Galactic Hot Dogs

Saving on Wedding Costs

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Avoiding Temptation

We understand that your baby's wedding is a once-in-a-lifetime event (hopefully), and that you want it to be perfect. We can't stress, however, how important it is to be realistic about how much you can afford to spend to make those dreams come true.

Some families have no problem plunking down $20,000 or $25,000 for a wedding. Most of us, however, have to do some serious thinking and planning before we hand over that kind of money.

If you haven't been great about saving for retirement, think long and hard before spending a good chunk of whatever amount of money you have. Your daughter can live without a big, fancy wedding, but you really can't live without retirement money.

If you're going to be paying for, or contributing to the wedding costs, set a limit on what you're able to spend and stick to that amount. Do not yield to the temptation to add a first course to the wedding dinner, even if your best friend did for her daughter's wedding. Understand that your daughter will be just as lovely in a $400 dress as she will in that $2,000 model, and that a champagne toast, while nice, is not a necessary part of a reception.

With careful planning and some well-placed restraint, you can help to give your son or daughter a great wedding. Don't, however, put your future in jeopardy to do so.

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Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Personal Finance in Your 40s and 50s © 2002 by Sarah Young Fisher and Susan Shelly. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit the Idiot's Guide web site or call 1-800-253-6476.

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