1. Discuss finances before marriage to avoid problems
Before saying ‘I do,’ or tying the knot, take the time to have a thoughtful conversation about your shared financial values and strategies. This includes discussing your attitudes towards spending, saving, investing, and debt, as well as how you’ll work together to achieve your financial goals. By aligning your financial perspectives and creating a unified plan, you can build a strong foundation for your life together.
2. Consider protecting significant individual assets with separate legal ownership.
As you begin your life together, it’s important to ensure your finances are aligned and secure. Consider drafting a prenuptial agreement, particularly if you each bring significant assets into the marriage. This can help protect your individual property and provide clarity in case of unexpected events. If you’re remarrying or entering a later-life marriage, you may have accumulated assets you want to safeguard. At the very least, discuss how you’ll manage your joint finances to cover living expenses and create a stable financial future together.
3. Prioritize your must-haves and cut costs elsewhere.
You could be shelling out around $40,000 for a traditional white wedding and reception, so setting a realistic budget is crucial.
Start by deciding what matters most to both of you. Focus on these elements and then you can make savings on the things that aren’t as important to you.
There are also plenty of more cost-effective alternatives and ways to keep those costs from spiraling. Consider guest numbers, time of year (you might find venues charge less for off-season bookings), and whether all the details are necessary.
Once you have your budget, look at your monthly spending to see how much you can start saving with simple adjustments to your current lifestyle.
Set up a separate savings account to protect the money you both save.
Also be aware that most people have a personal savings allowance that allows them to earn interest on ordinary savings tax-free. Basic-rate taxpayers can earn $1,000 of interest per year before paying tax, while higher-rate taxpayers have a $500 allowance.
You can also earn interest completely tax-free in a cash ISA, though there are limits on how much you can save each year.
The total amount you can save annually into all your ISAs is currently $20,000.
4. Check venue and supplier fine print if you can’t get wedding insurance.
In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic led to 260,000 weddings being postponed in the UK, according to the Office of National Statistics. While the future looks brighter, the past three years have had a significant impact on the insurance market, with many wedding insurance providers temporarily halting policy sales.
Before committing to a venue or suppliers, carefully review their contracts and keep an eye on the evolving insurance market, which will likely adjust in line with government guidelines. Additionally, don’t forget to insure your engagement ring, a valuable item that should be included in your contents insurance policy.
5. Invest in an engagement ring (and insure it) for long-term wear
Forget the traditional rule of spending one month’s salary on an engagement ring – instead, focus on spending what you can afford and choosing a ring that suits your style and budget. Consider it a personal investment and do your research to find the perfect diamond or alternative stone. Look beyond the high street and explore vintage, antique, or ethically sourced options. You might also consider inheriting a family heirloom or opting for a lab-grown gemstone.
Think creatively and you’ll find a ring that truly shines.
6. Plan how you’ll handle pension provision if one partner isn’t working.
Don’t overlook pension provision when planning your finances for marriage. Discuss how you’ll handle pension contributions if one partner stops working to care for a child. Set realistic goals and ensure you’re supporting each other financially. Women often face a pension gap, so it’s crucial to plan ahead and start closing that gap early on.
7. Consult a fee-based financial planner about your shared financial objectives.
Many couples overlook seeking expert guidance on managing their joint finances, but it can greatly benefit their long-term goals. A fee-based financial planner can provide a comprehensive financial review, helping you and your partner create a tailored plan for your financial future, whether that includes starting a family, retiring early, or other aspirations.
Once you’ve carefully considered all of the previous tips and ensured that you’re well-organized, you can move on to the additional helpful suggestions that will help make your wedding day stress-free.
8. Set a realistic budget.
Before you start planning your wedding, decide how much you’re comfortable spending and stick to it. Consider all costs, including venue, food, decorations, music, photography, and attire.
Example: Let’s say you’ve decided on a budget of $20,000 for your wedding. You’ll need to allocate this amount across various categories such as venue ($6,000), food and drinks ($4,000), decorations ($1,500), music and entertainment ($1,000), photography and videography ($2,500), and attire ($1,000).
9. Prioritize your spending:
Decide what aspects of your wedding are most important to you and allocate your budget accordingly. If you want a live band, for instance, you may need to cut back on other expenses.
