The Father of the Bride Isn’t the Only One Picking Up the Wedding Tab Anymore

I remember watching Steve Martin in “Father of the Bride” talk about his little girl getting married, saying: “I used to think a wedding was a simple affair. Boy and girl meet. They fall in love. He buys a ring, she buys a dress, they say I do. I was wrong. That’s getting married. A wedding is an entirely different proposition.”

And, it was at that point in the movie that my own father gave me this knowing look, probably imagining what would happen one day when his only daughter (a daughter with expensive taste, mind you) walked down the isle: He’d get hit with a lofty bill to pay for that dream wedding.

Well, rest easy, dad, because a new survey shows that the father of the bride isn’t always the one picking up the tab for a wedding anymore. Heck, sometimes there isn’t even a bride — or there are two — but the poll focused solely on heterosexual marriages.

The two-day SurveyMonkey Audience poll, commissioned by FiveThirtyEight, happened in August and collected the opinions of 1,050 people.

The survey zeroed in on heterosexual marriages “because there are a whole lot of inherited gender roles and history involved,” FiveThirtyEight said in a blog post.

It found that 26% of respondents said the couple should be paying for the wedding themselves. The same amount of people said it should be equally split between the couple and both sets of parents. But, not too far behind (25%) is the bride’s family. The rest of the respondents were pretty split — 12% saying the groom’s family and bride’s family should split the cost, 7% saying it’s up to the bride’s family and the couple to pay, and only 2% felt the groom’s family should take on the responsibility. Zero percent said the groom’s family and the couple should pay.

Paying for Your Wedding

If you’re getting ready to walk down the isle, no matter who is paying for the event, it certainly isn’t a day worth anyone going into extreme debt over. Remember, going into debt could make it harder for the two of you to start your life together — whether you’re looking to get a mortgage or new car — as carrying high levels of debt will hurt your credit scores. (You can see where your credit currently stands by viewing two of your credit scores for free, updated each month, on Credit.com.)

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8 Things Americans Spend a Ridiculous Amount of Money On

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It Costs $703 Just to Attend a Wedding Now

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You may dread receiving certain mail, particularly bills reminding you how much you owe. And if you’re like some Americans, you may get that same sinking feeling when a wedding invite appears in your mailbox. That’s because the average wedding now costs $703, according to a recent survey from American Express.

The American Express Spending & Saving Tracker fielded input from a random sample of 1,803 adult participants, including the general U.S. population, as well as an affluent demographic defined by a minimum annual household income of $100,000.

It found Americans will attend an average of three weddings this year and spend $703 each time, up 5% from $673 in 2015.

Millennials will spend $893, or 27% more than the average guest, while those in the couple’s wedding party could pay closer to $743, up from $701 in 2015. When millennials are in the wedding party, they can expect to pay an average of $928, the most expensive payment by far.

These totals were based on average airfare ($205), cost of wedding party attire ($166) and childcare/pet care costs ($69). Guests can also expect to spend an average of $127 on wedding gifts for relatives, up from $142 in 2015, and $99 for friends, up from $90 in 2015.

Many couples themselves are responding to the rising cost of hosting a wedding by simplifying the event (30%) with a courthouse marriage or holding an intimate ceremony. Moreover, 24% plan the wedding themselves, 21% opt for a less expensive venue and 55% complete some type of DIY wedding project.

Before planning your own wedding, you’ll need to have a firm understanding of you and your partner’s credit. It’s also helpful to know your creditworthiness if you plan to open a credit card or take out a personal loan to cover the costs. You can view your two free credit scores on Credit.com.

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How Much Money Can I Borrow for My Wedding?

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Couples planning a wedding face a lot of financial decisions. It can seem like every little detail can affect your budget by hundreds of dollars (if not thousands), so if you haven’t saved a lot and aren’t getting help with the expenses, celebrating the start of a marriage can seem like more of a burden than anything else.

There are innumerable ways to put together a wedding with a small budget, but inexpensive weddings aren’t on everyone’s wish list. Many people frown on going into debt to pay for a wedding, but it happens all the time. Putting wedding expenses on a credit card can be incredibly expensive, unless you’re using a card with a low APR or a 0% promotional financing period, but there’s also the option of a personal loan. (If you were planning on taking a “free” wedding loan from SwanLuv, you can lay that plan to rest. The company pulled the plug on its offering, but can still assist you in crowd-sourcing your nuptials.)

Only about 2.1% of personal loan requests are to pay for wedding expenses, according to an analysis of loan requests made in 2015 through online marketplace LendingTree. The average loan request is $7,304.61, but the average offer amounts to $11,158.99 (meaning you could ask for more than that, if you really want to).

“Lenders often offer higher loan amounts in an effort to provide better interest rates,” Megan Grueling, the marketing and communications manager at LendingTree, said in an email. “Loans with higher amounts typically have lower interest APRs than the same loan with a lower amount, since the lenders try to maximize profitability. The smart thing for borrowers to do is to see what interest rates will be at different loan amounts, and choose the loan with the lowest total cost.”

Borrowing $11,000 for a wedding may seem like a lot (it is), but it’s not surprising, given how expensive weddings are. The average wedding costs more than $30,000, according to the most recent survey from wedding website TheKnot. Still, you’ll end up paying a lot more than $11,000 by the time you repay it, even if you get a low interest rate. You can minimize the cost of a personal loan if you pay it down aggressively and if you have a great credit score, so make sure you check it before you apply. You can get two free credit scores every 30 days on Credit.com to see where you stand — people with good credit tend to get the most favorable loan terms.

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