While it is still unknown how much Mark Zuckerberg spent on his impromptu wedding, the latest tallies reveal that we average Americans spent more on weddings last year than the annual median US income. (Something a guy with $20 Billion need never achieve.) In spite of reduced incomes, the average wedding budget was well over $25,000. The obvious is true…young romantics-and their PARENTS- used credit cards to make emotional decisions that they “will find some way to pay off!”
Realistically, young couples, both working, are beginning their lives together with annual starting salaries averaging $26, 000. In reality, they both are often facing Student Loans from $15 to 40,000 each. While many jobs have starting salaries of $25.00 an hour, if your degree is not in an occupation of high demand, you can find yourself working either part time in your concentrated studies, or at $10 to $15 an hour in a non-degree job, with little or no benefits.
The down side is that couples are beginning their Romeo & Juliet Romance in a spiraling Shakespearean Tragedy. The pressures are unbearable. Bills start coming in, Student Loan payments kick in, the bride becomes (or already is) pregnant, and the apartment starts shrinking, the Blame Game starts quickly! A Love Song from HELL!
So, GET A GRIP! A CLUE! Whatever you need to get, and both of you sit down and drink a big glass of Reality! All those high school, college friends, family members you are doing this major production for are NOT going to be around to help you pay off the excessive bills for lighting, flowers, pastries, limos, hotel rooms, cruises…anything! They will all be hiding and avoiding you on their guest lists. The embarrassment of your too soon broken vows will have them talking about your “wedding payments lasting longer than the marriage, Ha Ha!” Cruel, I know, but I’ve heard the jokes and the laughter!
Keep a modest picture of the simple basics the two of you share with the lowest possible dollar amount. Target an amount that you can realistically pay, hopefully, before the wedding date. For our daughters we held them to an expense limit and scheduled “Payment in Full” before the actual Wedding date. We all worked in detail together (Ex’s, Step Parents, and new-to-wed couple) to be sure we could give the wedding of their Dreams, without hating each other after the reception.
BEST key for financial success in a Wedding Plan is NO SURPRISES! Everything documented within a few dollars, Everything discussed in detail BEFORE contracts are signed.
For our wedding we had NO extra money. We paid cash for everything so we had to decide together what would be important to remember by our 1st Anniversary. That took us straight to the basics: Eloquent Simplicity & FUN!
We listed our Most Valued Priorities with the end in mind. What would we regret NOT having spent more on: Honeymoon? Rings? Photographs? Here was how we evaluated our list.
1st Rings: $couple of thousand- Combined engagement/wedding band.
2nd Honeymoon: $ couple of thousand
3rd My Precious wedding dress (NOT Voluptuous!) ………………..$150 on sale for $79. Shoes: $25.At Dillards
4th White Chocolate Grenache on French Almond cake; Ginger ale & Rasp-Cranberry mix created a Pink Champagne fountain (non-drinkers save a bundle),Heavy hors d’oeuvres, Chocolate dipped strawberries, mints/nuts, beverages, Monogrammed napkins: Total: $300.
5th Photographer: $100 (Family member with a great camcorder & camera
6th Silk flower bouquet with inserted fresh white roses: Bride’s Maids single white rose/baby breath, with gold/green/white ribbons; (arranged myself)-Friend sewed pearl beads on my Grandmother’s lace handkerchief and on the veil on my lace hat. $100.
7th-10th Church, Hall, musician, and Pastor: $300 Grand total: Just around $5000.00 (Don’t you laugh about my wedding!)
All the things important to us were perfect! We came home to a Marriage, not Debtor’s Chains. We were able to start fresh on our lives not fearing these huge credit card bills would hunt us down. Our daughters liked the plan and followed it with their very relieved husbands. The best part is that we still are close friends with our guests almost 20 years later and we still have some of the wedding gifts! Wonderful Keepsakes with Precious memories!
So, don’t get all depressed and feel cheated if you need to slash some of those high-priced extras. No one during early years of marriage should be bragging about how much they blew on a wedding. Having the most expensive wedding is not nearly as important as having the best marriage!