From Anxiety to Action: Planning Your Dream Day Together

A bride-to-be sits at her laptop with her head in her hands, anxious about her wedding finances.
In planning your wedding, are you consumed by financial anxiety? Combat the stress as a team!

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

At first glance, planning a wedding appears straightforward. Simple. Then, as seemingly endless details emerge, your dream day can easily get lost in the overwhelming waves of wedding finance anxiety. You started out right: two people in love, committed to supporting each other through every high and low.

You may have thought that beyond heartfelt vows, all that’s required is a celebrant, a gathering of loved ones, a venue for the ceremony, and some music.

Oh, and the rings. Those are kind of important. As the list grows, so do the expenses. Pretty soon your head feels like a balloon threatening to burst.

Is this how it’s supposed to be?

Be a Team: Choose “We” Over “Me”

According to Greg Smalley, vice president of marriage and family formation at Focus on the Family, adopting a teammate mentality is essential before you start. This principle traces back to the Garden of Eden.

We know from the creation account in Genesis that everything God made “was very good” (Genesis 1:31). However, Genesis 2:18 tells us, “Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.’”

So, God formed the first woman, and He blessed them. He also gave them some instructions, saying, “’Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth’” (Genesis 1:28). These verses reveal teamwork has always been part of God’s design for husbands and wives.

Unity Reduces Anxiety Surrounding Your Wedding Finances

Think of a group project. If the team doesn’t understand the assignment, or if someone fails to pitch in, confusion and frustration soon follow. By contrast, when everyone is on the same page — the group is communicating, each person understands their role, and all are committed to a common goal — that group will produce exceptional work.

Granted, this is an idealized illustration, but the underlying principles still apply. Now, please don’t use this as an excuse to nag your future spouse about being a more dedicated teammate. Instead, begin to counteract wedding finance anxiety by resolving in your heart and mind to sort through the details together. Until you and your fiancé(e) make that shift, you won’t get far.

Discuss Your Individual Perspectives on Money

Did you know everyone perceives money differently? In Ready to Wed by Dr. Greg and Erin Smalley, Scott and Bethany Palmer note, “Each of us has a unique, God-given perspective on money, innate from the start—akin to our eye color or height.”

They further describe how individual viewpoints on finances shape one’s financial anxieties and needs. The challenge arises when couples, are unaware of their differing views–and encounter conflicts unknowingly.

According to the Palmers, the solution to this problem is to recognize your money perspective and understand your future spouse’s. If you don’t know your money perspective, don’t sweat it. You can find out by heading over to and taking the Palmers’ Money Personality Assessment. Have your fiancé(e) do the same. Once you finish, share your results. In doing so, you’ll better understand one another’s expectations and concerns and reduce some of that wedding finance anxiety.

Make Sure to Plan Within Your Means

For some, the issue is not a matter of having a teammate mentality or reconciling differences in opinion. Rather, anxiety stems from budgeting your wedding finances. Over the months (or years) you might have constructed a master wedding board on Pinterest, yet no matter how you stretch your funds, you can’t bring that board to life.

Or maybe social media is the source of your grief.

You see picture after picture of friends’ weddings that look like something out of a movie. Comparison and envy creep in unawares. In the back of your mind, you wonder what kind of deals are available for taking out a loan. After all, doesn’t everyone do it?

Loans May Only Add to Your Wedding Finance Anxiety

While a loan may seem like a quick and easy solution, take caution before jumping on the borrowing bandwagon.

Consider the fact that you have no way of knowing what the future holds. We don’t plan on losing our jobs, but it happens.

Then there are unforeseen expenses to consider. Someone rear-ends you on the way home from work. You dislocate your shoulder trying to flip on a light switch (you may laugh, but I know someone who did it).

By taking out a loan, you are making an assumption about the future. According to Ron Blue, author of Complete Guide to Faith-Based Family Finances, this challenges the wisdom of God (James 4:13-15).

Another consideration: Debt will strain your marriage from the start. It might feel gratifying in the moment. With a little help from the bank, you throw the wedding of your dreams.

Then the monthly payments roll in. You stay on top of it at first… until some of those unexpected expenses crop up, causing you to miss a payment or two. Before you know it, your finances are spread thin. One day you mutter something about why you needed all those bells and whistles at your wedding. Mutterings turn to arguments, and just like that — you’re spinning out.

So, do your future, and your spouse, a favor and say “no” to debt. Not because it’s easy, but because you want to give your marriage the best possible chance. If you rack up debt in your wedding finances, it will create more financial anxiety later on.

Prioritize Your Financial Choices

Understandably, a commonly googled question about wedding planning is:

“How to financially afford a wedding?”

The truth is, you need to prioritize.

When you think about your wedding day, what matters most? For those of you with large families and/or extensive friend groups, it might be the people. Others of you have always dreamt of a destination wedding, and now that you’re engaged you long to make that dream a reality. You may find it helpful to write out your priorities in order of significance.

Now compare notes with your fiancé(e). Based on what the two of you came up with, begin to narrow down what is most important.

Let’s say your heart is drawn to that destination wedding, but you know many of your friends and family members will not be able to attend. In that case, choosing to celebrate with the people you love, rather than get married at a cool location might actually be more memorable.

On the other hand, a smaller wedding, and the special venue could be an option.

If this stirs up some tension, remember that you’re a team, committed to “we” over “me.” Consider Paul’s words to the believers in Philippi: “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:4). Don’t let your anxiety sabotage the unity you and your fiancé(e) have in your wedding finances.

Need More Help? Seek Financial Counsel

What if you are already applying these principles, and your future spouse is struggling?

If you are doing pre-marital counseling, bring it up in your next session. Together with your fiancé(e), explain your difficulties and ask your counselor for advice. In addition, check out our resources for family and personal finances. Focus on the Family is here to provide you with some book recommendations or connect you with a counselor.

Don’t Let the Funds Steal the Fun

Between inflation and keeping track of all the details, planning a wedding is no easy feat. Even so, you don’t have to let wedding finance anxiety suck all the fun out of this special season. Choose “we” over “me.” Listen to one another’s perspectives and concerns. Above all, remember what’s most important. Your wedding day is just the beginning of a new chapter God is writing in your life.

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