Over 25% of couples get engaged during the holidays, and on average they will spend almost $40,000 in the DC Area. Those who are planning to tie the knot this year need to quickly work on their guest list, then lock in a venue and caterer. Other vendors will then need to be vetted, including a florist, photographer, and the entertainment, and all these service providers will most likely require a contract and deposit, which need to be reviewed carefully. As this all starts to come together, difficult money talks are inevitable, and emotions can run high. Pay attention to how your partner handles conflict, and don’t ignore your own feelings as you navigate the negotiation process and deal with other family dynamics, which are inevitable.
If you have concerns about your ability to communicate respectfully and effectively, invest in some pre-marital counseling sessions. Learn what pitfalls to avoid, and gain insight into healthy habits needed to maintain a positive relationship. Meanwhile, if you find that you have vastly different views on money, consider a joint meeting with a financial advisor or float the idea of a prenuptial agreement, maybe both.
Prenuptial agreements are meant to ensure that everyone is on the same page with respect to what will be joint vs. separate, and we set limits on alimony (both in terms of duration and amount). These contracts are fairly straight forward and common now, plus fairly inexpensive in comparison to the other costs involved with a wedding! Here is a short 2 minute video describing the prenup process: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ngUIZt8SQ5I
Love and money don’t always mix, but a prenup (or post-nuptial for those that procrastinate until after the honeymoon to get this done) is a simple legal solution that can allow everyone to move forward with some peace of mind. Dealing with your future in-laws… well that’s a much more long term work in progress. 🙂
By Regina A. DeMeo