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Yes, You Can Help Plan a Wedding and Avoid Debt

When you’ve offered to help to pay for your child’s wedding, you may not be thinking about debt. But you should be.

Hearing your son or daughter say, “we’re engaged!” can mean the start of a lot of things: date and venue selection, helping pick out dresses, flowers, photographers…and, managing (or blowing) a budget. If you’re a parent who’s helping to pay for a wedding, you know that “debt” and “I do” seem to go hand-in-hand.

For parents of the happy couple, here’s how to help avoid wedding debt.

Build a wedding budget

You can blame Pinterest, Instagram, reality TV or the wedding industry…the bottom line is that weddings can be notoriously expensive. They can result in overwhelming debt — which can leave parents looking for debt help in the form of credit counselling, consumer proposal, or even bankruptcy after the festivities are over.

One way to avoid overwhelming post-wedding debt is to create a very detailed wedding budget. That means gathering the right information to increase your cost knowledge.

The best budget takes a little research. When you realize that a venue alone can cost at least $8,000 for 120 guests, you might start to sweat a bit. That’s why it helps to list every possible expense. If you overlook something that could cost a few extra thousand dollars, it could result in a lot of debt.

Here are some common but often-overlooked budget busters:

  • Tables, chairs, tablecloths…yes, these can be extra.
  • Parking and transportation to-and-from venues.
  • Wedding planner. A wedding planner can help immensely with making bookings, organizing, set up and tear down, and crisis management. But that help isn’t free, with some planners starting at nearly $10,000.

The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada offers a thorough wedding budget worksheet to get you started. As you begin to tally up the costs you’ll see how the expenses add up against your budget.

If you make the decision to take on any debt to pay for those extras, plugging it into this debt repayment calculator can give you a clear idea of what that debt will actually cost you in the long-run.

Your child’s dream wedding and your budget might not always be in agreement. Have them help research costs and discuss what the wedding priorities are so that they realize the importance of staying on budget. Working together can help you stay out of debt.

How are you avoiding wedding debt as parents? Tell us on Twitter. #DebtSolutions #Weddings

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