There are few things that put a strain on a relationship more than money. But if something had to take the cake (wedding cake, that is) it's wedding planning.
These two things—money and wedding planning—seem to work together in a vicious cycle, creating a big financial strain on your relationship. Frustration grows, fighting ensues. It’s not a good feeling to be in constant conflict with your partner when you’re planning one of the most important events in your lives. But! (there’s a but!), with a little discipline, a lot of patience, and a bit of R&R, you can balance wedding bliss and money stress.
Talk about money…often
There’s no overemphasizing the importance of talking about money. We know it’s awkward! But couples that regularly talk about money—those who make it a habit—are happier in relationships. We’ve shared five tips on how to navigate finances as a couple, like how to address debt (hint: be honest about it) and what tools exist that make it a bit easier to manage your finances together (hint: our favorite is Honeydue).
Break all the rules
Wedding planning rules are meant to be broken. We know there’s a lot of hype around what a wedding should look like, but we say (over and over again) that your wedding should be about you and your partner. If you don’t want a wedding party, nix it. If you don’t want a tiered wedding cake, go for a donut display. If you want to have an intimate beachside ceremony instead of a grand ballroom affair, we say let your hair down in that cool ocean breeze. Start to imagine your perfect wedding, not one bound by the expectations of others. A lot of wedding planning stress comes from trying to adapt to convention. And the reality is, a conventional wedding is expense. We say: Break the damn rules.
Get creative on a budget
We’re always looking for ways to plan a wedding on a budget. If you’re willing to get a little crafty (and this doesn’t require DIY, mind you), you can lessen the financial burden of wedding planning. We have an entire section of Engaged dedicated to sharing great tips for couples on a budget. From affordable wedding venues in San Francisco to New York City, to fun ways to how to save money on catering and flowers, we’ve got you covered.
Make time for R&R
Just like in all things, it can’t be all wedding planning all the time. It’s important to carve our time for you and your partner to rest, reconnect, and rejuvenate. And this does not have to break the bank! There a plenty of great non-wedding planning activities that can take your mind off the stress without opening your wallet. It can be as simple as a stroll around a park or a few weekend volunteering hours with your favorite organization. You can even make R&R a regular part of your schedule. Put it on the calendar, commit to it, and you’ll see the benefits.
You might ask, “How do I pay off my debt—wedding or otherwise—and save at the same time? We know it seems counterintuitive to save money, especially while planning your wedding, but even the symbolic act of setting aside a few extra dollars each week can do wonders for your confidence and mental health. That little bit of saving can also cover unexpected wedding expenses that are almost certain to crop up. And perhaps most importantly, it’s laying a healthy foundation for your finances as a couple once you say, “I do.”
If this seems like an impossible, don’t fret! There are a lot of tools that can help you be more disciplined around your spending and saving habits. We’ve said this before, but we really dig Honeydue for our couples’ finance needs. Honeydue is a personal finance app for couples that really helps take the friction out of managing money together.
Keep first things first
Lastly, and most importantly, you have to keep first things first. What does that mean? It means you have to continually remind yourself about why you’re doing this whole wedding thing. It’s because you want to spend the rest of your life with your partner. That is your center. That is where the true balance comes from. Turn your attention to each other on a regular basis. Treat it like a moment of zen or contemplation, and you’ll find that you can make decisions with less stress and greater clarity. (And when you know what’s essential, you might even be able to shave some of those nice-to-have dollars off your wedding planning budget.)