You’ve gotten engaged over the holidays – Congrats! The road from here to the wedding will teach you some of the most important lessons of your life. They aren’t necessarily easy lessons to learn, but are the foundation for a lasting relationship. Over the coming days, I’ll discuss the lessons and how to learn from them.
COMMUNICATE – My grandparents told me the most important thing in a relationship is communication, and they were married over 50 years so I tend to believe their advice. A million things will come up as you plan for your wedding: location, cost, size, who to invite, colours, theme; you need to communicate your wishes and also listen to your partner’s wishes. A wedding is about the two of you coming together and it should reflect both of your personalities.
Maybe you have a mother or future mother-in-law with very strong opinions on how the wedding should be. This is your chance, as a couple, to practice assertiveness. This is YOUR event and should reflect you. More than likely, she’s had her big day – it’s your turn. From the beginning you should approach all parents and grandparents together and discuss your vision. The message needs to come across as a unified one. Always be respectful, but also firm in that this is your day and it will be planned as you wish. Remember, they have the best of intentions and want you to be happy.
Of course this conversation needs to happen after you’ve had the most important conversation as a couple – The Budget!
THE BUDGET – Many couples avoid this subject like the plague. Often times each person has a very different idea of how much to spend for the event. One person is thinking a small ceremony with close family and friends – $10,000 max, while the other is thinking an over the top bash with hundreds of guests – $50,000. Before making any plan, the couple must agree on a budget. Every other detail of the wedding revolves around the budget. This is the first detail that must be finalized. In order to determine the budget, a discussion on the finances must occur.
FINANCES – You may be scared to know what kind of debt your significant other has. Or they think you make twice as much as you do. Every couple handles finances differently. Some put all the money in a joint account, pay the bills and have access to the rest. Some couples determine the joint expenses and their contributions to this. Whatever is left over, each person can spend as they see fit (He doesn’t know how much those shoes cost, and she doesn’t know how much he spent at poker with the guys).
Regardless of how you do your finances, there are several things that both individuals should know: the debt of each person – student loans, credit cards, automobiles, lines of credit, etc; assets – be it property, vehicles, time-shares or artwork; retirement savings – you’d be surprised to find out how many people don’t know when their partner wants to retire. There are innumerable ways to handle your finances; you just need to figure out your method of savings, spending and communication.