Six Tips for Planning Your Wedding Finances

Footing some or all of an average price tag of over £11,000 can set the new couple off down the aisle with a hefty financial burden. Here are some tips to help you prepare financially for the big day.

Tip # 1 — Save, Save, Save: The first step in preparing for your big day is to save and then save some more. Start early, perhaps even planning a long engagement to provide more time to save. Consider opening a separate savings account with an automatic bank transfer from a current account so that you are saving money on a regular basis every pay day or on a monthly basis.

Tip # 2 — Develop a Budget and Stick To It: To avoid exceeding your budget as many couples do, sit down with your spouse-to-be and/or family and figure out how much you can afford to spend for your wedding and honeymoon. Your wedding bills should be paid in cash, meaning money is available without the help of a loan, credit cards or tapping into any retirement savings. Conduct some preliminary research to gauge the prices of bands/DJs, flowers, cakes, catering, dresses, etc. to give you a more accurate estimation. A good list of average costs can be found at Wedding Guide UK.

Tip # 3 — Look for Bargains: Be sure to shop around for deals. For example, the average wedding dress costs £700, according to Wedding Guide UK's list above. However, wedding dresses are often marked down at the end of the bridal season in August. Or look into to the many online websites that sell bridal and bridesmaid dresses for up to 40 per cent off from brick and mortar retailers. The earlier you start your bargain hunting, the better.

Tip # 4 — Get A Little Help From Your Friends: With today's high costs for weddings it is no longer unheard of to use a gift list and have friends and family help pay for a portion of the honeymoon or even wedding costs themselves. At many popular honeymoon gift list websites, couples can request specific items, activities or adventures. Additionally, family and guests can purchase American Express Gift Cheques that the couple can use toward wedding or honeymoon costs.

Tip # 5 — Take Your Wedding Out of Town: Travelling abroad for your wedding may sound more expensive, but couples that have "destination weddings" tend to spend 41 per cent less on their receptions than those who stay home, according to June 2005 CNN Money report. Those who have destination weddings tend to have smaller receptions and smaller guests lists. Additionally, couples planning destination weddings can often attain special discounts with airlines and hotels. Check out Thomson's Destination Weddings for wedding packages.

Tip # 6 — Meet With a Financial Advisor: Consider meeting with a financial advisor who can help you put a comprehensive financial plan in place for the big day while considering your financial future beyond the wedding and the challenges that may lie ahead.

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Based on an article by Andrew Gilman, financial advisor.

This information is provided for informational purposes only. The information is intended to be generic in nature and should not be applied or relied upon in any particular situation without the advice of your tax, legal and/or your financial advisor. The views expressed may not be suitable for every situation.