Two of three couples will overspend on their wedding

Don't Overspend on Your Wedding

by Hanna Peskoe

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Weddings are thrilling, especially if they are your own. However, once the rings have been exchanged, the toasts presented and the bouquet tossed, the excitement dies down. Couples are left with polished photographs, piles of gifts, hundreds of thank you letters to address and, for two-thirds of American couples, the regret of having overspent. As easy of a trap as it is to fall into, it is even easier to avoid.

  • When planning a wedding, a strict budget is necessary prior to any decision-making. The two of you should sit down and honestly survey your financial situation and make sure that your priorities are aligned. Your fiancé might want to take an extended, lavish honeymoon in Bali while you might be dreaming of a large wedding complete with filet mignon, a harpist, and an extravagant reception hall. The two of you should be upfront with what you envision and come to an agreement on what your priorities are. While you can splurge on certain aspects, you certainly cannot do so on all items, so make sure that you are doing so on the right ones. When determining an estimated amount, make sure you include the minute details that are often overlooked but can still cost. Furthermore, keep a thorough list of the wedding-related spending, so you can easily spot if you've gone above the designated amount for one facet and should compensate when purchasing another item.
  • During the days and months leading up to the wedding, emotions can run high and priorities shift. When we feel insecure or panicked, the temptation to buy is heavy. The instant-gratification provides temporary relief that quickly fades and leaves us with the urge to spend even more. Knowing that you might be especially vulnerable to such temptations in regards to your wedding, avoid emotional spending. It is important that you stick to your previously set budget and make no rash decisions. If you feel that you're about to deviate away from the "original plan," wait 12-24 hours before finalizing the choice to determine whether the selection is logical or impulsive. Furthermore, you can use this time to do some light investigation about whether you can find similar items for lesser prices from other retailers. Companies like American Bridal and eFavor Mart frequently have sales on many common wedding decorations and supplies that can potentially save you money.
  • Remember that weddings are not a competition. When preparing the arrangements, it is easy to compare your own nuptials to what you've seen in the media and your friend's exchange of vows the previous year. While you can certainly use such sources as inspiration, it should not be the measuring stick with which you measure how good your own wedding will be. In regards to your acquaintance's ceremony, remember that the particulars were coordinated to fit his or her preferences, not your own. One couple might have a large church wedding while the other might have an intimate affair in a rustic barn, and both celebrations can be equally lovely. In regards to comparing your wedding to what is depicted on television and magazine spreads, don't lose sight that photographs have been retouched, scenes were performed in multiple takes under special lighting, and the specifics were purchased by companies with bigger budgets than two individuals. Resist peer pressure and do some soul searching to decide what is important to you. Perhaps printed invitations will seem unnecessary in an electronic world or a limousine will seem superfluous when all of your friends have perfectly adequate cars.
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  • Charge as little of the wedding as possible. The concept of money that must be paid back "one day" does not hold the same significance as tangible cash, which makes couples using credit much more likely to overspend. After all, two out of three newly married couples lament about how much they spent, so there is no denying that the temptation is there. Also, as any married couple can tell you, there is no such thing as a guarantee when it comes to money and the future, so gambling your family's security might not pay off quite as you planned. Starting a new life together severely in debt can have quite the dampening effect on a relationship.

If your wedding day comes and goes and you find that you have overspent, it isn't the end of the world. While such a realization can be scary, there are many resources that will help you address the debt and reduce spending.

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