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*!
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.
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.
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.
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”? $_____
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.