Don’t let tying the knot tie you down in financial debt. The average wedding is estimated to cost $25,000 to $30,000, as couples get real about what they’ve spent in the aftermath of wedding stress and bliss.
When wedding bells should be ringing, alarm bills on your budget are going off instead. These are the signs to look for when you’re about to have a red wedding:
1. You're Feel Pressured to Spend More on Things Because It’s What’s Expected
A third of couples go into debt for their big day. If you’re purchasing items on a “dream” list when that list has been made by family or society instead, you need to revisit it. Don’t make wedding purchases because it’s what’s expected or traditionally done.
If you don’t care about bridal parties, bachelor parties, flowers or table decorations, speak up. It’s better to speak up than to swipe your credit card and spend years paying off the debt. Don’t have a wedding in the red, where you’re paying off your debt six years after the wedding.
What’s the one big-ticket item you do care about? Is it the dress, the reception, the honeymoon? Focus financial energy towards your must-have items to make the wedding goals you care about happen.
2. It’s Just One Day
Don't buy into the advice that says your wedding day is the most important day of your life. Yes, it's a very important and very special day, but at the end of the day, it's only one day of the rest of your life. You don't want to let that one day turn into years of paying down your wedding debt.
Many married couples describe their happy day as a blur of festivity and worries. Every detail must be perfect. Aunt Beatrice can’t sit next to Uncle Joe, or it’ll be the end of the world. Future hubby’s sister and mother have to plan the bridal party and basically most of the wedding. Make your mantra: “It’s just one day. We have the rest of our lives.” Focus on what brings you joy, and if that means shipping off to Vegas to do it — so be it.
3. It Will Add Extra Stress to The Start of Your Marriage
It’s normal to stress over the budget for the wedding. Everyone will tell you that it’s a part of the process. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
For married couples, fights over money are one of the major sources of disputes and one of the biggest reasons that potentially lead to divorce. If money is a sore spot for the two of you now, make an effort to get on the same page financially and build good communication channels. A prenuptial agreement might be worth discussing. Some people think that prenups ruin romance, but in some circumstances, it’s worth considering. Especially if one (or both) of you carry significant debt, you can protect the other from having liability of your financial burden.
Discuss your mutual relationships with money and debt, and know that you need to talk about how you will handle your finances as a unit now. This will build a stronger marriage.
4. It’s Only Getting More Expensive to Raise Kids
Kids are expensive, depending on if you want them and how many you want. As neatly as you may have your life planned, kids can’t be predicted.
From birth to the age of seventeen, the average child will cost $233,610 to raise, or the upbringing of each child will cost $14,000 annually. Sacrifices are expected when you have children, but to give them the quality of life they deserve — that you deserve — pay down your debt before marriage.
Don’t get into debt for your wedding. Enter your marriage and parenthood without feeling married to your bills, and you’ll be able to focus your attention on life’s greatest blessings.
5. You Have Larger Mutual Financial Goals
Many of your life goals will be uniquely your own, and taking the journey toward them is best done with your partner. This is something you promise each other when you take your wedding vows.
Going into wedding debt may push your financial, career and family goals further back than you are willing to compromise. As you discuss your relationship with money and debt, you must also discuss each of your timelines or where you see yourselves in the future. Goals change, and people change. Make sure you are traveling this journey of life together as a team every step of the way.
Save your sanity and the sanctity of your marriage now by not going into debt for your wedding. Focus on your priorities first and conquer all obstacles as a team, because that’s what the married life is all about. You won’t look like Bridezilla or Groomvader for standing your ground and giving a gentle — or firm — reminder of that fact. This day is symbolic of the rest of your life. Set an example for your future married self, and start out on the right foot.
This is your special day, but remember it's just one day at the beginning of a lifetime of special days together. If, for whatever reason, you do end up taking on some debt to pay for your big day, check out these tips for minimizing wedding debt from Intuit. Our best advice? Have a longer engagement to save for the wedding you want.