How to Plan Your Financial Future as a Couple

imageHow to Plan Your New Financial Life as a Couple

Future newlyweds have so much on their plate when they first decide to tie the knot. They have to plan the wedding and take care of a thousand and one responsibilities so that everything goes off without a hitch.

Financial planning as a new couple is a conversation that’s often pushed way in the background. But should it be? What happens if you aren’t financially compatible? Where do you go from there as a couple?

Instead of ignoring your new financial life, do yourselves a favor and tackle it head-on. This is something that you need to do as a newly married couple. Since money problems are the main reason that couples argue, it makes sense to get on the same financial page in the marriage as early as you can.

Having the Dreaded (or Not so Dreaded) Money Talk

In a perfect world, you’ll realize that it’s important to have the money talk as soon as your relationship begins to get serious. Many couples find themselves financially connected before they actually get married. The sooner you have the money talk, the better it is for the relationship, and the better chance you’ll have at thriving as a couple.

Everyone has their own views about money. Some of us live like money grows on trees and that it is available in unlimited abundance. And depending on your financial situation – it might be. Others feel that money is a finite and limited resource. They work hard to scrimp and save so that they can get ahead and live comfortably in retirement.

Both members of the couple need to come together financially. Having the same money views is not necessarily required. But if you are too far apart on this topic, it could make it difficult – if not impossible – to live and grow together as a married couple.

Creating Common Financial Goals

If a couple seems too far apart on money issues, it may seem like all hope is lost for the relationship. But this doesn’t need to be true as long as you’re willing to compromise.

Instead of throwing in the towel, create common financial goals as a couple. When you begin working together to achieve common financial ground, not only will your relationship grow stronger; you’ll also begin t0 live happier lives and feel good about money and how it now has a positive impact on your relationship.

Have Regular Money Meetings as a Couple

Unfortunately, all of your money inconsistencies will not disappear after one conversation. This topic needs to be discussed regularly so that you consistently stay on the same page.

Money problems are going to arise. As a couple, you must commit to regular communication so that you can hash out money matters together. By holding regular money meetings, you can plan for your future together, set a budget/review your current budget, come up with ideas for a fun filled vacation, discover creative fundraising ideas, and so much more.

If you want to start off your married life as a happy couple, getting on the same page in your financial life is an absolute must. Heed the warnings shared with you today and use this information to guide your financial future.

 

How to Make Sure Your Wedding is Fun for Everyone!

For pretty much all our couples, their wedding day celebration is by far the biggest party they’ve ever thrown, and the most intricate project they’ve ever tackled. Aside from the planning and logistics themselves, what is necessary to make the wedding celebration fun for everyone? What is it that sets an average party apart from an unforgettable one which everyone keeps raving about? I’m not talking about over-the-top-glamour, Hollywood-worthy entertainment or other perks only big money can buy. I am talking about the little things, the personal touches that make everyone feel good and special and well taken care of. To me, that’s an integral part of the overall wedding experience, just as much as good food and music.

1. You, the couple – totally worry-free

1.) Couple worry-free

Let’s begin with the stars of the day: you, the Bride and Groom! Here at A Day Like No Other, our mantra is: Our couples have only ONE job on their wedding day, and that is – to celebrate! All our couples tell me afterwards that their wedding day flew by and that they can hardly remember all of it. We strive to maximize what our brides and grooms remember. We want you to be in the moment and to focus on what this day is about: committing your lives to one another. And that’s why we make sure that everything you might need and want on your wedding day has been meticulously planned ahead of time. Plus during Cocktail Hour, when most couples are busy taking photos, we make sure a platter of appetizers is set aside for them in a quiet side room with a chilled bottle of Champagne, and once photo session is over, we whisk them away for a few minutes of well-deserved break before presenting them to their guests.

2. The couple is “off-limits” for anything but celebrating!

What else? We, the planners, make sure that nobody will bother our couples with anything during their wedding day. Another mantra – or rather our promise to our couples: “If there is a glitch, you will not know!” It’s true: we do what is humanly possible to keep our couples out of it. And if you don’t have a wedding coordinator, you should absolutely designate one point person for all logistical issues and whatever else might come up. We at A Day Like No Other are even wearing funny buttons identifying us as the wedding planners… and invariably, that does not only “crack up” everyone – they will also find us and ask us for assistance. No one interrupts the couples’ partying!

