A couple of weeks ago, I shared my ultimate guide to wedding planning, and spent a little bit of time talking about the importance of setting a wedding budget early on in the planning process. Our premarital counseling taught us that money problems are one of the top three reasons people get divorced (alongside sex and stepchildren). So it’s super important for us to find a way to pay (rhyme!) for our wedding, while still having money left over for life after the marriage. Here’s how we’re doing it!
Determine All Your Money Sources
When you create your initial budget, find out from family members what they are considering contributing to your wedding. Some people may offer dollar amounts, while others may offer to cover certain line items (eg. bride’s parents offer to pay for her dress, the cake, and the favors, while groom’s family offers to give $5,000). It’s an awkward conversation to have – but very important in setting a realistic budget. You should put aside your own contributions in a separate bank account so it doesn’t get mixed up with your regular expenses.
Plan for the After, Before
Whether you’d like to go on a huge honeymoon, buy a new house or car, or begin taking care of a family member, factor in those post-wedding costs into your budget while planning the wedding.
Eat out less, brainstorm inexpensive dates, stretch your bi-weekly nail salon visit to every three weeks – find various ways to cut down on luxury spending in the personal care and entertainment categories. Trust me, you really don’t need those new boots!
Ask for Flexibility
Whether it’s a 10% discount for referring a friend or a payment plan, communicate to your vendors if you need some flexibility on your payment options. For example, our photographer’s most affordable photography package was out of our price range, but he was willing to remove albums (which we can always get later) to bring the package within our budget.
You’ll be doling out a large chunk of money in a relatively short amount of time, so make sure you’re paying with options that reward you for spending. Since we have a lot of family coming in from out of town and overseas, we bought the majority of airline tickets through American Express Travel to earn double points as a perk from our credit card. We even used it to purchase our honeymoon tickets!
There are tons of credit cards out there, and it might seem daunting to find the perfect one for you. Whether you have great credit or no credit, want travel rewards or cash back, CreditCards.com has a convenient Card Match tool to help consumers make smart choices around credit cards. In my opinion, cards that reward you with bonus cash or points when you spend a certain dollar amount in the introductory time period are pretty sure wins for wedding planning couples. But there’s no need to guess, CardMatch securely matches you with offers in less than 60 seconds without impacting your credit score in any way. Mine took about 10 seconds, and matched me to a card we’re now thinking about getting once the wedding excitement has calmed down!
Remember as you are wedding planning that the wedding is just one day – you’ll be married for a lifetime! Make sure your financial plans don’t just focus on the wedding, but make decisions now that will set you up for a financially healthy marriage.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.