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  Print Version   Volume 2014 Edition 59
Archive Press Room Contacts About GA Credit Unions
Planning for a wedding

CONSIDER THIS:

According to the Mid-Year 2014 Consumer Survey conducted by the Georgia Credit Union Affiliates (GCUA), many people in Georgia who are planning a wedding don't have funds set aside for the event.

Only 7 percent of survey participants said they had funds set aside for the big day while 71.4 percent had no money saved.

Creator of the wedding website TheKnot.com, XO Group Inc., recently released the results of its annual Real Weddings Study. The report surveyed nearly 13,000 U.S. couples married in 2013. According to the study, the average U.S. wedding costs $29,858, excluding the honeymoon. The average number of wedding guests is 138 while the average number of bridal party members is 8-10. The average length of engagement for Americans is 14 months.

According to the GCUA survey, about 13 percent of those who saved wedding funds did so for less than six months, while 9 percent said they saved for at least a year. Sixteen percent said they allocated finances for more than a year. Most respondents indicated they paid for the wedding out of savings while more than 7 percent said they relied on contributions from friends and family. Other payment methods included loans and credit cards.

Insider's Perspective:
The stepson of Melany Ward, vice president and CFO of Ethicon Credit Union in Cornelia, recently married, and Ward recommends over-budgeting when it comes to wedding planning.

"Even the best financial wedding plan will cost more than you anticipate," said Ward. "Expect the total to be least 10 to 15 percent more, in addition to a liberal and detailed budget allowing for unforeseen expenses. Also, be cautious when exceeding the allocated amount on any item. One hundred dollars here and there can result in thousands of dollars before the big day."

Since the reception is often a major expense, Ward said prioritizing the guest list and food choices early is important, and it's a way to rein in excessive spending. She encourages consumers to look to their credit union for extra financial support.

"As credit unions continue 'Helping People Afford Life,' we strive to offer various options to prepare for that special day, whether it's for a loved one, or yourself," Ward said. "A separate savings account can begin to accumulate and be set aside for a specific purpose for the future. Or, if you are in the midst of already planning a major event such as a wedding, several lending options are available at most credit unions - such as personal, special-purpose, auto, or second-mortgage loans."

Tips to save for a wedding:

  • Over-budget. Plan on paying the top cost for each expense and then add 10 percent to that. Any leftover money can be put towards extras or be put aside in savings for the bride and groom.
  • Prioritize. Being organized can help save money. Prioritize the guest list, decor and food choices.
  • Start saving early. Consider opening a special savings account specifically for the big day.
  • Look to a credit union for help. Credit unions offer many avenues to help people afford big expenses. Most offer personal, special-purpose and other loan options.

To learn more about credit unions or to find a credit union to join, consumers can visit: www.asmarterchoice.org/.

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Additional Information
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TheKnot.com Releases 2013 Wedding Statistics: A survey by the creator of a leading wedding website found that spending on weddings continues to increase despite a trend toward more casual weddings.

State Contacts

Angi Harben
Director of Communications, GCUA
800-768-4282
angih@gcua.org

Local Contacts

Georgia Credit Union Affiliates

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