Posts

engaged couple holding a sign that says I said yes!

I’m engaged! Now what?

Being newly engaged is such an exciting time and an important part of the wedding milestone. But it’s important to put down all the wedding magazines and hold booking venues, to take some time to enjoy the engagement bliss and focus on your wedding budget with your partner first.


Congratulations! Now it’s time to freak out

Your turn has come where you’re finally engaged to be married and the first few moments are blissful and celebratory. Before you know it, the champagne flutes are empty and your Pinterest board has more pins than a sewing kit. It doesn’t take you long for the stress to kick in and you start asking yourself, ‘How am I ever going to afford my dream wedding?’

Hit pause

In the first month after you get engaged, it’s very important to take time to let these special moments soak in and avoid making big decisions. Instead, talk to your partner and discuss one-on-one what you both want your wedding to look like. This can be a challenge, especially as you may be tempted to make decisions right away and people are asking you every day if you’ve started planning. To avoid these inevitable questions have a planned response such as, “We haven’t started planning much, but we’re thinking a small wedding sometime next summer.” This will usually end the conversation without being rude or opening yourself up to outside opinions – trust me, you’ll get them.

Start the budget

Warning: you’ll want to sit down for this.

Now that you’ve taken time to soak up the first part of the engagement and have those crucial conversations with your partner on what you want your wedding day to look like, it’s time to get started with wedding planning. Before deciding on a venue, guests, or what your flowers will look like, you’ll first need to tackle setting a budget for your special day. It can be a lot and I recommend taking it one step at a time as to avoid feeling overwhelmed – start with these 3 steps:

  1. Decide on a wedding budget – This can sometimes start with conversations on who else would be contributing to your wedding and what dollar amount they are putting in. From there you will know how much will be coming out of your own pocket. Make sure your budget includes everything from rings, gifts, to finally the honeymoon. It’s also important to leave a 5% – 10% contingency in case you go over.
  2. List your priorities – Decide what’s most important to you as a couple. Is it food? Then spend more on food. Maybe it’s music – be willing to spend more on entertainment. If it’s just simply having everyone there, the more people usually come with a bigger price tag so you’ll need to compromise on other items, like no dinner and instead do a canapé hour.
  3. Get a budgeting tool – I like using Wedding Wire Budget Planner because it tracks all my categories for spending, tallies the costs against my total decided budget and sends reminders for payments. The biggest mistake you can make is not tracking your spending and costs get out of control pushing you off budget.

Now that your budget and priorities are decided the fun stuff can begin! Start doing your research on venues and vendors and try to stay calm when you see price quotes come back – that’s why you made a budget at the start. The fact is, weddings are expensive and the average cost of a Canadian wedding in 2018 was $27,000, but this doesn’t mean that’s what your wedding needs to cost. Don’t get hung up on what other people are doing and instead focus on what is right for you as a couple and what fits within your budget.

Are you married or getting married? I’d love to know what your wedding budget was/is as well as any challenges you had when it came to your budget and costs related to your wedding. As well, do you have any wedding cost saving tips? Comment below to share and be sure to check back soon for future wedding advice and tip blogs.

table with several wrapped wedding gifts

Unique wedding gift ideas

Trying to find the best wedding gift can sometimes be stressful. It shouldn’t be about how much you spend but instead the thought you put into the gift. Here are a few unique wedding gift ideas, perfect for showing your love for the newlyweds, that won’t break the bank.


Wedding season is here! As the invites start coming in, we often start to see dollar signs rather than wedding bells. When we think of a wedding gift, our automatic go-to is cash but then start to question what is too much, or what is too little?

Instead of stressing out on how much cash to give, consider giving a wedding gift unique to the couple – one that truly shows how much you care about them and doesn’t break the bank! Below are a few unique wedding gift ideas to get you started.

Basket gift ideas

  • First wine basket – Wine lovers? Put a package together to help celebrate “A Year of Couple Firsts”. Include a bottle of wine or champagne for every occasion and create printable tags. Ideas for “firsts” can be: First Home, First Baby (non-alcoholic bubbly), First Fight, First Trip, First Christmas, First Anniversary, etc.
  • Dessert basket – Create the perfect ending to date night with a dessert basket, which also provides the new couple with some household staple items. Use a large mixing bowl as the basket and include items such as brownie mix, spatulas, measuring spoons and cups, his & her aprons and a cute pair of oven mitts. If your budget allows, consider adding a bottle of dessert wine or port
  • Romantic night basket – Give the gift of a ‘spa-day-in’ by creating a spa basket. Purchase two inexpensive robes and take to a local seamstress to get monogrammed with the bride and groom initials. Package together and include foaming bath soap, bath salts and a brush and some lotions and oils for a romantic tub night for the newlyweds.

