Some of you might be planning summer weddings. If so, congratulations. However, before you start saying, “We are going spend X number of dollars on the wedding.” You need to rephrase that statement with, “Are we able to afford to spend X dollars on this wedding?” Please don’t borrow money or put the costs on your credit cards to pay for the wedding.
Before you and your future spouse spend money you don’t have on one day’s festivities that you’ll be paying for years to come, consider the following questions:
- Are you paying off your credit cards in full each month?
- Is your Emergency Fund fully-funded (eight to twelve months of living expenses)?
- If you have student loans, will you be able to pay them off within ten years? Or are you on track with payments to qualify for public service loan forgiveness?
- Are you contributing 10% or more of your salary to retirement savings?
- If you pay for this wedding, will you still be able to stay on course with all of your savings and debt-repayment goals?
How did you answer those questions? If either of you answered, “No” to any of these questions, then you cannot afford the wedding. Some of you might say, “My parents will pay for it or I’ll ask them for help.” Before you do, think about where they are financially. Are they able to answer the above questions without any “No’s”? If not, don’t encumber them with your debt.
Just because they and you both dream about having a big wedding, doesn’t mean that any of you can afford it. Don’t let your parents or your future spouse’s parents leverage their retirement for a one day dream. Stop thinking with your heart and think with your brain.
Don’t go into a marriage encumbered with debt. Most couples argue about money and end-up in divorce. Debt is a dream killer.
Budget for your wedding. Make it small and intimate. You don’t need an expensive bridal gown or a large reception. You don’t need an expensive dinner with free drinks for everyone. This day is about the two of you starting your future life together. A future free of additional debt. This doesn’t apply just to summer weddings. This applies to all weddings.