonder that some people are engaged for years before they get married. They need time to save!

Budget
  • Set the budget. Look, we all must live within are means or pay a heavy price later. That price includes paying compound interest on purchases made years ago or financial obligations that squeeze the life out of your weekends. Your future wedding should be a budget item just like the electric bill or your car payment. This is a landmark day in your life. That doesn’t mean you have to invite everyone you ever met. Weddings should not be competitions and you don’t want to have regrets about lost income and lost interest from that income. Spend what you can afford to make you satisfied and don’t worry about anyone else.
Save

Save for each expense in your wedding with a checklist. Of course, you need to save for your wedding, but you want to save for each specific expense so that you know it is covered for the wedding day. Some items you’ll pay up as you have the money saved while other items like the rehearsal dinner you may not pay until that day. Keep your checklist of saving items up to date and make any adjustments as needed. Your ability to save may make you adjust your checklist accordingly.

Now I’ll give you a little personal note for which you didn’t ask. When my wife and I were married, we drove down to Camden county which is just outside Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. That county was were GI’s shipped out for WW2 and as a consequence, no waiting for a wedding certificate. Talk about a cheap wedding! My wife and I were married by the judge with two county workers on their lunch break as witnesses. My wife and I couldn’t look at each other and kept giggling nervously so I’m pretty sure if you were to talk to those people today, they’d be shocked we’re still married! We spent about $600 on our wedding and honeymoon combined. The cost of love? I have no idea who George Herbert was, but I think he said it best – “Love is the true price of love.”

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