Bliss or Blunder
What dreams are made of
This has got to be the year for weddings. Because the world basically shut down in 2021 a lot of brides were left at the altar with very few options. Some eloped or did something small and others opted to push off until this year. We personally have three weddings to attend this year and one already on the calendar for next year. I'm hearing from more and more friends who also seem to have more weddings to attend than the norm.
As a partner of an investment firm, it's hard not to consider the finances behind any event we attend. We're noticing a number of changes in the weddings we've been to and ones planned in the near future. For starters, weddings are smaller. This can vary quite a bit depending on the state, county, or even venue. Brides to be are making tough decisions on cutting kids or distant relatives off the invite list to accommodate venues and other COVID-related restrictions. Some have requested mask-wearing regardless of vaccination and others are more liberal. Remember that open bar all night long? Well, some have agreed to convert the open flood gates of the all-inclusive drinks into a cash bar for some or all of the events. The length of weddings seems to be shorter as well. Almost, short, sweet, and to the point. The pandemic has forced restaurants and bars to close earlier so that plays into the way they offer an open bar and how late they can serve.
How does the cost vs offering compare year to year? According to Business Insider, the average cost of a wedding this year versus last is up about twenty percent. The number for that hefty bill rings the register at $22,500. Those figures take into account the smaller headcount, fewer hours for the event, and reduced hours of an open bar. Despite cutting guests, altering food and beverage offerings, and taking some of the glitz & glam off the table, the cost for just about everything is up! For the weddings that went on last year, they were one of the lowest cost for celebration we've seen in years. Venues, caterers, and photographers were begging for business. They were pleased to have anything on the books. If we glance back to 2016, it was the highest spend for a wedding coming in just north of $35,000.
All in all, any one of these years is a huge amount of money for an event that lasts 5-7 hours. When you do the math and break that down per hour for a 7 hr event, you're looking at $3,750 an hour! It's no surprise that these events grab big price tags and parents and newlyweds who are more than willing to shell out the cash. These are moments that you'll cherish for years to come and who better to spend it with than your closest friends and family.
The night is over, the music dies down and the bright lights come on. Traditionally it was the bride's parents and family who squares up and pays the bill, but that's another thing that's been changing over time. We're hearing more and more that it's a three-way split. Both sets of parents and the bride and groom and paying portions of the event. With a big-ticket item like a wedding, that only seems appropriate. It also adds a layer of complexity when it comes to what portion of the event each party pays for. It might mean inviting cousin Eddie because Mom is chipping in a good portion of dough and remains adamant that he has to get an invite.
Are there things that could be more beneficial for the bride and groom than a $22,000 wedding event that lasts a few hours? Sure, there are other places to put that money to work that would better position the couple like paying down debt, investing, adding to their savings, or a down payment on a house. Speaking from experience, money is NOT everything! There are some things you just can't put a price tag on. One of them being wealth management, the other being a wedding! Lol. Happy Wife, Happy Life does ring true.
On the topic of weddings, my wife and I celebrated our 9th anniversary earlier this summer. The cost of our wedding that long ago was about the same as the cost today. We chose to do a non-traditional destination wedding. For some that makes a ton of sense for others, it brings on a layer of complexity and frustration - especially because of masking, the pandemic, and the latest delta variant. Below are a couple of pictures from our wedding day and the festivities. I cannot believe how time flies, but that is a day we'll remember forever!
And that's only the beginning...Reach out and schedule a consultation to discuss your situation. We'll walk you through your options and help you make the right choice for your goals.
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