Congratulations! You’ve just finished paying for a wedding, which means you just spent the equivalent of a home down payment or a year of college on a single day. (Unless, of course, you followed this site’s sustainable wedding planning series.)
Now that the wedding’s all taken care of, your major expenses are over, right?
Not exactly. If you’re about to tie the knot, you better prepare now, or risk breaking your budget and causing uncomfortable financial arguments in your marriage’s first year.
Here are seven hidden costs of getting married:
1. The Name Change
Not every woman changes her name after marriage. But many still do, and many couples of all genders decide to hyphenate or combine their current last name.
Whether you’re becoming Mrs. Jones or both of you are becoming Mr. and Mrs. Wright-Jones, name changes are expensive. In addition to the cost of legally changing your name at the courthouse, you also need to change your drivers’ license, your passport, purchase new checks, etc.
2. Two Christmases
Really, this also counts for Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, or any other major holiday. You and your spouse are now obligated to visit twice the number of relatives at every holiday, which means you have to buy two sets of round-trip air tickets, pay for checked bags four separate times, buy twice as many Cinnabons, etc.
If you or your spouse’s parents are divorced, or if you have grandparents in yet a third location, the number of relatives you have to visit each year grows exponentially. There’s a reason why so much of Americans’ vacation dollars go towards what are termed “oblications.”
3. New Furniture
Yes, you probably got plenty of blenders and cocktail mixers at your wedding. You know what you didn’t get? A good bed, to replace the one you’ve been using in college. Or a matching dresser set. Or new curtains, or a dining room table, or all the other little things you’re going to need to furnish your new house.
(If you and your spouse plan to save money now by simply moving into one of your two apartments, or if you’ve already been cohabiting in a small apartment, congratulations: you’ve put off this expense for approximately three years. But it will come. Trust me.)
4. Life Insurance
Now that you’re happily married, it’s time to think about what will happen when death does you part. That is to say: it’s time for you to get some insurance to protect your spouse, as well as your future children, in the event of your death. Even if you and your spouse both have high-paying jobs, it’s still important to buy life insurance. If nothing else, life insurance can help cover the cost of a funeral, which, sad to say, often costs as much as a wedding.
5. House cleaning services
You and your spouse are probably both employed, but you still want to keep the house as clean as you would if one of you was a full-time home maker. Or maybe you just want to stop arguing about whose turn it is to clean hair clogs out of the sink. Eventually, someone is going to suggest outsourcing it, and you’ll both agree it’s some of the best money you’ve ever spent.
After the first nine or 10 months of marriage, your honeymoon is going to seem so far away. Expect to spend more on vacations now that you’re a couple, instead of being happy to stay at home for a few days and catch up on Netflix. (Those are called “weekends” now.)
7. Couple Things
It’s hard to explain exactly what happens after you get married. Suddenly, all the other married people want to be your friends. Then, they’re inviting you to do couple things, like dinner at a nice restaurant, or apple picking, or an evening at the symphony.
The trouble is that none of these couple events — not even the apple picking — are free. And you can’t really say no, because you want to be social and build friendships with other couples. So be prepared for these additional expenses.
Is there anything we left out? What unexpected expenses surprised you, after you got married?