Archive for the ‘Newlyweds’ Category

Wedding Bells Without the Money Blues

March 1, 2010

When planning your dream wedding it is easy to ring up an event costing more than $30,000 — that’s more than the price of a decent new car! As each little thing adds up, it is important to save money in areas where it won’t really affect the overall day. Try one or all of these ideas to save some coin without sacrificing the ultimate intent: exchanging vows with your beloved!

Minimize the Menu If you’re hosting a large reception (over 150 guests), the cost of food can exceed $10,000 if you choose a premium main course. In my opinion, you don’t need to serve a gourmet meal — chicken and veggies are just fine.

Most wedding guests aren’t coming to your reception for the food anyway. In general they will expect a decent meal, but won’t be disappointed if they are not served a filet or lobster. And if you hire a fun deejay, (one area where you can get a lot of bang for your buck) most people won’t even pay attention to what they’re eating because they’ll be so anxious to get out on the dance floor.

Save money on the food and spend it on great meals on the honeymoon that you will savor and remember.

Lower the Bar Bill Don’t let your party animal friends talk you into hosting a top shelf open bar. While some wedding guests may prefer a mixed drink before dinner, most will be fine with choosing beer or wine as their drink of choice for the night. Trim a dollar or two off the cost of EACH GUEST by choosing to serve only beer and wine at your bar and you’ll save hundreds of dollars on the reception. If you’d still like to make mixed drinks available, guests will understand if you choose to have a cash bar for those options.

You may also choose to offer an open bar for the first three hours of the event, turning it into a cash bar later in the night to discourage guests from overindulging. This is safe for your budget and your guests’ health.

Have Your Cake It is worth the money to have a professional bake your wedding cake. Ask any caterer and he or she will have a story of an amateur wedding cake gone awry. To have a beautiful cake without breaking the budget, ask your baker to make your decorated cake smaller, then bring a couple extra sheet cakes or “kitchen cakes” to keep in the back to give you enough to serve all your guests.

Event center staff are used to this arrangement, and your guests will still enjoy a tasty cake while never knowing that the piece they savor didn’t come from the actual cake you cut.

Above all, don’t lose sight of why you are planning such a celebration. A wedding is one of life’s great milestones for many and loads of fun to plan and execute. Just remember that at the end of the day, the only purpose is to unite your life and your heart with that of your soul mate’s. As long as you make that happen, none of the other details will really matter in the long run.

These tips are just a sampling of the many I have collected over the years. My newsletter, Weekly Wedding Wisdom, offers several other money-friendly ideas related to getting married. If you’d like more, please Email me to be added to the list. Your email address will not be used for any other purpose.

A version of this post was published in the Cincy Chic column “Cents & Sensibility” on March 1, 2010.


Marriage & Money – How Do You Combine Your Finances?

July 14, 2009

The bouquet has been tossed. Glasses clinked after touching toasts. Cake was devoured (with the top layer tucked away in your freezer for your anniversary, of course). The honeymoon was a blast. Lifetime memories were made.


Now it’s time for married life to begin. And it seems everyone has the perfect nugget of advice on how to make it last, right? Many of those nuggets probably refer to how to handle money.

“You must combine your money immediately if you think you’ll be on the same page financially.”

“Try to live on just one income.”

Or my favorite recipe for arguments: “Just one person should be in charge of the books.”

The thing is that in today’s world, there is no cookie-cutter solution for how new couples should combine their finances. With dual incomes where sometimes the bride makes more money than the groom, it is no longer practical to assume that the groom will be the bread-winner and the sole keeper of the purse strings. Couples are waiting longer to get married, therefore they have had more time to grow financially independent and develop their own habits. This adds a whole new level of complication to the adjustment to married life.

So how should newlyweds handle this highly sensitive and often argued-about subject? I wish I had a simple answer, but I think that it really is tailored individually to each couple and their styles, habits, tolerances and relationship. One couple may be able to seamlessly open a joint checking account for all their money and have no issues with paying their bills, maintaining their lifestyle and saving for the future. This same solution for another couple could cause strife beyond imagining.

Of course there are certain things that I suggest all couples do. Like opening a joint savings account that both contribute to for a shared goal or dream such as vacation, a down payment on a home or just an emergency fund. How that account is funded, however, will depend on the couple and their attitudes toward money. One couple may decide that they contribute proportionately to their incomes. Another couple may agree that equality is more important and both contribute the same amount, no matter who makes more.

Regardless of income levels, spending styles, or how much you love each other, money remains one of the top catalysts to strife and unhappiness in marriages. It is worth it to seek out a financial coach, class, book or process to start your marriage out on the right path financially. Experiment with different ideas, remember to be respectful, flexible and honest, and realize that it may take a little bit of time for you to find your groove with money as a couple. Don’t worry if the first thing you try doesn’t work – there is no perfect solution!