On a budget

  • Group gift – Will a large group of friends be attending the wedding? Consider doing a group gift and all chip in for a bigger ticket item on the registry. A big gift will make a high impact and depending on the number of people you can rally together you might be able to bring the budget down.
  • Cleaning service – Alleviate some wedding stress by gifting a cleaning service for a practical gift that the new couple will love. Often you can find a deal on Groupon for maid services.
  • Tickets – Music or lovers of the arts? Or perhaps sports fans? Find some less expensive tickets on Stubhub and gift them the perfect date night!
  • Meal service – Take the stress out of having to cook during the week with a taste of meal delivery service. Hello Fresh offers gift cards for 3 meals for 2 people under $80! This provides a basic necessity while giving the couple something fun to do together.

Forever memories

  • Framed night sky – Capture the night sky of their wedding night in a framed picture frame. Take your own picture or use a site such as The Night Sky who will create a custom star map for you. All you need to then worry about is finding the perfect frame.
  • Capture the honeymoon – Is the couple going on a destination honeymoon? Help the couple capture their first few days on their honeymoon by giving a gift card for a vacation photographer, such as Flytographer.
  • Mini-getaway – Give a gift of adventure with a gift card to Airbnb. The couple can choose a destination and put the money towards a night stay in a destination of their choosing for a mini vacation after they’re married.

Remember, weddings are about celebrating the commitment of two people. You shouldn’t stress about gift giving. As the saying goes, it’s not the gift but the thought that counts. Giving a thoughtful gift that the couple will enjoy is sometimes better than spending a lot of money. Just like we invest our money we should also invest in relationships as that is what’s really important!

#MONEYTALKs to have before marriage

Money is an important conversation to have in any relationship. Our Conexus experts share their advice on important #MONEYTALKs to have with your partner.


Wedding season is upon us and love is in the air. Have you had the #MONEYTALK with your significant other yet? Money can cause stress in a relationship and having discussions about money with your partner can help ensure you’re on the same page, and not become a bigger issue down the road.

So what type of #MONEYTALKs should you have with your partner? We asked our Conexus experts to give us their best marriage financial advice – here’s what they had to say:

“These conversations can be complex and sometimes uncomfortable to have. Everyone’s situation is unique. I would advise having many smaller conversations around priorities, resources and goals to find common ground.” ~Jason A.

 

“What are your goals and dreams and what does success look like for you? For some people, it’s all about saving, while for others, they want to focus on enjoying life. Making sure you’re on the same page about saving vs. spending is absolutely key.” ~Nicole H.

 

“It’s important to agree on a process for discussing finances and building that as a regular part of the relationship. Over time, life happens, goals change, etc. and having money chats as a regular discussion in your relationship is a great way to ensure that money doesn’t become something that pulls you apart over time, but rather, something that can help bind the family together.” ~Eric D.

 

“Have a discussion around personal feelings related to debt (i.e. what the couple is willing to go into debt for vs. what they’re not.) If one person is okay with debt and the other is not, it can cause strain. Communication and ensuring you find someone that shares your financial values helps to support a strong relationship.” ~Kim M.

 

“Discussions about money seem to be awkward for many. Early on, establish a mutual agreement to keep no secrets. Be upfront and honest with each other about your individual financial health and set goals together. And let’s not forget that this usually means compromise by all parties!” ~ Susan S.

 

“Include your financial experts early on in the conversation to help alleviate fears and concerns and help come up with the right plan and approach for you and your partner!” ~Kyle D.

 

“Have a good degree of financial knowledge. When both people have a good understanding of the topic, the conversations will be stronger and one person won’t be making all of the decisions while the other merely accepts what is happening.” ~ Marcie A.

 

“Share the responsibility of paying bills, budgeting, savings, etc., if you decide to have only joint accounts. It’s important that each partner have this knowledge and share the responsibility so that if something were to happen to the other person, they’d be able to continue these financial tasks.”~Kyla F.

 

“Understand how your ‘love language’ relates to finances. If one person’s language is gifts and the other prefers quality time, this could play into budgeting and lifestyle goals. Be sure to have conversations around as many aspects of finances as possible to ensure you understand each other’s feelings towards money and are on the same page.”~Lisa C.

Money is one of the biggest causes of issues, arguments and stress in a relationship. It may not always be easy to talk about, but starting early and discussing frequently can reduce stress and make these difficult conversations easier to have. It can also help prevent bigger issues from happening further down the road.

Do you have advice for other financial #MONEYTALKs couples should have before getting married? Comment below!