Perfection is subjective. And the more perfect you want something to be, the more money you’ll need to spend to make absolutely sure that everything goes as smoothly as you want. Did you know that the average wedding in the United States costs a whopping $35,329? Perfection is an expensive matter.

But you should also factor in your future lifestyle with your spouse if you’re looking to have the perfect wedding. Let’s say that the wedding goes perfectly and the honeymoon goes decently as well. Now you’re home and you realize that you’ve sunk yourself into tremendous debt to organize such perfect experiences.

In actuality, the perfect wedding needs to cover both the wedding and the relationship afterwards. You can’t just have a wedding and then ignore all future financial issues resulting from the liberal use of your money. Given that we need to factor in these future expenses, how much does a perfect wedding really cost?

Wedding Expenditures and Life Circumstances

We’ve already outlined that the general cost of an average wedding runs the average person around $35k. What parts of a wedding are so expensive that they add up to that cost? Well, consider the material costs of everything – food, your expensive clothing, jewelry, gifts, flowers and decorations, living and venue accommodation expenses. Then you have the costs associated with making the event organized, fun, and memorable like photography, videography, DJ and sound equipment, and wedding planners and accountants.

The bottom line is that you’re hiring a ton of different people to work a ton of different jobs all on the same day and creating the perfect wedding means that you intend to hire the best that you can find. There’s no question that those conditions alone will generate a massive amount of debt for you to contend with.

To put things into perspective, consider that the average income of the group of people most likely to get married (25-34) is about $54,305, and that’s not counting deductions from taxes, social security, and insurance. You will need to pay the bills for rent, utilities, and food as well as outstanding loans on your house and your car. Based on the life circumstances and milestones that most people are intending to hit, it’s no surprise that the costs of your wedding may just become bundled into another set of loans you have to periodically pay off.

Further, in modern times, student loan debt has skyrocketed as well for most recent graduates. A study published in the Concordia School of Law notes that the average 2016 graduate has $37,172 in student loan debt and that such an astronomical figure is actually contributing to the number of people that choose to simply cohabit instead of marrying. It doesn’t stop there, let’s not forget to count the costs of your typical honeymoon – $5,000.

These are just the basic costs that you should assume for yourself just based on your existence as an average member of society. All of these expenditures added together total to a backbreaking $80,000 or more in costs that you will have to account for if you want to be relatively debt-free after your wedding.

On Saving, Budgeting, and Your Financial Future

There should be no confusion about the fact that you will mire yourself in great amounts of debt if you choose to hold a wedding as a fresh graduate from college. Saving and budgeting efforts that you and your spouse-to-be should undertake need to factor in all of the above costs into account when it comes to the question of saving enough money for the perfect wedding. Luckily, there are a number of things you can do to minimize costs.

First, you’ll want to talk to your partner and deepen your understanding of their financial senses and priorities. Do they want a big, extravagant wedding to highlight your union or are they alright with a high attendance, low-budget venue that involves less vanity overall?

Being on the same page financially is a big predictor for the future stability of your relationship as well – weddings often blur the boundaries of “what’s mine and what’s yours” and marital fraud causes are not uncommon. Identity theft is a serious issue that goes under the radar of most married couples when it’s perpetrated by their spouse because of the implicit trust in a marriage. Make sure you’re not a victim and fix identity theft today by consulting the relevant legal experts on the issue.

After you’ve squared your financial differences away, you’ll want to start thinking about optimizing your wedding costs in a way that allows you to pay the least amount of money for the greatest amount of utility or benefits. For example, you can cut costs on flowers, scheduling, and dresses fairly easily, but you may want to put a bit more money towards photography so that your experiences last.

When all’s said and done at the end of the day, you want the cost of your debts from your life and your wedding not to exceed around 40% of your new family’s combined income. Budget for a wedding that’s less expensive (maybe $10,000), live more frugally by sacrificing more of your income for savings, and generally, make any adjustments you need to make to get the combined figure of your debts to below that 40% mark. That’s how you’ll be able to save for the perfect wedding that takes your current life circumstances and future financial relationship into account.

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