February is the month of love. Or so commercial advertising tells us.

It’s the month when we celebrate Valentine’s Day. A day to recognize that special person in your life.

It’s also a time when couples become engaged. Valentine’s Day is one of the popular holidays when that life-changing question is popped.

Initially, there’s lots of excitement. And there should be as you venture on a new journey together. But then reality starts kicking in when you begin planning your wedding.

How much money should you spend on your wedding?

Some people will go to great lengths to have the wedding of their dreams. It’s based on the expectations they’ve developed over the years.

Some families are expected to have big weddings – due to their family history and status. For these families, they have the financial resources to be extravagant.

Others who dream of the fairytale wedding need to make hard decisions on how much they spend on their wedding. They struggle with do I spend $50,000 on a one-day event or do I scale it back and spend less money.

If you’re planning on getting married, talk about money upfront. It’ll minimize drama later on in the relationship.

Think of financial decisions as choices with a domino effect. One decision will impact other decisions.

For example, if you spend less on your wedding day, then the remaining money could be used for a new home to enjoy for many years.

Or it could be applied to reduce educational loans or other debt brought into the relationship.

Also, if you marry later in life and plan to have a family, you may need money for infertility treatments or adoption.

If you’re making a wishlist of wedding gifts, ask for a comprehensive financial plan. It’ll cover more than investments if done right.

A financial plan will help a couple discuss in advance their short-term, mid-term, and long-term goals. By identifying the lifestyle they want, they can better decide if they splurge on a one-time event (the wedding) or if they scale back to afford many more of life’s experiences.

Life continues beyond the wedding day. It’s easy to become focused on that one day trying to make everything perfect. Unfortunately, life isn’t perfect, and no amount of money will make it perfect. There are too many unknowns and things out of your control. But the one thing you can control is how much you spend. Take the pressure off of yourself and ditch having a perfect wedding day to having a financially stress-free life.

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Niv Persaud, CFP®, CDFA™, CRPC®, is the Founder of Transition Planning & Guidance, LLC. Life is more than money. It’s about living the lifestyle you want and can afford. For that reason, Niv consults with clients on money, life, and work. Her approach capitalizes on techniques she learned throughout her career, including as a management consultant, executive recruiter, and financial advisor. Her services include spending plan, financial plan, divorce financial review, life strategy, and professional progression. Niv actively gives back to her community through her volunteer efforts. She believes in living life to the fullest by cherishing friendships, enjoying the beauty of nature and laughing often — even at herself. Her favorite quote is by Erma Bombeck, “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say ‘I used everything you gave me’.”