Well Ladies, I just added up again how much this wedding is going to cost. I have been pretty ...
With such a special day for the 2 of you, having a budget-and sticking to it whether your family is pitching in, or its just you and your FH is so crucial right now.
Patrick and I decided early on that although we will be doing most of our wedding on our own, with some help from family, that the most important thing to us was owning our own home together and having a fantastic honeymoon.
Aside from the sentimentality of that day- your wedding ceremony only lasts a couple of hours, coupled with a reception, which let's face it- probably is costing you the most to accommodate all those family and friends you invited to come "ooh" and "aah" and cry for your beautiful day. Spending tons of money for your wedding day, unless you're a trust fund baby or in the financial means to just pay cash- will severely limit the financial options you will have later during your life as a married couple. Sure- splurge on that "gotta have" few items, but if you aren't already a homeowner and still have other plans that you want to accomplish as a couple or as individuals (have always wanted to go backpacking across the world?) then be wise about how your decisions to use credit and debt management for your future bliss depends on how you get started in your marriage: the wedding coupled with your own individual debts you each bring to the table may spell disaster to the mortgage lender when they look at you on paper.
I know all to well how many brides and their families rack up hefty bills when it comes to wedding plans and extend lines of credit in order to pay for the big day. Later when a financial crisis arises- someone gets laid off, a parent dies unexpectedly, a medical emergency and bills related pile up- people are often upside down in the amount of debt to income and lines of credit available to them because they are still paying for that over-budget wedding from years prior that they just had to have.
My point isn't to be negative and take away from the big day, but to remind us all during a very emotional, stressful, and financially taxing time to make sure we are leaving room for all that "and they lived happily ever after" stuff we all still want to do.
Be clear about your expectations going into a marriage about finances... then be clear about what you can really afford on your day and what your goals are AFTER that day within 1-5 years, 5-10 years, and so on. If paying for an over-the-top wedding in anyway steals away from the viability of the options you want after, don't pull out your credit card.
*this has been a public service announcement from the Josie-says-keep-your-sanity campaign. We can now return back to our regularly scheduled wedding planning frenzy and fun!*