Spring is here, summer is just around the corner, and the season for weddings has come. Many couples are busy planning their nuptials, hoping for sunny weather and favorable temperatures. With all of the preparations, it is easy to get carried away in pursuit of a memorable start to a happily married-ever-after life and spent more than is prudent. However, careful planning and pragmatism can help keep the wedding plans on track without derailing a couple’s financial future. A new study provides a little perspective on wedding plans, as well as ways to cut corners without spoiling the fun.
According to one wedding website, the average cost of weddings in the United States has reached a five-year high of $31,213. This is approximately the cost of a down payment on a median-priced home. There are, of course geographical variations, depending on the cost of living in a particular locale. For instance, in New York City, an average wedding can cost up to $75,000 — more than the national median annual household income. A survey in Philadelphia yielded an average cost of $45,000. The cheapest ceremonies can be had in Utah at just over $15,000. In any event, that’s a large amount of debt to bring into a couple’s new life together. Furthermore, in spite of rising costs of weddings, guest lists are shrinking. The average wedding had a guest list of 136 in 2014, down from 149 in 2009.
Of course, there is no reason that a couple has to actually pay this much for nuptials. There are always ways to cut corners. Following are eight ways to save money without sacrificing on the experience.
- Reduce the size of the guest list. Although the average wedding cost has increased while the average size of the wedding has decreased, this does not, of course, mean that the size of the wedding is irrelevant. In 2012, the average cost per guest was $204. So, snipping away at the list can save money overall.
- Consider choosing a time of day, day of the week, and month of the year that tend to be less popular for weddings. Evening weddings with a sit-down dinner are the most expensive. A buffet lunch or afternoon appetizers are a good alternative. Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays are the most popular days, while June and December are the most popular months. Caterers and other vendors may be more willing to cut their price if business is slow at the time you want to tie the knot.
- Compare prices on line and consider buying items from cancelled weddings or reselling unused items from your own. The guests would never know.
- Buying flowers in season is cheaper. As with everything else, compare prices amongst all your in-season options as well.
- Do it yourself as much as possible. Invitations, reminders, even favors are things that some brides and bridesmaids are capable of preparing themselves. Also, some online sites allow you to order handmade items directly from designers without using a middleman.
- Consider skipping the costly reception hall and utilize church halls, restaurants, even beaches and parks. The latter can provide a beautiful setting for pictures.
- Keep the cost of food down.
- Maintain emphasis on the ceremony and its meaning, rather than on all the trappings.
Last, but not least, as the couple prepares to get married, they should also retain counsel to prepare a prenuptial agreement that they are able to sign several weeks or months prior to the marriage. DO NOT WAIT UNTIL THE DAY BEFORE THE WEDDING TO SIGN A PRENUPTIAL AGREEMENT.
If you are considering marriage, or have any questions concerning any family law matter, James S. Cunha, Esq. is an experienced West Palm Beach Family Law and Divorce Lawyer who can assist you in making your future plans. The Law Offices of James S. Cunha, P.A. has been serving the needs of clients in Miami-Dade, Broward, Hendry, St. Lucie, Palm Beach, Martin, and Okeechobee Counties for many years. Call today for a consultation, locally at 561-429-3924, or toll-free at 1-800-558-1227.