“Here comes the bride, all dressed in white…”
The month of June is here! And it is one of the most awaited months especially for brides-to-be. Well, ladies, let us admit, we do have our fantasies when it comes to weddings, and we can be extra anxious about its nitty-gritty – the gown design, the bridal march and the type of reception music, the picture-perfect motif, and even the smallest details on the invitation cards.
We would want everything in our wedding to be absolutely in order, if not perfect. But they say that everything nice comes with a price, and planning a wedding can be financially stressful. So, it is important to ask yourself the following questions before tying the knot.
1. HOW MUCH IS YOUR BUDGET FOR A WEDDING?
Whether it is a grand wedding or a simple one, it would depend on how much resources you have on hand. Consider first the budget. List down everything – from food, reception venue, to gowns, cake, flowers, rings, souvenirs, photo/video coverage, invitations, to bridal car, etc. Write down your budgeted amount for each item. You may search the internet for wedding ideas and price deals and you may also visit wedding exhibits to canvass for suppliers and their packages. This will enable you to compare prices and to talk to suppliers personally so you can also ask for discounts, or negotiate the price. Your relatives and friends who have gotten married can also share with you meaningful realizations from their own wedding expenses.
2. WHAT IS YOUR CURRENT FINANCIAL STATUS?
Be honest with your partner as to your current financial situation. Yes, it could be pretty awkward to talk to your fiancé/fiancée about money, but this matter should be discussed early on. How much is your net worth, monthly income, and expenses? Do you have individual savings, or a joint savings account? Are you both financially stable? The bottom line is, with your current financial situation, can you afford your dream wedding?
3. WHERE WILL YOU SOURCE OUT YOUR FUND?
Will it be coming from both of your income or savings? Or, will you borrow money to cover the wedding costs? As a financial planner, I do not recommend doing the latter. Getting married is not just about being mentally, emotionally, or spiritually ready, but also being financially capable of taking on the responsibility of a married life.
4. ARE YOU DEBT-FREE?
If not, how much do you owe? Assess if spending for a wedding would adversely affect your capability to pay off your existing debts or not. What could be worse than adding more debts just so you can have a grand wedding? I know some friends who borrowed money, splurged on big weddings, and are still paying off their debts up to now. You do not want to start your married life worrying about how to pay off for your debts instead of building up your wealth and your marriage.
5. DO YOU HAVE BIG RESPONSIBILITIES?
This reminds me of a Filipino teleserye wherein a newly-wed couple shares the same roof with the in-laws and the siblings, and has to continue shouldering the financial obligation to the whole family because, let’s just say, the married guy continues to be their bread winner. And so here is the mom whining about her daughter-in-law being the reason why her son got married too soon. The daughter-in-law keeps still but is already thinking of killing her mother-in-law. Just kidding! Well, make sure the two of you get to talk about the responsibility each has to your respective families, and your intention to provide them financial support even after the wedding.
6. HOW LONG WILL THE WEDDING PREPARATION BE?
Unless there is a valid reason to rush, preparing for a wedding should be done carefully, in an ample amount of time. Give yourself at least a year to prepare, to save more, and to scout for the best prices. The secret to a great wedding is to PLAN AHEAD. Nothing beats preparation.
7. HOW WILL THE EXPENSES BE DIVIDED?
It is important to ask if the expenses will be divided equally among the two of you, or if one would only be shouldering a specific item on the list or the majority of expenses. Some parents opt to cover a part of the budget. That is perfectly fine if they initiate it. But if that is the case, expect that they will also have a say in some of your decisions. Alternatively, you may just ask them for a specific sponsorship.
8. HOW MANY IS ON YOUR GUEST LIST?
Avoid having a guest bloat because it would have a huge effect on your wedding costs. Consider the per-head cost. You do not have to invite every person you know. Limit the number of people based on your budget.
WHAT REALLY MATTERS
So before you even consider splurging on a big wedding, think of what truly matters to you both: is it having a grand wedding then bankruptcy later? or having a frugal wedding but a stress-free financial life ever after? Many marriages end due to money fights and other financially related matters. So, it is not just about both of you being in love but also being compatible in terms of moral values and even financial perspectives.
Do not worry about some petty problems during the wedding. Chances are, your guests would not even notice. And even if they do, forget about it. After all, it is not about the wedding. It is about the marriage. The wedding and the reception would only last for a couple of hours, but the marriage would last a lifetime.
For those who are getting married, cheers! May you live a happy, healthy, and prosperous married life!
DIVINE MATIBAG – CABADDU