Weddings are big business. According to Hitched.co.uk the industry is worth around £10 Billion a year. According to various magazines including You & Your wedding and Brides Magazine, the average cost of a wedding varies between £20,900 and £24,000.
So who pays for the wedding? According to a survey by jewellers Beaverbrooks, only 18% of fathers of the bride are funding weddings. More frequently couples are funding their own weddings and many are taking a savvy approach to organising a fabulous day which doesn’t break the bank. Bev Budsworth MD of The Debt Advisor Ltd comments: “Based on cases we have encountered over the years, taking out credit to fund a wedding has caused and contributed to serious financial woes.”
Putting yourself at financial risk to fund your wedding will have serious consequences. Apart from the financial strain, there is also a phenomenon called post nuptial depression which according to Harley Therapy, leaves couples feeling a serious sense of emptiness once the big event is over. The hype has much to answer for. Society and romantic movies would have us believe our weddings need to be perfect and once you marry the person you love it will produce instant bliss and you will live happily ever after.
Bev Budsworth adds, “A number of cases spring to mind where following a wedding, couples have ended up with debts levels ranging from £24,000 to £76,000. They often have no choice but to opt for an Individual Voluntary Arrangement which last for 5 to 6 years, during which they are faced with tight budgets to adhere to so they could repay as much of their debt as was affordable”.
The average age for getting married is 33 according to The Office for National Statistics (latest figures are for 2011). A separate survey featured in the Daily Mail in November 2015 about 30 “somethings” identified average savings of just £4,300. For those opting for a lavish wedding celebration, funding the gap of £15,000 with credit cards or loans could leave you saddled with debt payments of £350 or more per month, based on payments over 5 years. A lot can happen in 5 years including the arrival of a baby and a period of little or no pay.
Many couples like to imagine their dream wedding before planning their budget. Instead you should look at how much you can realistically spend before getting any ideas. About 50% of weddings go over budget – make sure you are not one of them. It’s not just wise but vital to budget for every expense you can think of and then leave wiggle room for things you will inevitably forget. Below are some tips on savvy ways to make your day more affordable and leave you free of post nuptial depression.
Many jewellers would have you believe you should spend a minimum of two months’ salary on a wedding ring, but if you think outside the box you can find something special for less.
Second hand doesn’t mean second rate! Not only are vintage wedding rings thrifty, but they can often be beautiful and stand out from the crowd.
Don’t forget to speak to your older family members to see if they have rings they would pass down. Family heirlooms have much more significance than a new ring, and best of all they’re free!
The venue you choose will most likely be the most costly part of your wedding. Consider less obvious places to host your special day and the savings could be substantial.
Shop around to get the best deal on your dress. There are many discount stores that purchase wedding dresses from bridal shops that have closed down. These can easily altered to fit you properly.
Also consider buying a dress from abroad. There is now a booming industry in China offering custom made wedding dresses at a fraction of the price of dresses in the UK. You need to do a lot of research to make sure you find a reputable supplier, but in the end you could save a lot of money.
Also consider purchasing a used wedding dress. Many people may turn their noses up at the thought, but a used wedding dress has only been used once and costs much less than a new one.
Don’t use the word ‘wedding’
If there’s one thing that’s guaranteed to drive up the price of a product, it’s to put the word ‘Wedding’ before it. Avoid using the word when you’re shopping for flowers, wine and other things that aren’t wedding specific.
Wedding cake makers can earn a pretty penny for simply icing a cake. If you’d like somebody to make you a cake, speak to local bakers who normally don’t do wedding cakes. They are likely to have the required skills, but will charge much less.
Another option is to purchase a basic sponge cake yourself and decorate it at home. If you don’t know how to decorate a cake, you likely know someone who does.
Don’t be embarrassed to ask for cash
Many people don’t like asking their guests for cash in place of a gift, but many of them will be relieved to not have the hassle of finding a gift. In a recent poll of 21,000 people, 55% said they would prefer to give cash over a gift.
Bring your own alcohol
Many venues are more than happy for you to supply your own alcohol. It means that they will only charge you the corkage fee to serve it to your guests.
Food is an area where many couples go over budget. Find local independent caterers who are likely to beat quotes from more well known caterers.
Don’t ditch the idea of a buffet. Not only are they much cheaper than a sit down meal, you can often provide more choices to your guests.
We hope the advice above is helpful and you do avoid the danger of taking out credit that ultimately becomes unaffordable.
If you are struggling with debt, please give our team a call on 0800 0851 825 or use our contact form. Our advisors can speak with you about all available debt solutions such as Debt Management, IVAs, Bankruptcy and Debt Consolidation.
All debt solutions need to be carefully considered. IVA’s are formal solutions and failure to keep to the terms can result in your IVA failing and you could end up bankrupt.
There is also free debt help and advice available through a variety of debt charities. For more information, we recommend you visit www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk.