Business Insider Edition

A staggering percentage of couples are going into debt to pay for their weddings — here are the countries where the problem is the worst

Erin McDowell , Business Insider US
 Jul 16, 2019, 01:01 PM
  • Many engaged couples across the world are going into debt by using loans and credit cards to pay for their weddings.
  • In the US, 28% of couples reported going into debt when paying for their weddings.
  • Meanwhile, in Peru and Brazil, a whopping 47% of couples reported going into debt to pay for their weddings.
  • For more stories, go to Business Insider SA.

Planning your wedding can be a stressful time for anyone, regardless of where you live in the world.

However, in some countries, a startling percentage of couples report going into debt to pay for their nuptial celebrations, and many rely on loans and credit to help foot the bills.

While weddings are notoriously expensive in the US, and wedding debt is undoubtedly a big issue, believe it or not, there are eight countries where weddings send a greater percentage of couples into debt.

The Knot and WeddingWire recently released their 2019 Global Weddings Report, analysing the overall costs and average expenses associated with weddings in 14 countries. The study also found the percentage of couples that went into some form of debt through either credit cards or loans in order to pay for their wedding.

To better analyse how the astronomical costs of weddings may affect people in that country, we also looked at the average annual salaries for people in that country.

Here's how many couples go into wedding debt in 13 different countries, ranked from the lowest percentage to the highest.


13. Portugal

Average wedding cost (USD): $16,700 (R231,000)

Average yearly individual salary (USD): $19,930 (R275,000)

Amount of couples who go into wedding debt: 7%

Weddings in Portugal are expensive - couples will spend an average of $16,700 (R231,000) on their nuptials. However, unlike couples in countries like Peru and Brazil, Portuguese couples rarely use credit cards or loans to pay for wedding-day expenses.


12. Spain

Average wedding cost (USD): $23,400 (R323,000)

Average yearly individual salary (USD): $27,150 (R275,000)

Amount of couples who go into wedding debt: 15%

Wedding costs in Spain and Italy are relatively high, but fewer couples report going into wedding debt. This could largely be due to more financial support from their parents and families - they cover roughly two-thirds of all wedding expenses.


11. France

Average wedding cost (USD): $17,600 (R243,000)

Average yearly individual salary (USD): $38,160 (R528,000)

Amount of couples who go into wedding debt: 21%

The average number of guests can raise the cost of a wedding exponentially. In European countries like France and Italy, the average number of guests is between 100 and 130. French couples reported spending the most on food - not surprising for a country with extreme dedication to delicious cuisine.


10. Italy

Average wedding cost (USD): $22,500 (R311,000)

Average yearly individual salary (USD): $31,180 (R431,000)

Amount of couples who go into wedding debt: 25%

On average, couples in Italy receive a great deal of financial support from their parents. However, roughly one in four couples will still go into debt to pay for their weddings.


9. United States

Average wedding cost (USD): $29,200 (R404,000)

Average yearly individual salary (USD): $59,160 (R819,000)

Amount of couples who go into wedding debt: 28%

Couples in the United States spend the most on average for their weddings. Couples in the US also tend to receive less financial support from their families compared to Western European and South American couples, meaning more couples will have to pay out of pocket or go into debt for their mega-expensive celebrations.


8. United Kingdom

Average wedding cost (USD): $19,200 (R266,000)

Average yearly individual salary (USD): $40,600 (R562,000)

Amount of couples who go into wedding debt: 30%

Couples in the United Kingdom reported spending the most time planning their weddings. As we all know, weddings in the UK can be an extremely big deal - hello, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry. However, the average couple getting married in the UK will still spend less on their wedding than couples in the US. However, they are slightly more likely to go into debt to pay for their wedding.


7. Canada

Average wedding cost (USD): $21,900 (R303,000)

Average yearly individual salary (USD): $42,790 (R593,000)

Amount of couples who go into wedding debt: 31%

Canadian couples reported a high average wedding cost - a whopping $21,900 (R303,000) per wedding. Perhaps due to this average price, one in three couples go into wedding debt in this country.


6. Argentina

Average wedding cost (USD): $3,700 (R51,000)

Average yearly individual salary (USD): $13,030 (R180,000)

Amount of couples who go into wedding debt: 37%

Couples in Argentina spend an average of $3,700 on their wedding and invite around 125 guests. This results in an average cost of $30 per wedding attendee.


5. Mexico

Average wedding cost (USD): $8,600 (R119,300)

Average yearly individual salary (USD): $8,610 (R119,400)

Amount of couples who go into wedding debt: 39%

The wedding guest count in Mexico is the second highest in the world, with the average number of attendees averaging around 185 guests. Weddings in Mexico cost almost as much as the annual individual salary.


4. Colombia

Average wedding cost (USD): $3,300 (R45,000)

Average yearly individual salary (USD): $5,890 (R81,000)

Amount of couples who go into wedding debt: 43%

Couples in Colombia reported the lowest guest counts and the shortest planning time. The actual cost of the average Colombian wedding is also low - only $3,300. However, when factoring in the average annual individual salary, it may come as no surprise that 43% of couples will go into debt to pay for their weddings.


3. Chile

Average wedding cost (USD): $7,400 (R102,000)

Average yearly individual salary (USD): $13,610 (R188,000)

Amount of couples who go into wedding debt: 45%

45% of couples in Chile report going into debt to pay for their weddings. They are also less likely than other South American couples to hold their celebrations in their hometown - 72% of couples will travel outside of their hometown for their weddings.


1 (tie). Peru

Average wedding cost (USD): $7,700 (R106,000)

Average yearly individual salary (USD): $5,960 (82,000)

Amount of couples who go into wedding debt: 47%

Wedding costs are the lowest in South America, but the average individual annual salary is also low, making it harder for couples in those countries to cover wedding costs.


1 (tie). Brazil

Average wedding cost (USD): $6,600 (R91,000)

Average yearly individual salary (USD): $8,610 (R119,400)

Amount of couples who go into wedding debt: 47%

A majority (57%) of Brazilian couples reported having their weddings in their hometown. Brazil also surveyed as the country with the highest percentage of couples who went into wedding debt, tying with Peru.

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