Buying your first home and getting married are two of the biggest commitments a couple can make together… they also both come with a heavy financial pledge.
When you factor in all the modern wedding must-haves - from designer dresses, venue hire and photographers to the high price of wining and dining your beloved guests – tying the knot means parting with a substantial wad of cash.
So if push came to shove, would you consider foregoing that lavish wedding in favour of buying your first home? Here’s some home truths that are worth considering.
Comparing the costs
According to the most recent survey ‘Cost of Love’ by Bride to Be magazine, the average cost of a wedding in Australia is now $65,482
In 2011, the same survey found that Australian couples were spending $48,296 on their wedding and in the 10 years leading up to 2011 the total cost of a wedding had increased by 73%.
While the figures from the Australian Securities & Investments Commission are slightly more conservative showing that in 2012 the average cost for an Australian wedding was $36,200
In comparison, the median price of a house in metropolitan Adelaide in the September 2016 quarter was $435,000. This means with a lender such as HomeStart Finance where your upfront costs – including a deposit of 3% and lender and government fees and charges – will total $40,360 (deposit - $13,050, fees and charges - $27,310).
So in theory, the money that you spend on that ‘special day’, could in fact get you the keys to your first home and an asset that’s likely to increase in value over time.
Not an easy decision
Zac Tyler and Amelia Ryan, both 33, have been together for 3.5 years and were engaged in late 2016.
“Once we were engaged we wanted to start to set-up our future - buy a house, have a wedding and start a family,” Zac said, who currently rents a property in Adelaide’s inner-city with Amelia.
“We have been speaking a lot about these decisions in the last three months. The main stipulation I had is that we have a house before we have a wedding, but being 33 you’re not only thinking about house versus wedding, it’s also thinking about when you will have children.
“We just keep going back and forth about what order these three important life decisions and milestones will be made in. We are at the age where we don’t really want to wait another two to three years for all of these things to happen.”
Zac and Amelia aren’t alone in this scenario with the majority of Australians making these decisions when they are in their late 20s to late 30s, with the average age of Australian first home buyers now at about 38 years
The median age at marriage for males is 31.8 years
, while it is slightly lower for females at 29.8 years.
Zac said he sees buying a house as providing financial stability for the next five years, as well as in the long term.
“At the moment we can afford the repayments on a mortgage, but the main hurdle is saving enough for the up front costs and I feel I couldn’t fathom spending between $20,000 to $30,000 on a wedding before we own a home,” he said.
“For the wedding that we want – and we are being diligent with our money - it’s hard to get the costs under $20,000.
“Housing prices are only going to go up, unless there is a big dip in the market.
“So I feel like if we delay buying a home the prices will continue to rise and on top of that we also don’t know what will happen with interest rates.
“The biggest advantage I see in buying a home is equity, once you a buy a home you have some sort of equity.
“It will allow us more financial control and once we have one asset we can slowly build up a property portfolio to ensure financial stability.”
Zac said deciding when to buy a home, have a wedding and start a family is very complicated.
“No one else can make the decision for you on what order you should spend your money or when to start a family,” he said.
“But these decisions just don’t revolve around money; they’re decisions that involve a lot of emotion and are different for every couple based on the position you are in life and your wishes and vision for the future.”