Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A Nice Day for a White Wedding

The summer is upon us and the temperatures continue to rise. Welcome back to wedding season and all the spending that comes with it. We all know the folks footing the bill for a wedding these days are bearing an increasingly large financial burden. What of those who attend weddings as guests? Travel, hotel, clothing, and gift expenses add up fast. Wouldn’t everyone come out ahead if the happy couple just flew to Vegas and had Elvis marry them?

The average cost of a wedding these days is $20,398. If you figure that a typical wedding event lasts for about six hours – from ceremony through reception – that’s about $3,400 per hour! If you’re interested in discovering the cost of a typical wedding in your area, visit

Think about the financial implications of being a guest at a wedding. How far do you have to travel? Will you fly? Are you in the wedding party? What will you spend on a gift? Is your presence present enough? Where will you stay? Are you paying for meals?

As with anything else, the best place to start is with a budget. As you learn of a couple’s pending nuptials a few months in advance of the wedding, begin preparing your plan by totaling your anticipated expenses. The costs of travel, lodging, gift, and food must be included. Take that total and divide the amount by the number of months remaining until the wedding. If you save that dollar amount each month, you’ll be in great shape to enjoy the ceremony, do the Macarena at the reception, and not have to drag the couple’s commemorative sachet bag of personalized M&Ms home along with a bulging credit card bill.

What if there isn’t as much advance notice? Then it’s decision time. We can either decide to spend a little extra on a gift because we choose not to attend or vice versa. Or we could plan to attend while keeping lodging, food, and gift costs to a minimum. On a tight gift budget? If you find out where the happy couple is registered, buy all the serving utensils or dish towels you can; you can fill a gift box with items like this for less than $20.

Marriage is supposed to be the union of a man and woman committing their lives to each other in front of all their loved ones. With a little forethought, you’ll enjoy supporting the newlyweds without breaking the bank.

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