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Saving for a wedding: Financial tips for the Father of the Bride
With my son getting hitched this year and my daughter getting married next year, saving for weddings is bleeping on my radar like an incoming missile. Hopefully there is a way to dodge the explosive without retiring to the nuclear bunker ("it's no good Dad we know you're in there").
The average cost of a contemporary wedding is around $20,000 in the US and a more expensive £20,000 for the UK. Traditional fiscal responsibilities means I could be down £12,000 for the daughter and possibly £5000 for the son - check out Simone Smith's excellent hub on traditional wedding costs and who pays what.
I'll assume for now that we are going down the traditional route for traditional functions. Where am I going to get £20,000 in twelve months... legally?
The Long Shot
I've been buying a Lottery ticket every week.
- Total Expenditure so far £30
- Income £0
Perhaps I should put my £2 a week in my piggy bank. £2 at 50 weeks = £100. That should be enough for the Groom's Button Hole Rose (I'm going to suggest Carnations, then his Mother could have one too).
There is always the casino. My son was born on the 13th (lucky for him) and my daughter has the same birthday as me 17th Feb (lucky for me). If I put £312.50 on thirteen and seventeen at odds of 32:1 that should bring in £20k no problem. Or perhaps Russian Roulette might be a better solution.
The horses - I can't believe my luck "Plucky Groom" and "Bride's Well" running at the same meeting. I'll have £2.50 each way double.
Well that's £40 down (the casino was only an idea... "no Dad!") - the 'saving for a wedding' isn't going too well so far.
The boring way to save is to set up a savings account. If you know it will be for a fixed length of time, usually minimum 12 months, then you can get a higher rate of interest. A fixed rate Bond account can yield about 3% which is £30 for every £1000 saved... now we are talking... that could get me a fancy silver helium balloon complete with ribbon and sandbag for the top table.
If you want to be ultra sensible then it might be a good idea to set-up a standing order to make a regular payment.
Another suggestion would be to put your HubPages earnings to one side as a way of saving for the wedding. In my case that could pay for my place card, I'll even write my own name on it.
Life offers a multitude of opportunities to either not spend money or to divert money you would have spent into the wedding coffers. Coffee is one notable opportunity. Starbucks is unlikely to go into liquidation if you forgo an expresso or two in the name of family unity. Five coffee's a week at £2 a go is £10 a week or £500 a year... wow, I've never done that math before. Now I'm torn between funding one tier of the wedding cake or taking a foreign holiday. Next time I have a Grande Latte I'll be sure to have a shot of guilt to go.
Shopping is another gilt edged chance to save a few shekels. Do I really need razor blades at £5 a pack. 12 packs would net a cool £60, well worth being preserved on the wedding photo's for all eternity as a ZZ Top look alike.
Could I abstain from a trip to the lunchtime Sandwich Van?? As catering is one of the most expensive elements of the wedding feast, depriving the mobile caterer of £3.50 a day for Tuna Mayo and Flapjack would be a blow against the enemy and save me a cool £875. Now we are talking - that means we can have biscuits with the cheese... what a posh doo this is turning out to be.
Haggle Haggle Haggle
We British are very poor hagglers; it's just not done old boy. Not that I'll have any say whatsoever about the arrangements, if I did then I'd have to brush up on my hostage negotiation technique and dust down the old loud hailer.
"Five hundred quid for a photo album, tell him he's dreaming. I'll knock one up with brown paper and cardboard for a tenner."
I'm not sure if you can divorce your parents in the UK but it's probably best to leave negotiation to the experts. But seeing as any supplier of wedding services adds an extra two zero's to any item, I don't think it's unreasonable to ask for their best price. Especially if you are buying a package, there should be scope to ask for trade off's - "If alcoholic Aunt Maude is allowed to slip her own bottle of Vodka into her handbag then can we knock a hundred quid off the wine bill?"
Haggling doesn't just apply to suppliers. It's the father's duty to question whether the family tent in the back garden wouldn't do just as well as a Marquee at the Country Club. But then again "yes darling, whatever you want" is more likely to be the only acceptable suggestion.
Save the last dance
If saving £20,000 is completely out of the question, perhaps the happy couple could look at ways to save but still have a beautiful day they will cherish forever. A marriage certificate costs around £3.50 or a Mega Grande Mocha with cream and marshmallows and the Registry Office is about £100 or twenty Big Mac Meals. Everything else is tinsel and doesn't guarantee a happy ever after.
Dresses can be found in charity shops or Ebay, which is where my wonderful thrifty future Daughter-in-Law obtained her beautiful made to measure designer dress.
Stationery and Decorations can be home made or found at car boor sales or improvised from recycled materials. My son wraps all his presents in the Financial Times. He doesn't read it but it folds well.
Modern digital cameras take fabulous photographs and a bit of social networking can gather the best from friends and family then self published in stunning quality by online photo book businesses such as Blurb or Lulu.
If you have to have a venue, go for off peak or the local church hall. My partner's daughter got married in the Registry Office and her Mum did the catering back at the house - it was a fabulous day.
Where there is a will there's a way and a little creativity and inventiveness can mean a special occasion without a special price tag.
Top Five Divorce Rates by Country
Divorce Rate per 1000 people
Till Death Us Do Part
It seems all the rage to begin any kind of life changing project with a headlong dive into debt. You can't be a student any more unless you are happy paying tuition fees for longer than most modern marriages last. In fact getting married is only marginally cheaper than getting a degree. At least the degree can be seen as an investment. It would seem sensible therefore to avoid big loans to fund a wedding and to cut the marital cloth to suit the available budget.
I am absolutely certain my wedding invitation would be revoked if I dared to mention modern divorce rates. USA is currently top of the table with UK hot on their heels in fourth place.
When you consider the statistics, perhaps £500 on lucky thirteen doesn't seem such a bad idea after all.
And don't forget to pick the right Best Man
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