FREQUENTLY ASKED WEDDING QUESTIONS: MONEY
There are so many questions that come up from engaged couples and their families and guests. They don't always require long explanations, so this is a “Frequently Asked Wedding Questions” series that I'll do every so often to answer some of those burning questions.
This is a quick and easy to read post answering a few questions I get all the time about weddings. In today’s post, I’ll be answering a few questions about wedding planning and money. Let’s get to it!
How much do weddings cost?
The average cost of a wedding in the US is about $26,000. Couples, on average spend between $19,000 and $33,000, but most couples spend less than $10,000 (source: www.costofwedding.com). This does not include the honeymoon. This, of course, will depend on what part of the country you plan to get married. If you are thinking about getting married in larger cities where the cost of living and services are more expensive, you can expect to spend two to three times the average amount. Let’s be honest, the majority of your wedding expenses are not from the wedding ceremony. You will incur most of your costs for the reception. The location, your guest count, and the vendors you choose will usually be the factors that weigh the heaviest in determining your wedding cost.
Who pays for the wedding?
Traditionally, the bride’s family pays for the majority of the wedding expenses and the groom’s family pays for a few expenses like the marriage license, officiant’s fee, corsages, boutonnière, the bride’s bouquet, groomsmen gifts, liquor, and the reception musical entertainment (source: www.theknot.com). But this tradition is often not the case. Many couples are footing the bills themselves because people are waiting longer to get married. Many couples have established careers and are making decent incomes allowing them to pay for their weddings themselves. This is not always the case, so there are still many couples that follow the tradition of the bride’s family paying for most of the expenses. In my opinion, talk this through with your fiancé and your families. Your situation may be different and it’s totally ok to come with another method to get your wedding expenses covered. Maybe you and your fiancé pay for certain things, your parents pay for certain things, and your fiancé’s parents pay for certain things. There is nothing wrong with divvying up the expenses, just be sure that everyone involved is in agreement and holds up their end of what they are committing to covering.
Who pays for the honeymoon?
Traditionally, when the bride’s family footed the bill for the wedding, the groom and his family pay for the honeymoon, but nowadays that tradition doesn’t really apply. Many couples cover the cost of their honeymoon themselves, while in other cases, the cost is split between the couple’s parents. Once again, this will depend on your individual situation. There really isn’t a set rule to follow. You just want to be sure to have the discussion, so everyone involved is on board and in agreement.
Who hosts the bridal shower?
In most cases, the bridesmaids should host the bridal shower, while sometimes, the mothers of the bride and groom will host as well. In either case, the bride should be consulted about certain details, specifically, the guest list. The bridal shower should be intimate and include women who are important to the bride. Also, anyone that’s invited to the shower should also be invited to the wedding.
Who hosts the rehearsal dinner?
Traditionally, the groom’s parents host the rehearsal dinner since the bride’s family customarily pays for the wedding. But nowadays, other relatives, close friends, and even the bride and groom themselves can pay for the event.
Should we have joint accounts?
In most cases, my advice here is to keep your money separate until after the wedding. Once you say your I Do’s and get home from your honeymoon, then you should start the process of joining your accounts. (This is my recommendation if you and your fiancé have created a detailed budget, had deep discussions about your money and have gone through pre-marital counseling where the topic of money has been dissected.)
The one exception I have to this rule is if you AND your fiancé are paying for your wedding, or your families are giving you money that is to go towards your wedding expenses. In this situation, I would suggest you open ONE joint account for those funds to go into. This allows you to keep your normal household funds separate from the money you have allocated for your wedding. It also keeps your accounting clean because any transaction from this account should only be wedding related. Your grocery runs, utility and debt payments won’t be coming out of this account so keeping track of your expenses will be much easier.
Please be advised, that this will only work if you and your fiancé are on the same page about how this money is to be spent. It should only be used to cover your wedding expenses. So, no treating yourself to lunch or shopping for non-wedding expenses. That would defeat the purpose of the account. I recommend that this be a joint account so that both of you have access to the money if necessary. If a wedding expense comes up and needs to be paid, either of you can write the check or withdraw the funds. But once again, this will only work if you have done a budget and both of you agree on how the money is to be spent.
How do we pay for a wedding if we also have debt?
Before you can begin to figure out to pay for your wedding while having debt, you must get your financial house in order. That means, knowing how much money you and your fiancé have coming in and how much is going out. Sit down together and do your separate budgets. List your incomes, utility bills, insurance, how much you typically spend on gas for your cars, groceries, entertainment. Be very detailed and specific. And then list the minimum payments on your debts (school loans, car loans, bank loans, credit card loans, etc). What’s left is what you have monthly that can go towards your wedding expenses. Read this post to get specific tips on how best to pay for your wedding while having other debts.
I love answering your questions and giving you a one stop shop to get the answers you need. So please, if you have wedding questions that come up, leave them in the comment section below and I’ll be sure to add them to my list and post the answers for you.
I am the owner of Adesuwa Events, a New Orleans based wedding consulting business where I provide intentional guidance and direction to couples who desire to plan their own weddings. I'm a New Orleans girl who lives for a good festival with amazing food (usually CARBS) and good music. My mission is to help bring fulfillment and provide guidance to all of you couples going through your wedding planning journeys while preparing for a marriage that is more memorable than your wedding.
Recently engaged and wondering what to do first? No worries, I've got you covered. Use this guide and you will be well on your way to wedding planning bliss!
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