While it's nearly impossible to set a standard savings amount across different lifestyles and living situations, experts say a good measure is income—by marrying age, you should have saved the equivalent of your annual salary. For example, if your annual income at that age is $50,000, you should have $50,000 in savings.
With most Americans marrying in their late 20s—at 27 for women and 29 for men—this leaves a decade or less in the professional workforce to build up savings in the tens of thousands. It's even more concerning given the fact that Americans are saving less these days. In 2015, the national savings rate was about 6% of disposable income, while the third quarter of 2017 saw the same figure at just 3.8%, a major decrease in just two years.
These pre-wedding savings don't have to be in a single account, though: investments, retirement and cash should be tallied up for that figure. Once you've saved this money, you and your fiancé should talk about how you plan to spend it—preferably before you tie the knot. Couples are more likely to foot the bill these days, and the average cost of a wedding is between $26,000 and $28,000. Depending on you and your spouse's income and other expenses, you could drain a great deal of savings before you even get to your honeymoon.
If you prioritize buying a house or continuing education over a lavish wedding, it's best to let your fiancé know that before any wedding planning is underway. And since you plan to spend your lives together, get a head start on co-managing finances by sharing the details of your financial situation: the good, the bad, and the debt. Squabbling over finances is a top reason for divorce, but can be avoided by bringing your partner up to speed about student loans, credit issues and income. These aren't fun conversations—especially in the midst of wedding planning—but you'll thank yourself later.