| Feb 12, 2009

Back to HomeThe Bridal Issue - February 12, 2009The Bridal Issue

Create A Ceremony that Works for YouBy Rev. Judie Diamond

Managing Wedding Costs: Is it Need or WantBy Connie Howes

How to Save Money & Not Look CheapBy Connie Howes

LegalesesNot Everyone Can Marry

Recession Rings

How to Manage Wedding CostsBy Connie Howes

One of the things that’s high on the list of engaged couples concerns is cost. Especially in today’s recession economy, more and more couples are very price conscious.

First things first: What do you NEED, versus what do you WANT.

The bare minimum needs are: Marriage license, Officiant services and 2 witnesses.

To figure out what you can afford –It’s a bit of simple math – get out that calculator!

Some quick questions to get started: When is your wedding date? How many months is it til then? How much will your parents be contributing? How much can you afford out of your monthly budget for the wedding?

Take the number of months until your wedding and subtract the month OF your wedding and any Christmases that fall in between. This is the number of months you’ve got to pay for your wedding.

Now, using that number of how much you can afford each month out of your household budget, multiply it by the number of months. Add that number to the amount that your parents are going to contribute and that’s what you’ve got to spend on your wedding without going into debt.

Back to those three needs we started with: Marriage license – about $100, but shop around as every municipality (town hall, city hall or township office) charges a different amount. You’ll each need birth certificates or passports ($15 to $80) and one other piece of government issued ID. If you are divorced, you’ll need the certificate of divorce, too.

Officiant: Generally $200 to $300. The cheapest isn’t necessarily the best option. The best option is someone that fits your style and will conduct a service that is personal, meaningful and a reflection of you as a couple. Your officiant will set the tone for the day. If he or she is formal and stiff, your guests will feel that is the tone for your wedding. Expect to pay additional time and travel if your officiant has to put more gas in the car and drive a bit to get to your location.

What do you want – ahh…the toughest part of all. Do you envision a fairy tale wedding complete with a horse and carriage, elaborate table settings, a full sit down meal and open bar or are you more inclined to have a buffet and a great dance? This is a personal decision. I suggest people make a list of their “top 3’s. What are the top 3 things that you absolutely, really, really want and what are the top 3 things that you absolutely really, really, don’t want?

Be realistic. $2,000 is not going to give you a fairy tale wedding. However, you don’t need to spend $25,000 to have a wedding, either. If, a great meal is really important, count on it costing the same or more as a restaurant meal would and multiply that by the number of guests you have. Is this manageable for your budget?

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