Getting married is a milestone in any couple’s life that often has a large price tag attached to it.
The average wedding cost in 2019 was $33,900, according to The Knot’s 2019 Real Weddings Study of more than 25,000 newlywed couples nationwide.
But there’s more to a wedding than the rings and reception — marriage is an equal part romantic and fiscal obligation, one that couples are waiting to make until they are more financially stable. According to the study, the average age for couples to get married is 32, a jump from last year’s average of 29.
“More and more couples are waiting longer to get married, meaning they're more financially stable and potentially more likely or willing to take on the brunt of paying for their own bash,” said Alyssa Longobucco, senior style and planning editor at The Knot.
It’s important to have a full picture of you and your partner’s finances before walking down the aisle. Here are some questions you might want to consider as you start planning your nuptials.
Do you have any debt?
Even if you’re not living with each other yet, you likely will be, which means combining household budgets, said Jessica Bishop, founder of The Budget Savvy Bride.
“Finances can be the biggest source of stress in a relationship and marriage," she said.
Bishop suggests going over your monthly cash flow and how much you can each afford to contribute to the wedding. It’s just as important to understand how your partner manages their finances as it is to know your own budgeting style. That way you can avoid going into debt.
“I don’t think any couple should take on debt for a wedding,” she added.
What does your savings look like?
Just like debt, knowing how much your partner has saved can be helpful in determining your wedding budget. According to the survey, 46% of couples pay for their wedding themselves, but you shouldn’t deplete all of your savings for the ceremony.
It’s important to visualize your life after the fact. Do you plan on buying a house or going on an extended honeymoon? Having a clear picture of where you and your partner stand will help you construct a budget that won’t stop you from your long-term plans.
Should we combine our finances?
Now that you’ve taken a good look at your finances, the last thing to consider is whether or not you should combine your finances. The short answer is, it depends.
“You don’t necessarily need to go to the bank tomorrow and combine all your accounts, but establishing a solid financial foundation before you tie the knot will start you and your fiancé off on the right track,” said Patrick Hanzel, certified financial planner and advanced planning specialist.
He suggests hosting regular money “dates” where you can sit down with your partner to go over expenses and track your progress towards money goals.
“Planning ahead can help you and your betrothed avoid conflict and work toward long-term money goals,” he said.
If you’re interested in protecting your partner until death do you part, take a look at our guide on getting a life insurance policy for the one you love
Image: Pekic (Getty)