A great wedding without long-term wedding debt - you can do it

by, Aimee Sehwoerer

There are wedding bells in your future – congratulations! You and your partner-to-be are about to sit down and begin planning the perfect wedding. But before you do, keep this number in mind: $30,000. According to a Weddingbells.com survey, that is the current average cost of a Canadian wedding*!

Photo by ikholwadia/iStock / Getty Images

Financing a wedding that costs that much or more can be daunting, even if your parents are covering some of the costs – and when the honeymoon is over, you could find yourself facing a mountain of debt. Or, you could plan now to avoid long-term wedding debt later by following these basic financial steps.

  1. Be romantic and realistic
    A wedding lasts a day; the rest of your life lasts much longer – so think of your wedding as part of your overall financial life. Decide what will make both of you happy within a reasonable, affordable budget.

  2. Don’t pay with plastic … or your financial future
    Pay for your wedding with money you’ve saved – not with a credit card or by “borrowing” money from your investments or retirement fund – or you’ll end up paying for your wedding for years. For example: If you use your credit card for $25,000 in wedding expenses, at a 14% annual interest rate and only make the minimum payment each month, you’ll make your final payment on your 45th anniversary.

  3. Be strong and plan on
    Use the wedding budget process as a learning exercise for you, as a couple to work together toward your common financial goals. Here’s a simple “couples” budget template to get you going:

    How much debt is each of us bringing to our marriage? $_____
    How much money have we saved so far? $_____
    What is our combined monthly income (salary and other income)? $_____
    What are our monthly costs? $_____
    How much can we afford to put into our wedding fund each month? $_____
    How much can we afford to save/invest to achieve our other “dreams”? $_____

  4. Tighten the financial ‘nuts ‘n bolts’ of your relationship
    Be honest with each other about your debts and assets and consider a prenuptial agreement. After the wedding, be sure to review beneficiary designations on insurance policies and registered investments, draft a new will, and take full advantage of all spousal benefits on your tax returns,

Yes, with some smart financial planning – and the help of your professional advisor -- you can realize your wedding dreams and a happy financial future together.