I just got married!!!!
But it was touch-and-go for a minute. I had been engaged for a year and living with my then-fiance for seven months before making it to the altar. My mama was scared. My brother was skeptical. There were rumors and concerns up and through Antigua and Tobago about if/when I was going to make myself a respectable woman.
To be honest, I have always liked being naughty and was not going to be pushed into doing something until I was damn well ready.
And “ready” for me had nothing to do with commitment or marriage. “Ready” had everything do with being financial positioned to absorb the cost of a wedding. I had spent the larger part of twenties sweating, clawing, and pulling myself out of debt and was not going to go back.
On November 11th, I had a wedding that was beautiful, punctual, intimate, and paid in FULL.
If wedding planning and your goal of financial freedom seem to be clashing, please don’t be discouraged. Here are some tips to keep you sane and focused as you plan for your wedding and a marriage without financial worry.
BTW: Congratulations! (lol)
1. Create a Wedding Account Marriage is something that many women want and they know they want it from any early age. If marriage and the wedding that comes with it is something that you know that you want, why not start saving for it now? You can set your immediate wedding savings goals for things that directly apply to you such as your dress, make-up, and bouquet. And once you meet your spouse-to-be, both of you can save for the rest of the wedding.
2. Enlist The Help of Your Level-Headed Girlfriend(s): If you know that you will be a bit “extra” when planning your wedding, seek the support and help of your more financially responsible friend(s). Let her know your budget and how exactly you want her to help you. Do you want her to research venues? make decisions around guest lists, compare prices on dresses? Although you may fight her along the way, you will ultimately be thankful that you had someone in your corner to talk you out of buying that pair of matching his-and-her diamond encrusted wine glasses.
3. Ignore The Peanut Gallery: Your marriage is about you and your partner’s journey– one that will be unique to the values, beliefs, and experiences that the two of you share with each other. Your wedding, too, should be an expression of what the two of you want, especially if you are the ones paying the bills. If you want big, then go big and be prepared to pay for it. If you want small and intimate, then that is exactly what you should do. If you want your wedding to include a couple of Papaya franks and a quick visit to the courthouse, then so be it.
True friends and family members that love you will know that they should be honored to be guest at your wedding and are there to witness and partake in the joyful event, not critique the dress, venue, or food.
4. Ask “What Else Could We Be Using This Money For?” If you are part of the 47% that Mitt Romney disparages or a member of the 99% that Occupy Wall Street movement fights for, it is safe to say that you are not rolling in dough. You work hard for your money and down the line, you may regret having spent it on a lavish wedding especially when one or both of you wants to quit their job to pursue a business, wants to buy a house, wants to take a second vacation for the year, wants to start a family, or return to school to increase their earning power.
5. Understand that Bigger Does Not Mean More Special or HappierOn the eve of my wedding, I struck up a conversation with a bus driver about my upcoming nuptials. I told him that I was having a small brunch and the wedding ceremony in my mother’s home. He looked at me sideways and said that a beautiful woman such as myself should having something special. Before I could respond, he told me that he and his wife of 20-odd years had a couple hundred guests at a wedding that cost over $28,000. I asked him if he was still happily married and if he and his wife managed to pay-off of the balance. He chuckled. His answer was “no” to both. I chuckled, too.
6. Don’t Get Married Until You Can Pay For Everything In Cash Using this principle can mean that your wedding will be simple, sweet, and soon or it could mean that it could take a couple of years to fund the event. Either way is fine because at the end, there will be no creditors to pay or debt to avoid.
7 Invest In Marriage Counseling Investing in the strength and longevity of your marriage should also factor into your wedding plans. Take the time to talk about and understand each other’s financial identity, communication style, and dreams. The rate of return of this investment is greater than any discount you could score on a bridal bouquet,wedding band, or favors.
8. Don’t Watch Wedding Shows That Encourage You To Spend Shows like Yes To The Dress and Four Weddings are bad for your bridal budget. If they are not pushing the belief that the most important part of wedding is the look of the bride and not the vows, they are messaging that weddings are competitions-to be critiqued in the areas of food, dress, and venue. These shows are pure junk-food for the mind. They are there to normalize spending budgets of $5,000 for a wedding dress and $20,000 for a venue. They are there to suck you into the bridal-industrial complex. Don’t let them.