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So you’re getting married, congratulations! Weddings are a time to celebrate and bring friends and family together. However, they can often be an extravagant and expensive affair: the average cost of a wedding was $28,000 in 2019, according to a Knot survey.
When it comes to planning a wedding, everyone seems to have an opinion, whether it’s your mother, your future mother-in-law, your best friend or your wedding planner. But the last thing you want is bad advice derailing your finances after your special day. Weddings are already so expensive, and bad advice can cost you dearly.
Here are three horrible (but common!) tips every woman should ignore when planning a wedding.
1. “Expenses [X amount of money] Is normal!”
There’s no Ordinary price when it comes to planning a wedding. It depends on you and your future spouse, your financial situation and what you can reasonably afford. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of planning, especially when everyone around you is encouraging you to spend.
A recent survey by Brides magazine found that while 91% of couples budget for their wedding, nearly a third end up spending more than they planned.
A wedding is not an opportunity to spend way beyond your means. This is where a budget comes in. Sitting down with your fiancé early and making a plan can help avoid additional stress later on.
First ask yourself, what can we afford? As a financial planner, I would say your wedding expenses should never come before long-term financial goals, like saving for retirement or paying off debt.
You should set a reasonable number based on how much you have already saved and how much you can reasonably save within the time frame you have set.
Once you’ve calculated a rough estimate of the cost of your wedding, make a savings plan to reach your goal. Consider cutting unnecessary expenses to help you get there.
2. “Just put it on credit. You can worry about paying it back later.”
The last thing you and your partner want is to get into debt before you’ve even walked down the aisle.
While it’s okay to pay with your credit card, you either need to have the cash on hand or have a plan to pay it back quickly. Don’t ignore spending until the end of the honeymoon — use a spreadsheet or budgeting tool to record how much you’re spending. This can help you identify budget overruns and develop a reduction plan.
A particularly expensive wedding item for women is the dress. Average costs for a wedding dress vary from state to state, but are around $1,000 on the low end and almost $2,500 on the high end.
Maybe you’ve shopped for wedding dresses or seen episodes of “Say Yes to the Dress,” but you probably know how easy it is to get carried away with the excitement of shopping and end up paying. double your budget. It’s important to look and feel good on your special day, but you probably won’t feel as good if you’re paying for the dress for months to come. Remember that you will probably only wear it once.
Have a clear price in mind that you won’t spend more, make a pact and stick to it. Explain to your friends, family and associates in store that you will not move from this amount. Don’t try on dresses that are not in your range.
3. “You have to invite everyone! You don’t want to leave anyone out.”
Your mom might be thrilled to see her neighbor’s cousin’s girlfriend at your wedding, but you’re the one paying for their meal. The average cost of a wedding per person is around $200 per person, which can quickly add up as your guest list grows.
Traditionally, the bride’s family pays some (or all!) of the wedding costs. It’s also not uncommon for other family members to participate – it really depends on your family situation. The most important is not supposing you will not receive any financial assistance unless you discuss this first. It can be difficult to talk about your finances with loved ones, but it’s important to know what you’re working with.
Remember, this is no one’s wedding but yours. Similar to other wedding line items, have a maximum number of invitations and stick to that list. Whatever you do, don’t get sucked into something you can’t afford. This really goes for every other aspect of your wedding, from floral arrangements to dinner options to entertainment.
Ultimately, you have to choose what works for you and your future spouse. Planning a wedding can get stressful at times, but don’t let that stop you from enjoying the process. After all, it’s really about the journey.