3. Your parents

3.) Ancestor table 1

3.) Ancestor table 2

For most parents, their children’s wedding day is at least as important as for the bride and groom themselves. It’s an occasion they have been looking forward to since bride and groom were children, hoping for them to find a soul mate and lifelong companion who will take care of them once the parents are gone. Giving a child away in marriage is a milestone in parenting. It’s also a day to look back on all the sweet memories of that now grown-up man or woman when they were little, when they had just entered the world, and also to think back to one’s own wedding day, one’s own parents. It’s definitely a day of memories. And that’s why we encourage all our couples to include such memories in their celebration, e.g. , as a gallery of family photos.

4. Your older guests

4.) Older guests

Most of our couples invite quite a few older guests – grandparents and other relatives of that generation. Oftentimes, these feel a little lost in a crowd of young people. We make it a point to include them and make them feel an integral part of the couple’s family history. One unobtrusive way of making older guests feel good is to include music choices they are comfortable and familiar with – be it a few Frank Sinatra or Elvis songs or 80s top hits. Yes! It is possible to mix those in, and you should see those smiles on their faces! And in lieu of a bouquet toss, we often do a “generation dance” with the bride presenting her bouquet to the guest couple with the longest-lasting marriage.

5. All guests: look after them!

For many guests, attending a wedding means taking days off work, planning and paying for travel… despite the joy of seeing a friend or family member getting married, it’s also a lot of effort. Guests appreciate being well taken care of – they tend to remember that experience even more than the food! So, let’s make them feel special and well-taken care of. Here is what we recommend: Keep guests well informed, and the easiest way is a detailed wedding website. We recommend our couples to offer logistical help to their guests whenever possible, be it for accommodations, local climate and choice of attire. Plus, this is also a good spot to drop a hint regarding dress code… politely. Nobody wants to be seriously under- or overdressed for the occasion! The more the guests know beforehand, the easier it is for them to plan accordingly.

6. Help your guests with the logistics

The same holds true for the schedule of the wedding day itself. We recommend to include on the wedding website one page devoted to nothing but the logistics: Directions, parking restrictions, shuttle bus service, specifics about the property (e.g. walks over uneven terrain), cell phone reception, and when guests are expected to be where.

7. Make your guests feel welcome

7.) Welcome-bags

Nothing makes guests feel welcome more than – Welcome Bags! Yes, we know, it’s a lot of work to assemble them (we do that for our clients…) Include personalized bottled water), snacks, local specialties like small bottles of wine or olive oil, local chocolates; a walking map and/or brochures for local sightseeing trips. And then, of course, a personal letter from the couple expressing their joy to have all these guests from faraway locations together for their wedding day.

8. Keep your guests comfy

8.) Comfy guests

And that’s why the pampering of guests doesn’t stop just there! For the wedding day, we  recommend a welcome bar with chilled (nonalcoholic!) beverages; for outdoor weddings a sunscreen/bug repellant station; market umbrellas shading the ceremony area, fans (maybe imprinted with the ceremony program), personalized paper parasols doubling as a wedding keepsake; amenities baskets in the bathrooms, simple “pashmina” shawls or blankets for outdoors celebrations and a basket of flip-flops for beach weddings and long dance parties.

9. Your youngest guests

9.) young guest 1

Let’s admit it: weddings are not for kids. Take that from a mother! The excitement about the decorations and the big white dress is wearing off after a maximum of ten minutes, and then kids want to do what kids always want to do: explore, play, do their own thing. Make sure that they get to do exactly that and have just as much fun during that wedding as their parents – just a different type of fun: their own area, their own babysitter(s) and their own activities. Activity bags, maybe even a kids’ entertainment company or a “sleepover party” with cartoon movies and pizza. Everybody’s happy!

