Start your life together on the right financial foot

Before you say ‘I do’, talk about your finances with your partner.

Not getting married, but in a relationship? See relationships and money for useful tips.

Manage the wedding whirlwind

The average Australian wedding costs $36,000. According to a Moneysmart survey, 82% of couples dipped into their savings to pay for their wedding. Another 60% got a loan and 18% used their credit card.

Common wedding costs include:

  • venue

  • food and alcohol

  • ceremony and rings

  • photography

  • entertainment

  • clothing and accessories

  • flowers

  • cars, hair, makeup

  • wedding night accommodation

To stay on top of costs:

  • Decide what you can comfortably afford to spend and stick to it.

  • Break down the costs and work out what you need to spend on each item. Then ask yourself: do I need it? Will it make a difference to the day?

  • Do your research and shop around for a better deal — always negotiate.

  • Check if you can DIY or get a friend to help with flowers, photography or catering.

  • Check online stores. For things like furniture and glassware, you may be better off buying rather than renting, and then on-selling afterwards.

The more you pay up-front, the less likely it is that you’ll get into debt.

Save for your big day

Once you’ve got an idea of how much you can afford to spend on your wedding, work out how much you’ll need to save to pay for it.

The sooner you start and the more you save, the less likely you’ll get into debt.

Use this savings goals calculator

Work out how much you’ll need to save each week in the lead-up to the wedding.

Opening a separate, high-interest savings account or a term deposit is a good way to save. A separate account means you’ll be less tempted to use the money for other things.

For saving tips, see simple ways to save money.

Get on the same (financial) page

Talk about spending habits, debts and financial responsibilities with your partner. Doing this before you get married can help you manage your money day to day.

Also sit down and work out your financial goals. Be clear about what you want and when, so you can work together to get there.

Do a budget (together)

Creating a budget might not sound romantic, but it will give you a clear picture of your regular expenses.

It’s also a great way to help you reach your shared savings goals, including your wedding and honeymoon.

Use this budget planner

Work out your monthly expenses and see where you can save.

Work out how you’ll pay for things

If the two of you have different saving and spending habits, or earn different incomes, work out how to manage your money. Decide whether you want a joint bank account, separate accounts, or both.

Getting a joint bank account can make it easier to share your money and pay bills. However, you’re both responsible for making sure your expenses are covered.

Some people have separate bank accounts rather than a joint account. Then they work out who is responsible for different bills and payments. Or they transfer a set amount each payday into a joint account to cover shared bills.

Every couple is different, so talk to each other about what you think will work best for you.

For more tips, see handling money in a relationship.

Understand the legal changes

Marriage is a legal agreement, so you’ll need to review or update your legal and financial documents.

Update or do your will

Getting married cancels your will (unless your will clearly shows that you were planning the marriage). 

Check your insurance

Update your insurance policies to reflect your new status as a married couple. This is particularly important for life insurance.

Update your super

You may want to change your beneficiary details, and look at how you can grow your super together.

Change your personal details

If you take your spouse’s surname, you’ll need to let the Australian Taxation Office know. You may also need to change it on other documents, such as bank accounts and bills.

Even if you’re not getting married, we can help with other budgeting tips to get your finances on track. Call us on (07) 5528 1222.

Reproduced with the permission of ASIC’s MoneySmart Team. This article was originally published at

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