Congratulations on the great news! You’re engaged and soon you’ll be getting married to the love of your life. Perhaps you’ll have a big celebration of your nuptials in front of all your friends and family, taking a long honeymoon together.

Once you’ve gone through your fantasy scenario, you may take a minute or two and start to wonder about how the day to day will work out financially. Will you two have to open joint bank accounts or will you keep your accounts separate?

Money Management as a Couplefinances and marriage

While you’d probably want to wait until after you tie the knot to merge your money, there are opportunities now for you two to test the waters.

Wedding Planning

Who knew that your big day is a great chance for you two to build your financial plan together? Before you go out and start spending money, take some time to answer some questions about what you want for the wedding and reception.

  • Do you want a big or small wedding? Please define what big and small mean. I’ve heard people describe 500 guests as a small wedding.
  • When do you want to get married? If you want to get married a couple months and you want a big wedding with the bells and whistles, you have your work cut out for you. Giving yourself more time can help you with paying for the wedding and for looking at ways to cut costs.
  • Where do you want to get married? Do you want to stay local or do you want a destination wedding? Will the wedding ceremony and reception be at the same location or two different spots?
  • Do you plan on going on a honeymoon right after? I’ve had family and friends take a small, local honeymoon right after the wedding and then take an out of country trip at a more economical time.
  • What do you imagine for the reception? You may want to skip it all together or you may want to a festival to celebrate.

After you’ve decide what’s important for your wedding, check out some ways you can cut costs on things that don’t matter as much. Having a frugal wedding doesn’t mean have a dirt cheap one, it’s about prioritizing where your spend your money. That’s a skill you’ll be using many times as a married couple.

My one piece of advice for the wedding is do not go into debt. As special and as sacred as that day is for you two, it’s just one day. Don’t let your wedding day be a financial burden to you for the first few months or years. Instead look back at the memories with joy and look ahead to future goals that you want to achieve together.

Wedding Gifts

Besides items from our wedding registry, my husband and I received money from friends and family as gifts. It was definitely appreciated. Years later along with some money we saved, the monetary wedding gifts were a down payment on our first place.

Opening a joint savings account can be the right route to go if you two need a place to keep your money stashed away. You can either use that money for your wedding, honeymoon, or a mutual goal. Discussing what you want to do also gives you an idea of how you want to save and/or invest your money.

Marriage and Money – Do We Need a Joint Account?

Now you may see joint budget and think every married couple should only have joint accounts, but you’d be wrong. For us, our main accounts are joint, but we still have individual accounts for incidentals like gifts and lunch. We can see the balance of each others accounts at any time if needed. In fact when I do our monthly net worth review we compile everything, including those accounts.

Proportional Budgeting: Our System

We’re currently using proportional budgeting to determine how much each of us puts into the joint accounts. My husband makes his deposits into the joint checking and my deposits go into the joint savings. The reason for this is because my husband has a 9-5 office job with a steady paycheck and my self-employed income is a bit more erratic. Using this method we’re able to pay our bills without stressing out and work on our joint goals.

If you two decide to keep separate accounts, that certainly your choice, but I really recommend at least having one joint savings account. It’s a good way for your to learn to work together and communicate about finances.

Do You Need Help with Money and Love?

Are you still trying to find out how to make this work? I recommend you read Get Financially Naked to give you two some ideas on how to address the tricky situation of merging your finances.

Don’t forget to check out other posts in the series to assist as well:

I hope that helps and I hope that you take a minute or more to share your own stories on how you had prepared for your wedding and afterwards or how you’re preparing now.

Photo Credit:

Laura Martinez

Laura Martinez