This is the first in a series of “what I learned so far” wedding posts. Honestly only now with the wedding planning at a semi-lull (at that awkward not a lot to do until closer to the wedding stage) have I had the time to reflect on what I’ve learned! As well as, trying to help my maid of honor who is recently engaged plan her wedding in 7 months, helps rehash the memories. O. The horror.
So You Are Engaged?:
This may not work for everyone but I suggest to begin putting yourself into a “fake marriage” if you haven’t already. What does this mean?
- Plan the Wedding Together: Or as much as possible! And when I mean planning, I mean not just the woman stereotypically ordering the man around, but both making all decisions together. Throughout the rest of your life you’ll be planning (hopefully) together, so start now. Planning a wedding can be an ordeal and is a BIG learning experience. Heck, for most people its the first and only 100-200 person two day event they’ll ever plan! Wedding planning can bring to surface a lot of family, personal and otherwise ticks. You’ll want to do this together and use it as a bonding experience and not just a hassle. Sure, if the woman relinquishes some of the control she might get a WOW cake BUT not only will she be less stressed (if you guys work well together) but he’ll feel he owns the day as well. It also means learning each others strengths. Maybe one is a better designer, they’ll take more of a lead there, but in the end both need to be happy and in agreement.
- Move In: If you haven’t already moved in together. It doesn’t ruin the magic in fact it doubles it! Austin and I moved in together after a year… which may have been quick but we never regretted it. Comes down to this, it is the TRUE test of if you guys can work as a team and cohabitate. When you get married the least amount of surprises the better. What about this doubling the fun? Here’s my road plan for those with trepidations about ruining the magic.
- Imagine moving in together in your first apartment, you’re saving money, learning about each other & giggling every night because you are having a sleepover with your bestbud. Better yet move into a place with roommates and each have your own room. Sleep in the same room but still have your haven (this is probably good after marriage as well). Roommates are good because they help you save money (we are planning a wedding after all) and they are a bit of social fun that doesn’t make you feel SO all alone with one person and that nothing will ever change before it even started to change.
- Now a year later you get married and move into a new house/apt! Better yet, no roommates! You will be sick of them by now. This has all the newness you need plus you are prepared with “living with your hubby” skills. You still need all that fun stuff from your registry and you feel more married with just the two of you!
- Start Merging Assets: There is no better test to see what you are getting yourself into then to see how your partner manages money and the responsibility of dispersing it to bill collectors. We weren’t sure how to go about it so I asked for advice from friends/family and finally decided to have one joint bank account and two personal ones. 90% of our paychecks go into our joint account and 10% go into our own personal accounts. I can’t even see his personal account and that is OKAY! This way we don’t feel guilty or have to explain to each other (and our budget) when splurging on ourselves, as well we can surprise each other with gifts!
- Now Make Budget: Aside from the wedding budget which anyone could tell you should be your FIRST action when starting to plan (more on this later), you need a life budget! Austin and I use Mint.com and a spreadsheet that we share through Google Docs to keep us on track. Not only do we have a regular budget but a savings budget. This savings budget shows over the year how much we are saving and any big expenditures we are going to pay out from savings (vacations, loan lump-sums, foreseen medical expenses, etc). Budgets aren’t perfect so after we pay rent each month, Austin and I try to sit down & categorize our expenditures in Mint and tweak our budget if need be (or our drinking habits).
This post basically espouses knowing what you are getting yourself into it. Trying the milk first is not bad because when you buy the cow there’s a whole buncha new stuff and places to go with said cow. Playing house! So that when you do get married its not like getting dumped into a desert island with you and that person on the marriage license.
Next wedding themed post shall be about the nitty gritty start of wedding planning and some money saving tips I’ve realized a long the way.
nitty & gritty -S