How to Tell Your Fiancé To Reign It In If They Go Way Over Budget

The guys from the Plunge give an inside look into what men are actually thinking while wedding planning

Updated 07/01/18

Tanya DeSelm

Ever found yourself wondering what thoughts are running through your groom's mind during the wedding planning process? Even if you haven't, the women at Brides certainly have (wait, does he actually care about dahlias vs. peonies?! Unclear.). Thankfully, we've got the guys over at The Plunge to give us some insight into the (often cryptic) inner workings of the soon-to-be-married male brain.

When our better halves at BRIDES asked The Plunge to pen a story entitled, “How to Tell Your Fiancé To Reign It In If They Go Way Over Budget,” we were given one, very specific note: “Without being a dick about it.” Hmmmmmm. OK, so Plan A is already off the drawing board. And Plan B, well damn, it’s just too close to Plan A. But c’mon, we’re all presumably adults here.

So before we get into this, we need to assess who is paying for this wedding. Is a family member shouldering a majority of the bill? Or are the two of you paying it all from your own (probably) not-so-deep pockets? If it’s the former, then well, this is really more their problem for the moment. So we’re going to kick it to them to deal with. Now, if it’s the latter, then saddle up partner, because you’ve got to corral this one immediately.

Listen, money makes people feel funny, as in awkward, but not that awkward kind of funny like John Mulaney. Revealing pay stubs and saving accounts (or lack thereof) can be a difficult conversation to have with your accountant, let alone with your would-be spouse. Money can be the kindling for an endless number of blazing arguments. This wedding is going to be one of the biggest spends of your lives, right up there with the house, college for the kids, and your AI second family (presumably coming soon in the near future). So, yeah, it most certainly qualifies as a sensitive topic.

Money, specifically your money, is a finite resource especially if solely obtained via legal means. You make some. Your fiance makes some. Someone might make more and someone might make less. If you’re planning a wedding together, ostensibly you’ve opened the books to each other. You know what you’ve got and you know what you can spend (hopefully without diving deeper into debt or ruining your credit). Chances are, you’re going to spend more than you’ve allotted. It’s a wedding, there are many hidden and unforeseen costs. But those costs, well, you tend to stumble into them together.

When you create that wedding budget, add in a dollar amount for potential overage costs. Think of this as the gas tank light on the dashboard. It should leave you just enough to get home (don’t even think of fueling up at the bank again, just go home, walk to the wedding if need be). Treat that money like a bonus. If you work on hitting that budget then that extra cash can go right into the honeymoon, a house fund, or a new dog. If you need to use it, then use it wisely. Or split it between the both of you to use at your own discretions for anything wedding-related. You both get one ridiculous spend!

Now, if you’ve kept all of this in mind and tried to enact some semblance of a budget, and someone is still going into the red with every purchase, then it’s time for a serious talk (yeah, one of those). This could be an indicator of money management problems to come during the marriage not to mention some other untoward issues.

There is a lot of emotion tied into these purchases because it is, after all, a very special occasion. There might be reasons given such as, “But it’s our wedding, it’s only this time!” or the dreaded “Don’t you care?” That’s not fair and that’s certainly not how adults are meant to handle these things. Try to take the emotion out of the money. The conversation is this: When you agree upon something together, you need to stick to it. It builds trust and reliability—you know, those two things that support every healthy relationship.

Consciously going over budget and then guilting your partner are textbook dick moves whether it's part of your anatomy or not. Admittedly, just as big of a dick move occurs when one of you isn’t as involved in the planning and only raises your voice when it comes to the bill. Or when someone insists, “I don’t care how much this Pabst Blue Ribbon 1844 imported from China costs, we’re getting it!” (It costs $44 per bottle, FYI!)

If you’re working together on this, you’ve got the power to approach and properly deal with all of those reasonable, unexpected costs and even some of the unreasonable ones too. Like, what if the Spice Girls (with Posh of course) get back together, and suddenly they’re available for the reception? Decisions, decisions. Zig-a-zig-ah.

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