Many brides and grooms have a special wedding song that becomes the tuneful touchstone of their new partnership – and because we’re now at the peak marriage season (there are close to 67,000 weddings across Canada during June, July and August1), this is a great time to take a look at the best financial planning strategies for brides and grooms, so you and your new partner won’t end up having your special wedding song drowned out by the wedding bill blues. Here’s how to cope with wedding costs.

A terrific wedding, yes! – but one you can afford. Look beyond the hors d’oeuvres and champagne and at your long-term financial life. Plan for a terrific wedding within a reasonable, affordable budget – and discuss all your goals, financial and otherwise.

Avoid the lingering costs of a ‘plastic’ wedding. Put your credit cards away. Pay for your wedding with money you’ve saved – and don’t pay from your investments or retirement fund or you’ll end up paying for your wedding for many, many years. One example: Use your credit card for $25,000 in wedding expenses, at 14 per cent interest and only make the minimum payment each month and you’ll make your final payment on your hundredth anniversary.

Stick to your wedding budget. It’s easy to suffer from wedding budget bulge – but be strong. And while you’re practicing prudence, why not 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 goals? $_____

Here are a few other things to consider:

It’s a tough time to talk about it, but a pre-nuptial agreement might be in order.

Despite their expense, weddings can end up being money-makers.

You need to decide what to do with those funds – pay off student debt or loans, make a home down payment or start contributing to investments held with a Registered Retirement Savings account or a Tax-Free Savings Account.

Be sure to update your wills.

Get a head start on your debt-free wedding and a comfortable and successful financial life together – talk to your legal and professional advisors.

1 Statistics Canada – Marriages, by type of marriage and month, Canada, provinces and territories, annual 2004

This column, written and published by Investors Group Financial Services Inc. (in Québec – a Financial Services Firm), and Investors Group Securities Inc. (in Québec, a firm in Financial Planning) presents general information only and is not a solicitation to buy or sell any investments. Contact your own advisor for specific advice about your circumstances. For more information on this topic please contact your Investors Group Consultant.

Contact David Brown at 250-315-0241 or at [email protected] to book your appointment.