My number one piece of advice for engaged couples would be to prioritise their life together, and not just their day together. The costs of a wedding can have far-reaching consequences on their relationship, and it is essential that they find a balance between what they desire for their wedding and what they want for their marriage (the rest of their lives). There are affordable and elegant ways of ensuring that your wedding is everything you want it to be without dragging yourselves into debt. Focus on creating a wedding that is indelibly you rather than one that is designed to satisfy others.
Naturally, the best way to finance a wedding would be to save up and pay cash for it. The type of investment vehicle you choose would depend on the time period. However, assuming a time period of 18 months, a money market account (or even one’s access bond) would be a great savings vehicle. Bear in mind that you may be required to pay deposits on the dress, venue and photographer in advance so you will need your money to be readily accessible.
After the costs of the venue and the dress (which are essentially fixed costs), the biggest cost driver is the number of guests you invite. Keeping the wedding small and intimate by inviting only people who really matter to you is one way of containing costs. If the couple is paying for the wedding themselves, there is no reason to feel obliged to invite long-lost cousins and uncles. Invitations that are ‘Plus 1’ also add to the cost of the wedding, while at the same time lumping you with guests who may be complete strangers to you.
My key piece of advice is to be selective and intentional about every invited guest.
In South Africa, all marriages are in community of property unless it is specifically excluded by entering into an ante-nuptial contract. If you get married in community of property, a joint estate is formed between the two parties. Assets are shared equally and the parties are jointly and severally liable for all debt incurred by either partner.
If the couple each have substantial estates or incomes at the time of marriage, marriage out of community of property without the accrual may be an appropriate marital regime. Effectively, this means that ‘what’s mine is mine and what’s yours is yours’. Each partner has full rights of disposal over their own assets. Muslim marriages are deemed to be in accordance with this regime.
A popular choice for couples is marriage out of community of property with the accrual. This system ensures that both parties in a marriage are entitled to a fair share of the estate if the marriage comes to an end through death or divorce. The ‘accrual’ means that the couple shares in the profits generated during the marriage if the marriage comes to an end.
The most important piece of advice I can give is to talk! There is no right or wrong way of managing money in the context of a marriage. The only way to manage money in a marriage is to agree upfront how you intend doing it, and then do it. Whether you pool finances, run separate bank accounts, operate a joint credit card, keep some expenses separate, it really does not matter. What does matter is that you agree on your strategy before the marriage, and not after.
Videography: Barefeet Videography
Venue: The Forum | Embassy Hill
Financial Expert: Sue Torr, Crue Invest
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