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6-8-2018 • Effects of Wedding Debt on Marriage

CONSIDER THIS: Financial stress in a marriage can begin with the wedding.

According to, couples—on average—spend between $19,323 and $32,205 on their big day.

But all that spending doesn’t necessarily lead to marital bliss. In fact, researchers Andrew Francis-Tan and Hugo M. Mialon found in their study, “'A Diamond is Forever’ and Other Fairy Tales: The Relationship Between Wedding Expenses and Marriage Duration”, that couples who spent more than $20,000 on their weddings were 46 percent more likely to get divorced than couples who spent between $5,000 and $10,000. The researchers suggested wedding expenses could lead to debt that puts strain on the marriage. That strain can be compounded by a lack of communication between the newlyweds on financial matters.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. The following are some tips for limiting wedding debt stress:

Be realistic about how much you can spend. Before wedding planning begins, have a conversation about how much you can each afford to spend on the wedding without going into unmanageable debt. Draw out a wedding budget with your partner and make sure you’re both working to stay within that budget. Be realistic.

Set your wedding priorities. Weddings are traditionally made up of dozens of parts, each carrying their own expenses. There’s the venue, the dress, photography, food, music and flowers. But not everybody places the same importance on each of these categories. Make a list of the traditional pieces of a wedding and arrange them according to their importance to both of you. If attire ranks toward the top and flowers rank toward the bottom, consider investing top dollar in a dress while shopping bargains for floral arrangements.

Use friends and family members where possible. Friends and family members might perform services, such as photography, at discounted prices or free as a wedding gift. Also seek out loved ones who have been married recently. They may have kept odds and ends from their weddings and could be willing to donate small items like bubbles, flower girl baskets and ring bearer pillows.

Keep it fun and personal. Weddings should be viewed as a fun and personal experience. Try to avoid competing with friends’ weddings or the images found in wedding magazines. Trying too hard to keep up with trends often leads to costly purchases that don’t add to the true meaning of the day. Instead, focus on what you’ll need to enjoy and appreciate your wedding.

Click here for additional tips to help you save on your dream wedding.