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Financial Planning for Your Wedding Day
Planning a wedding is stressful — especially if you’re already facing some personal or shared debt. Money is always a limited resource, and determining how best to spend that resource on such a wide range of tempting options can be a mind-boggling challenge.
How to Plan
Proper planning is the key to coming out of the wedding process on sound financial footing. Here are a few tips from CreditGuard on how to get the most from your wedding without overspending.
1. Start early.
Whether you have six weeks or two years between the proposal and the wedding, make the most of your time. In the glow of the new engagement, it can feel like a downer to talk about money, but a wedding is a first step toward building a financial life together.
2. Understand your current finances.
Pool your resources as a couple. Understand what each of you currently owes on debt, what your monthly and annual bills are and how much you both spend on food, utilities, entertainment, phone bills, etc. Make sure your income as a couple aligns with those amounts and decide as a team how much you can each set aside in savings each month to help with wedding finances.
3. Ask the hard questions.
Talk with your families about how much, if anything, each can contribute to the cost of the wedding and honeymoon. Don’t assume that because Mom said they have “about $2,000” to contribute that $2,200 is acceptable.
4. List all your options.
Start by listing each event: ceremony, rehearsal dinner, honeymoon and any others. Then list out expenses for each event, from clothing to rentals to venues to decorations. Will you use a wedding planner? How about catering and photography?
Revisit your lists several times (and enlist the help of parents, the best man, maid of honor and bridesmaids/groomsmen if you have them) to be certain you’ve accounted for everything. For many, an Excel spreadsheet helps here. Others prefer handwritten notes.
5. Make the tough decisions.
You may not be able to afford the dress you saw in the magazine, the party tent and an all-inclusive Caribbean resort vacation. The important thing is to know, rather than guess. Get estimates on each option you want for your events. Choose what is essential vs. what can be filed in the “want” category. You may have to sacrifice some of those “wants” to start your married life in a solid financial situation.
6. Keep communication open.
Make an agreement between the two of you: If something comes up and one of you can’t put aside the agreed-upon amount one month, talk about it. Do it right away.
How you handle financial hurdles now is a testing ground for how you’ll handle them over the course of your marriage. If you face issues together and find solutions while problems are small, you’ll come out of the wedding ready to start a healthy financial life together.
7. Enjoy your big day.
Sit back, relax and enjoy the ride. If you have planned well, by the time you reach your big day, you will be able to enjoy the wedding and honeymoon comfortably, without the stress of facing bills you can’t pay.
Successful Wedding Financial Planning
If you follow these steps and stick to your budget, you can start your wedded life in the best possible financial situation. Giving your partner a strong financial foundation is one of the most lasting wedding gifts you can bestow. It’s one that keeps on giving over the years.
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