All too often couples get delightfully engaged and set out on a plan to a life of bliss. Who in their right mind would ever want to deter them from their plan or give them guidance contrary to what their goals are and the time they are trying to accomplish these goals as a young couple. Surely not me, and I believe you feel the same way.
I know you have heard this a million times, "timing is everything." Boy is this so very true. Just as the man begins to save money in anticipation of buying a ring and ultimately contemplates over the right time to pop the question to his girlfriend, so it goes when a couple picks the date they are to wed. To take it even further, what can a newly married couple afford to live on post wedding?
I believe a good "measuring stick" depends on who you are expecting to help after you say I DO. If you and your to-be-spouse only have enough money for a wedding and honeymoon and not enough for your first place to live, then you might want to consider either trimming your wedding costs considerably or extending your wedding date until you can afford your first place to live. When I say first place to live, I do not necessarily means some huge plush home with all the bells and whistles (unless you can afford it.) What I do mean is a place you can call "our" home. Sometimes that may mean a very small apartment, loft, etc. Of course, it may seem like a step down from your parent's home or the apartment you may have shared with your roommates, but this step down would only be for a season until you and your new spouse can get your footing in your new journey of becoming "one flesh."
Now I know a lot of people's opinions may differ greatly from what I am about to say, but I do not believe a couple on the road to marriage should officially get married until they have enough money to have a place of their own that does not include them living at one of their parent's houses for example. I understand this would work in an ideal situation minus all sorts of variables, but it is something that is definitely attainable. Again, where applicable, in planning to get married, a couple should put the most financial emphasis on finding and securing a place to live once married.
I think we all have crossed paths with some couples who are paying tons and tons of money for the wedding and honeymoon only to return home with no place to call home. Instead, the excuse tends to be, "we are saving money until we can get our own place." To me this should be the before thought and not the afterthought. Most parents will oblige their children as they welcome their new son-in-law or daughter-in-law to live in the same bedroom that their very own son or daughter has slept in for over 20 years.
Couples need to realize that absolutely no one wants to take away the joy of them planning their wedding or their future bliss. However, couples need to understand that if you love this person you want to marry, it is perfectly okay to not rush down the aisle only to end up flat broke after all the wedding and honeymoon expenses are paid. Remember after the wedding, you are now financially responsible for your spouse's needs. Besides, you do not want to start your first few months having arguments over money.
Often times when couples decide to stay with one of their parents after they get married so they can save money, the family stress level increases tremendously. Couples tend to want ultimate privacy living in their parent's home. Many times parents are thinking about the mortgage, and the newly married couple is thinking about wanting the parents to respect their space as husband and wife. This can be a recipe for disaster. It is very common to find the new wife getting agitated with her new mother-in-law, and the new husband feeling like his new father-in-law looks down on him because he cannot afford a place to live. Why put yourself through all of this voluntary stress, because you want to get married as soon as possible when in fact the thought should be as soon as practical.
A new budding marriage will be tested by the enemy anyways at various seasons, so do not give the enemy ammunition. If you love one another, your love should be the motivator to make the necessary financial changes so that you and your new spouse can wrap up your honeymoon and come home to your own place however small it may be. Just think of all the fun you can have together as a newly married couple in our own place, and all the memories you will create that you will one day be able to share with your children. The Bible says we are to always count the cost (Luke 14:28). So use wisdom, be smart, grow in your love, and take the stress out of getting married by doing it as soon as it is practical!