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Money Management for Couples: Don’t Let Your Wedding Day Derail Your Finances

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Are you about to get married?  Great!  Congratulations!  Here's an early gift from me to you: don't head into marriage in debt from the big day!  You're welcome.  I can't stress enough the importance of financial planning and money management for couples heading into married life.  So, not begin with the cost of the wedding day itself, right?

money management for couplesAs wedding season approaches, so does the excitement of thousands of young couples looking forward to their happy day.  And rightfully so.  After all, a wedding is an emotional event.

Choosing who you want to marry and actually getting married will affect the rest of your life. Picking the wrong person can lead to divorce, which is devastating emotionally and financially.  So, it is extremely important that a person thinks long and hard about their choice of a partner.

Beyond that, the actual wedding day can have a tremendous affect on a couple’s future.  To begin with, we all know that weddings are expensive.  Very expensive in fact.  One of the first and most important decisions a couple will make is how much to spend on their big day.

So, if you're not too far down the road with your wedding plans, humor me a bit and let's consider the financial impact of saying "I do" on your wallet.  Thus begins our lesson in money management for couples.  Pull up a chair kids.

Money management for couples entering married life starts with considering their current financial situation.  You know, before walking down the aisle.

As you enter married life with your dream spouse, you both are bringing to the table things from your single lives.  Debt usually being one of them.  And this where money management for couples is usually lacking.

When considering the expenses involved in a wedding, most people cut costs when they themselves are spending the money on a wedding.  However, they see it differently when their parents are providing the cash.

I would like to raise some thoughts on this.  The average wedding costs $27,000.  This can be used to pay off a spouse’s college loans, buy a new car with great gas mileage, or be part of the down payment on your first home together.

$27,000 is a lot of money and it can go in a lot of directions.

No matter who is paying for your wedding, the couple needs to ask themselves: do we have student loans, will we need a new car soon, and do we want a home?  If you answer yes to any of these questions, then you have to make a choice.  Answer these questions honestly:

  • Are you willing to give up the house for being "royalty" for ONE day?
  • Will you continue paying off your student loans (along with all the interest) just so you can have a big party?
  • Are you willing to take the bus when your car goes?

Those are just immediate expenses a young couple can run into.  There is also just life -- people get sick, life changes unexpectedly, and, one day, you will wish you had $30,000 in the bank because you know you would sleep better if you did.

A lesson to couples about to get married: avoid keeping up with the Joneses now.  Not later.  It will be harder then.

As a society, there are certain expectations that our generation has been raised with. A big expensive wedding is one of them. When you make your choice, you must ask yourself if you are doing this because it is expected.

Do extended family and friends put certain pressure on you?  Or are you doing this because you can really afford it and really want it?

My wife has a dear friend who had a $30,000 country club wedding.  At the time of the wedding, her husband lost his job and had to declare bankruptcy right after their wedding. They moved into a small apartment and tried putting their life back together.

Then, they got pregnant with their first child.

The impact of the big ticket big day ...

Now, the house that didn't matter more than a wedding was now all consuming just a few short years later. They bought a cheap house thinking they would move in five years.  Seven years later, the housing market burst and they are still there.

For years, she heard her friend talk about how she wishes for a better kitchen, a nicer neighborhood, and a new home -- almost daily.  Yet, if they would have taken the wedding costs and their down payment, they would have had $50,000 -- enough for a $200,000 to $300,000 house.  It would've been a big step up in their world.

Years later, they were finally able to sell that house and recoup their investment.  And they are rolling that money into a down payment on a new home.  But, it could've happened much sooner for them if they made different choices.  Their wedding expense being one of them.

You may say, "Well, they rushed to have kids or they were stupid."  I wouldn't do that.  I would like to remind you about one small fact.  Weddings are emotional and, as long as you look at your wedding day in an emotional way, you will make mistakes.

Falling in love is wonderful.  Getting married is beautiful.

However, there are 60 years or more left after that ONE day.  Your goal is to make sure each one of those days can be happy and beautiful too!

The REAL importance of money management for couples: stop financial problems from becoming marriage problems.

Finally, a large reason marriages break up are due to money issues.  If you chose to have the big pretty wedding day, then make sure you and your spouse are prepared for the difficult decisions that you may have to make.  Plus, consider the stress you may feel for months (or even years) later.

Weddings are just one day, but marriage is supposed to be forever.  Wealth can last for an hour -- or for generations.  It is all up to you and how you choose to spend it.

Financial planning and money management for couples getting married is a necessity.  And it all starts with the wedding day's expenses.

If having a healthy marriage is important to you, then your money must be important as well.  It's not that money has to be idolized, but it must be tamed and managed.  Don't allow yourself to become a slave to money.  Rather, you must become money's master.  Cheesy, yes, but still very true.

Married couples: has money management played a roll in your financial life with your spouse?  Do you discuss money? 

Engaged couples and newlyweds: how much is the big day costing you or how much did it cost you?  Do you regret it? 

Share your (honest) thoughts below!

  • My wife and I just attended a wedding this past weekend. On the drive up we had a really good convo about money and talking about the direction we’re headed in. It was a fun convo and not one that we’ve had in awhile. We talk more day to day finances usually but it was nice to talk strategically about our finances and where we’d like to be 🙂
    MUSTARD SEED MONEY recently posted…Great Expectations With Your FinancesMy Profile

    • Yeah, it’s hard with kids to have those in depth convos. I love planning out our financial future with my better half. It’s always a fun talk to have and it energizes us.

      Any idea how much the wedding you attended cost? Ha, nosy of me I know. But thought I’d ask 🙂

  • My husband and I discussed finances while we were dating and still fancy the topic! In our dating days, he was the saver and I was the spender…but now, I would consider us both to be savers. I wouldn’t want it any other way!

    • I’m with you, Danielle. My wife and I have discussed finances for 11 years of dating (5) and marriage (almost 6). It’s a must in any committed relationship and we enjoy doing it. Plus, you and your significant other need to be on the same page financially. No secret bank accounts! Thanks for your comment 🙂

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