BOSTON (CBS) – It’s June and that means weddings. The perfect wedding is what a bride wants! Occasionally you hear how someone has taken a wedding to the extreme. The Kardashian/Humphrie wedding was over the top! Or the New York bride who faked having cancer so strangers would donate money to help pay for her wedding.

Weddings are a big business ($100 billion industry). The average cost of a wedding today in the U.S. is almost $28,000. Average means there are weddings that cost a lot less and weddings that cost a lot more.

And that price tag does not include the honeymoon! This can easily add another $10,000 to the bottom line. Couples will spend an estimated $7 billion on honeymoons this year. Many of these couples, or their parents, are going into debt to create the perfect wedding.

Add that debt to school loans and many newly married couples have a negative net worth that will take them years to work into the positive column.

There has to be a better way to start your new life together. Couples can do a variety of things to save money. I’ve listed the most expensive items for a wedding and how you can save:

1. Receptions:  The reception will be the biggest expense. What can you do to keep food, alcohol and venue costs down? A wedding at home? In your parent’s garden? The beach at sunset? Skip dinner in favor of finger foods. Serve only wine and beer or just a wine punch.

2. Wedding Gowns:  Do something simple. Look for a cocktail dress. There’s David’s Bridal where you can get a very nice dress for under $300.  Another site: Wedding Dresses for sale online. I found dresses there for under $400.

Buy a used wedding gown; at a yard sale or better still try Craig’s List. I found several never-been-used dresses for under $350 and one for $40. My greatest find was eBay. Brand new dress for $17.50 with free shipping.

3. Pictures:  They could cost thousands of dollars. Is there an amateur photographer among your friends or family? Someone that you would entrust with the day? How about digital pictures? Then go to Snapfish and create your own wedding album.

4. Wedding Cakes:  Average cost of a Wedding cakes is over $500. They are priced by the slice, some as high $10 a slice. Go for a small cake, a 9-inch size that you can do the traditional cutting of the cake together and then serve fancy cupcakes.  You can get a great cupcake for under a buck or have your Aunt Mary make the cupcakes.

5. Honeymoon:  Choose some place inexpensive; The Berkshires, the Cape, the rest of New England or Canada. Save the Hawaiian trip for your 10th anniversary.

6. Engagement Rings:  Do you need one? Average cost close to $5,000. That’s a lot of money for something that sparkles and needs to be taken off when you make meat loaf! Makes a great future anniversary gift! And if you get one, make sure it’s insured properly.

One more thing:  I found you could buy wedding insurance. Wedding cancellation or liability insurance for $200 to $1000 per event. They insure everything else why not weddings?


You can hear Dee Lee’s expert financial advice on WBZ NewsRadio 1030 each weekday at 1:55 p.m., 3:55 p.m., and 7:55 p.m.

Subscribe to Dee’s Money Matters newsletter here.


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