Having a financial plan for a wedding is more important than ever. A new study conducted by Emory University is suggesting that the more expensive a wedding, the shorter the marriage might be. According to the researchers, couples that spend $20,000 or more on their wedding day were 3.5 times more likely to end up divorced than those who spend between $5,000 and $10,000. The authors speculate that the correlation between expensive wedding costs and divorce may have to do with financial stress that brides and grooms experience because they are determined to have a perfect day, even if they can’t afford it.
“Other than purchasing a car, weddings are typically one of the first big expenses in a couples’ financial life together,” says Joe Falzone, CFP, financial planner in the Toronto area. “One way to reduce this financial stress before the big day is to have a plan in place,” says Falzone.
There are also other methods to manage financial stress. Here are five tips to consider before the big day:
- Create a detailed budget (including tax) listing people who are involved financially. This may include parents or other relatives. Everyone involved should have a copy of the budget.
- Once a budget is created, add 20 per cent to your initial total as many couples spend well over their initial budget.
- Talk about the financial future. It’s important to talk about spending with your partner and communicate priorities.
- Use a chart or table to keep track of your spending. Google Docs and Excel have great spreadsheet templates.
- If overwhelmed, consult a wedding planner to help with ideas, budgeting questions and concerns. Budget an extra $1,500- $4,000 for this service.
“Remember, there’s life after your wedding,” says Falzone. “Although you want to make your wedding an event that’s memorable, you also want to keep the future in mind. Careful planning can ensure that you are spending money on what’s most important to you and your partner- now and in the future.”
Tips to Remember:
- Have a financial plan or wedding budget.
- Communicate openly to your partner about finances and set priorities.
- Budget to spend 20 per cent more than anticipated.