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Engaged couples work through financial deal-breakers, $27,000 weddings

May 10, 2012|By Tiffany Hsu
  • Prince William kisses his wife, Kate Middleton, as a young member of the wedding party frowns -- maybe because she was so overwhelmed by the cost of the big day.
Prince William kisses his wife, Kate Middleton, as a young member of the…

Most engaged couples plan to foot the entire bill for their wedding without getting help from their parents, and nearly half plan to spend less than $10,000 on the big day.

So says a new report from TD Ameritrade Holding Corp., which also found that most lovers don’t consider bad credit, foreclosures, student loan debt, unemployment and other poor financial setbacks to be a deal-breaker.

The main hitch? Bankruptcy. More than 3 in 10 affianced people said it would be cause to call off a wedding while 27% said they’d postpone the festivities -- more-so brides than grooms.

“We know that more people are getting married later in life, and as a result, they are bringing more financial history into the marriage -- from credit card debt and student loans to 401(k)s and other investments,” said Carrie Braxdale, Ameritrade’s managing director of investor services.

It’s not like love don’t cost a thing -- but it’s less than many people think, according to Ameritrade. The regions that tend to shell out more for the big day are the Northeast followed by the West. Most people start saving up during the year before the festivities; 9% start a wedding fund more than two years in advance.

Ameritrade found that 41% of couples under age 31 shared wedding costs with their parents, compared with just 21% of older lovers.

As the economy improves, bridal budgets are on the rise for the first time since 2008, according to wedding site The Knot. A March report from parent company the XO Group Inc. found that 11% of couples spent more than $40,000.

The average cost was $27,021 (with $1,121 for the dress), honeymoon not included. Manhattan, where the average wedding costs $65,824, was the most expensive wedding site. The Santa Barbara and Los Angeles region is the sixth priciest place to stroll down the aisle, with the average cost at more than $37,500.

Some other statistics from The Knot:

  • Average number of guests: 141
  • Average number of bridesmaids: 4-5
  • Most popular month to get engaged: December
  • Average length of engagement: 14 months
  • Most popular month to get married: September
  • Popular wedding colors: Blue (30%), Purple (25%), Green (24%)
  • Percentage of destination weddings: 24%
  • Cost of wedding venue: $12,116
  • Cost of engagement ring: $5,130


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