Congratulations! You’re now engaged, and the months ahead will surely be busy with wedding planning, family gatherings, and celebrations. During this exciting time of your lives, what should the two of you be doing before you get married so you can start your lives off on the right foot?
- Create a Wedding Budget. Before you begin your search for a wedding venue, knowing how much you can and are willing to spend will be key. According to an article on marketwatch, one-third of couples go into debt for their wedding day. Of the 2,000 adults that were surveyed, almost 30% were still paying off the cost of their wedding 6 years later. Creating and sticking to a wedding budget will give you a good chance of being a part of the two-thirds of couples who don’t go into debt. Currently, the average cost of a wedding exceeds $31,000, and while this number may seem overwhelming, keep in mind not all of the money is due upfront, so depending on how long you plan your engagement to be, you may have time to save for it if you haven’t already done so. Whether you plan on spending around, below, or above the average cost of a wedding, the Knot has created a basic breakdown of what you can expect to pay.
- Think twice before you register. Registering for gifts is fun! After all, who doesn’t like getting a gift? One thing to keep in mind is you’ll want to register for items you really want rather than get carried away with registering for items just for the sake of filling up a registry. Remember, if it’s on the registry, you may end up getting it, and if you didn’t really want it in the first place, you’ll have to deal with returning it…or even worse, keep something that will take up more space in your house! Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a way for your wedding guests to contribute to your honeymoon fund rather than get a bunch of stuff you don’t really need? One way is to receive cash, but there happens to be a website called the Honeyfund that can coordinate the payment of some, if not all, of your honeymoon costs.
- Do pre-marital counseling. There’s a saying that marriage is grand, divorce is 100 grand. With divorce rates being somewhere between 40 to 50 percent in the United States, pre-marital counseling can be an important investment in your future. In fact, many wedding officiants, especially ministers, won’t marry you without doing it. While the topic of spirituality will probably be covered, pre-marital counseling is not only for religious people. Equally important topics of handling money, raising children, dealing with parents and in-laws, and conflict resolution are covered too. Even the very definition of a marriage commitment itself is discussed! If you’re planning to spend the rest of your life with your partner, wouldn’t it make sense to invest the time upfront to make sure things go as smoothly as possible?
- Save, Save, Save. If you haven’t already been saving for your special day, there’s no better time to start than now. Both you and your fiancée should closely examine your monthly expenses to see what you can reduce or even eliminate so that those funds can be redirected towards the wedding and thereby decreasing your chances of going into debt. If you’re fortunate to have family members financially contributing to your special day, you may want to view their generosity as a way to reduce your wedding costs rather than as a way to inflate them. After all, money not spent on the wedding can be money that ultimately rests in your bank account.
When the day finally arrives, your wedding will be a joyous and special occasion. Lasting memories will be created and your lives together as one will finally begin. By following the steps listed above, you will have a better chance of owing less money to pay for that day and be a part of the two-thirds of couples who don’t go into debt. In turn, this will put you in a better position to buy your dream home, retire on your terms, and be financially independent.
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