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The following guest post is written by Rachel Wilkerson of Lover.ly, a curated search engine that lets brides-to-be search, save, shop and share all things wedding-related.
Planning a wedding can be fun, exciting, romantic … until you have to deal with money issues, that is.
A wedding is nothing if not a big-ticket purchase, and it’s often the first one that a couple, whether or not they’re springing for their own nuptials, has to manage. The road to “I do” is paved with dollar signs, so planning for the big day will present many financial conversations about saving and budgeting. After all, you are deciding how, exactly, to spend thousands of dollars.
All those wedding-planning talks—about how much to spend for a photographer, weighing the costs of hiring a band or a DJ, or deciding whether to spring for an open bar—can offer helpful clues about your financial future with your soon-to-be spouse. In fact, here are three specific ways that the financial prep for your big day can prepare you for what comes after the wedding—which, you know, is otherwise known as marriage.
1. You learn a lot about how your partner spends money.
When you get started planning your wedding, you may want to put the majority of your budget into the food, only to find out that your fiancé cares more about having an awesome band than serving steak. You may also discover that there’s a big price difference between your overall vision for the wedding, say, if you want to keep things super low-budget with just close family so you can splurge on a lavish honeymoon, or keep your savings account intact, while your fiancé wants to go all-out with 200+ guests.
How we spend our money says a lot about what we care about, so a simple conversation about the number of guests to have at a wedding can provide valuable insight into what you each value. Weighing the pros and cons of whether to splurge on a one-night extravaganza or on a weeklong meaningful experience will teach you more about how your partner spends money, and why he or she is inclined to spend in that way, which will help you understand his or her point of view as you continue to talk about money throughout the years. After all, joining lives also means joining your finances.
2. You’re forced to compromise.
Most couples don’t have an unlimited wedding budget, so tough decisions are inevitable. As you negotiate with your fiancé (and sometimes with his or her family), you’ll get better at compromising, picking your battles and defining the things that really matter to you as a couple.
This is a skill that will serve you well throughout the rest of your life together. Money is about choices, and, long after you’re married, you’ll be facing “this or that” questions: Little ones, like, should we curb eating out to put more into our emergency fund, and big ones, such as what you’re going to do about day care once you’re … parents.
3. You’ll learn to set—and stick to—a budget.
While you might often blow your personal monthly budget by giving in to impulse purchases, you probably won’t thwart your wedding budget for some last-minute thrill. Or, if you’re pitching in for the big day, and there’s a question of how to pay for wedding flowers and make sure your rent is paid on time, you’ll probably be more of a careful stickler about your spending — wedding and otherwise. It’s good practice for the times in your marriage when you’ll need to set goals as a couple, and cheer each other on when it comes to sticking to them.
Reprinted with permission from LearnVest. LearnVest and SunTrust Bank are independent entities and not legally affiliated. LearnVest Planning Services is a registered investment adviser and subsidiary of LearnVest, Inc., that provides financial plans for its clients. Information shown is for illustrative purposes only and is not intended as investment, legal or tax planning advice. Please consult a financial adviser, attorney or tax specialist for advice specific to your financial situation. LearnVest Planning Services and any third parties listed, linked to or otherwise appearing in this message are separate and unaffiliated and are not responsible for each other’s products, services or policies. LearnVest, Inc., is wholly owned by NM Planning, LLC, a subsidiary of The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company.
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