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Financial priorities leading couples to delay wedding

Nearly one-third of those married within the past five years postponed an engagement or wedding because of finances.
Nearly one-third of those married within the past five years postponed an engagement or wedding because of finances.

Two-thirds of soon-to-be newlyweds are postponing their wedding day because of financial priorities, new research shows.

BMO Financial Group, Toronto, released this finding in “BMO Wedding Survey,” the first report in a two-part series on the economics of weddings and marriage.

According to the report, nearly one-third (31 percent) of those married within the past five years said they postponed an engagement or wedding because of finances, while only 15 percent of those married longer (more than five years) deferred their nuptials.

Couples planning to marry in the next five years expect to spend an average of $14,281 on wedding expenses, the report states, adding that weddings costing up to $20,000 are “not uncommon.”

The survey, conducted by Pollara, ranked the main financial obstacles on the road to becoming newlyweds for couples getting married in the next five years. It revealed:

  • Housing costs ranked as the top barrier (34 percent)
  • Employment status—meaning either unemployment or underemployment—ranked number two, with one-quarter citing it as a barrier (24 percent)
  • Another 23 percent cited overall debt as a barrier

The survey also found that fewer couples are expecting help from family to cover wedding expenses:

  • Soon-to-be newlyweds expect to cover, on average, half (53 percent) of their wedding costs with money saved themselves
  • Those married more than five years ago depended more on family to cover costs than those planning to wed in the next five years (34 percent versus 19 percent)
  • However, those planning to marry soon are slightly more likely to rely on cash gifts than couples married longer (10 percent versus 6 percent)

Covering wedding expenses

Soon to marry

 

Recently married

 

Married longer

 

Savings by couple

53%

 

59%

 

54%

 

Family

19%

 

20%

 

34%

 

Cash gifts from wedding guests

10%

 

8%

 

6%

 

Loan or line of credit (LOC)

9%

 

5%

 

2%

 

Credit card

6%

 

6%

 

3%

 

To manage rising wedding costs, soon-to-wed couples are employing a number of strategies to save money, including:

  • Having a smaller wedding (65 percent)
  • Making their own decorations, centerpieces or invitations (59 percent)
  • Getting a friend to act as DJ or photographer (50 percent)
  • Holding the wedding on a less popular day or season (35 percent)
  • Having a destination wedding (19 percent)
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