Parenting is a wonderful journey filled with hopes, dreams, and aspirations for our little ones. As parents, we strive to give our children the world. We want to give them the best education, opportunities, and health. We want to instil them with good values and make sure their future is financially stable. And then, there’s that one monumental event that stands out in every parent’s mind – the wedding. It’s not just a big milestone in the life of our child, but it’s a momentous occasion for us as well.
In our country, weddings are more than just a union of two souls – they are big social statements that reflect our family values and traditions. They are week-long celebrations, with different traditions and festivities each day. Now, here’s the catch – the price tag that comes with these extravagant affairs can be pretty hefty, and it’s only going to grow in the future. Of course, you wouldn’t want to spare any expenses and make your child’s wedding as grand as you can but because of the finances they demand, the anticipation of a wedding can be stress-inducing, and if not planned well, it can lead to financial anxiety and debt. But fear not! With some solid child wedding planning, you can pave the way for that dream wedding without breaking the bank.
In this blog, let us take a look at some steps in financial planning for a child’s wedding that you can take to make sure that your child’s big day is not only a joyous celebration of love but also a financially stress-free experience for you.
How to Plan Your Child’s Marriage? – Step-By-Step Guide
Step 1: Setting the Foundation
The first step of starting any planning is understanding and assessing the current situation – How many children you have, their ages, their preferences, their education, and how far away the wedding is. Another important aspect to consider is your retirement. Will you be around the retirement age when the wedding is? In such cases, retirement planning should also take the wedding into account. In North India weddings are typically more expensive than South so your location has to be considered as well.
Ideally, you would want to prioritise planning for your child’s education. These days many kids don’t want to burden their parents with the wedding financially, so communicate their plans and desires openly and honestly.
Step 2: Establishing a Budget for Marriage
Setting a realistic budget for your child’s wedding is important. The danger that many people face while doing so is the pressure from society. You may have gone to an affluent relative’s or neighbor’s wedding and been impressed with the extravagant celebrations. Such lavish events have a way of embedding themselves in the mind and may cause one to get carried away with their plans.
Understand that everyone has a unique financial situation, so you don’t have to bow to any pressures. Estimate the amount of money you would be comfortable spending on the wedding. Do so by rationally estimating the amount you would be comfortable spending today, then considering the time horizon and inflation you can get to a future amount.
Now create a budget that details all your essential and non-essential expenses. Your goal is to minimise the non-essential expenses and do so in such a way that it does not significantly hurt your way of living. The cuts you end up making from the non-essential expenses category can be channelled into savings. Each month, prioritise your savings and invest that money. Idle money loses purchasing power so it’s wise to do proper investment planning. You can explore options such as mutual funds and fixed deposits, that best align with your time horizon and risk tolerance so you can efficiently save money.
Step 3: Creating a Timeline
Time plays an important role in any plan. Establishing a realistic timeline is important so you don’t run into any trouble as the big day approaches. The sooner you start planning and investing, the better it is because you are allowing your money more time to grow. Take advantage of the power of compounding. When investing, keep the inflation rate in mind. If you invest in very low-risk assets or just keep money in your savings account its purchasing power will erode over time. Based on your time horizon, build a portfolio that aligns with your risk tolerance.
For example, if the wedding is more than 15 years away, you might want to have a portfolio that is dominated by equity assets such as stocks. Equity assets are riskier by nature but they provide higher returns than debt assets. Even if market conditions change you will have time to bounce back. If you don’t have the luxury of time, you might want to invest in debt instruments and play it safe. As time passes, you can rebalance your portfolio and shift from equity to debt. Either way, it’s important to have a diversified portfolio so you can protect yourself from market fluctuations.
Step 4: Explore Wedding Traditions
There is no shortage of pre-wedding traditions in India. From Mehndi to Sangeet, it’s important to plan for the traditions relevant to your culture. When it comes to gifts, the usual clothing and jewellery choices, though common, can add up quickly. Take pre-wedding photoshoots for example. They are a relatively new trend that is gaining popularity. Another example is drone photography. Such new trends add to the existing expenses of the wedding. You never know what technology will have in store for you in 15 to 20 years, but the only certain thing is that the new trends will be expensive. So, careful planning for both traditions and gifts is key to ensuring a meaningful and budget-friendly pre-wedding experience.
Step 5: Vendor Selection and Coordination
Another aspect of planning for child marriage is selecting vendors and ensuring clear coordination. We’ve already seen how new traditions can add to the expenses, but your budget also has to take into account expenses of other aspects of weddings like vendors. These include people such as photographers, caterers, and decorators. We can’t say how expensive weddings will be in the future, but the general rule is that wedding expenses increase three times every ten years, so invest accordingly.
An aspect that often gets overlooked is insurance. Unexpected events such as a big medical bill or a job loss can hurt your progress. Insurance is your shield that can protect you from the impact of such unforeseen expenses. Life insurance makes sure that your child’s wedding plans can proceed even in the face of unfortunate circumstances.
Step 6: Managing Stress and Expectations
Planning for your child’s wedding can be a stressful thing. Managing the financial anxiety and expectations that come with it is very important. One thing that can help you with stress management is being realistic. Wedding planning isn’t the only financial goal you’re working towards. You are simultaneously working on your other financial goals such as retirement planning, investment planning, and child education planning.
Be realistic with your goals and your budget, be rational when estimating wedding expenses, and avoid taking debt. It’s easy to fall into debt when planning for your child’s wedding, and while you won’t want to spare any expenses, it’s important to stay within your means. Don’t drain your retirement savings, and don’t get carried away by emotions or pressure. You can also consider consulting with a financial planner for wedding planner, who can help you manage expectations and reduce your stress.
Step 7: Get Financial Help
If the financial aspect feels overwhelming, you should consider consulting with a certified financial planner. A financial planner can help you estimate the wedding savings accurately, and assist you in outlining a realistic budget. Based on your timeline he or she can help you with your investment planning and recommend options that align with your risk appetite. A financial planner can also help you effectively manage your finances so you won’t have any shortage of resources as the wedding approaches, and can even recommend the best insurance policies for you. With a personalised financial plan, the wedding expenses will be well within your means and you will relish the joy of the occasion without any financial stress.
As you can see, planning for your child’s wedding requires a meticulous financial strategy. Each step – from understanding your current situation to establishing a realistic budget and creating a timeline, is pivotal. Managing stress and expectations is also important, but insurance, being realistic about goals, and avoiding debts help maintain financial stability.
Stick to your budget, and avoid using your retirement or other funds for child wedding planning. Seeking help from a financial advisor ensures that you don’t compromise your other financial goals and allows for expert guidance in estimating savings, outlining realistic budgets, and managing investments aligned with your timeline and risk tolerance.