This 5-day challenge helps engaged partners unify their vision and values for a healthy, lifelong financial partnership — starting with the wedding budget!
Happy engagement! If you’re already thinking of attending upcoming wedding expos like The Bridal Extravaganza in downtown Houston, looking at ideas for dresses on Pinterest, and googling things like “how much does a wedding cake cost?” — you’re in the right place.
So, before you jump into planning feet-first or start sampling cake, this challenge is the ultimate step-by-step to help you take a deep breath and limit the stress of wedding budget discussions for you, your partner, and your family.
5-Day Pre-Marital Money Challenge
- Values Clarification Activity — clarifying your personal values and the values shared with your partner
- Financial Well-Being Quiz — Learning about the psychology of money and reflect on your personal financial wellness
- Wedding Budget Activity — Crunching your wedding budget numbers and discussing wants vs. needs between partners
- Wedding Vision & Priorities — Incorporating your values in your wedding planning and budget must-haves
- Financial Partnership Pledge — Discussing your financial wellness quiz results, defining and committing to a joint financial goal post-wedding
#1 — Clarifying your values
What are values? Put simply, these are the things you care about most in life.
These are different for each person and relationship. Common examples include environmental conservation, philanthropy, spirituality, volunteering, spending time in nature, scientific discovery, experiencing new cultures, and spending time with pets.
Not sure where to start? Curious what others picked as their values?
Join the Pre-Marital Money Challenge in our free community!
Research shows that spending time and money in alignment with your core personal values increases “life satisfaction” (happiness). Reflecting on what you value most is a great place to kick off our challenge because it sets you up for a focus on prioritizing what makes you and your partner feel fulfilled.
#2 — Your financial well-being
For day 2, let’s get your thoughts on your finances organized using this free quiz by the CFPB.
These questions can be more difficult to quantify than the dollar amount in your 401K or monthly student loan payment amount. But, attitudes, habits, and histories with money have a monumental influence on how we react to financial stressors and supports. Because this tool is geared toward quantifying sentiment more than dollars and cents, it helps with reaching a deeper layer of the iceberg that’s sometimes hard to see.
We’ll come back to these quiz results on day 5!
#3 — Setting your wedding budget
Day three and it’s time to start looking at numbers. Remember, you’ve got clarity on your financial well-being and values. You’re ready to think about how much to spend, on what, and how it will make you feel after the big day.
There are a ton of worksheets, excel templates, and more that can help you estimate what items might cost by region. Take a look at the real weddings other Budget Savvy Brides have shared.
Habits that can strengthen your relationship when discussing money:
- Listening, validating feeling
- Asking open-ended question
- Judgment-free attitude
- Stress mgmt/coping activities — for example, taking breaks
#4 — Your wedding vision and priorities
Without priorities, budgets can quickly stretch into a maze of overspending. Being intentional about spending can dramatically reduce in-the-moment stress related to decision-making.
Do you want to splurge on photography? Food? Your attire? There’s no right or wrong answer, but barring an unlimited budget, you’ll probably have to pick what to spend versus safe on in the wedding.
The really cool thing about this activity is that you’re literally talking about your dreams and one of the most special days of your life. That’s a perfect precursor to the activities on day 5!
#5 — Pledging your (financial) partnership to one another
Remember the quiz from day 2?It covered topics you may already be comfortable discussing with your partner. Or maybe you’re new talking about money together. Either way, the important thing to remember is that your core values, concerns, hopes, dreams, and unified financial goals are all tied to ongoing teamwork based on trust and healthy relationship habits.
Following the wedding, the real work of marriage begins. It’s helpful to know that how we react to our partners’ financial stressors can sustain, strengthen, or weaken our relationships. Financial stress is harmful to relationship functioning and satisfaction due to greater negative interactions (arguing, stonewalling) and less positive interactions (affection, support). Emotion plays a big role in our financial behaviors as money is symbolic of how we feel or want to feel; self-image; security; trust; and, of course, fear.
In other words, managing financial stress and achieving joint financial goals takes an ongoing commitment. The good news is that our relationships pack a turbo-charged punch of help. Relationships are a potent tonic for soothing stress.
We want to help you set solid foundations for your marriage during this time, to set yourselves up for financial and marital success! Be sure to join us for a Five Day Pre-Marital Money Challenge to get yourselves on track!