A wedding and your first home. Can you have it all?

Date: 21 March 2018

Image source: She Said Yes
Ah life milestones. If you’re on the traditional journey - a wedding and buying your first home are two of the big ones. It’s surprising how many people face these two major life events within a short space of time. So how do they do it? How on earth do they save for both a house and a wedding at the same time? 
According to Megan Hutchison of She Said Yes, the figure most mentioned for NZ’s ‘average’ wedding cost is $35,000. But she’s also written an article about why that figure is so misleading, and states that the median wedding cost in NZ is likely to be a lower $20,000. 
What does $20,000 get you in terms of a first step on the property ladder? According to CoreLogic NZ Head of Research, Nick Goodall:  “As a 20% deposit, it won’t get you much. But First Home Buyers can add KiwiSaver and depending on criteria, people could qualify for Kiwisaver grant too”. So it’s a good start…if you live in an affordable areas of NZ that is. Auckland? Not so much.  “A first home buyer in Auckland in the ‘couples with two incomes and no kids yet’ category? You’re looking at $800,000+ housing spend” $20K is that scenario is more like a stubbed toe as opposed to a big step. 
Hutchison does note however that the wedding budget varies hugely according to location, guest list size, catering and style.  “Don’t lose sight of what the day is really about.  Try not to get swept up in all the things you could spend money on, but rather focus on what’s really personal and important to you. Your future self (and honeymoon budget) will thank you for it”.
And just like house purchases, wedding funding is increasingly becoming a family affair. Traditionally it always was squarely in the hands of the bride’s family, but it became the couple’s responsibility in more modern times. Rising housing costs and lifestyle pressures have seen it rebound again. Mum and Dad are back in the wedding financing game. 
“Many parents still choose to financially support their children’s weddings. My advice is to sit down and have a conversation with each of yours as early as possible. This is also the key time to discuss with them what and how they will be helping. Make sure you both understand how much they can give you, whether it’s a loan, advance on inheritance, or a gift, and what they expect in return (e.g. inviting their friends as guests, religious or cultural elements, control over details such as invitations, etc)”. 
Poor parentals. They’re in the First Home Buyers game too! Ask any First Home Buyer and they’ll report of lining up at Open Homes with queues of others - many with their parents attending as the ‘enablers’. It’s so common place that major banks have mortgage products in place for this exact scenario and legal advice for parents helping their ‘children’  into home ownership has reached mainstream news. 
Don’t have the luxury of parental funding for your wedding and home?  The great news is that you’ll be starting your married home-owner lives together as super-budgeteers, skilled at facing reality and still making your projects happen. 
And it’s not all doom and gloom. Hutchison has some excellent advice on how to achieve the wedding you want but in the budget you have, and with regards to first home buying, this video is hot off the press and definitely worth checking out to understand the financial market forces at play right now. The supporting article explains how to avoid some first home-buyer traps to avoid too. This is a great resource to face your own personal home financing facts and lastly - here’s a great explanation of reports available once you’ve found “the one” (the house, not the spouse: if only they came with reports too. Joking. Sort of). 

Tags: Property, CoreLogic, Auckland, Wellington, Housing, Real Estate, Property Market, Buying