You’ve seen it on TV, read it in the news and maybe even heard it from your mother: money is one of the top things married couples fight about. Finances can be a source of strife for engaged couples as well, especially as wedding day bills loom and they face the prospect of merging their money after marriage.

“Study after study has shown that disagreements over how to manage money can cause significant stress in a marriage,” says Maxine Sweet, vice president of education for Experian. “With all the other stresses associated with planning a wedding, engaged couples would be wise to act preemptively to minimize conflict over money.”

So how can you ensure money woes won’t cast a shadow over the biggest day of your life – and your wedded bliss afterward? Consider the following tips:

First, establish a budget for your wedding. While planning your wedding is a time for joy and giddy excitement, budgeting is a necessary down-to-earth reality. “Plan without a budget and you may find yourself without enough money for flowers or music a week before the ceremony,” Sweet cautions. “Or worse, you could overspend and start your married life together with unpaid – and unpayable – wedding bills.” Unpaid bills could damage your credit standing, so consider checking your credit report to help you understand your finances at

To create a budget, evaluate all possible sources of funding for your wedding. In the old days, the bride’s family bore the brunt of wedding day expenses. Many couples now foot the entire bill for their weddings. Luckier ones may draw some financial support from either or both sets of parents. A rare few will have the entire wedding paid for through parental support. Find out up front what, if anything, your parents and your fiancé’s parents can afford to contribute, and how much you will need to put into the budget.

Second, research what you can get for your money. Decide what you can and cannot live without. Are you willing to buy a bargain dress (or use your mother’s heirloom gown) in order to spend more on food? Can you make do with a disc jockey, rather than a band, in order to have extra money to put towards the honeymoon? Is having a chocolate fountain really critical to the wonderful memories you’ll have of your reception?

If your dreams simply outstrip your budget, you may consider financing part of the cost of your wedding. “Couples considering this route would do well to be sure there is total transparency over each other’s pre-marriage finances,” Sweet says.

That means total truthfulness over what each partner earns, spends and owes. If one person already has $30,000 in credit card debt, the couple may rethink their plans to finance another $20,000 for their wedding. Or, if both have excellent credit and little debt, financing can help them fund the wedding of their dreams and establish their credit together as a couple.

“Just as couples exchange rings, they should think about sharing their credit reports,” Sweet says.

Finally, remember to check your credit reports. It is easy to do. Web sites like allow you to get your credit report and credit score. Couples can learn things about their credit scores and total debt that may affect not only their wedding plans, but their life together after marriage.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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