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Here are some things everyone should consider when getting married so that you and your partner can thrive. Need help getting the money conversation started with your partner? Check out this video:

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Cost of US Weddings Reaches New High as Couples Spend More Per Guest to Create an Unforgettable Experience, According to The Knot 2016 Real Weddings Study:

Here's How Much the Average Wedding Guest and Attendant Spend:

All Events Planned:

The One Part of Your Wedding You Should Never DIY:

6 Ways Social Media Is Changing Wedding Planning:

How Debt Can Destroy a Budding Relationship:

The Financial Diet site:

Hey, guys. It's Chelsea from The Financial Diet, and this week's video is brought to you by Quotacy. And this week, I wanted to talk to you guys about something that's kind of personal to me, although very much still in the world of finances and how they relate to you, and that is getting married and having a wedding. As some of you probably know, I recently got married in a small civil ceremony at the city hall here in New York to my now husband, Mark, and a little bit later this year in June, we're going to have our actual ceremonial wedding. So wedding and wedding planning is something that's obviously heavily on my mind right now, but it's also something that as a little girl raised in this sort of general American culture, I've been thinking about in one way or another since I was born. It's really hard to deny that, especially for women in this country, we are surrounded by not just the idea of wedding talk and what your wedding will be, but this idea of marriage and the wedding itself defining you in some way. I feel lucky in that I knew pretty early on that I did not want a big wedding and that I wanted to keep costs as low as possible, but even knowing that about myself, there are still things that I wish I had known before I went into this process that would have made me feel even more confident in my choices and even more empowered to save money. You may not know it, but the average cost of a wedding in America today is about $35,000, and that is not including a honeymoon. And that's also a cost that has been steadily rising almost every single year. And you may already remember from a previous video here on TFD, but that $35,000 figure is only about $2,000 less than the average amount of student debt per person in this country. Now, obviously, for many people, it's not a one to one choice of do I eradicate all of my debt or do I throw the wedding of the century, but clearly, this choice is in some way made by a lot of people. As I said before, we are so inundated, especially as women, with all things wedding culture that it can feel very, very difficult to decide what is really important for us, and to feel like it's OK for us to want to opt out of things to save money. But when you look at these costs associated with the average wedding and look at all of the other things that could be done with that money, such as, obviously, paying back debt, perhaps putting a payment on a home, or just buying things that are really important and long-lasting in your life, it's obvious that we need to be more vocal and clear-headed about creating a wedding that works for us financially. Now, it is very easy to get caught up in the rush of things when you get engaged and feel like there's a sort of internal momentum to the planning of the wedding that you can't even fight against, but I want to share with you some of the lessons that I've learned in doing this, things that I wish that I knew before. You still might end up having a wedding that's very different from my own, for example, my wedding will only be a total of 27 people, including us, but you can still take away some of these insights and hopefully walk away with something that you can feel truly good about financially.

