If you’re tying the knot this year, it’s worth thinking about how your wedding could take you a step closer to buying your first home.
Another toaster. Just what you need. These days, four out of five couples live together before tying the knot, and that typically means they’re well-stocked for appliances, crockery, cutlery and manchester – the usual go-to gifts for guests attending a wedding.
On the flipside, plenty of couples getting hitched are saving hard to buy a first home, so it’s no surprise almost one in two marrying couples skip the bridal registry and request a gift of cash on their wedding day.
Cash – not homewares, is what many newlyweds need
The idea of asking for cash may be appealing and practical. However, it’s not always easy asking your guests to give money, especially traditional types who aren’t accustomed to gifting money over matter. While an electric frypan may provide years of faithful service, chances are it’ll be long gone by the time you celebrate your 10th wedding anniversary. The value of cash used to buy a first home could have lasting value as you build equity in your home and gradually climb the property ladder. Just make sure you tell guests exactly what you plan to use their cash for. Explaining that it will help you buy your first home (rather than pay off wedding debts) may put some minds at ease.
Saying “I do” to cash
There are a few ways to tactfully ask for cash instead of gifts. It can help to alert guests on your wedding invitations, and there is no shortage of wedding poems and limericks available online that bring gentle humour to the request.
At your reception, consider leaving envelopes for guests to donate their cash, and have a card box at a central point where they can be deposited. Personalised card boxes can be purchased from around $40.
Some couples prefer to hire a wishing well at a cost of around $70. Or use a virtual wishing well, with an online registry that allows guests to make a gift of cash direct to your bank account. It’s a service that can cost from $45.
Take a leaf from other cultures
Giving money at weddings is traditional in many cultures, and following their lead can bring the fun factor to guests making monetary gifts.
Traditional Polish weddings involve a money dance where guests pay to take a turn dancing with each of the lucky couple. The Chinese tradition of hongbao sees guests fill bright red envelopes with cash. And in traditional Greek weddings, notes are pinned to the bride’s gown.
Whichever option you take, be sure to let your guests know that you plan to invest their cash in your new home. It will make it all the more special when they come to visit your new place.
Add your wedding cash to your first home deposit
It’s impossible to pinpoint exactly how much cash you could raise from your wedding. What is certain is that when you’re saving for a first home, the money will come in far handier than a second set of silverware.
Be aware though, lenders typically want to see evidence of genuine savings for a home deposit usually built up over three to six months. So once the wedding is over, make a point of depositing the cash straight into your first home savings account and continue adding to it. It’s also a great way to avoid the temptation of dipping into the money.
Save on your wedding. Spend on your first home
When you’re saving for a first home, it can also help to look at ways to trim the cost of your wedding especially if you’re funding the day yourselves.
Aussie couples spend an average of $36,200 on their wedding which is a health home deposit, but there are plenty of ways to trim the tab, and budget-friendly doesn’t have to mean cheap.
Have an out of season or mid-week wedding; hold your reception at a friend’s home rather than at a formal venue; or organise basics like invitations and decorations yourself. Every dollar saved takes you a step closer to owning a place of your own.
Even if you’re just starting out saving for your first home, it’s worth talking to your Aussie Broker at an early stage. It can give you both a better understanding of what’s involved, and having a home loan expert on your side also makes the loan application process a lot easier when you find a property you both love.
You may also be interested in How to budget and achieve savings goals for the year ahead, How to stick to resolutions to grow savings and Being home loan ready.
This article was originally published in 2012 and has been updated.