Ask The Experts: 5 Essential Financial Tips Every Couple Should Know Before Planning Their Wedding

When two hearts decide to beat as one, the wedding bells start ringing – and so does the cash register. The average wedding in the United States costs a little over $28,000, so you can’t say weddings are not a serious investment.

Since finances can be a dividing subject in a marriage, it’s best to start with your right foot forward and open discussions right after the proposal. With emotions running high and Pinterest boards brimming with ideas, it’s all too easy for expenses to spiral.

This is where strategic money management comes into play. In this article, we’ll provide several financial tips designed to help you navigate wedding costs without side-lining your everyday finances or saddling yourselves with debt when the confetti settles.

photo by Chris Blackledge Photography – full wedding here

1. Pin Down Your Budget Early

Before you make decisions about venues or vendors, settle on a budget that’s comfortable for both of you.

Here’s how to get down to brass tacks:

  • Assess Your Finances Together: Gather up-to-date information about your earnings, savings, and any contributions from family members. Transparency is key – both parties need full visibility into what’s available.
  • Estimate Non-Wedding Expenses: List out your current monthly expenses – rent, groceries, car payments – and don’t forget to add a little extra for unexpected costs that pop up in everyday life.
  • Calculate What’s Left Over: Subtract these regular expenses from your total income. The remaining amount gives you an idea of what you could potentially save each month leading up to the big day.
  • Set Savings Goals: Decide on a realistic monthly sum you can set aside and consider opening a dedicated wedding savings account. This will make tracking progress easier and avoid the temptation to dip into these funds for other purposes.

And remember, it’s not always about having more money – you can still have a wonderful wedding even when you’re working with a tiny budget. For example, if a live band feels out of reach financially, maybe find a DJ with rave reviews but better rates. Small adjustments can make all the difference without compromising on quality or enjoyment.

photo by  The Crawfords Photography – full wedding here 

2. Open a Joint Savings Account

A joint savings account specifically for wedding expenses is a great way to ensure you’ll have the money you need and that both of you are doing your part. It’s also a test of your financial responsibility and ability to work as a couple.

To ensure contributions to the savings account aren’t overlooked, you and your partner should set up direct deposits from each pay check into the joint account. Determine an amount you’re both comfortable with and make saving automatic. This will take the guesswork out of how much you’re stashing away monthly.

Choose a bank that offers a good interest rate and low fees, and ensure it’s convenient for both partners to use. Also, make sure you can link your budgeting apps to the account. This helps track your goals in real time and keeps wedding spending on the front burner of financial priorities.

Utilizing a shared savings account specifically for your wedding has dual benefits: it strengthens communication about money – a critical aspect of marriage – and ensures that when it’s time to pay deposits or finalize bookings, the funds are there, waiting to transform plans into reality.

photo by Raw Shoots Photography – full wedding here

3. Choose Cards That Reward Your Spending

We all know weddings are expensive, but what if you could get a little bit of what you’re spending back?

After all, if you have to pay for stuff, why not be clever about it and get some sort of reward in return?

Credit cards that reward spending can be quite useful as these financial tools provide points and discounts with third-party brands for every swipe. But it’s crucial that you choose wisely since not every offer may fit your needs.

If you’re looking for the best offers, Capital One can help you find a credit card that suits you based on the features you need most. For instance, for your wedding, it’s important to choose cards known to offer perks like travel points, cashback on purchases, or special discounts with wedding vendors.

Align rewards programs with expenses you’ll incur anyway – floral arrangements, catering services, attire – and let those purchases accumulate benefits. Also, make sure you understand the card’s terms. Pay attention to annual fees, interest rates, and reward expiration dates to ensure they don’t erase the value of any perks you earn.

photo by Foxtails Photography – full shoot here 

4. Learn to Navigate the Wedding Marketplace

The wedding marketplace is vast and varied, boasting an array of vendors all eager for your business. To secure the best value and maintain cost-efficiency, it’s important to be patient and open to doing a bit of heavy work in research.

Start by gathering quotes from multiple brands for each service you need, but don’t base your decisions on price alone. Apps and websites dedicated to wedding planning often feature vendor listings with user reviews that can give you insights into their reliability and professionalism.

It also helps to ask for references and reach out to couples who have used these vendors before. If you have the chance, talk with them face-to-face or via a video call to get a better idea of their experience with the vendors you’re interested in.

Once you decide, try to negotiate a better price. Vendors are usually willing to offer deals or add-ons if you book multiple services with them or refer other businesses their way. Don’t hesitate to ask each vendor directly about common extra charges and see if there’s room for negotiation.

Lastly, read each contract carefully and pay attention to hidden costs, like the ones listed here:

  • Service Charges and Gratuities: These can inflate your catering bill significantly.
  • Overtime Fees: Photographers or bands will charge extra if they work longer than initially agreed upon.
  • Delivery and Breakdown Costs: These charges can apply when renting equipment, like chairs or sound systems.
  • Trial Runs and Tastings: Some vendors will charge for these, so make sure to ask upfront.

photo by Lulan Studio – full wedding here

5. Keep Everyday Expenses in Check

Tracking expenses is a healthy financial habit that could be useful in your life as a married couple as well, so why not give it a try and see how it goes?

Start with tracking where your money goes each month. Use this as an opportunity to cut down on non-essential purchases, like your daily coffee shop latte, your third streaming platform, or the premium cable package

To make things easier, use apps like Mint, or You Need A Budget (YNAB). These can classify your spending and help you establish more disciplined habits. These digital allies make it easier to distinguish between wants and needs, ensuring you’re investing in lifelong memories rather than fleeting pleasures.

Additionally, audit all subscription-based services – streaming, gyms, magazines – and eliminate those that aren’t essential or are seldom used.

photo by Babb Photo – full wedding here

At the end of the day, being wise about your finances when planning your wedding paves the way for a day to remember and a stable, prosperous marriage. By implementing savvy spending habits now, you make sure your post-wedding days are as joyful and debt-free as the celebration itself. Take these steps to heart, and you’ll turn ‘I do’ into ‘We did’ – financially speaking, at least.





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