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Being Credit Smart for Your Wedding

Jun 27, 2008
Weddings, on average, are expensive these days. Hugely so. Some would even say ridiculously so, with the average being somewhere around $28,000. That's a lot of money for a one-day event.

Of course, to many the wedding is the most important day of their lives. They want the big party. The elegance. The amazing food. All of their friends and family in one place, celebrating their happiness. And there's nothing wrong with that.

Unless, that is, you really can't afford it. Going into huge debt for your wedding is a poor way to start a marriage. Driving your parents into debt for your huge wedding also isn't so hot an idea.

It's hugely important that you start planning your wedding by figuring out a reasonable budget, taking into consideration what all contributors can reasonably afford to give. This will very much so vary by family. If you keep up with what you can do, you won't be starting your lives off together arguing about the debts you're creating.

One of the challenges to this is that so much of the wedding industry is priced higher than regular services. Just ask around about wedding cakes and compare what you can get regular cakes for. The difference can be significant. Wedding cakes are of course more ornate in most cases, and if they're tiered they must be made to cope with the weight, but even so the prices can be astounding.

Do not sign on for anything for your wedding without comparing prices first. Sure you may have a dream location, a dream dress, etc., but if they make it so that you cannot stay within your budget there may be more options than you thought at first. And you also may discover that you love a cheaper option just as much as one that cost more.

Check your budget regularly as you do spend money. It's all too easy for things to get out of hand, and suddenly you have to figure out how to fit the remaining items you want into the budget.

It is, of course, very common to put a lot of these expenses onto credit cards. That's fine, just make sure that you have a plan for paying them back within a reasonable period. Credit cards are often just the easiest way to pay for things. But debt can be such a strain on a marriage, I really don't recommend starting out with a lot of it.

Or loading a huge debt onto the bride's parents. Not terribly fair to them, either.

The simple truth of the matter is that you can plan quite a beautiful wedding on a wide range of budgets. There are always places you can cut back on costs, often family members willing to help out with photography and such, and options all over the place. Don't force yourself to spend more than is reasonable for your budget.
About the Author
Stephanie Foster blogs at http://credit-blog.findcreditonline.com/ about using credit wisely. If a credit card is needed, consider a low rate credit card at her site.
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