Saturday, June 27, 2015

Planning Your Wedding With Other Financial Goals In Mind

Does having your dream wedding mean not being able to put a down payment on your dream home? The answer is “yes” to an alarming number of couples these days.
The Knot, a wedding planning a website, recently released a study where they found the current average cost for a wedding in 2014 was $31,213 (not including the honeymoon). If the average cost of a wedding in the U.S. is over $30,000, how are couples supposed to maintain their other major financial goals? The issue is that the expectations for weddings have continually increased and couples are incessantly feeling the pressure to keep up.
Considering the price of a new home in the U.S. is around $200,000, a 10 percent down payment on that home would be $20,000!
Thus, more and more people are trying to figure out how to have the wedding of their dreams without breaking the bank or delaying their joint start on life together. Couples are saving considerable amounts of money through creative scheduling, alternative traditions, less expensive rings, direct planning and most important, planning their wedding as just one of many financial matters they'll need to navigate together. That's why more are scheduling a little financial planning before the wedding planning starts.
With The Knot reporting that more than half of weddings go over budget, how can they keep it cheap while still enjoying the wedding of a lifetime?

Marry off-season. The most popular wedding months are June and October, with longtime leader June losing ground as people marry later in life and not right out of school. The most popular day to get married is on a Saturday with a nighttime reception. If budget conscience couples were to consider a January wedding after the holiday rush is over -- cold weather wedding venues will be generally empty and well-priced. Weekend brunch weddings can be served buffet-style with more reasonably priced menu choices than an evening sit-down dinner.
Consider alternative venues. Farms, gardens, warehouses, art galleries and of course, family property can be a great value venue for a wedding. Most are prepared to host a wedding and may already have deals set up that the couples can take advantage of. Be sure to communicate catering needs to be sure that outside food and beverages will be allowed.
Watch the extras. From flowers to photography, wedding cake to wedding planners, there are affordable options if the couples do their due diligence. If a venue will let you supply your own flowers and decorations, plan far enough in advance to comparison shop and do your own pick-up and set-up if possible. Consider skilled amateur photographers who meet your tastes and budget and are looking to increase their portfolio. Consider having a signature drink instead of an open bar.
Become your own wedding planner. If you are organized and adept at shopping, negotiating and are willing to arrange all venue, food, service and entertainment aspects of your wedding, you'll see significant savings over hiring a wedding planner. Just don't let the workload overwhelm your big day. Be sure to recruit a trusted friend or family member to be the point person on the big day. They should be in charge of communication, payments, and issues on the wedding day.  
Plan a destination wedding. If you have a tight-knit group of friends and family members who are willing to travel -- or if you can pick up a small group’s bill -- a destination wedding can actually turn out to be significantly cheaper option than an in-town wedding with hundreds of guests, per-plate dining and reception entertainment. Resorts around the world and well-known destinations such as Las Vegas or Hawaii, offer attractive wedding packages that blend a ceremony and vacation getaway. The bonus is they are fully equipped for the wedding and most will do all the planning with you as part of the package.

Bottom line: As people’s expectation for a weddings are expensive, couples considering their long-term financial future will be best served searching for bargains, using non-traditional venues, considering alternative metals for their rings, and selectively using wedding services. All these together will help those who do not want their marriage celebration to overwhelm other equally important financial goals.