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Wedding Planning During the Recession: What Happens if You Get Laid Off?

Deciding Whether to Postpone or Cancel a Wedding because of Job Loss

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If you've been laid off or fired while planning a wedding, your stress levels probably go through the roof. But should you cancel, postpone, or just radically alter your wedding budget?

The US recession and generally terrible state of the world’s economy has many people questioning their future plans. But getting married isn’t some indulgent vacation – it’s an important ritual and milestone of your life. If you’ve been laid off, or you’re worrying about the potential of future unemployment, you might be thinking about postponing or canceling your wedding. Even if you’re sure about going ahead, you’re probably wondering how everything’s going to get paid for.

Before you panic and cancel the wedding, here are some ways to make your wedding work in spite of the economy.

Think about Where You Can Cut Wedding Costs

Of course, the most obvious solution is to just have a cheaper wedding. But since that’s easier said than done, read Cutting Wedding Costs and Cheap Wedding Fridays Tips.

Outline What About a Wedding is Most Important To You

If you haven’t already filled out the newly engaged questionnaire, now is a good time. This will help you see if it’s possible to cut costs while still having the elements that are most important to you. Do you want a fancy event with fewer people? Or would you rather have a very simple event that everyone you know can be at? If both are equally important to you, consider if having the wedding of your dreams is more important than getting married soon. In that case, maybe postponing the wedding would be a good idea.

Consider Having a Two-Tiered Event

If you don’t have the money for a lavish wedding, maybe you want to elope, or have a very modest wedding reception now while planning for a bigger event later on. It could just mean waiting until your jobs are more stable, or planning to renew your wedding vows on an important future anniversary.

Look Into Wedding Insurance

If you still have your job, but are worried about losing it and thus not being able to afford the wedding, wedding insurance might be a good option. But be careful: Many policies don’t cover unemployment, and others are very expensive. Make sure it’s a wise financial decision for you.

Make Sure You Know Your Vendors’ Cancelation Policies

Before you sign a contract with a photographer, caterer, or other wedding vendor, make sure you know what their cancellation policies are. Know whether you can get back all or part of your deposit if you cancel before a certain date. Some vendors will only charge you a small fee for postponing, as long as you book them for a future date. If you’ve already signed contracts, go back and read the fine print. If it’s still before the cancellation date, it might make more sense to cancel or postpone now, rather than waiting to see what happens. And, if your money is already non-refundable, you may want to go ahead with the wedding in spite of money worries.

What You Shouldn’t Do

  • Spend Your Wedding Gifts
    If there is any chance that you might have to cancel the wedding or indefinitely postpone it, don’t use any already received cash wedding gifts. Though it’s tempting to spend cash when you have it in hand, especially when there’s not another ready source of income, this is not a wise financial decision. Etiquette says that you should return all wedding gifts, and if you’ve already spent it, that will be very difficult to do.
  • Charge The Whole Wedding
    Putting your wedding expenses on a credit card and not worrying about the expense until “later” may seem appealing at first. But unfortunately, “later” will come sooner than you think. Most likely, you'll be dealing with those bills and their high rates of interest long before your economic situation improves significantly.
We’re all hoping that the current economic crisis is short-lived. Many experts are predicting that the worst will happen during the summer of 2009, and then the economy will start to recover. But when you get married, you’re telling the world that love is forever. Maybe it’s good to know that when you vow to love each other “for richer AND for poorer” that you really mean it.

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