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If you are recently engaged, or just contemplating popping the question, first thing’s first. Congratulations!

As you and your fiancé head toward your very special day, there are the exciting things to plan and prepare for. The dress, the rings, the cake! And then there are the preparations that make planning a pain. Specifically, the budget.

Planning a wedding is statistically one of the top 3 most stressful things couples face, and having clear communication about the budget is the best way to start down the aisle on the right foot!

Dundee Bank wants to make sure you have every tool available to make your day as happy and stress-free as possible, so we’ve compiled some ideas to make the situation a little smoother!

1. Communication is Key

Find some time to sit down together and have a very honest talk about finances. Knowing how you will pay for every aspect of your wedding can take a lot of anxiety out of the planning process, and keep you from starting your life together with misunderstandings about debt. Set a realistic budget, and stick to it. If anyone has offered to help pay for the wedding, be especially considerate of the amount they have offered. If they are offering to pay for flowers, but the amount they’re offering doesn’t cover the lily of the valley you have your eye on, be sure you’ve included the difference in your budget. Don’t expect (or even ask) for them to increase their contribution.

2. Look for Fine Print

When you’re looking at the true cost of your wedding, hidden fees can sneak up, pop up, and add up quickly! From cake cutting upcharges to bottle corking fees, be sure that you understand the true and total cost of every aspect, from the venue to the napkins! Consider the quality of each service, and determine if you can DIY the service, or have it performed by a friend.

3. Register for Services, Not Spatulas

When you look at your talented group of friends, family, bridesmaids, and guests, do any of them have a talent or trade you could “register” for? Instead of asking them to buy gifts, use their gifts. From manicures to meal prep, flower arrangements to music arrangements, see if your friends will trade out their talents for some item from your registry. Remember that if your friend is running a business, they may not be willing to work for free, but floating the option to your friends rather than asking them directly to forego a fee is a tactful way to give them the chance, and an easy out if the answer is no!

4. After “I Do”

No matter what your plans are post-wedding, they need to be included in a conversation before you say I Do. Whether your plans include a honeymoon, furthering your education, buying a house, or starting a family, your budget will need to reflect those dreams! From personal loans to home mortgage, college savings accounts to retirement funds, Dundee Bank is here to help walk you through every step of your happily ever after.