Most of us dream of that one day of bliss and absolute joy when we say “I do.” We plan for it almost from the day we are born, or so it seems, and fantasize about how beautiful it will be. And when that day comes, we find ourselves in a flurry of action to make it all happen.
But do we ever get so focused on making everything match our fairytale, that we go too far?
Statistics show that the average wedding in the United States costs a staggering $30,000. And chances are few people are able to actually pay that full amount in cash. Instead, many of us are willing to go into debt for the perfect day. And yet, a recent study from Linda Skogrand and a team of researchers at Utah State University showed that starting marriage with large amounts of debt puts couples at major risk for divorce.
So how do we cut down costs without losing the beauty of the day? Here are three tips to having a successful wedding:
Stay Focused on the Reason
The reason most of us have a wedding day is not to have cake at a fancy clubhouse with an expensive DJ. Yet, it is very easy in our world of celebrity weddings to feel the need for the best of everything on our wedding day. We need a fancy cake, a stunning dress, and every person we have ever met to be there.
We do know from research that celebrating special moments together is healthy for relationships, so having a day to remember fondly is a great way to celebrate your commitment to each other. But we could celebrate in an abandoned barn and still remember the day fondly if our love is the focus. The celebration is not what makes our love special. Our love is what makes the celebration special.
Set a Price and Make a Budget
Anyone can tell you that one of the most essential skills in managing money and staying out of debt is setting a budget on how to spend the money we already have. Yet, when it comes to weddings it seems that so many choose to ignore this vital skill. My wife loves the show “Say Yes to the Dress” and so I have seen a few episodes myself. In the show, each bride talks about the budget they have for their dress. Without fail, at least one of the brides says something like “there is no price on love.” These brides are willing to spend as much as is needed to get their perfect dress, even if they will only wear it once.
The better way is to determine how much is available for your wedding day and make a budget to stay within that range. In this planning, remember to stay focused on your love. Start with the things that are most important to both of you and make those the priority. Then think about the things that will last longest, like pictures. Third, spend the least on those things which matter least and are temporary, like the cake. Finally, either go without or consider borrowing anything that doesn’t fit in your budget.
Making Time for Each Other
Another reason weddings may cost so much is because we try to pack many events into a short amount of time. Rehearsal the night before the wedding day is followed by a rehearsal dinner. The next morning is a rush of preparations beginning at 3 AM. The wedding is followed by pictures, a luncheon, and standing while guests congratulate us. Then we have a nice, large dinner full of toasting, dancing, and keeping a smile on our face. All of this comes with great cost, and not only money but also our emotional health. By the end of the day we are often exhausted, but expected to run off into the sunset together for a night of passion
Why do we need so many events? Chances are, we really don’t, and especially so close together. We can save ourselves a lot of money and stress by deciding what really matters. If our guests were present for the luncheon, then do we really need to feed them again at dinner time? If we have the wedding in the afternoon, can we sleep in and still have time to get ready? Remember, stay focused on your love. Your celebration is not about the guests, the food, or the dancing. It is a time to celebrate you, and you need to give yourself time.
For more tips on how to have a successful marriage, try the Relate assessment today.
Written by: Dallin.