The first thing I wish I'd known is that you can always say no. Over and over, when we talk about the wedding industrial complex on TFD, we hear people saying, especially women, that they felt like they couldn't say no to things because their family wanted it, their parents want it, or they just felt like it was what was expected of them. Even when it came to the guest list, it would easily balloon into 200 or more people because they felt obligated to invite everyone, even people that the couple didn't personally know or people that they weren't close to. As I mentioned, we knew from the get-go that we wanted an extremely intimate wedding, just immediate family members, a few extended family members that we were particularly close to, and a core group of friends. And at first, I was really paranoid that that would cause some serious rifts, but we realized early on that if you speak openly and honestly with people about your reasons for doing this and find a way to have that special connection outside of the actual wedding day, it can actually be pretty easy to do what you want without hurting people. For example, we're going to see some of my husband's extended family members at a restaurant after our wedding, and I'm making a point to go visit a few people later in the year that I haven't seen in a while and who won't be at our wedding. Now, obviously, the invite list can be something that's a little bit harder to work down, but when it comes to any kind of traditional thing that you don't want to include, what's so important to remember is that you are the person getting married, and if you don't want to include something or something's not important to you, you don't need to have it. For example, I'm not having a wedding dress, partially because they're ludicrously expensive for no reason, but also because I don't really like white dresses and don't feel like I want all of the associations that go behind it. But a serious problem that a lot of people experience when it comes to them wanting to say no is how much they feel dependent on the person who might be paying for this wedding. Although we are currently in 2018 and many other things have changed, the bride's parents still on average pay for 44% of an overall wedding cost, and aside from the financial stress that that probably places on the bride's family, whether or not they admit it, that also creates a huge amount of influence for them in the actual details of the wedding and reduces the amount of autonomy that you as the bride or groom have to say what you want. Remember that every dollar you take from someone else is a dollar of influence that they get to wield, and if you do want, for example, a less extravagant or smaller wedding, you can simply refuse that money. No one is forcing you to take it and then spend it on something that you don't even need or want. The conversation with your family should be an open and candid one about what you're spending on and why it matters, and also open from the get-go about what you're cutting out. In our wedding, for example, to cut costs, we've gotten rid of the wedding dress, we have no wedding party, there are no decorations outside of a few flowers and candles, we're not accepting gifts, there is no registry, attendees get to do whatever they like on the off days that they're visiting with us, and everyone pitches in to cook their rehearsal dinner together. And yes, some of those expenses are being cut to offset our cost, but a lot of it is for the attendees, because we can often forget it, but just going to a wedding can be insanely expensive. The average cost of attending a wedding today is $888, and if you are actually in the wedding party, it is well over $1,000, and that number is also raising every year. Remember that saying no to things isn't just about you. It's about making sure that everyone else isn't putting themselves out financially to attend your wedding, and it's also about breaking the vicious cycle of, well, I spent so much money on everyone else's wedding, so I get to go all out for mine and make other people spend for me.

The next thing I wish I knew is how much brides are often prevented from seeing the price of things. Multiple times in the process of planning my wedding, both when my husband and I were designing my engagement ring together, two different elements of planning for the actual venue, the meal, et cetera, I realized that all of these vendors are trained not to reveal the prices to the bride unless otherwise directed. Apparently, this is still industry standard, despite sounding like something that would have been too retrograde for Mad Men. When we were in the jewelry studio designing our ring, we were told multiple times how surprising it was that not only was I requesting to see the price of absolutely everything, but was openly talking about how much we wanted to spend with my partner. Apparently, that conversation doesn't happen so often, and this obviously ties back into the fact that, A, bride's parents are still paying for the majority of stuff, and b, when it comes to the ring, it's usually the man who is paying for everything and doing it entirely himself. Despite the fact that the bride is supposed to be the center of this event, she's also somehow still treated like a child who's not allowed to know the financial realities of what she's agreeing to. Now, just for reasons of basic equality, this is a terrible way to go about making any financial choice but, especially when it's so difficult to tell when you're actually going over budget unless you see the numbers flat out in front of you, it's so important to stay focused on every detail of what you're agreeing to buy. You may not realize it, but the slightest changes in how you might be setting up a venue or what you might be ordering or a simple change of a stone on a ring could be the difference of thousands of dollars. If you're not aware of every choice you're making, it's so easy for your budget to get totally blown out of the water, and fun fact, that's actually what usually happens. In fact, 47% of couples report spending more than they budgeted for on their wedding. If you are ever not a part of the financial conversation around your wedding, insist that you must be.

