How Much Does it Cost to Get Married?

by Josh Champagne on July 6, 2012

Every enterprising young man who is considering popping the BIG question to his girlfriend has probably asked himself another question as well: “how much does it cost to get married?” We are talking here about the costs a young man is usually responsible for. So, this doesn’t include the cost of the wedding day itself (except for the honeymoon suite of course). That cost (averaging $29,000) is traditionally paid for by the parents of the bride. So, for the young man thinking of marriage, how much does it cost to get married? More than you might think!

A friend of mine recently started a relationship, which if all goes as planned, will probably lead to the marriage altar. Since I recently got married he asked me frankly, friend-to-friend, how much I figured he’d need to get married, zip away on a lovely honeymoon and come back to a fully furnished, comfortable home for his bride. I gave him a pretty easy figure: $50,000.

How Much Does it Cost to Get Married? $50k

If you are a young man considering marriage, you can stop reading this article, go back to work and start piling away those savings! Or you can continue reading and find out how I arrived at this figure.

I tend to be extremely debt averse, which is apparently unusual for Americans. My goal was to marry completely debt free. Mission accomplished. The only debt I hope to ever incur in the future, is a mortgage. Mortgages are a ‘useful’ sort of debt and have their benefits, but we’ll save those details for another post. Needless to say, when I was considering the idea of getting married (before I ever started a relationship) I did some itemizing and calculating to come to the $50k figure. Here they are.


One Time Costs (aka non-budget items)

  • Furniture / Appliances  –  $15,000
  • Engagement / Wedding Ring  –  $4,000
  • Honeymoon  –  $4,000
  • Home Goods (pillows, sheets, curtains and other items for setting up a house)  –  $2,500
  • Kitchen Equipment (non appliance)  –  $2,500
  • Emergency Fund (3-6 month’s expenses) $10,000
  • Total One Time Costs = $38,000


 cost-of-getting-married-starting-outRecurring Costs (aka budget items)

  • Starter home rental $800-1,000/month ($800 + first and last month’s deposit = $2,400 up front)
  • Food & household $600/month
  • Communications (phones,internet) $150/month
  • Transportation (1 car) $300/month
  • Utilities & Services (heat,cooling,water,trash,etc) $300/month
  • Clothing & Personal Products $300/month
  • ‘Fun Money’  $200/month
  • Healthcare and Pharmacy – $400/month
  • Savings  –  $300/month (varies based on usage of other budget categories)
  • Total = $11,650 in the first 3 months of marriage


GRAND TOTAL = $49,650   (about $50k give or take a few thousand)


Of course, this is only a rough sketch of what it might cost a couple just beginning their first 3 months of married life. I left out a lot of finer details. But, it makes a good starting point for anyone considering what it might cost to get married and start a home together.

What do you think? Is $50k too conservative, or more than enough? Couples, what was your newlywed financial experience like? Did I miss any big ticket items? Sound off in the comments below.

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