FEBRUARY IS NATIONAL WEDDINGS MONTH
If a wedding is in your future, say “I do” to planning ahead.
February is a month filled with heart-felt celebrations—Valentine’s Day, American Heart Month, and National Weddings Month. Some people, though, may think it’s odd to have National Weddings Month in February, given that it is a relatively slow, cold season for walking down the aisle. But a lot of couples become engaged during the Christmas holidays, or on New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, or Valentine’s Day, hoping to have a wedding during the summer or fall—and February is a great time to start planning ahead!
The average cost of a wedding—and what’s changed
According to the 2021 Behind the Wedding Budget Study, couples budget an average of $22,500 for their wedding day ceremony and reception, and 40% of them start saving once they get engaged. In their article How to Save for a Wedding, U.S. News & World Report noted that the average cost of a wedding dropped from $28,000 in 2019 to $19,000 in 2020—a decline it attributed to couples downsizing or cancelling large weddings during the pandemic.
The Behind the Wedding Budget Study published by WeddingWire also details the struggles couples face to meet their wedding budget goals, broken down by age ranges. “The reality of the situation is that most couples are juggling multiple financial goals,
including saving for a house (60%) or retirement (52%), all while also saving for a wedding,” the report said. “Additionally, Gen Z (ages 18-24) is more likely to be paying off student loans (64%), while younger millennials (ages 25-29) are more likely to be paying off credit card debt (44%) as they save for their wedding.”
Advice for planning for the big day
Working out the details of a wedding—including event locations, timing, invitation list, attire, flowers, and a long list of costs—can be daunting. There’s often some confusion, too, about who pays for what.
The wedding-planning website The Knot has a financial planning timeline, a free wedding budgeter, and other useful tools for planning weddings. The Brides website also has useful ideas and advice, including the article How to Avoid Going Into Debt for Your Wedding.
Whether you are part of a lucky couple planning your future—or the parent of one—this may be a good time to consult with a financial professional to help work out some options. It’s also important to have “the money talk” to make sure everyone involved is on the same page. As the Brides website states, “Weddings should create lasting memories, not debt.”
Here are some tips:
Determine what you can afford—and set a wedding budget.
Reduce your guest list, if possible.
Be open to new, creative ideas that might help you save money.
Don’t be afraid to negotiate costs.
Bundle services, if possible.
Consider using an experienced wedding planner because they typically know how and where to get the best deals.
While it’s important to save money when you can, remember it’s also important to create and save memories. For example, don’t settle for an amateur photographer—even a friend— when a professional can help you preserve and share this important day. Do what you can to plan and prepare so that you and your loved ones can make the most of this special day.
Thanks for checking out the blog.
Joe Breslin , CFP®