The question of what to spend on a wedding is one I get asked a lot and there is no single correct answer, what is appropriate for one couple may not be appropriate for another.
While the answer is completely dependent on your financial situation (income, savings rates, debts, etc.) and personal preferences, there are some recommendations that apply to everyone:
- Have a budget and stick toit - sit down with your spouse-to-be and talk about what you really value in a wedding ceremony and celebration and what you realistically can afford. If your parents or other relatives are going to help with the costs you will want to include them in on the conversation as well.
- Do some research- use the internet and talk to recently married friends to find out what kinds of costs they faced, if they had any unexpected expenses, and if they have any recommendations.
- Be realistic - anyone who has ever planned a big event like a wedding knows that expenses can get out of hand very quickly. If your budget is limited, I recommend you identify one particular item that you want to splurge on (photographs, flowers, etc.) and then limit your spending on the other items.
- Avoid debt - weddings are stressful enough without adding the burden of debt. If you absolutely must go into debt, identify exactly how much you are willing to spend and have a plan to pay it back. Recognize that starting out a marriage with debt may add extra strain to your relationship.
Try to put this day in perspective and be reasonable, remember that this is just one day that begins a lifetime of events and adventures!