“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” Dickens could have been describing my household when one of my daughters announced her engagement on a crisp fall evening phone call during a drive home.
I’m not complaining. He is a great young man and a welcome addition to our family. He’s graduated and started his career on graduation day. He treats my daughter well and that’s the most you can ask as a father. However, this announcement sent our home from calm and peaceful to a wedding juggernaut at light speed that evening.
You think I am exaggerating? My wife even told me one night to “turn the wedding off, I smell it.” She meant the oven, but she was knee deep in wedding spreadsheets, save-the-date announcements, invitations samples, and rehearsal dinner minutiae. Holy matrimony had taken over my home.
I have compiled nuggets of wisdom to give you some financial insight and to save you some headache, worry, and sleepless nights.
• The financial side of weddings is not as bad as you would think, especially if you start with a budget.
• However, the cash you have set aside for this day is likely not enough. Do your family the favor of putting $20 dollars a week into an account for your little girl. $20 dollars a week starting at birth leads to nearly $11,000 after 20 years.
• Don’t suggest giving the couple the money if they just run away and elope. Especially in earshot of the bride’s mother.
• Emotions can run high. Shopping around and being flexible is huge in the bridal business.
• You will need to make several purchases well in advance of the wedding. The dress is a good example.
• Several service vendors require deposits. Photographers and receptions are good examples.
• In both up front and deposit scenarios I could most easily track expenses with a cash back credit card. Established for the wedding it is paid as expenses accrue and the cash back acts as a rebate of some small reward. I at least feel better seeing a small reward come back to the bottom line.
• Did you know that silk flowers are now called permanent botanicals? Neither did I.
• I am glad that first wedding dress was the right one. I am also glad that the multiple dresses she tried on after gave her confirmation.
• Bride and Mom used www.theknot.com for wedding planning and a way to communicate. It was a great tool and helped the family think things through. The site affirmed for us that the number that we budgeted for the wedding was in line.
Weddings are a public ceremony of spoken promises “to love and cherish as long as you both may live.” It’s a day of joy, where friends and family get the opportunity to honor and celebrate with the new couple. Don’t let financial stress get in the way of preparing for this exciting day. A little planning and forethought will go a long way towards an evening your family will cherish forever.