Two-Thirds of American Couples Overspend on Their Weddings, Visa Survey Finds

Award-Winning Money Management Website Helps Newlyweds Avoid Financial

Wedding Bell Blues

Jul 20, 2007, 01:00 ET from Visa

    SAN FRANCISCO, July 20 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Summer is the most
 popular season to get married and a wedding will likely be the biggest
 expense a couple faces in their first year of marriage. According to a
 newly released Visa survey of 1,000 cardholders, couples who got married in
 the past ten years spent an average of $7,873 on their weddings.
     Additionally, two-thirds of all respondents said they overspent on
 their weddings. Specifically, men (16 percent) splurged on their honeymoons
 while women (21 percent) spent too much on food, drinks and wedding cakes,
 followed by their wedding dresses (11 percent). Where was money on the
 wedding best spent? Respondents answered wedding photos and decorations,
 with only 1 percent saying they overspent on those items.
     "Marital bliss can quickly turn to fiscal friction if couples don't sit
 down and talk about their financial values and priorities before tying the
 knot," said personal finance expert and best-selling author Jean Chatzky.
 "Whether it is planning a wedding, sending a child off to college or
 thinking about retirement, marriage is full of critical and often
 unexpected financial decisions. One of the best ways couples can plan for
 them is to have a frank conversation about financial expectations and then
 create a budget."
     To help couples prepare financially for marriage, Visa is providing a
 comprehensive marital money management guide as part of its free, award-
 winning online financial education program, Practical Money Skills for
 Life. Available at, these tips
 help couples keep in mind important considerations before walking down the
 aisle, such as:
     -- Communicate openly about your current financial state to determine what
        you can and can't afford.
     -- Determine who will fulfill financial tasks, such as balancing the
        checkbook, paying the bills and tracking investments prior to your
     -- Once you're married, review your insurance coverage.  Compare them to
        your spouse's to make sure they don't overlap -- that usually means
        wasted money. Combine coverage where you can and you could save quite a
        bit of money.
     -- If you are changing your name as a result of your marriage, either a
        completely new last name or a hyphenated last name, notify the Social
        Security Administration immediately to ensure your retirement account
        is properly credited.
     -- Update your name on your driver's license as well because it is often
        used for identification.
     Additional findings in the survey include:
     -- 36 percent of couples spent less than $1000 on their wedding.
     -- 2 percent spent more than $50,000 on their wedding.
     -- 21 percent of women believe they overspent on wedding food, cake and
        drinks, compared to only 9 percent of men who believe they spent too
        much in that area.
     -- 16 percent of men say they overspent on the honeymoon, while just 7
        percent of women agreed.
     Practical Money Skills for Life (
 is a free, award-winning, teacher-tested and teacher-approved financial
 education program that is available in English, Spanish and Chinese. The
 program contains three comprehensive sections, complete with money
 management resources and lesson plans tailored for use at home, in the
 classroom or at work. It also contains an array of tips to help prepare for
 life changing financial events, from planning a baby to saving for college
 and retirement, as well as a number of other budget calculators and
 interactive games. Visa also runs What's My Score
 (, a leading higher education consumer
 awareness program. The website guides college students through the ABC's of
 a FICO credit score, from factors that can lower a score to ways on
 improving it, at no charge.
     Additionally, building on a decade-long commitment to improving the
 financial literacy of all Americans, Visa USA has joined with personal
 finance expert Jean Chatzky. A best-selling author who appears regularly on
 "The Oprah Winfrey Show" and "The Today Show," as well as hosting a daily
 radio program on Oprah & Friends (XM 156), Ms. Chatzky is collaborating
 with Visa to promote financial literacy nationwide.
     Through this collaboration, Ms. Chatzky is helping to develop new
 financial education curriculum and interactive resources geared toward
 teachers, students, women and parents. She has and will continue to
 participate in a number of Practical Money Skills for Life and What's My
 Score outreach activities.
     About Visa USA
     Visa USA is a leading payments brand and the nation's largest payments
 system, enabling banks to provide their consumer and business customers
 with a wide variety of payment alternatives tailored to meet their evolving
 needs. Visa USA is committed to increasing the choice, convenience,
 acceptance and security of Visa payments for all stakeholders -- financial
 institutions, cardholders and merchants. As of March 31, 2007, in the
 United States, more than 521 million Visa-branded cards have been issued by
 more than 13,000 financial institution customers. Visa products generated
 $1.8 trillion in total volume in the United States during the four quarters
 ended March 31, 2007. Visa enjoys unsurpassed acceptance around the globe.
 For more information, visit