Ah. Weddings. The romantic celebration of two people tying each other down.
They are undoubtedly one of life’s biggest milestones, but with all the expensive costs and people involved.
It could also be a one-way ticket to a bad marriage and heavy debts when the intricate issues aren’t handled properly.
Here’s 5 issues you should discuss for a smoother wedding celebration:
1. How you’ll be financing the wedding
Some couples are fortunate enough to have parents loaning them the budget needed for the wedding, or even downright sponsoring them.
But this isn’t a given right, and the intricacies of this privilege should always be clarified and discussed early so no conflicts would arise; such as how you’ll pay your in-laws back (if it’s a loan) or their own requirements for your wedding.
For the rest of us who aren’t so lucky, you have three options to finance your wedding:
- Using your joint savings
- Taking up a personal loan
- Or utilizing your credit card
Should you take up a loan and/or use a credit card?
Credit cards charge higher monthly interest rates than those you’d get with a personal loan. Yet, they can help you accumulate miles that’ll come in handy for your honeymoon.
Hence you’ll want to sign up for a kick-ass airmiles card that gives you more miles per dollar and extra bonuses for your huge spending. And ensure you have enough money to pay up the full sum when your bill statement arrives.
Also, if you’re taking up a personal loan, you’ll need to compare a few personal loan plans to see which is best. And discuss the right amount you’re comfortable borrowing.
Would you be able to finance it when you take into account your housing loan, car commitments, PUB bills etc? This should definitely be a last resort.
2. Your wedding expectations vs. what you’re able to pay for
Your budget may not be able to accommodate all your expectations of a wedding. What is important to you might not necessarily be as important to your partner.
There are so many aspects of a wedding that you’ll need to discuss: the bridal package, wedding bands, solemnization, banquet, photography, honeymoon etc.
As a couple, you’ll need to come to a consensus on what aspects of these are worth splurging on, and what you’re comfortable doing away with.
For example, is having a good photography package important to both of you? Would you rather spend on a good overseas photography package or a good banquet? Or would you rather go all out on your honeymoon instead?
At the banquet, is alcohol worth topping-up if there’s not enough? How much of your budget should you allot towards a banquet and how much to photography?
Is a small gathering more feasible for your budget than a huge banquet? Would you mind saving costs by holding a weekday lunch or is a weekend dinner a must? Does it have to be held specifically in hotels? Or would a restaurant be enough?
No matter your expectations, you’ll have to find a way to make your budget work.
3. How you’ll divide the ang-pow money after the banquet
Traditionally, ang-pows from each side are given to your respective in-laws.
It’s assumed the male side pays for the wedding and the bride’s side of angpows should be treated as a wedding gift to the bride’s parents for bringing up their daughter.
These days, some couples pay for their wedding out of their own pocket with/without help from the in-laws, so plans on what to do with the ang-pow money after the banquet can be rather complicated.
Will it be given to your parents? Or be given back to you? Or if one side of in-laws are loaning you money or sponsoring the banquet, should you give them both sides of the angpow? Would the other side be okay with it?
You’ll want to clarify this in advance.
4. How much dowry and “pinjin” should be given?
Depending on your dialect, some parents of the bride may have different requirements for the dowry and pin jin.
For example, brides of Teochew descend may require a dowry that includes the “5-piece gold” while the Cantonese may use dragon/phoenix bangles.
For pinjin, the brides’ parents may request any amount ranging from nothing to even tens of thousands of dollars.
You’ll need to come to an agreement with both sides of your in-laws. And depending on how demanding or easy-going each side is, this can be a troublesome process if both sides can’t come to a consensus.
You’ll need to discuss with partner how to handle this delicate issue between the in-laws and determine what you both feel is a fair arrangement to both sides.
5. How much of the “pinjin” should be returned?
There aren't many guidelines around as to how much the bride’s parents should keep or return as there are different perspectives on what is reasonable.
The bride’s parents might think keeping $8k is perfectly reasonable since they’ve painstakingly brought up their daughter, but the groom’s family may think this is an unreasonable amount.
Herein, the couple end up being get stuck in a sticky situation.
Because when this happens, it’s never pleasant to have to tell your own parents/ in-laws that they’re going too far, neither do you want the groom’s parents to leave with a bad impression of the bride’s parents.
It’s one of those situations where you just can't win.
To keep things smooth, discuss with your partner about how you can handle the parents. Otherwise you’ll have to choose between paying the difference to keep both sides of your in-laws happy, or suffer awkward family gatherings in future.
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