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Wedding bill blues

An old English rhyme has it that, at their weddings, brides should wear something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue. Unfortunately, the “blue” part may have resonance for newly married couples today when they realize that they outrageously overspent for their wedding and now, to borrow another phrase, it’s time to pay the piper … and the DJ … and the caterer … and on … and on.

According to Statistics Canada, approximately 48% of weddings take place in the months of June, July and August. If a savings plan wasn’t part of the wedding plans, come autumn, those summer brides and grooms may be feeling wedding bill blues.

If you’re heading toward marriage, here are some good tips to help throw a debt-free wedding and plan for your life together.

A special wedding is one you can afford: That gourmet five-course meal for 300 guests sounds great but a wedding is a single day, so look at it in the context of your long-term financial life.

Practice zero-tolerance for plastic: Don’t use plastic to pay for your wedding. One example: If you use your credit card for $25,000 in wedding expenses at 14% interest and only make the minimum payment each month, you will make your final payment on your 100th anniversary. So put your credit cards away and pay for your wedding with money you’ve saved.

Practice prudence: Be strong and stick to your wedding budget. Use the opportunity to set other financial goals.

Here’s a simple budget template to get you going:

How much debt is each of us bringing to our marriage?

$_______________

How much money have we saved so far?

$_______________

What is our combined monthly income (salary and other income)?

$_______________

What are our monthly costs?

$_______________

How much can we afford to put into our wedding fund each month?

$_______________

How much can we afford to save/invest to achieve our other dreams?

$_______________

To plan for a debt-free wedding and a successful financial life together, talk to your professional advisor.

Reviewed: Aug 4, 2014

*Statistics Canada, Vital Statistics, Marriage Database, 2008, Survey 3232.

Written and published by Investors Group as a general source of information only. Not intended as a solicitation to buy or sell specific investments, or to provide tax, legal or investment advice. Seek advice on your specific circumstances from an Investors Group Consultant.