As a financial coach at Adulting with Money, I help engaged couples and newlyweds stop money fights before they start. I’ve found that working together on a wedding budget is a great way to practice handling money for your marriage. Here are five tips that help you improve your wedding budget and your marriage.
1. Share Your Biggest Hopes
I was willing to let my wife plan the wedding of her dreams on one condition. My family was in charge of the alcohol. My family drinks. My wife’s family? Not so much.
For your wedding (and the budget), sit with your partner and talk about your biggest hopes. Share with each other your top three or four parts of the wedding. Is the dress more important than the food? Is the DJ more important than the venue?
After the ceremony, this process helps define your big financial goals as a couple. Is getting out of debt more important than driving a new car? Is going on vacation more important than paying off your student loans?
2. Rank What’s Important
My wife and I have tense money discussions once in a while, but we never fight. What helps us avoid stepping on each others’ toes is that we understand what we want.
When you focus on a list of wedding items from most to least important, decisions are less stressful. Need more money for the dress? Take money from something on the bottom of the list. You’ll be faster in making the decision because you’ve already agreed agreed on the rankings.
Making a list of financial priorities works great for your marriage, too. You’ll make faster decisions when you don’t have to rehash all the tiny details.
3. Change the Budget Whenever Needed
Hurricane Michael hit our home in 2018. The storm formed on October 7 and hit land three days later. There is no way we could have created a budget in September for all the things we had to deal with in October.
Stuff happens, and your wedding journey will be no different. Having your wedding budget is great for making decisions, but don’t be stubborn. It’s okay to change the plan when it’s no longer working.
Planning ahead and being flexible with a family budget will improve your marriage. It’s essential that you work on your goals as a couple, but be ready to change your plans when needed.
4. Make Appointments With Each Other
I don’t dare ask my wife money questions if she’s in the middle of a good book. And I don’t want to stop bingeing Parks & Recreation to edit our budget. My wife and I always schedule our budget meetings ahead of time.
Save major wedding decisions for when you both have enough time and energy to think and talk. Make appointments with each other to help avoid any distractions. But if you need to make a time-sensitive decision, do whatcha gotta do.
Excellent communication sustains successful marriages. Surprising your spouse with major financial decisions is never a good idea. It will leave her feeling bowled over and disrespected. Give each other room to ask questions and talk it out.
5. Don’t Make Everything 50/50
Equality is important, but it doesn’t have to be standard for everything. Since I’m a money nerd, I end up doing most of the work when it comes to our finances. But my wife is part of all the decisions because we have frequent discussions.
For your wedding budget, it’s okay for the work to be 90/10 as long as the decisions are 50/50. Everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses, so delegate work to whoever is best. You might cause too much drama if you forget to update each other.
When you make decisions together, you make the relationship more important than yourself. You’ll find custom solutions that work for you. As long as you both feel that the work is fair, not everything needs to be fifty-fifty.
Dan Hinz, Financial Coach, teaches engaged couples and newlyweds how to stop money fights before they start with in-depth guides and couples coaching. Get a FREE copy of Dan’s 20,000+ word ebook, How to Talk About Money with Your Spouse: The Ultimate Guide, at Adulting with Money.
Browse our Planning Section for more sage advice and expert tips.