“Congratulations!” I greeted Megan and Michael. “Your Dad told me you were engaged.” I said, addressing myself to Megan.

“That’s why we’re here.” She responded. “Dad said he and Mum would be happy to write us a cheque towards the wedding, but we had to come and see you first. He was very clear that they were writing ONE cheque, not three, so we’d better have a plan for how we were going to manage it. He says they are prepared to be reasonable, but we have to be responsible.”

I was not surprised to hear this. Dave and Judy, Megan’s parents, were long-standing clients of mine, and this was typical of their unpretentious, matter-of-fact approach to financial management.

“Tell me what you’re thinking about this wedding, you two,” I invited. I’d known petite, sunny-natured Megan since she was a small child, but this was the first time I’d met Michael, her fiancé.

“Well, I want to get through it without breaking the bank.” Michael said. “It’s very generous of Megan’s parents to offer to help out, but I’d really like to do as much of this as we can on our own. My parents have modest means. They may be able to chip in a bit here and there, but I’m one of four kids. They contributed towards all of our educations, and frankly, I think that’s enough. As far as I’m concerned, a wedding is one day. I don’t want this to get out of hand, like I’ve seen with some of our friends. One couple we know was opening the gift envelopes at the end of the evening, trying to put enough together to pay the caterer! What a nightmare. I certainly don’t want that.”

“For my part, it’s all about including people,” Megan said. “I know I’m supposed to be all concerned about how I look, and all, and to some degree I am. I’d like a simple, elegant wedding, but the main thing to me is that everyone is comfortable and has a good time.”

“Great, “ I said. “You’ve done an excellent job of summarizing the theme of your wedding. Simple, elegant, inclusive, and cost effective. We’ll need to ensure that we balance all of those elements in setting the parameters. It’s very important to get that established at the get go, especially before everyone and his aunt gets involved. In my experience, how you manage your wedding is indicative of how you’re going to manage many of the other big events in your lives, like purchasing a house, raising children, and dealing with the unexpected.”

I pointed them toward some websites to help them think through all the potential expenses involved in planning a wedding. Although they were living together, until now they had kept their finances separate, so they each agreed to complete the Financial Balance worksheets. To give them greater insight on themselves, their respective values and how they tended to think and behave, they also each agreed to complete the first two assessments of the Positive Core, Emergenetics, and VIA. We made an appointment for two weeks hence.

Next week: Megan and Michael’s results leave them questioning their engagement.

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