GUEST COLUMN: Wedding bill blues

Stick to your wedding budget, and use the opportunity to set other financial goals.

It’s very outdated now, but an old English rhyme had it that, at their weddings, brides should wear, “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, a sixpence in your shoe.”

The only part of that rhyme that still has resonance for newly married couples today is Bbue, as in the post-nuptial state when the newlyweds realize they outrageously overspent for their wedding. And now, to coin another phrase, It’s time to pay the piper, the DJ, the caterer and on and on.

Thanks to Statistics Canada, we know that there are over 145,000 weddings in Canada each year, with 48 per cent taking place in the months of June, July and August.* How many of them leave the new couples feeling wedding bill blue we don’t know. But, if you’re heading toward marriage, here are some good tips to help throw a debt-free wedding.

A special wedding is one you can afford. That gourmet, five-course meal for 300 guests sounds great but a wedding is a single day, so look at it in the context of your long-term financial life. Plan a terrific wedding but within a reasonable budget.

Practice zero-tolerance for plastic. Don’t use plastic to pay for your wedding. One example: Use your credit card for $25,000 in wedding expenses, at 14 per cent interest and only make the minimum payment each month and you’ll make your final payment on your 100th anniversary. So put your credit cards away and pay for your wedding with money you’ve saved.

Practice prudence. Be strong and stick to your wedding budget, and use the opportunity to set other financial goals. Here’s a simple budget template to get you going:

How much debt is each of us bringing to our marriage?

How much money have we saved so far?

What is our combined monthly income (salary and other income)?

What are our monthly costs?

How much can we afford to put into our wedding fund each month?

How much can we afford to save/invest to achieve our other ‘dreams’?

For a debt-free wedding and a successful financial life together, talk to your professional advisor.

*Statistics Canada, Vital Statistics, Marriage Database, 2008, Survey 3232

Andy Erickson is the division director with Investors Group, Vernon. This article is provided for information purposes only. Please consult with a professional advisor before implementing a strategy.


Vernon Morning Star