With wedding season in full force, I am reminded of the wonderful memories from my three daughters’ weddings. Each of their weddings reflected their own unique personalities. One was quite traditional, one was outdoors and one was a destination.
For many of my clients, giving their children financial assistance for their wedding is a top financial goal. Having planned three very different weddings with my daughters, below is my advice for anyone who might see wedding planning on the horizon.
1. Have a concept of how much you want to spend.
Wedding costs can easily add up. According to The Knot, an average US wedding costs $32,641. However, from my experience attending and planning weddings, the total amount spent will not dictate how special the wedding will be. Take a look at your finances and be open with your children about what you are willing and able to contribute before the planning starts.
2. Having a concept of a budget will allow you and your children to prioritize what to allocate to each purchase.
If the flowers at the reception are important, consider buying a less expensive wedding dress. However, if the wedding is somewhere scenic, flowers might not be necessary. You’ll be able to find something you like at every cost point, so just be honest with vendors at the beginning.
When Marguerite got married, she said one of the best pieces of advice she received was to be upfront at the dress store about how much she wanted to spend. She told them to not even bring her a dress to try on over a certain amount. She knew that with a side by side comparison, she would probably like the more expensive one, and she didn’t even want to be tempted.
3. Research alternatives.
If you find something you like that’s more expensive than you intended, research other options before committing. The online store Etsy has a wide range of vendors at all different price points for many wedding services, such as invitations, decor and clothing. At the same time, talented friends can often be persuaded to use their talents in lieu of traditional wedding gifts.
4. Sometimes the best way to save is to spend.
When my first daughter got married, we initially didn’t want to pay for a wedding planner in an effort to cut costs. However, when she was faced with having to purchase insurance for the venue of her choice, we hired a planner who had insurance of her own, saving us the time, effort and money in acquiring it. In addition, the planner’s plethora of knowledge helped us circumvent countless road blocks, save money in additional areas and freed up our time so we could savor the day of the wedding.
The wedding of your children is a day you’ll never forget. If you’re deciding how much you want to financially contribute, your financial advisor can help calculate how much you can give and still be on track to achieve your other financial goals. We’d love to help you and your family during this special time.