Sunday, September 29, 2013

Big Wedding or Eloping? Which is right for you?

Sometimes, you just know. The love of your life comes into your life like a sweeping, fresh wind, brushing away all the useless junk that cluttered up your life and filling it up with a new meaning. So, you’ve decided to tie the knot? That’s great! Now, if you haven’t already decided (and yes, there are quite a few people out there who haven’t had their wedding planned since they were six years old,) it’s time to start thinking about the wedding itself. Too early, you say? No, it isn’t, and you’ll soon find out why! Weddings are among the most expensive undertakings that a couple will face in their first few years together. Along with a house and kids, weddings are one of the biggest big-ticket items going. Sure, there’s always eloping, but what would your Grandma Sally say about not being invited? Clearly, there’s a whole lot more to think about here than just what the first course meal at the reception is going to be, or what judge will be available that day.

The big, fancy wedding that just about every girl on the planet dreams of at least once during her youth can be an immense drain on a couple’s finances. Even in cases where the parents of the bride and groom kick in to pay for the traditional things, there are always expenses that pop up which dear ‘ol Dad won’t (or shouldn’t) cover. Usually, these can be chalked up to the ancillary expenses of the wedding - getting yourself from place to place, gas money, the honeymoon, clothing (of both a public and an intimate nature,) and the time off from work necessary to meet with companies that you’ve contracted with for wedding services. That doesn’t even take into account those instances where the bride’s family can’t afford a big wedding, in which case, the newlyweds may be starting out their lives with a big debt to pay for.  

Still, in spite of what could be a big money draining day for the bride and groom, there are benefits to be had from throwing a big party! Not least of the benefits is the fact that it is likely the biggest party you’ll ever be the main event at. For many, a big wedding is a family reunion with dancing, and an opportunity to get to know extended family that you may not have seen since you were a kid! Sure, it can be expensive, but it’s only supposed to happen once, right? Remember to set a budget if you’re going this route, and stick with it. There’s nothing worse than getting into cost overruns before you’ve even booked the reception space!

Eloping or having a small wedding has begun to gain popularity in recent years, though, as couples seek to avoid the sort of extravagance and expense that might not quite fit their style or budget. This is a situation that would work out well for the sort of couple who may not be particularly close with their relations, or who will only be inviting close family or friends. Even for a small wedding, it’s easy to break the bank as you begin to consider venues and reception meals, along with all the other accouterments of the wedding, but again, having a budget in place can help. Remember too, to be realistic in your expectations. If you’ve only got $500 to spend, then you’re going to be doing some cooking! 

Whatever kind of wedding you choose, make sure to try and keep the money issue as low-key as possible. Just about any way you slice it, you’re going to be spending some money, so just keep track, keep a budget, and keep your head down if your relatives start to get out of hand, and you just might find that the most important thing about the day is the only thing that really matters when you’re looking back twenty years from now!

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