Not So Average Wedding Cost

Wedding On The BeachIn the life planning step of my “Save For The Significant” process one of the common goals is a dream wedding.

Parents often list a goal of wanting to contribute to their children’s weddings. And independently minded young couples often want their dream wedding without the “suggestions” from their well-meaning parents – thus they want to pay for their own wedding.

Weddings are costly and not an expense most people can easily absorb into their income for that year. That means they need to be save up for and most people get that. But how much does a wedding cost and how early do you need to start saving?

Earlier this year Bride to Be magazine released the results of their Cost of Love 2008 survey, which found the average cost of a wedding was $49,202.

That is only a couple of thousand dollars less than the average Australian wage before tax.

Since many couples probably earn less than the average wage they need to be saving one partner’s full wage for probably two years or more just to pay for their own wedding. That could be a tough ask especially if you are also saving a deposit to buy your marital home.

When you’re already dreaming start saving

Perhaps a better approach would be for ladies who dream of a lavish wedding to start saving right now, even if you are not yet in a committed relationship. When cupid strikes the wedding can creep up quicker than you can save.

Blokes Beware – Bling is Costly

Blokes should also be aware that the average cost of a bride’s engagement ring was $5,116. It seems the old notion of three months wage may be continuing. So if you are a traditionalist then get saving right now mate, ‘cos you don’t want to pay costly credit card interest on a depreciating asset like a ring.

Then of course you need to consider the wedding bands. They cost an average of $1,507 for the bride and $1,096 for the groom.

Remember that costs increase

One tip when you are establishing your savings plan is to factor in an increase in costs. One article about the survey results reported that the average wedding cost had risen 76 per cent in eight years. That equates to cost increases averaging 7.3% each year.

Save for your dream wedding

Your wedding and honeymoon are not the most important events in your life but they are one during which you get to be the centre of attention and one that will be remembered. So if you want to be able to do it as you dreamed it the ensure you have saved for it. Don’t make it any more expensive than it needs to be by borrowing money and paying interest.

Save for the significant events in life and you can have enough money for what you really want.

(I can’t find the official survey results on the magazine’s website but they were widely reported in newspapers including here and here.)

Author: Matt Hern

Certified Financial Planner professional, Matt Hern has three times been awarded as one of Australia's Top 50 Financial Planners by The Australian Financial Review Smart Investor. He is passionate about guiding you on the right financial choices to achieve what you really want. Matt Hern is an Authorised Representative of Charter Financial Planning Limited AFSL 234665. All information is general advice only.

15 thoughts on “Not So Average Wedding Cost”

  1. If you want to be a smart shopper, be sure to keep in mind to research all of the popular metals that are used for wedding bands today – platinum, palladium, gold, titanium and tungsten. Platinum is the most expensive, but also the most durable, so you get excellent value for your money. When you scratch platinum, the ring does not lose mass, and it can be refinished to look like new over and over. Gold will scratch off, and white gold isn’t naturally white, so it will turn yellow over time. If platinum is not an option, then I would consider palladium. Palladium is the better choice over white gold if platinum is not a possibility.

    And while I like the look of tungsten and titanium wedding bands, they can not be sized. So keep away from the pizza and beer, and make sure you renew that gym membership, too!

    For more help with metals, a free brochure is available here – http://www.novelldesignstudio.com/choosing_your_metal/index.php

  2. I’m a wedding photographer (and ghostwriter – gotta love multiple streams of income) and it’s always surprising to see otherwise financially responsible people spend thousands of dollars because they feel they are supposed to. The wedding industry is a lot like the funeral business – lots of people measure “love” by levels of spending. I’d say roughly half of our clients borrowed money to finance the wedding… which to me makes no sense at all. Weddings can be memorable without spending thousands of dollars – the emotion of the day is the real value.

  3. How ridiculous, we are doing ours on a budget of $3000. This is a day to tell your friends and family that you want to spend your life together, that life should not begin with a $50,000debt! Its just getting beyond silly. We are having a dj, flowers, marquee reception, gourmet finger foods, wine and champagne, pretty dress made by a local dressmaker instead of an overpriced designer.
    With a bit of diy and some family and friend favours there is no need to break the bank, if I wanted to do it cheaper I could cut out some of the extra luxuries, but we can comfortably afford our budget without borrowing or expecting family to fork out cash.

    1. I agree it is ridiculous to start a marriage with such a massive debt from just one day.

      Congrats on getting your budget down to just $3,000.

