There is something about getting married that is both wonderful and exhilarating at the same time. Your wedding will be a day that you will remember for the rest of your life. Although it will technically be your day with the “future husband,” you have to admit that all eyes will be on the bride.
Although it is easy to get lost in all the details of your upcoming nuptials, you need to take a step back to compose your emotions. There are a couple of decisions that you need to make – especially when it comes to your finances. People who are emotionally high should not make important financial decisions because it will often be clouded and irrational. This is why people who are stressed or too happy are not advised to go shopping. Chances are, you will not think things through when you are deciding on various wedding expenses.
How to get married in Hong Kong
Getting married in Hong Kong will require you to go through certain processes and file legal documents. According to the government website, Gov.hk, you have to register your marriage as soon as you get engaged. A notice of the intended marriage should be filed in a marriage registry before the actual nuptial date. This can be done through the civil celebrant of marriages.
The government also allows the ceremony to be done anywhere in Hong Kong. You do not have to confine yourself to a public place of worship – even if it is licensed. You can celebrate it with a civil celebrant – as long as you file your registration and the ceremony will be done in a recognized wedding venue. The government website contains links to important data that you need to familiarize yourself with to get married in Hong Kong.
When it comes to the costs, you need to prepare around HK$300,000. According to the article published on South China Morning Post, this is the average cost to get married in this region. This data came from the e-commerce site ESDlife. The most costly expense is the reception – which can eat up more than half of a couple’s budget. The rings and jewelry to be used will come in second – with an average of HK$50,898. Honeymoon comes in next at HK$38,353 and the photography is fourth on the list at HK$23,400. While registering your marriage will also cost you, it will not be too much – only less than HK$3,000.
While the cost is daunting, you should remember that it is up to you when it comes to the amount that you will spend to get married. Remember, this is your marriage. It is wise to keep the cost low so you do not have to get into debt just to get married.
Are you financially ready for marriage?
Once you have taken care of the legalities of getting married, it is time for you to work on something else – your finances. Here are a couple of questions that you need to ponder on before the big day.
Are you ready to share your finances?
When you get married, it can be assumed that you have to share everything with your soon-to-be spouse. The question is, are you ready to divulge everything? Some people think that whatever their spouse has will automatically be theirs. That is not entirely true. Once you are married, anything that will be acquired by either of you will be considered joint property. However, those that you accumulated prior to your marriage is another matter. If you have an inheritance or accumulated assets while you were single, you do not have to share it with your spouse. Of course, if you feel like sharing it, that is up to you. But remember, you have the option not to so you can keep it as your own.
You can choose to draft a Prenuptial or antenuptial agreement. According to the HKReform.gov, these agreements can help spouses regulate their finances while they are in the relationship and especially after. As ugly as it may sound, divorce is a reality for some couples in Hong Kong. You have to be practical and logical when it comes to your money. You should not let your emotions get in the way of this agreement if it will really protect you from what could be a very ugly financial battle during a separation or divorce proceeding.
Are you willing to share debt?
Another question that you need to ask yourself is whether you are willing to share debt – both yours and your spouse. When your fiance acquires debt or if you maximize your credit cards, that can affect both of your financial positions. You have to know how you will take on debt that you accumulated while you were single.
Will you pay it off together or will you pay off each other’s debt separately? If you had been wise with your financial decisions and you refrained from debt while you were single, it might seem unfair to suddenly make sacrifices to help your husband pay off theirs. And if the situation was reversed, how do you think your husband would feel? Although you love each other, that may not extend towards the financial mistakes of the past. Make sure this is clear between the two of you to avoid unnecessary expectations. Of course, the best scenario is real to support each other and make sacrifices to help the other be free from debt. But if that would make you feel resentment, then you also have to be honest with your soon-to-be spouse.
Do you have savings?
Getting married will cost you. Having said that, you need to know where you will get the finances to pay for your wedding. As soon as you and your fiance decided to get married, this should have been the topic of your next discussion. If you will use your savings, how much of it will you use? If your savings will not be enough, how will you pay for your wedding? Getting a personal loan is one option – as long as you can get a loan with a low-interest rate. Using your credit card may be acceptable – but make sure you will maximize the rewards program of your card. If not, then refrain from using it because the high-interest rate might be too much to handle.
How will you divide the expenses?
Finally, you have to think about how you will divide the expenses when you get married. No couple earns the same amount and spends the same amount in the marriage. Will you handle your finances separately? Or will it be managed jointly? You have to choose a financial management scheme that suits your personalities as a couple. You have to be fair and make sure you lay down the rules when it comes to spending and making financial decisions. Who will pay the bills and make decisions about your finances? Ideally, both of you should be in agreement – but if not, make sure you try to be considerate of each other’s opinions and financial management methods.
As much as possible, you and your fiance should answer these questions together. This is a great way to talk about the financial past, present, and future. That way, you will not enter the marriage with a confused financial position.
She is a Singapore Management University 2nd year undergraduate specialising in Strategic Management. From Tampa, Florida, she possesses an International Baccalaureate diploma from C. Leon King High School, and previously held the position of Treasurer of the King High School Division of the French National Honour Society and the Science National Honour Society. Abigail is currently acting as President of the French Cultural Club for SMU International Connections, and as a Resident Advisor and Fire Warden for the SMU Residences at Prinsep.
Abigail is a Former Florida Science Olympiad Champion in chemical forensics and protein modelling, and former Health Occupation Student’s Association District Champion in clinical nursing.
In her free time, Abigail enjoys interacting and caring for animals. She has previously volunteered for the Humane Society of Tampa Bay as an Adoption Assistant.
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