By John Drachman
Committed couples are tapping into an unexpected resource for funding their post-pandemic future together: investment dollars made available from their suddenly scaled back wedding plans.
While the Center for Disease Control (CDC) discourages large events of any kind, what qualifies as large varies from state to state; from gatherings of fewer than 10 people in one spot to less than 50. According to Dr. Schaffner of Health.com, “A wedding is one of those occasions where there will be an epidemic of hugging and kissing that goes on. Can people try to be restrained? It’s unlikely.” Details matter: It’s safer to plan a wedding where guests are spaced six feet apart.
The average couple spent approximately $30,000 on a wedding in 2019 for the ring, the venue, the food, the flowers, the invitations, the cake and much more. Location matters too: with average costs in the U.S. ranging from a high of $82,299 in New York to a much more affordable $17,361 in Alaska. In response to our pandemic moment, wedding planners are using innovative, hybrid ways to celebrate marriage vows at a safe social distance by structuring the event as a smaller gathering shared through professionally done interactive video conferences.
Smaller weddings just make good investment sense. Even in pre-pandemic days, many couples wondered if spending $30,000 or so on a wedding was the best use of their resources. While the wedding industry wouldn’t agree, there may have always been better ways to allocate that cash windfall; such as addressing the bigger post-wedding picture: down payment for a first home; future college expenses – even retirement income cash flow.
The bottom line
The fact is many are discovering the joys of small venues and more intimate ceremonies for $15,000 or less. With Covid-19 putting a damper on global travel, chances are your honeymoon will be a scaled-back affair too at least over the short-term.
Want to know what an alternate investing scenario might look like? Slate magazine’s Chris Kirk put together a wedding investment calculator that shows what you could make if you redeployed marriage money to investing in the stock market as measured by the S&P 500 Index, a common barometer of large company performance. If a couple reallocated 50% of a hypothetical $30,000 wedding budget to large company stocks, their $15,000 investment would have more than doubled to $30,714 in 10 years.
For many couples financial struggles also have proven to be one of the leading causes of divorce. In contrast, a little planning and discipline can facilitate your journey down the aisle to a wonderful wedding, a manageable honeymoon, a happy home and much more. Before assembling your guest list, consider talking to a financial advisor to get your future family assets off to a good start.
John Drachman is a contributing writer to MyPerfectFinancialAdvisor, the premier matchmaker between investors and advisors. John is an IABC award-winning writer, who applies his 30 years of financial marketing experience toward advancing the dialog between investors and investment professionals.