Summer may be a big season for weddings, but a recent online poll by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling© (NFCC©) revealed that many believe smaller is better when it comes to the cost of the celebration. Among those responding, 65% felt that it would be best to have an affordable wedding and skip or postpone the honeymoon.
“Many relationships are destroyed because of overspending and debt problems,” said NFCC vice president of public relations and external affairs Bruce McClary. “Starting with a healthy approach to financial management helps create a solid foundation for the long term success of a marriage.”
It is believed that the average wedding will cost couples as much as $30,000 this year. Lack of personal savings and costly student loan debt can make it tough for younger couples to transform plans into reality. Couples can consider the following tips for saving money and avoiding debt for their wedding and travel:
The Plan – Allowing more time before the ceremony in order to grow savings will help avoid credit card debt that will linger long after the festivities are over. Planning ahead also makes it possible to take advantage of seasonal sale prices on things needed for the ceremony and reception. Clothing and decorations can be purchased at different times through the year, making them easier to fit into a budget.
The Wedding – Nuptials that take place at beach resorts or other popular tourist destinations can drive expenses through the roof. Major cities can also make it expensive to book hotels and reception halls. There are a number of low cost venues for a wedding that can be found right around the corner. Places such as parks, art galleries, community centers, local bed and breakfast inns, or even the backyard of a friend or relative have the potential to help save hundreds of dollars. Stretch that savings even further by avoiding Saturdays!
The Party – The reception is a big deal, so it can be challenging to cut corners. Alcohol is the largest expense for most celebrations, and is an easy target for trimming the budget. One way to save in that category is to limit the types of alcohol that are available to guests at no cost, and have a wider variety available at a cash bar. Alternatively, guests could be invited to contribute by bringing their own favorite beverages for themselves and others.
The Honeymoon – Travel is a category that can drive costs through the roof just as easily as it can turn out to be very affordable. Experts often suggest taking the road less traveled in order to get the greatest value. Another suggestion for savings is to plan everything à la carte instead of booking a package deal that might include activities or amenities that could go unused. Book travel in advance and look for times of year that are considered off-season for the intended destination.
There are plenty of opportunities to save without sacrificing the fun and romance of a wedding and honeymoon. If debt is standing in the way of wedding plans, the NFCC can provide financial counseling in-person, by phone, or online. To reach a certified financial counselor, consumers can call (800) 388-2227 or visit www.nfcc.org to get help today.
The NFCC May poll question and results are as follows:
Regarding wedding expenses, which of the following is the best strategy:
A. Splurge on the wedding and the honeymoon 5%
B. Spend big on the wedding and cut costs on the honeymoon 6%
C. Have a budget wedding and spend big on the honeymoon 24%
D. Have an affordable wedding and skip or postpone the honeymoon 65%
Note: The NFCC’s May Financial Literacy Opinion Index was conducted via the homepage of the NFCC website (www.nfcc.org) from May 1 – 31, 2015, and was answered by 742 individuals.
The National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC), founded in 1951, is the nation’s largest and longest serving national nonprofit financial counseling organization. The NFCC’s mission is to promote the national agenda for financially responsible behavior, and build capacity for its members to deliver the highest-quality financial education and counseling services. NFCC members annually help millions of consumers through more than 600 community-based offices nationwide. For free and affordable confidential advice through a reputable NFCC member, call (800) 388-2227, (en Español (800) 682-9832) or visit http://www.nfcc.org.