Has your wedding becoming more about money and less about love?

Like many others in the industry, I follow a few wedding-related Facebook groups & communities. They’re a great way to stay in tune with the common pain points & pressures that today’s couples struggle with while planning their wedding. But sometimes, I find my chin dropping at the absurdness and/or bluntness of some of the questions & comments that are posted.

This was especially true a week or so ago when I stumbled across one particular post. Not only did it make my chin drop but I’m pretty sure my blood pressure sky-rocketed by about 50pts.

Here’s what it said:
“My wedding is less than two weeks away and I’ve just had 4 guests cancel. I plan to charge them for the full cost of their attendance to cover my losses. What’s the best way to do so? Should I send them an invoice or an email requesting an e-transfer? What has worked best for others in the past?”

Let me just stop for a moment and say O.M.G. (and I’m not an OMG type of girl). Just recounting this post makes my eye twitch in all kinds of ugly ways.

Brides & grooms, repeat after me:
“My wedding is not a business!”

If you are in the midst of planning your wedding with your main focus being how much money you will ‘make’ ….PLEASE STOP PLANNING IMMEDIATELY!

Why? Because you’re planning your wedding with a completely wrong mindset. It’s no longer about celebrating your love and commitment with those closest to you. You’ve turned your focus towards ‘expenses out vs. income in’ and trust me, this is a very ugly path to head down. And sadly, this scenario is all too common nowadays.

You CANNOT plan your wedding with the expectation that your guests’ gifts & contributions will cover your costs. Not only is this greedy but it is also unrealistic and will, most likely, cause you to end up with a shocking amount of wedding debt down the road.

Here’s a great example – last year, I spoke with a bride who was getting married in about 3 month’s time. She wanted help tying up her final details and making sure nothing was overlooked. Great! But in one of our first meetings, I sat utterly speechless and in shock as she told me what she planned to do with ‘the profit from her wedding’.

Woo, woo, woo….back the train up – WHAT? (I’ll spare you the play-by-play of that conversation but I’m sure you can imagine how it went.)

“Plan your wedding based on what YOU can afford.”

This particular bride had fully planned her wedding as if it were a business. Based on her wedding ‘plan’, the income generated was not only going to cover her costs but would create a profit for her and her groom. Trust me, she had it down to a mathematical science.

Of course, I heeded my caution but she was far too along in her planning – and mindset – for it to really make a difference. She was already in that wedding business mindset.

Flash forward 6 months later – to say that her wedding ‘business’ didn’t go as planned is a huge understatement. In fact, for her, it was devastating.

Here’s how the final numbers broke down for her & her groom:
Total wedding cost: $41,672.00
# of confirmed guests: 189 (5 did not show)
Total money received by way of gifts/contributions: $19,050.00
Total wedding PROFIT: -$22,622

The truth of the matter is this – she EXPECTED her guests would provide a minimum cash gift of $150/person with the vast majority contributing much more (ideally $250+/person in her mind). But, in actuality, many of her guests opted to take a different route. Numerous people provided a store-bought gift (only one of which was able to be returned for a cash refund) while others opted for gift cards or a personalized gift of some sort. Those who did provide cash gifts contributed on average around $125/person.

The end result? $22,622.00 worth of Wedding Debt!
(the majority of which being credit card debt at 19.5% interest – yikes!)

Not only was this couple left with an incredible amount of debt (that will take them YEARS to pay off), they both look back on their wedding day with massive regret. A feeling that many might say is worse than the debt they now face.

The moral of the story? Plan your wedding based on what YOU can afford – not what you assume your family & guests will give in return!

Even better, plan your wedding with the assumption that you’ll never see a dollar in return. This will force you to plan a wedding that is within your current means rather than being left in the ‘red’ afterwards. In the end, if you do receive financial contributions towards your wedding – awesome! You’ll be able to appreciate any amount you receive as a generous gift and receive it with gratitude – not disappointment and frustration due to failed expectations.

Remember – you’re planning an event to celebrate love & commitment. You’re not opening a business! And, quite frankly put, if you NEED your guests to cover the cost of your wedding….you’re really not in a financial position to get married at this time.

Katrina Scarlett, Wedding Coach

Do you have any questions or comments? I’d love to hear from you – hello@katrinascarlett.com.