The next thing I wish I knew is how much social media adds to the pressure. Now, we've made a conscious decision not to have any kind of wedding hashtag, and although we are not going to forbid our guests from using social media while we're there, we're also not going to encourage them to do it. But it's not just social media activity on the actual day or days of your celebration that makes a huge impact, it's all of what you're exposed to leading up to it. We live in a different time when it comes to weddings. 64% of couples now have a wedding hashtag, and that means that 64% of couples are distributing images of what they did and what it looked like to their entire extended social media universe. Aside from the fact that it adds an enormous amount of pressure to create something extra beautiful and extra luxurious, it also means that your wedding is going to be visually consumed by hundreds, if not thousands of people who weren't even invited. And in the buildup to the wedding, when you're looking online for inspiration or seeing other people around you get married, that has a huge impact on what you feel that you need for your wedding, and it's no coincidence that along with the rise of this social media wedding frenzy, we've seen the average cost of weddings skyrocket right along with it. Brandi Hammerstone, a wedding planner at All Events Planned explained, "The hard part that we've all found is that social media allows for brides and grooms to see other weddings and love what they are seeing without realizing the time and money it actually took to create the look. Unfortunately, there are so many unrealistic expectations that people now have for their day that they may not be able to afford or won't have the time to create if it's DIY." And beyond just the expectations that you create for yourself from seeing all these other weddings, as well as the expectations for what all the people on your friends and family's social networks might see when they post a picture, there's also become an added incentive to make the wedding even more extravagant for guests so that they're encouraged to like, share, and hashtag. The average number of wedding guests in 2016 is down to 141 compared to 149 in 2009, while the cost per wedding guest is up to $245 compared to $194 in 2009. Although it's obviously a wonderful thing to make sure your guests have an incredible experience at your wedding, you're also not creating an amusement park for them to enjoy themselves in and share pictures of with everyone they've ever known. Ultimately, this day is about you and the person you love coming together and celebrating it with the people you love most. It's not about how perfect it looks on Instagram. And if you think it hasn't gotten that out of control, consider that now there is an entire cottage industry that's been built up around social media concierges for weddings. Hotel chains are now offering this service which will create your hashtag, do Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter Lives during the ceremony, and encourage guests to share. And you can have it all for the low-low price of $3,000 on average.

And the last thing I wish I knew is how much budgets are routinely blown up. As I mentioned before, 47% of couples report that they went over their planned budget on their wedding, and unfortunately, one of the most direct causes to these frequent budget blow ups is that the woman was not let in on the price. She's sitting there choosing between two meals and doesn't know that one is $20 per person more expensive than the other, and she chooses the one it tastes better without knowing that she just shot herself in the foot to the tune of $6,000 extra. But the other reason these budgets often blow up is because of how frequently there are surcharges and extra charges and blown up prices as soon as the word wedding is involved. One of the best tips I ever got when it came to planning a wedding is that every single time it's possible when you are organizing something to buy or pay for, do not use the word wedding. You can use the word party, you can use the word celebration, you can use the word event, but avoid the word wedding at all costs. The markup can vary hugely from industry to industry, but the increase in products, services, and personnel for things that are wedding-specific can be up to 40%, and this constant budget inflation makes it no surprise that couples are more and more frequently going into debt just to pay for their wedding.

Ultimately, we've done everything in our power to trim our ceremony down to something that is meaningful for us with no extra fluff that will cost us or our guests money unnecessarily. The biggest single expense for us in this whole process has been booking a place for all of our guests to stay because we didn't want them to have to pay for lodging after they've already paid for their airfare. And making that choice, of course, mean that we had to trim down on a lot of other things, but ultimately, what we're going to remember from the day is the warm feeling we had with being amongst a group of people that we loved and being with each other. I'm certainly not going to remember the centerpiece, or a $1,500 dress, or all of my best friends wearing matching dresses that they can't stand. If and when you do get married, remember that a wedding should be about what is meaningful to you and what you are comfortable spending on.

You can always say no, the bride should always be aware of every budget line, and you should do everything in your power to reduce the influence of social media. Because all of those strangers' opinions should mean nothing to you. A wedding doesn't have to be a huge headache or to bankrupt you. You just have to know how to do it right. And as a newly married person, I can say that one of the most important things with these big life moments is really taking the time to think about your life in a way that you don't on a day-to-day basis. Most of us don't want to think about the end of our lives when we're taking the big step of getting married, but people buy life insurance because they want to take care of their loved ones, even beyond their own lifetime together, so actually, considering it when you're getting married or having a baby makes total sense.

And we feel that the perfect place to find a policy that protects your loved ones is Quotacy. With Quotacy, you can comparison shop for coverage in less time than it takes to write your vows. Just answer a few quick questions, find a policy that fits your budget, and apply online. Then Quotacy's agents will guide you every step of the way. Easy, right? Quotacy's purpose is saving families. When you shop for coverage with them, you can be confident that your family is protected, for better or for worse. Get started today at the link in our description. As always, guys, thank you for watching, and don't forget to hit the Subscribe button and to come back every Tuesday and Thursday for new and awesome videos. Bye!