9th September 2015
In 2014, the average cost of a wedding was £20,983 in the UK, with almost a third of couples found to still be paying off their wedding loans 6 years after the big day and some 50% of brides expect to go over budget to get the wedding they want.
1. Stick to your budget, use a spreadsheet and keep it real.
You just need to pay a few hundred pounds to register your marriage and get a certificate. Everything else is up to you. Work out your budget, prioritise what’s important and find opportunities to cut costs. Don’t be afraid of sale shopping or getting a few vintage items. The day and the time of year can also make a real difference in venue hire fees. If you’ve got a friend that’s a photographer or a star baker, go ahead and use them. If you buy something at a jeweller, some will even be generous enough to lend you a tiara!
2. Financial transparency is the bedrock of any relationship.
Once you’re married, you become responsible for each other’s financial behaviour. If one of you runs up a debt or misses a payment in a joint account, then you become jointly liable. Make sure you talk to each other, address any elephants in the room and know what you’re getting into.
3. Pre-nups aren’t for the uber-wealthy, they can be for everyone.
The reality is that the average marriage lasts about 11 years in the UK according to the latest ONS report. Of course everyone hopes for the best, but it is prudent to be prepared just in case and a pre-nuptial agreement can be a good option for many people. It’s important to remember if you want a pre-nup to be upheld, you need to have it signed at least 4 weeks before you get married – so make sure you get in touch with a lawyer 2-3 months in advance.
4. If you’ve got children from a previous marriage, or are getting re-married, it may be worth considering getting professional advice.
Large families can be great, but it may make your finances more complicated if you have financial obligations from a previous relationship. For example, if you’re a stepfather and get divorced, it may be worth seeking advice about whether you might still be financially responsible for your step-children. Anybody with concerns may also find the Child Maintenance Service website a useful of guidance.
5. Every relationship will end either through separation or death – prepare accordingly and get your will sorted!
Getting a will may be a bit of an investment now but it is worth it in the long term, especially if you have a family. It doesn’t need to be expensive but you should seek legal advice to ensure your wishes will be upheld. If you’re looking to cut costs, in November each year some solicitors will waive the will-writing fee in return for a small donation to charity. Visit the Will Aid website to find a participating solicitor near you.