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How Much Is Too Much to Pay for Your Wedding?

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Blowing all your savings on an extravagant one-day event — sounds like something we would never be silly enough to do, right? Well, the average cost of a wedding keeps rising and couples are increasingly paying tens of thousands of dollars, sometimes even taking out personal loans to cover the costs. But a wedding that breaks the bank doesn’t necessarily lead to marital bliss or even a more magical, meaningful day. So where can we draw the line? (More spending is not associated with a longer, happier union; in fact, the opposite is true.)

Think About What the Money Is Going Toward

A wedding is certainly a special occasion and big deal, but has it gone too far? Our culture has put an emphasis on the price tag associated with weddings. When you are planning your wedding, it’s important to assess each decision by your intent. Are you getting an expensive dress just to impress people? Is your venue really a reflection on the guests you are inviting instead of you and your future spouse? You may feel pressure when designing your “perfect” wedding day, but stepping back and thinking about your reasoning behind each decision can bring clarity and some much-needed scaling back to the process.

Do You Need a Loan?

Many couples without wealthy parents or adequate savings are turning to a type of personal loan known simply as a wedding loan. (You can read more about wedding loans here.) To apply for a personal loan, you have to submit to a credit check and go through the loan approval process. The better your credit, the lower your interest rate will be. (You can get an idea of what a lender will see by checking your free credit report summary at Credit.com.) You can turn to traditional banks, credit unions, peer-to-peer lending websites and even family or friends. If you decide to go this route to cover the cost of your wedding, it’s a good idea to shop around for rates, low fees and a loan with no prepayment penalty. Terms are often around 36 months but can be much longer so this will likely be a part of your budget for years. It’s important to look for the best deal for your situation.

Stay Focused

When you are getting married, you should be thinking about a lifetime of commitment and not just preparing for a ceremony and party. So many times couples end up focusing on the details instead of the main point. It’s OK to get excited and involved in finding a dress you love, choosing a great location, and making sure you have the right flowers, food, cake, music, photographer, centerpieces, invitations, rings and accommodations. Just don’t lose sight of what it is all about — and create a wedding that reflects you as a couple. The building blocks of your marriage may deserve a little more attention than the appetizer choices.

The dollar amount you spend on your wedding is a personal choice and there is no standard “right” amount. Before you start making decisions, it’s a good idea to think it through, create a budget and try to ensure you are getting real value from your wedding expenses. Your wedding is likely not the last big expense you will face as a couple so this can be good practice for how you will handle one in the future.

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