When I became engaged to my now husband it was an exciting time. We decided to have our wedding back in Africa. Planning our wedding was the first major project we worked on together and here are a few things we learnt that have stuck to this day.
- It is Important to know your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to finances
As a bride to be, there were so many things I had to think about terms of what was needed for the wedding. We needed to book vendors and buy several items for the wedding. This process showed me that one of my strengths is paying meticulous attention to the finest detail. I remember there was a day we went to one of our vendors and I requested the terms and conditions of our contact. I took time to read them and actually didn’t agree with one of the terms as it would have put us in a major disadvantage had something bad happened and I asked them to change it. My husband laughed at the situation because if he had gone by himself he would have probably signed the contract without reading it. This process also exposed a weakness I had. In focusing on the finer detail, I forgot to pay attention to the bigger picture and this was my husband’s strength. Whenever I would start talking about all the little trinkets we needed he would pull be back down to earth and remind me that we were going to have a life after the wedding.
To this day my husband and I joke about how he is the Director of Strategy and I the Director of Operations. His strength is being able to look at the bigger picture and see where we are going as a family and my strength is breaking down the bigger goals into smaller tasks which are achievable. This has helped us greatly in our financial walk because we both understand our strengths and weakness, we are able to fully utilise our strengths whilst mitigating our weakness. This can also be achieved by having an accountability partner or finance coach.
- When it comes to your personal finances everyone has an opinion but not every opinion is good for you
Most of the people around me were excited and happy that we were planning a wedding. I believe 99% of the conversations I had during that time were about weddings, the types of weddings people had, advise I was being given and mistakes people had made. I received a lot of advice during that time, but I could not implement everything. My husband and I had to decide what we wanted, what we could afford and what we wanted to achieve. The advice that lined up with our goals was used, all the rest was not implemented.
We still use this process with our finances. There is a lot of information available but not all information is relevant for us. It is important that both of us are on the same page when it comes to setting goals and implementing them.
- How to set goals and implement them
When you plan a wedding there are certain timeframes that you need to be aware of in advance. For example, in the UK, dresses generally take 9 months to be ordered and you need another month or two for alterations. Fruit cakes take up to six months to make. Planning for the deadlines before the wedding helped us be able to breakdown and implement goals within the set timeframes. This was then transferred to our life goals. We both learnt that it is important to communicate the goals, deadlines and how they are to be achieved.
- Seek advice from people you trust
Having advisors/mentors during the process helped us immensely. These were people who had gone through a similar process and had witnessed many other weddings. They were able to offer us first hand advice on certain aspects of the day which we would not have found on google. We continue to apply this principle in our life as we seek advice from specialists before embarking on a new journey. We realised during the wedding planning process, the importance of having advisors or mentors for certain areas because we may have limited information or overlooked something.
These are some of the lessons my husband and I learnt which helped bring our finances and life together.