7 Financial Discussions for You & Your Fiancé Before Wedding Planning

6 Financial Discussions for You & Your Fiancé Before Wedding PlanningCongratulations, you’re engaged! After you tell your close friends and family the news, you may have some questions buzzing through your mind. “What kind of wedding are we going to have? How are we going to pay for everything? Do we still need gourmet cupcakes if we have a four-tiered cake?”

Whether you decide on the cupcakes or not, these questions will lead into important conversations with your partner. As cumulative wedding expenses in the United States creep over 50 billion dollars, it is more important than ever to make sure that you pick a wedding that is perfect for you, while still being affordable. Here are 7 financial discussions you'll want to have with your future spouse before you start planning the wedding.


1. How much do we want to spend? vs. How much can we actually spend?

Although some people have a Pinterest board titled “Dream Wedding”, few get to make all of those Pinterest wedding ideas become a reality. Realistically, couples have different spending habits and financial obligations that might determine how much they want to spend versus how much they actually get to spend. 

Your partner may have outstanding student loans or want to spend more money on the honeymoon than the reception or ceremony. Before assuming your partner has the exact same ideas you do about your wedding, you should talk to your partner about money. This will help with long-term financial planning when you’re a married couple. Additionally, this wedding is between the two of you, so you shouldn’t let outside opinions sway your decisions unless you decide you want to ask for help. 


2. What kind of wedding do we want to have?

After you determine how much you are willing to spend, picking a venue is usually the next step. Whether you picture yourself saying “I do” in an elegant ballroom in your city, a casual outdoor park, or the traditional winery outside of town, you should try to best match your venue with your budget. 

Once you’ve come to an agreement on a venue for the big celebration, you’ll need to know how you are going to decorate it. Strategically placing a few simple but elegant decorations around the room might be more economical than having expensive centerpieces on every table. Similarly, the city park may be perfect for a shabby-chic themed wedding, but you most likely won’t have a dreamy black tie reception there. Matching your wedding aspirations to your budget and theme can help you save money leading up to your big day.


3. What size of wedding can we afford?

You may picture yourself at the altar with only your friends and family supporting you, but when you start sending out invites, you may think you’re forgetting someone. Soon enough you’ve invited your sixth cousin on your mom’s side, your fourth grade teacher, and your entire neighborhood. Although inviting three hundred people to your wedding sounds good in theory, Brides American Wedding Survey found that the average is nearly half of that. 

Although adding more people to the list seems insignificant, it can add up quickly. That is another save the date, another wedding invitation, another ceremony program, another meal, another piece of cake, etc. Ultimately, you get to decide whether you want a big wedding with your extended family and all of your friends or an intimate wedding with just your immediate family and close friends. Maybe you want a small wedding, but plan on inviting everyone else to the reception. Whatever number you and your partner decide, make sure that it is feasible for your budget. 


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4. What aspects of our wedding are we not able to live without?

Bridal magazines, Pinterest boards, and even your friends’ weddings can give you inspiration to plan your own. From those ideas there are essential elements, meaning the ones you must have at your own wedding, and non-essential elements, meaning a component that would be nice to have, but you would be able to live without. In this stage, there’s usually a lot of compromise.

Can you sacrifice your gourmet dinner to have your dream venue? Do you insist on having a live band over a DJ? Do you need all 18 of your friends to be part of the bridal party? Deciding which elements of your wedding are not up for negotiation helps you know where the remainder of your budget should be allocated. 


5. Will our parents help contribute to the wedding cost?

There are a lot of traditions about who should pay for certain parts of the wedding, but as weddings are becoming more modern, those traditions often go ignored. It is no longer expected that the bride’s family will be the ones to cover the full cost of the celebration. Nowadays, both families may chip in, or the couple may pay for all the wedding expenses using their own money.

Talk to your parents to understand if they intend to help cover none, some, or all of the costs. Whether or not they plan to contribute will affect the choices you and your fiance make while wedding planning.


6. Do we know how much weddings typically cost?

Depending on your decisions surrounding the venue, food, and number of guests, the cost of weddings can greatly differ from couple to couple. Do some research online to determine the cost of various wedding elements. It may also be helpful to talk with close family and married friends about how much they budgeted for their wedding.  The average wedding costs just over $20,000 in the United States.

For example, below is the average breakdown of a wedding for 100 guests that costs a little over $25,000.

  • Venue/Catering: $13,336
  • Rings: $5,204
  • Photographer: $2,117
  • Flowers/Decor: $1,764
  • Reception DJ: $1,058
  • Transportation: $706
  • Invitations: $520
  • Wedding Cake: $441
  • Favors: $353

7. How much money will we actually save for our wedding?

Are there unnecessary expenses in your day-to-day life that you can eliminate? If you belong to a gym, have cable TV, Spotify Premium, Hulu, or any other monthly bills, consider making some sacrifices and cancellations in order to save money before the wedding. Going without these expenses will add to your savings. The same goes for purchasing coffee every morning or eating out multiple times each week.

Now that you’ve cut out some smaller costs, can you sacrifice on larger expenses as well? If having your dream wedding is a priority, you may have to cut back on unnecessary spending done with credit cards or expensive car loans. You won’t want to pause all other financial goals, like making contributions to retirement plans and building your credit scores, but it will be a balancing act. Consider using a separate bank account for your wedding savings. This can be a joint account with your partner, if you decide. Keeping your wedding money in a separate account means you will be less likely to spend it on something other than your wedding.


Wedding planning can be a very long and stressful process. However, if you have these financial discussions before wedding planning, you will be on the right track to sticking with your wedding budget. So, whether you decide on cupcakes, cake pops, or the traditional cake, you will know that you’re choosing what’s best for the both of you. With some discussion, you and your fiancé will be able to combine personal finance with the perfect day. Good luck on your wedding planning!




💍You can save for a wedding while still having fun. View our Budget Date Ideas.

🏠Ready for the next step? Read How to Prepare to Buy Your First Home (14 Tips).