  4. Our budget is $4,000 & I would love to shave it down to $3,000. All that money would be better off invested in a couples future. Seems to me that people are more concerned with having a fancy wedding, forgetting that a marriage comes after it. We’re making the day about the celebration of our love with our friends & family in a party atmosphere & doing a lot of the work ourselves (flowers, decorations, cake, photos etc), with the most expensive items being the reception & the cost of the celebrant – even my dress won’t cost as much as the celebrant. We’re excited about it, happy to be doing what we can ourselves & not stressing about any of it, unlike those who will find themselves in debt over 1 day.

  5. Our celebrant is also the most expensive thing, with the dress a close second. It is about asking what is really important. Yes I want a special day, and it will be special. But I don’t want to put our future happiness in jeapordy for that one day.

  6. Hi Matt

    You chose an emotional subject here! So many brides do class this as the biggest day in their life as its been a goal of theirs since they were little girls and they expect their intended to be prepared to fork out the cash for it and make it a special day with all the trimmings. Funny enough a lot of the guys are also getting into the wedding planning of it all as a joint fun exercise. You can be smart on your wedding finances by shopping for everything on the internet not only from Australia but look overseas as well. Oh and as the saying goes “you only do it once” so why not splurge it’s only money and you do not know what is around the next corner of life!

  7. With the average bride being older and more educated I am not surprised she can splurge. Plus the delay on having children should have a cost saving on the short term (Who cares at that point about having to fork out for IVF later on). So I am not surprised at all over the average.
    At the end of the day is about afordability and choices.
    I have met a lot of people who spend $500 on regular basis on weekends in alcohol and food. Or those who pay for boating or expensive trips overseas.
    So if you want to get married, go for it, spend what you can afford. And more importantly on what you and your fiance want.
    Do haggle though, shop around, use the internet and be decisive. (Seriously beige 22 vs beige sparkly 43, choose the cheapest!)
    And if you think someone is going to be judging you over how much you will spend…
    Simple don’t invite them and save yourself some $$…
    Remember there is a lot of people who want to get married in the world and can’t
    (My heart goes to my gorgeous gay friends)

    So either bring a picnic basquet or go a bit over the top. Whatever you can afford.
    Just keep your priorities right, the most difficult thing to find and most expensive you already have. The groom…

  8. Im doing my wedding in rural nsw for $17-19,000. that’s after shaving costs. And im not financing anything, doing it all from savings. We have stayed engaged for as long as it has taken to save for it, because i dont believe you should buy things you cant afford!

    Ive shaved costs by getting my dress new with tags (afred angelo) off ebay for a few hundred, most of the decore is off ebay, silk fowers from overseas (yep-ebay), using our own cars as wedding cars, and having a small bridal party! Im borrowing a lot of things, and not hiring things, when you can buy them online for the same amount and resell to get some cash back!

    And most importantly, im only inviting who i want there, not who i ‘feel i should invite’. If you wouldnt usually pay $60 a head to go to dinner with that ‘guest’ when you see them, then dont invite them! One other thing- im the ‘i’ll pay for it myself bride’ so that kind of helps me get away with not inviting 2nd great aunt watsa name, and not having to have some kid i dont know in the bridal party!

  9. Ha! I was budgetting for about $3000, then it add up to $4000 and then it keeps on adding up, now a wedding that I thought it was going to cost me $3000 to $4000 is costing $10,000… it’s crazy! you mentioned the word “WEDDING” and everyone sees the $$$$$.
    I thought that if we did a high tea, not a 3 cours sit down dinner it will take the price down, but no…is all about the same, because it just keeps on adding up.

    We are making most of the work our selfs too, te flowers, decorations, cake photography. we found the most beautiful little farm to have the wedding at but the cost of a marque (incase of rain) has just takend the prize sky rocket, no to mention that caterer. The caterer along is costing us $5000, our families did offer to do the catering for us but we do want them to enjoy the day too and no to be stressed out about food then you add up the cost of the decorations, even if you are making them your selfs you still need to add the cost of the materials…

    I thought I was smart by choosing a ring that cost less than $1000, all because we wanted to save for our future together.

    If you can pull a wedding with a $3000 to $4000 budget, then you go girl! but believe me when you add everything up it, it adds up. Your dress, the grooms suits, the food, the venu, the decorations, the invitations, the venu, the photographer, the flowers, the honeymoon, (even if it’s just for 2 days) …. and it goes on and on and on, so please if you can do it for $4000 please let me know.

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