10. Your Doggie

 

10.) Bride and dog

Well, same thing with dogs. Weddings are just not the thing for them. Just imagine: they are brought to a new, exciting, and maybe upsetting environment full of strangers, their “parents” don’t have time for them, they are expected to be quiet instead of inspecting and, yes, marking the new territory; regular walk/nap/meal times are all out the window AND they are even not supposed to bark! That doesn’t sound right to me. And yes, you guessed it, I am a dedicated doggie Mom. At A Day Like No Other, we offer a “VIC” (Very Important Canine) package – a dedicated dog handler on wedding day whose main task is keeping doggie happy, walking and feeding her, playing with her and chauffeuring her home as needed. But even if none of that is in the cards – you should plan for your dog’s well-being on their Great Day as you would for any other family member or guest. At the very least, designate a person not directly involved in the wedding for doggie care (the Maid of Honor is not a good choice, as she will be busy during the ceremony and during photo time…). It should not be a young child or a person unaccustomed to dogs. It should be someone who is willing to sacrifice part of the celebration time for this purpose, and gladly so. Provide an area where your darling can safely stay, protected, in the shade, and maybe in her familiar crate. Do bring her familiar food, treats, and toys. And should your fur baby get upset, your doggie babysitter can drive her home for a short while until her newlywed parents arrive – and the canine world order is happily restored!

2.) Coordinator or designated person

Published on Honeyfund Blog, 6/26/16

“How I Do it All” – by Alison Howard

Alison Howard is a fellow wedding planner (and a wildly successful one!), speaker, coach and mentor and fills a lot of other roles on top of that – among other things, she’s a wife and mother, too. I admire her to no end! How on Earth can she do it all? She lifted her secret on her blog, the Alison Howard Blog, on May 13 of this year. And she was generous enough to let me re-print it.

HOW I DO IT ALL…

First of all, I don’t.

Maybe it’s because you see that I’m a wife, a mom of three, a wedding planner and a business coach, I make videos here and there, I speak at conferences, I cook, I clean my own house, I work out fairly regularly and I occasionally do my hair and make-up that leads you to wonder “How does she do it all?” (Which just so happens to be one of the questions I am asked the most.) But the truth that I hope most of you know deep down in your gut is that no one does it all.

I do all those things listed above, but not all at once and not all the time or nothing would be done well. For example, as I write this, I am in sweats, unshowered, and a general mess.  No amount of money would draw me out into public in my current state.  But that’s because I chose to spend an hour cleaning my kitchen this morning (which I didn’t have time to clean on Monday – seeeeee…..!!!) instead of getting ready.  Also, writing this post doesn’t require that I get ready, so I didn’t.  And that’s pretty much what it boils down to.  Priorities and choices.  Cleaning my kitchen and writing to you trumped vanity today. Tomorrow I am coaching two new wedding planners, so vanity will trump and I will choose to get ready and be presentable for those meetings (you’re welcome Amber and Diana!).

I’ve gotten used to this balancing act in my own life but for those who are new to juggling so much responsibility, here are a few tips that I discovered and clung to when I realized that I had two choices: sink or swim.  I hope they help you to keep your head above water as you wear more hats than you thought possible, with a measure of elegance and grace.

Get Up Before The Sun

I absolutely know how difficult this is and how not fun it is to wake up early, but this is a total game changer if you can will yourself to do it – I promise!  Most mornings I get up early, around 5am, while everyone else is asleep (except my husband, he gets up early too).  Depending on my schedule that day I workout for 30 minutes then read my Bible and pray (and have coffee!) for 30 minutes – my hour of power is what I call that!  This helps me get into the right mindset as I prepare for the day.  Working out early in the day leaves me with so much energy and just makes me feel positive as I go through the morning routine with the kids.  Do I do this every day or perfectly?  No.  Some mornings it is more beneficial for me to get an extra hour of sleep.  On the weekends I don’t get out of bed before 7am unless I have to.  But most mornings the early bird thing is my jam and my productivity is so much higher those days.

Ask For Help

I ask for help when I need it.  I started my business when my daughter was two years old and I have had two more children in the past 8 years.  I juggled and did my best on my own, which is what I think most of us do because when you start a business you’re usually broke as a joke from investing into said business.  At least this was the case for me, but I made it work.  Emails were answered during naptimes; meetings happened in the evenings when hubby was home, weddings on weekends.  For vendor meetings or speaking engagements I’d get a sitter, but I just made it all work because I had to.  I was in hustle mode.  Honestly, it’s really kind of a blur.  ; )  Once things got so busy I didn’t think I could do it on my own I hired a nanny for a period of time because I desperately needed the help.  There is zero shame in asking for help.  Zero.  Whether it’s hiring a nanny for a season, a cleaning lady a few times a month or bartering something you do well (like cooking) with something someone else can do (like carpool). Get creative and make it happen.

