Many couples who are looking to get married, have to face the fact that they have never planned or budgeted for anything like a wedding before. My goal is to guide you through making a financial plan for your wedding so that you come out on top and excited about having zero debt after you say "I do." I have helped many people over the years, plan and hit their goals financially while getting what they wanted. I can also say I have watched friends completely ignore everything I have suggested, and lost money, and even their marriages. Most couples do not have a roadmap for their finances, and most people never learned how to budget or save for their families, so a lot of mistakes happen early.
One area where most couples fail, is by avoiding the "Money Talk," where you ask, “what is your financial situation?” It’s a scary topic but one that is necessary if you plan to be together forever. If you are reading this and you do not know your future husband or wife’s, credit score, debt, income from all sources and how many bank accounts they have, you are already starting off on the wrong foot. Remember, as much as this is about love and happiness, marriage can also be compared to a business as you are going to be sharing more than a last name, you are sharing EVERYTHING- including debt and other financial responsibilities. Once you have established how good or bad things are, you can start to figure out who is going to lead the way when it comes to handling the money for this big investment.
My wedding experience was great and I didn't go over my budget, because of the tips and tricks I am about to share with you. But before we get to that, let’s talk about some of the keys to knowing the budget you will really need to plan your wedding. Create a breakdown of all expenses and be sure to include, if you will be receiving assistance from family members to cover a particular portion of the wedding. Everyone’s wedding planning and budget will be different. However, here is a general plan to get it done within a year and within your budget.
Let’s Break Down Some Simple Budgeting Steps
- What is your BUDGET!? In order to determine the cost of your wedding, you want to start with your guest count. The number of guests you plan on inviting will determine how much, or how little you spend on your big day. Most couples do not realize that if you say you want to invite 100 guests, you also have to take into consideration their significant others and plus ones. In most cases, that means 50 people accompanied by a guest, which can break down to 25 guests invited by the bride and 25 invited by the groom. So you can see how these numbers can get crazy.
- Do your best to not put any of your wedding expenses on credit cards or apply for any loans as high interest rates might make you go way over your initial budget. Paying for things later will put you in a bad place financially. Think of it like this, if you cannot pay for it now, you can’t afford it!
- It is very important to be completely honest with your partner during this time and make sure you are writing ALL of your wedding expenses down, as you will forget one or two things that could throw off your budget and cause more stress than necessary. Remember every purchase you make towards your wedding should be documented.
Couple counting money — Image by © Jose Luis Pelaez Inc/Blend Image/Blend Images/Corbis
Let’s Put Together Some Savings Tips
Now that we have a starting point, next month we will continue to build on what’s expected during this wedding planning process especially for men. Yes, fellas, you can and should be involved in the wedding planning process. Make it a project that you and your future spouse do together. If you need more assistance with creating a custom budget or a financial plan for your married life visit www.smmholdingsinc.com.
- If you have not done so already, open a joint account in which you will deposit money as it comes in to begin paying off upcoming wedding expenses.
- Go over both your current monthly expenses and subtract that from your monthly income and what is left should determine the amount to be used towards wedding expenses.
- Once you have the numbers in place, you can now plan to pay your bills and wedding expenses. Also, I’d suggest you address any outstanding, unrelated bills, before you add wedding related bills to the equation.
- Another idea that might work is learning how to live on one income. If feasible, this will help you both hit those financial goals a lot quicker and you may even have some funds left over for the future i.e. saving for a home, car or paying off other debts.
Chris Holder is the CEO of SMM Holding Inc, LLC, a financial planning company, as well as the President and Co-founder of Rejuvenetics, LLC. He is a world class sales expert and one of the most sought after motivational speakers and financial consultants for many multi-million dollar companies around the world.