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Is Having a Big Wedding Really Worth It?

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It’s hard to issue a blanket statement on whether a big wedding is worth having. Worth what? Are we talking about the price tag? What about the time commitment, or what else could the money be used for? Some people don’t even like being the center of attention, so the idea of a big wedding is stressful.

Who might find a big wedding satisfying? Is having a big wedding really worth it?

A big wedding is usually worth it if you can afford it and it’s something you want.

Elegant bride in a white dress and veil. Handsome groom in a blue suit. Couple near large building with columns

Wedding ceremonies and receptions are obviously momentous occasions. For most folks, having a memorable wedding helps them bring the two families closer together and set a solid foundation between partners.

It’s important to determine what you want in a wedding before you start planning and deciding whether it’s worth it.

Of course, it’s not just about what you want. There are other factors at play, like what your parents want and what whoever is paying can afford. Different families will have different approaches, but if you’re trying to decide how big or small to go, here are some things you should consider.

Bride and groom cutting their big wedding cake in wedding reception

The Wedding Price Tag: Should You Go All Out?

The biggest wedding consideration is typically cost. Large weddings can cost tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. While some people save their entire lives to host their dream weddings, other people look on incredulously at how much people spend.

According to the financial blog NerdWallet, the average cost of a wedding was $28,000 in 2021. Some people will look at that and think it’s reasonable, while others will start to sweat.

People also regularly borrow on credit cards or take out loans to finance weddings. Several companies make money by lending people money to book venues and then establish repayment plans that take years to fulfill.

The bottom line is that you should only spend as much money on your wedding as you can without compromising your financial future.

There’s little sense in going into long-term debt over a wedding.

The same goes for your parents. If you’re young or not privy to your parents’ finances, ensure they don’t feel undue pressure to overspend. Even if you throw an amazing wedding that people will remember for years, it’s not worth the cost.

Understanding the Wedding Cost Breakdown

Big wedding venue decorated in pink and violet

Most people who regret spending as much as they did on their wedding typically report that they didn’t know how quickly the costs would add up. People always plan to book a venue and pay for a dress, but other costs sneak up on you like:

  • Party favors
  • Catering
  • Expensive Cakes
  • Rehearsal Dinners
  • Event Planner
  • Photographer/Photos

Before you start planning a large wedding, know that every person you add to the guest list only means more costs down the line for things like food and everything else.

What Can You Afford?

Wedding statuette of groom and bride with coins and dollars on it

How much should your wedding budget be? It’s a hard question to answer because sometimes you’re pitching in along with parents and other relatives. Here, though, are some basic rules to follow.

In general, you should spend no more than 40% of your annual after-tax earnings on a wedding. This means you can save about a fifth of your salary for two years to save for the wedding of your dreams.

If you or your parents already have the money in the bank, then saving is no issue. Then, you must consider whether the money spent is worth it down the line. You could spend it on things like a better honeymoon or a down payment on your first house, but different people have varying priorities around money.

Gold wedding rings, a watch and save the date concept for wedding

Thinking About Time

Time is another big factor when it comes to deciding whether a big wedding is really worth it. How much time do you have or want to dedicate to managing all of the details and expectations tied up with wedding planning?

People elope for many reasons, but a common motive is that they just don’t want to shoulder the stress of managing so many people when the wedding is supposed to be about them.

There are ways to reduce your obligations. You can hire a wedding planner to handle all of the administrative tasks you don’t have time for. They’ll help you make the daily decisions and sync up with you on progress when you have time.

Still, whether a big wedding is worth it, even if you have the money, usually boils down to if it’s something you want to do. Plenty of folks dream about big weddings from the time they are young. They come from large families where a big wedding is an expectation.

Elegant open air big wedding reception

Reasons to Have a Big Wedding

When you approach large weddings from a strictly financial standpoint, it makes things harder to justify. However, you can’t look at life through dollars and cents. Some things are worth the cost, even though they are hard to explain.

It’s impossible, for example, to put a price tag on throwing a big wedding where all of your friends and family will be in the same place to celebrate your future. It may have been years since you saw some cousins or friends from college. Those intimate moments with them at your wedding will be priceless.

Hopefully, your wedding will last a lifetime, and a large wedding will always be something you and your spouse can look back on. You’ll flip through photos over a glass of wine in the evening or throw in your wedding video for your kids on your anniversary.

One thing to also consider is that bigger weddings with more guests mean more support for the newlywed couple!

People are more inclined to give more significant gifts at bigger weddings to help plant a solid foundation for the couple. While this isn’t the only motivation for having a large wedding, it’s something to consider when your parents tell you they want to invite work friends.

behind look of newlyweds waiving to their guests

When Big Weddings Are Worth It: Building a Lifetime of Memories

Anyone who has been to a fantastic wedding remembers it forever. It’s an incredible experience that celebrates two people and two families coming together. Weddings are emotional moments filled with happiness and celebration.

Big weddings are popular because some people just love to throw incredible parties. It’s essential that gets remembered in all of the business. Weddings are parties and should be fun! Bigger weddings should mean more fun even though they are harder to plan.

A massive wedding can be worth everything if you have the money and feel inclined or get the help you need. You and your friends and family will talk about the experience for years to come. The bottom line – if you’re inclined, go for it!

Your day is yours, and the memories will last a lifetime. Plan the perfect wedding within a budget range that you can afford. As long as you know what you can comfortably spend and handle stress-wise, the sky is the limit on what you should do for your ceremony and reception.

Enlist the help you need from close family or hire someone who can bring your dream wedding to life.