Finances causing couples to postpone marriage

By Staff | June 20, 2013 | Last updated on June 20, 2013
2 min read

The majority of soon-to-be newlyweds (67%) are postponing the “big day” because of financial priorities, and the trend is on the rise, according to the BMO Wedding Survey.

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

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Furthermore, couples planning to marry in the next five years expect to spend an average of $14,281 on wedding expenses. However, it’s not uncommon for a wedding to cost upwards of $20,000.

“When you factor in everything from the rings to the venue, dress and honeymoon, getting married can be a significant financial commitment,” said Janet Peddigrew, vice president, BMO Bank of Montreal. “An important first step for any couple thinking about getting married is to determine what kind of celebration is financially realistic. One way to do this is by sitting down with a financial advisor to create a plan that takes all aspects of the wedding into account.”

The survey 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%)
  • Employment status – meaning either unemployment or underemployment – ranked number two, with one-quarter citing it as a barrier (24%)
  • Another 23% cited overall debt as a barrier

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

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

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

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The staff of have been covering news for financial advisors since 1998.