Gina Bella May 3, 2018

As most young brides will tell you, it is not uncommon to have spent much of our growing up years looking forward to our wedding day. From planning all of the relevant details in our head to spending hours imagining our prince charming, girls spend endless hours thinking about that special day.

Unfortunately, this is usually the stuff of childhood and adolescent musings, hardly grounded in a true understanding of what it means to manage our money during the wedding planning process. And since most adults struggle to deal with daily and monthly budgeting and financial planning, it is not unlikely that a big event like a wedding will lead to poor financial decision making.

If you are a bride who is starting the wedding planning process, there are some important things to remember as you begin making your childhood dreams of a beautiful wedding day a reality.

Spend less money than you can cover. This is finance 101, but it is an important aspect of your wedding planning budget. Be realistic in setting your budget and know what contributions, if any, will be provided by your parents or his.  If you intend to spend more than you can comfortably cover, you will find after the wedding that you start out your married life with a financial burden. While it is difficult to remember sometimes, the wedding is the beginning of your life together, not the end. So if you spend less than you earn, you will be able to save for the future and plan for life after the wedding is over.

Don’t forget that spending includes credit card debt. While we realize that most people cannot possibly pay for a wedding without putting something on credit, remember that even if you are putting off payment for later, you will still need to pay it. A good rule to remember is that if you do not have the money in an account, you’re better off not making the purchase on a credit card, regardless of how much you feel you want or need it. Think about the ways you can cut corners on your wedding planning, like making DIY table decoration,  renting a tuxedo rather than buying, or finding online shops like Azazie for purchasing wedding reasonable wedding attire to ensure that you come in under your wedding budget.

Allow your money to make money. Most people allow themselves approximately one year to plan a wedding, but if you and your spouse have time, find ways to invest your money so that it makes money as you plan. Investing in a stock or bond or starting a lucrative side hustle is one way to generate income that you can put toward your wedding in the future. If your parents agree to contribute to the wedding, perhaps their money could also be invested in a short-term, high-yield certificate of deposit (CD) that will generate a little extra cash toward your wedding.

Start and maintain an emergency fund. Starting and maintaining an emergency fund will ensure that you can deal with unanticipated expenses, which, in the world of wedding planning, can quickly add up. From paying officiants to purchasing postage to covering overages at the bar, you may be surprised at the expenses you did not account for in your wedding budget. An emergency fund is a good idea for your post-wedding life, as well, so this is something you should start immediately!

Watch for hidden financial hazards. Brides and grooms should be very aware of credit card use during the wedding planning process. Where possible, they should pay for things as they go, rather than purchasing things through a credit card. Interest rates on credit cards have an ebb and flow, and an Annual Percentage Rate (APR) is a misnomer because interest is calculated on a per-day, not per-year basis. Credit card companies charge you each month for the previous month’s interest on any balance you carry, so if you use a credit card, pay it off each month whenever possible.

Using a credit card for wedding planning is advisable, as most companies will help protect you from fraudulent charges and help you resolve issues with vendors who fail to provide services. But knowing how to use your cards is critical. Although it may not seem like much at first, fines, penalties, and service charges quickly add up to substantial financial loss. You may want to check out some of the best credit cards available for paying wedding expenses.

What are suggestions do you have for brides as they begin the wedding planning process? Have you followed any financial advice when you were a bride or groom? Feel free to leave your comments here.