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Posted by Danielle Harvey on 17 February 2021
In lockdown 3.0 most of us would be hard pushed to remember a time when we could plan a wedding without having to consider the necessary social restrictions. Usual headaches like seating plans and flowers seem minor in comparison to having to contend with whether the big day can even go ahead or how the guest list can be reduced enough to comply.
Even with the initial successes of the vaccine rollout, we're all still facing a long road ahead, before we can get back to normality. And for many brides and grooms, especially those who recently got engaged, the wait will most likely feel even longer. This also brings some added financial considerations with it as couples face living unwed for longer than they initially intended.
To help, Zoe Bailey, Chartered Financial Planner and Director at Tilney has shared a few tips to help couples ensure they have lasting financial protection:
1. Get a flexi-plan: Whilst current lockdown restrictions mean weddings and civil partnership ceremonies are not permitted, there are hopes the upcoming roadmap out of lockdown will consider 2021 weddings. Having even a basic plan for what your dream big day would involve, depending on the level of restrictions at the time, will ensure you're in the best possible position to react and adapt your plans if needed. It'll also go a long way to help maintain some sense of a wedding budget and protect you from tricky conversations with your suppliers.
2. Consider a co-habitation agreement: With Covid-19 halting scores of weddings last year, many couples are finding themselves co-habiting for much longer than anticipated. But should you find your relationship breaks down and you don't make it to the altar, how do you stand financially? Technically you would not have any rights to your property – even if you'd been paying part of the mortgage. Cohabitation agreements give co-habiting couples certain rights so that they can make a financial claim in the event of separation or death.
3. Seek advice: Some couples may decide to have a longer engagement in order to boost their wedding fund. If that's the case, then speaking to a professional adviser to help work out how much you'll need to save each month to reach your goal can be useful. Likewise, if you're thinking of entering into a co-habitation agreement then it's best to seek legal advice, as well as for other protections like a Will or a Power of Attorney. None of us necessarily want to consider the worst, but it can save you in the long run if you protect yourself now.
4. Prioritise: This is especially important for couples with a limited budget. Start with the "wedding essentials", the big-ticket items you can't imagine your day being without and target your budget towards them first. While 'wedding extras' are nice-to-have, if there are things you both can live without on the day, then reassess your fund and see if it's worth scaling back on the additional expenditure. And perhaps even put some of that money aside to top up your pension or other investments for your future together beyond your Wedding day.
5. Don’t forget about your future: It’s all too easy to let financial wedding plans run away from you, especially after such a long wait. But, without some thought of your future savings and investments, you could start married life in a less financially secure position than you would have liked. Whether you’re planning for a big wedding or intimate affair, it’s important to keep one eye on the future and consider how you intend to fund your new lives together – from potential maternity leave to right the way through to retirement. The past year has shown that you never know when your regular income might be cut or reduced, so ensuring you have some sort of plan for the unexpected with an emergency cash fund for example (no matter how small) is essential.”