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June 27, 2021

Couples singing the wedding blues

1038218_66480936The "Big Day" may be farther away than you think.

Financial priorities seem to be getting in the way of that special wedding day, according to a new survey by BMO Bank of Montreal.

The cost of walking down the aisle is estimated at $14,281 and upwards -- a hefty sum for couples just starting their married lives together.

Some of the obstacles cited to funding a wedding today include housing expenses, underemployment and the lack of financial support from family.

More and more couples are relying on wedding day cash gifts to fund their wedding.

But it's really not a new trend.

When I married my husband back in 1992 we were pretty much on our own to finance the majority of our wedding.

We found a cheap hall down the road, hired our friend as a DJ, we had another friend - a photographer - taking our wedding day photos as a gift to us, we decorated the hall ourselves, bought inexpensive rings at Consumers Distributing, designed our own invitations, and I bought a second-hand wedding gown.

We had a wishing well at the hall for guests depositing cash gifts, which helped finance the wedding costs and it even allowed us a weekend honeymoon to Montreal.

The survey revealed that 67 per cent of soon-to-be newlyweds are postponing their wedding day because of financial priorities.

And 31 per cent of those who married within the past five years also admitted they postponed an engagement or wedding because of finances.

Even some of our neighbours bought their house before they got married and it seemed that the "Big Day" was getting farther and farther away for them due to financial obligations and starting a young family.

Janet Peddigrew, Vice President, BMO Bank of Montreal, says, "When you factor in everything from the rings to the venue, dress and honeymoon, getting married can be a significant financial commitment.

"An important first step for any couple thinking about getting married is to determine what kind of celebration is financially realistic. One way to do this is by sitting down with a financial advisor to create a plan that takes all aspects of the wedding into account."

According to the survey, some of the financial challenges couples face in saving for their nuptials include housing costs (34 per cent); employment status (24 per cent); and debt (23 per cent).

Fewer couples these days are expecting help from family to cover wedding expenses. In fact, 53 per cent are expecting to cover wedding expenses themselves.

To keep the wedding budget under control, the survey found that couples are planning to have smaller weddings (65 per cent); making their own decorations, centrepieces and invitations (59 per cent); getting a friend to act as a DJ or photographer (50 per cent); holding the wedding on a less popular day or season (35 per cent); and having a destination wedding (19 per cent).

Why go crazy with expenses on a wedding? After all, it is your life together afterwards that really matters and starting out in debt doesn't make for a "Happily Ever After".

By Donna Donaldson, MSN Money

Have you postponed your wedding plans due to financial obligations? If you did get married, did you use any creative money saving ideas to lower the costs?



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...