The doctor exclaims, “It’s a girl!”

With tears of joy streaming down your face, you grab your phone, click on your banking app, and immediately set up a savings account to prepare for the ultimate dream wedding for your precious angel.

Congrats, Overachiever! You can stop reading now.

For the rest of us, wedding expenses can bring significant financial and emotional stress. However, with the right amount of planning and preparation, the only tears mom and dad will be shedding on the wedding day will be tears of joy.

Of course, the list of expenses required for weddings is varied. In most cases, they are rather intimidating. Besides the wedding gown of your little princess’s dreams, they can include the wedding license (this one’s a must!), invitations, a photographer and videographer, a wedding coordinator, a reception venue, food, music, and transportation.

We hope you’re sitting down.

The best advice? Start planning early—just as you do for your child’s college education or for your retirement. While it might be practically impossible to picture your rough and tumble little boy all shined up in a tux waiting for the love of his life to walk down the aisle, experienced parents know that the old adage is true: it happens in the blink of an eye.

Traditionally, the bride’s family has been expected to foot the bill for a couple’s wedding. Today families understand that there is no clear-cut mandate for who pays for what when it comes to modern-day nuptials. Many parents will expect the bride and groom to be responsible for at least a portion of their wedding’s cost. Let’s be real: who’s wedding is it? Even so, most of our clients are expecting to contribute to the cost of such a momentous occasion for their child.

As with any endeavor that requires the cooperation and contribution of multiple parties, it is important to keep an early dialogue open with your child, his or her fiancé, and the future in-laws. Setting clear expectations about budget and division of responsibilities is key. While these conversations can be awkward at first, they go a long way to easing tensions as the planning moves forward.

In November 2021, the US Census Bureau released its annual America’s Families and Living Arrangements estimates, which cited that the median age to marry for the first time was 30.4 years old for men and 28.6 years old for women. The average wedding cost in 2021 including the ceremony and the reception was $28,000 (Schwahn, 2022). Of course, considering inflation rates and depending on your son or daughter’s preferences that cost can fluctuate greatly. Besides determining who will be contributing, there are numerous other questions to be answered before the big day.

How long will the engagement be? Will they want a band or a DJ? Will they choose a destination wedding or a local venue? Do they want a small, intimate wedding or a huge bash with hundreds of guests? Either way, budgeting and planning will be key to a successful and stress-free event.

We’re committed to helping you plan for your family’s special moments The “perfect wedding” is unique to each couple and family. We will help guide you and the happy couple toward your dreams while keeping the financial stress at a minimum.

About the Author: Jan Kowal, CFP®

Jan’s passion for helping clients work towards their financial goals began almost 40 years ago. His planning is based on personal relationships and a true understanding of clients and their goals. Jan graduated from George Washington University with a BBA in Accounting and an MBA in Finance and Investments. He has been a Certified Financial Planner since 1984. Jan enjoys music, travel, cooking, and family time.

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