Makeover needed: Weddings

The average wedding in America will cost $28,704 in 2008, according to industry watcher The Wedding Report. That's a slight dip from 2007, but the group predicts by 2013, the bill will rise to $33,552. That's way too much for a one day event, no matter how magical, romantic and life changing.

According to the Census Bureau the median age (as of 2004) for a first time bride was 25 and a groom 27. That's way too young to be spending that kind of money on a party. Money is one of the top things couples fight about. You know what's life-changing: starting a marriage with $30,000 of debt.

I got married about three years ago, so I know how easy it is to get swept up in the notion of this once in a lifetime event. We were planning to be engaged for a year, get married in Chicago and only spend what we had saved. Then my now-husband's father got sick, we moved up the wedding to two months and had it in New York, where we live. Our budget went out the window but we still worked hard to keep every expense under control.

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