Example: If you’ve always dreamed of having a live band at your wedding, you might prioritize that over other expenses like decorations or photography. So, you could allocate a larger portion of your budget to the band ($2,000) and scale back on decorations ($1,000) and photography ($1,500).
10. Choose an off-season date:
Getting married during the off-season (usually November to April) can save you money on venues, flowers, and photographers.
Example: If you’re flexible with your wedding date, consider having your wedding in January instead of June. You might be able to find a beautiful venue for $2,000 instead of $4,000, and save on flowers and photographers’ fees as well.
11. Pick a weekday:
Having your wedding on a weekday instead of a weekend can often result in lower prices for venues and vendors.
Example: If you’re considering a Wednesday wedding, you might find that the venue rental fee is lower ($3,000 vs. $5,000) and that vendors like florists and photographers are more available and affordable
12. Select a venue with an all-inclusive package
Some venues offer packages that include everything you need for your wedding, from tables and chairs to catering and decorations. These packages can simplify your planning and save you money.
Example: An all-inclusive venue might offer a package deal for $6,000 that includes food, drinks, decorations, and furniture rental. This could be a better value than renting each item separately from different vendors.
13. Consider having a morning or brunch wedding
Morning or brunch weddings tend to be less expensive than evening weddings since they require fewer resources and vendors. Example: Instead of having a traditional evening wedding, you could opt for a Sunday brunch wedding. You might save on food and drinks by serving a less extensive menu, and you could skip the need for elaborate lighting or DJs.
14. Limit your guest list
The number of guests you invite directly affects your overall costs, so keep your guest list small to save money.
Example: If you’re trying to keep costs down, consider inviting only your closest friends and family members – about 50 people total. This will help you save on food, drinks, and other expenses like favors and transportation.
15. DIY when possible
Take advantage of your creative skills and do-it-yourself spirit to create decorations, favors, and other elements that would otherwise cost you money.
Example: If you’re crafty, consider making your own centerpieces, bouquets, and favors. You could also design your own wedding invitations and programs instead of hiring a professional.
16. Shop for second-hand or discounted wedding dresses
Instead of buying a brand-new designer gown, look for pre-owned or discounted dresses that fit your style and budget.
Example: You could try shopping at consignment stores, online marketplaces, or sample sales to find a high-quality, gently used wedding dress for a fraction of the original price.
17. Opt for silk flower arrangements
Fresh flowers can be expensive, so consider using silk or artificial flowers for some of your decorations. You can also use seasonal flowers, which tend to be less expensive than exotic or out-of-season blooms.
Example: Instead of using fresh roses for all of your centerpieces, consider mixing in some silk roses or other artificial flowers to save money. You can also incorporate greenery like eucalyptus or ferns to add texture and depth to your decor without breaking the bank.
18. Have a dessert bar instead of a wedding cake
A dessert bar with a variety of sweet treats can be a fun and cost-effective alternative to a traditional wedding cake.
Example: Instead of ordering a custom wedding cake that can cost $500-$1,000, set up a dessert bar with cupcakes, brownies, cookies, and other sweets that your guests can enjoy. You can even have a small cutting cake for the ceremonial cutting tradition.
19. Skip the sit-down dinner
A buffet-style dinner can be a more cost-effective option than a sit-down dinner, especially if you have a large number of guests.
Example: Instead of having a plated dinner that requires multiple servers and a longer reception time, consider a buffet-style dinner that allows guests to serve themselves. This can not only save you money but also encourage guests to mingle and socialize more easily.
20. Use technology to streamline your wedding planning
There are many digital tools and apps that can help you plan your wedding more efficiently and cost-effectively.
Example: Use a wedding planning app to manage your guest list, RSVPs, and timeline. You can also use digital tools to create your own wedding website, send electronic invites, and communicate with vendors.
21. Negotiate with vendors
Many wedding vendors are willing to negotiate prices, especially during the off-season or if you’re booking their services for a longer period of time.
Example: If you’re interested in working with a particular photographer, ask them if they’re willing to offer a discount for a weekday wedding or for booking their services for both the ceremony and reception.
22. Consider a destination wedding
If you’re open to the idea, a destination wedding can sometimes be cheaper than a local wedding, especially if you’re planning a smaller event.
Example: Instead of hosting a large wedding in your hometown, consider having a small, intimate ceremony in a tropical location. You can often find affordable packages that include everything you need for a beautiful beach wedding.
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