Written by Kirsty Burrows
James and I have been together almost 8 years now. We met well over 10 years ago but it wasn’t until after a Valentines Special Country Night in the Banville Hotel, Banbridge when sparks appeared in Dominos. While waiting on a pizza, James asked me to go out for a kebab with him on Valentines Day later that week.
You just don’t get stories like that anymore with the invention of dating apps like Tinder.
Fast forward 8 years and James asked the big question after sending me on a wild goose chase around the country collecting clues to reveal his destination. I finally tracked him down in Newcastle where he was patiently waiting at the Slieve Donard Hotel. If you’re reading this James, I look forward to going back every year to celebrate our anniversary…thanks in advance!
After being together for so long I was taken by surprise, and we now both seem very unorganised for our future. James, a dinosaur who was yet to set up online banking, and myself, who still lives at home and has a parcel arriving every other day.
Step 1 – A Joint Bank Account
We opened a joint bank account (Yes – James actually has online banking now) and we have worked out a savings plan for our wedding and future home. Unfortunately, the delivery van doesn’t visit as often now.
If you are in this position, bank accounts I would suggest looking into are the “challenger” banks like Monzo or Starling for being easy to open. Whatever you do, shop around and see who’s offering the best bang for your buck!
Step 2 – What Type of Wedding Do We Want?
Since the proposal we (I) jumped into wedding planning, but have slowly crawled back out. There was a lot to take in…
Luckily, I have many friends who have recently got married to keep me in line.
“Venue (and date), photographer, Band….and the rest will fall into place…” or so I’m told.
Step 3 – Budgeting
Budgeting for this is fairly difficult, especially when you have no idea of the going rate of vendors, not to mention all the hidden costs. If you mention something is for a wedding, the price seems to double.
Again, I recommend recently married friends to give you the realistic costings as well as online wedding budgeting spreadsheets and wedding fairs.
And don’t speak to Dale or John about how much it is going to cost because that’s just depressing…
My top tips so far:
- Don’t rush into anything
- Enjoy the juicy hugs
- Don’t do a half marathon and then go straight to a wedding fair after!
- Never turn down an offer for a kebab….you just never know what it will lead to?
Fun Financial Fact:
I’m aware very few of you will be planning for a wedding, but you might have children, grandchildren or other relatives in the position. One of the tax advantages is that you can make special wedding gifts each year tax free.
You can give up to:
- £5,000 to your child
- £2,500 to your grandchild or great grandchild
- £1000 to any other person
This is a great opportunity to make a small dent in your potential Inheritance Tax bill whilst donating to a loved one’s future. Remember, these can be made on top of your annual gift allowances.
In theory, a Mum and Dad can give their Son or Daughter the usual £3,000 gift allowance each, the carried forward unused gift allowance from last year, plus the wedding gifts. So that totals £11,000 from Mum and £11,000 from Dad, which is £22,000 moved out of your Estate.
So far, that’s all I’ve got but I’ve another year or two of going through the process. If anyone has any top tips – please, I’m all ears.