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Great Weddings on a Budget

Today's modern wedding can end up costing more than you had thought possible...but it doesn't have to. The following tips will help!

Nashville, Ark. – Many couples spend hours planning the perfect wedding. The right dress, the right setting, making sure the food, invitations, photographer, and the list goes on and on. What you envisioned can quickly deplete the budget. Often, today’s modern wedding can end up costing more than you had thought possible. But, it doesn’t have to.

            According to recent studies, the average price of an American wedding can add up to over $31,000. The big day can cause stress for those who don’t have a savings plan in place. While this amount sounds unrealistic, the fact is weddings can be very expensive.

            Before discussing which flavor of cake you will have or even making out the invitation list, it’s smart for couples to sit down and have a frank discussion about money in general. Begin by sharing your current spending, savings, investment and credit status. While this type of conversation may not be romantic, being honest about your finances is the first step to responsible financial planning and compatibility.

            Once you’ve set the date, set a savings target with a realistic budget. The sooner you get married, the less time you’ll have to build a wedding fund. Begin by making a general list of everything you might want in a wedding and then adjust your vision to how much you will have in your bank account by the wedding date.

            As reality starts to set in, determine what has to be purchased and what you can live without. Take a look at the guest list and see if you can make some cuts. Are you okay with having your brother use his photo skills to take pictures, or do you need to hire a professional photographer?

            Consider off-dates, off-times and off-venues. Though wedding season is more year-round than ever before, wedding prices still tend to be at their highest during the traditional month of June. Explore other dates during the winter or at other venues. For example, a small wedding at home or at a small church is less expensive than a large wedding at a bigger church or at a premier garden chapel.

            Your wedding day should be special. Flashy weddings aren’t worth jeopardizing your finances for years to come. Make creative, affordable wedding planning part of your love story.

            The Howard County Cooperative Extension Service has some great free publications on financial matters for newlyweds. If you are getting married or have been married for a couple years and would like a free gift on managing your finances, contact our office at 870-845-7517 and ask for the series of fact sheets, “Financial Smart Start for Newlyweds”. It has everything you need to know about communicating about money, budgeting, and credit. You can also visit our office located on the second floor of the courthouse.

Recipe of the Week

            These cookies were shared at the recent Howard County Extension Homemaker Spring Council meeting. They were a big hit and even though my husband and I have been married for several years, he said he would marry me again after tasting these delicious cookies.

Marriage Proposal Cookies

1 cup butter

1 ¼ cups light brown sugar

½ cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup old fashioned oats (not quick cook)

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 cup white chocolate chips

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 cup chopped pecans

            Preheat oven to 325º. In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Remove from heat. Add the brown sugar and granulated sugar and stir until sugars are smooth. Chill the mixture for 10 minutes.

            Remove from the refrigerator and stir in the eggs and vanilla. In a separate bowl combine the flour, oats, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Mix with creamed mixture. Stir in the white chocolate chips, chocolate chips and pecans.

            Roll by hand into medium-size balls or use a scoop, and place on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 14-18 minutes, or just until lightly browned. Allow to cool on baking sheet for 2 minutes, and then transfer to cooling rack.

            Yield: 3 dozen cookies.

By Jean Ince
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Media Contact: Jean Ince
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
421 N. Main St, Nashville AR 71852
(870) 845-7517


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