Taking a Vow for a Wedding or a New Home?
March 20, 2017
Getting married and buying a home are two milestones that couples often try to achieve at the same time. But the finances involved in both of those feats can be daunting. The average wedding costs reached a record high in 2016: $35,329. That is about the equivalent of a 20 percent down payment on a $175,000 home.
"There are some people that can do both at the same time, but for most, you have to choose one [goal] and delay the other by a year or two," says Pamela Capalad, a certified financial planner and founder of Brunch & Budget in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Some couples in wedding prep mode are setting up a gift registry asking for down payment assistance to help in their home purchase instead of filling their registry with traditional house gifts. Cash registries for a home or other major ticket purchases, such as a home renovation or car, are growing more popular as the average ages for brides and grooms increase, says Kristen Maxwell Cooper, executive editor of The Knot. (For example, some couples are using online sites like Deposit a Gift to set up a down payment cash registry.)
"They already have a lot of the stuff you would add to a traditional registry," Cooper says. "Ultimately they want to make sure that if their friends and family want to give them a gift—and of course, they do—that it's something useful."
After all, saving enough for a wedding alone can really add up. Nearly half of couples recently surveyed say they ended up spending more than they intended on their wedding, according to The Knot.
Further, a wedding that overlaps with a home purchase can actually jeopardize closing, in some cases too. Wedding-related debt could damage a person’s credit score.
"Your mortgage qualification is going to be largely based on your income, and your credit," says Keith Gumbinger, vice president at mortgage site HSH.com. "The last thing you want to do is disturb your credit in any way."
Source: “Wedding or New Home? How to Pay for Both,” CNBC (March 16, 2017)
Updated: February 14, 2020