There are so many wonderful and overwhelming things to get caught up in when planning your dream wedding. The dress, the venue, the flowers, the bling. OK, now it's time to wake up to reality. All this stuff costs money-- and lots of it.
According the latest survey from The Knot, the average wedding now costs $28,427 and that does not include the honeymoon you'll need to decompress after the vows and party.
With your wedding, you are making an investment in your new life and you must protect yourself. You have to protect the event and make sure you are entering your union in the best possible way for you and your new spouse. Before you get carried away with all the pretty stuff, Charley Moore, lawyer and founder of Rocket Lawyer*, has important tips to make sure you're protected...to ensure your picture perfect day is the start of your picture perfect life (well, at least perfect for you.)
1. Get signed contracts with all of your wedding vendors. Whenever you make an agreement with a vendor, you need to put it in writing. If your caterer doesn’t show up on the wedding day, and you have it in writing, your guests may still go hungry, but you will have grounds to at least take the vendor to small claims court.
2. Get liability insurance for your wedding. Often wedding event spaces require you to release them from liability at your event. If something happens, like someone slips on the dance floor, you need to have liability insurance to cover it. Often you can add it to your homeowner’s policy.
3. Get a Prenuptial Agreement. It’s not just used to protect you in case of divorce. A Prenuptial Agreement allows both spouses to disclose their financial situation before the marriage – so both parties know what they’re getting into, and can create a plan for managing finances together in the marriage.
4. Decide on married names. The easiest way to get a legal name change is to do so on the marriage license, but the hard part is deciding what the name will be. Figure out if you want to share the same last name, keep your current names, or hyphenate. Then be prepared to notify everyone you do business with about your new name in addition to getting all of your identification cards and documents replaced.
5. Create or update your estate plan. Once you’re married, you’ll need to include your new spouse in your Will, Living Will, Living Trust, Power of Attorney, or any other family legal documents.
None of this is supposed to dampen the romance and beauty of your big day. Just the opposite! It is all meant to make sure that everything goes off without a hitch, so that when you ARE hitched, you can start your married life in bliss.
*Rocket Lawyer is an online legal service that has helped more than 20 million consumers with everything from weddings to family estate planning.