Wedding planning can be lots of fun. With no shortage of options and features available, it can be easy to lose sight of the costs. So if a wedding is in your future –whether it is your own wedding, or you are a parent footing the bill, the first thing you should do when it comes to planning is to determine what you can legitimately afford without getting yourself into unnecessary debt.
According to The Knot’s 2018 Real Weddings Study, the average wedding in the U.S. in 2018 cost $33,391, not including the honeymoon. What you will ultimately pay depends largely on where you live. The cost of the average wedding in New York City and the surrounding area is $50,000, while the average falls to $22,000 for people living in Cleveland, Ohio.
With the majority of weddings planned a year or more in advance, determining what you can truly afford to spend can have an impact on the decisions you make when planning –from the venue you choose, which is the largest expense, to things such as whether or not you want a DJ or a live band, with the latter usually running significantly higher in cost. Failing to determine a realistic budget and what you can afford can lead to costly mistakes that you could be paying off for years to come.
If putting together your dream wedding involves taking out a loan or running up significant credit card bills, you may want to rethink your planning. While your wedding is certainly an important day in your life, don’t forget that it is after all just one day, and there will be many other important events and milestones to come –from buying a home, to paying for the higher education costs of children down the road. Though there are plenty of borrowing options available for funding a wedding, as appealing as a live band may seem now, you may feel differently if you are still paying it off, along with significant interest, years from now.
Following are a few things to consider when determining what you will spend on your wedding:
- Determine how much you are able to spend per person before putting together a guest list.
- Don’t feel pressure to invite everyone you know, as adding casual acquaintances to the mix can quickly send costs soaring and can unnecessarily increase the size of the venue that you need to book.
- Don’t forget to factor in the cost of labor, sales tax, tips and any pickup or delivery charges involved in the venue you select.
- While a photographer is not an area where you will likely want to skimp, a videographer may not be necessary –particularly since people are now able to make high quality recordings from their smart phones, and guests will likely do so on their own.
- Don’t choose your venue or commit to a final headcount based on the number of people on your invitation list, as not everyone will make it. Plus, most venues will allow you to add more people to your count, but they are unlikely to let you deduct from your initial commitment on your contract.
Friday evenings and Sundays tend to be much less expensive that Saturday weddings.