The Hidden Costs of Getting Married

Maitland Greer
July 4, 2013



The average wedding costs $28,427, according to a survey, and that’s just the beginning of the long list of hidden costs associated with getting married. If you are planning your big day, be aware of these costs to start your new life on the right financial footing.

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The engagement ring

Diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but they are also a huge drain on the groom’s wallet. The Four C’s of diamonds are cut, color, clarity and carat and the higher quality the stone is in each category, the more it will cost. Settle on a ring that fits within your budget and taste, and don’t feel pressured to get a flawless stone. If you are putting the ring on a credit card, keep in mind that you will pay additional interest on the base price.

The wedding

Between the venue, photographer, dress, florist, music, photographer, band, cake and invitations, there are a lot of costs that add up for a wedding. Pay attention to hidden costs that you wouldn’t automatically account for when budgeting for your wedding.

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Be careful of the vendors you select, as some venues will charge extra if you don’t use their preferred vendors. Be aware of overtime fees that your photographer, videographer, band or DJ could charge you for staying beyond the negotiated hours. Also, be on the lookout for hidden costs, such as dress alterations, invitation stamps, cake cutting and corkage fees and taxes and gratuity.

Remember, the key to keeping costs down is to negotiate with your vendors and be flexible. Save money by getting married at an alternate time of the week or year and being creative with your food, drink and decorations.

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Setting up house

Finances can be a big tension point for couples, so you need to ensure that you are open and honest with your partner when it comes to discussing combining finances. People often forget that along with your new spouse also comes his or her debt. Make sure you are both comfortable and up front with your debt and savings and agree on budget and financial course of action for moving forward.

Many married couples move in together and buy a new house. If one spouse needs to relocate, remember that there could be a cut in income. A house is a huge expense and you should have at least a 20 percent down payment. Don’t overlook hidden costs of home ownership like moving, closing costs, maintenance of the house, insurance and furniture. If kids are on the horizon, plan on 18 years of additional financial commitment.

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