Know Your Limits & Just Say NO

My personal rule: no emails or calls after 5pm.  This is my family time and that time is so precious to my soul.  I need it.  It trumps any email or phone call.  However, life happens and there have been times when I’d have a big project that required extra time and so, yes, I would work after 8pm when the kids were in bed, but it be wouldn’t answering emails.  If you send emails at 10pm that sends the message that you are available for your clients during that time and that is a boundary that I just had to have in place. I never booked more weddings than I thought I could handle (which was 15, 20 max, but my sweetest spot was 10 weddings).  I never overcommitted or felt that I had to attend every networking meeting or luncheon that I was invited to.  I have said ‘no’ to several opportunities because they didn’t fit in with my life even though they seemed cool.  Embrace the fear of missing out professionally so you don’t miss out on your life personally.

Calendar EVERYTHING

Your blog schedule, video schedule, deadlines, kids appointments, date nights, your own appointments (personal and professional), workouts, errands, and even time for rest…get it all on the calendar.  I always schedule a few hours a week just to read, get a massage, grab lunch with a friend, paint (painting with watercolors is a fun new thing I’m learning); this gives you some margin to exhale and enjoy something that isn’t work-related.  I have two separate calendars; one for work and one for family.  They both hang on my wall in my office so that I can glance over and see everything that is going on.  It’s also all on my calendar on my phone, but I like being able to see it without opening my phone because we all know how easily we can get sucked down the rabbit hole that is the phone.  If it’s not on my calendar, it doesn’t exist for me.  Once upon a time I could get away with not being a slave to my calendar but that is not the season I’m in anymore and even though I don’t particularly like it, I know I’m lost without it.

Domesticated Duties Day

Monday’s are my day “off” to get my house in order for the week.  I am the person in our family who does all of the cooking and most of the cleaning.  Let me be really honest and express that this part of ‘doing it all’ was the hardest for me to embrace mostly because of my ego. That’s right, I said it. I used to struggle with thinking that I was too good to be cleaning the house…I mean, I could be spending my time doing more important things.  Other times I’d think that it was unfair that my husband gets to work 8 hours uninterrupted while I cart the kids around, work, cook, clean, AND have to be pretty while I do it all!  This is where I had to check myself and adjust my perspective.  I am so dang BLESSED to be able to work from home and do all the things I do.  And as you already know, I don’t even get ready most days, so there goes the whole pretty thing. : )

Let’s talk cooking first: If cooking for your family is something you do (or want to do), meal planning is essential.  I meal plan for the week every Sunday evening and grocery shop every Monday morning.  I cook a lot in the beginning of the week so I don’t have to cook Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.  As for cleaning: I don’t like cleaning house any more than you do BUT I do love a clean home.  Few things feel better than everything being clean, in its place, smelling all good…it’s like jumping into a Pottery Barn mag and it just makes me feel happy. Monday’s I deep clean the bathrooms and kitchen after I grocery shop.  Laundry is done daily and the kids have been taught to do their own (praise the Lord). Vacuuming, dusting, mopping, changing bed linens is done Saturday mornings.  The kids have been taught to clean their own rooms (yes, we do have to help occasionally and re-teach this as they are just so dang forgetful ; ).  We pick up things left out daily so that clutter doesn’t consume us.  I really stress teamwork in our home and the kids are (mostly) on-board.  I have this part down to a system that works really well for us.  Again, if you are not domesticated or don’t have time to be, outsource!  There is zero shame in this.  Because I work from home and make my own schedule I am able to do it with a (mostly) joyful heart.  If you want to know more about meal planning or keeping house just ask in the comments and I’ll share in another blog post.

Be Kind To Yourself

You have to have grace for yourself.  I’m sure you have all heard the popular adage “progress, not perfection”, but it’s totally true.  Some weeks I’m insanely motivated and do all this really well.  Other weeks I’m just off and half of this doesn’t get done.  That’s life.  Balancing marriage, parenthood, and being an entrepreneur is hard and no one expects you to move mountains.  So deep breath and do your best and when you can’t, give yourself permission to stop, recharge, and ask for help.  Ultimately, know that you aren’t in those beautiful trenches alone (and that this season won’t last forever). : )

 

Shine on,

Alison