We’ve all heard the stories of the runaway bride who gets cold feet and never makes her way to the altar, or the groom who gets through the bachelor party only to realize that he’s really not ready to give up the ladies and settle into a monogamous relationship. The number of people who get cold feet in the months, weeks, days, and hours leading up to the ceremony (or even those who bolt during the vows) is fairly high, and it’s no surprise considering the major life decision involved in committing to be with only one other person for as long as you both shall live. And while there is certainly an emotional cost involved, it may be the financial loss that haunts you for years to come.
Most people sink money into planning their marriage with the assumption that they will pay for it as a couple. Because they will share the expenses of one household in the future (if they aren’t already), rather than supporting two costly residences (with all of the attendant bills), they can afford to lay out thousands of dollars for their impending nuptials. And according to recent surveys, the average cost of a wedding these days comes out to more than $25,000, a pretty hefty price tag for an event that doesn’t happen. Of course, the majority of engaged couples that split do so before they have to pay in full, but there are still a number of non-refundable costs that must be paid.
First there is the engagement ring, which may be sold later on, but certainly can’t be returned in most cases (at least not after a certain point). Then there are deposits required for the venues (ceremony and reception), the official, photographer, caterer, florist, and so on. The dress is a cost that must be paid in full, and often honeymoon bookings come with a cancellation fee (although tickets may be transferred). The average couple has somewhere in the neighborhood of $8,000 in fees that they cannot reclaim, even if they cancel early. Of course, there is an easy way to avoid this costly situation; if couples simply take their commitments seriously and stop to think things through before buying (or accepting) the engagement ring, then a lot of time, trouble, and money can be saved.