Last month, I attended a family wedding in Stirling, Scotland. It was Covid-compliant with masks and hand sanitiser but the people in the room were real, albeit social distanced.  I attended two weddings last year, through the mediums of Facebook Live and Zoom, so being in a room with 39 other humans was rather exhilarating.

There's lots to think about in the lead up to the big day – venue, menu choices, colour themes, flowers – but it should not be forgotten that above all, the purpose of marriage is to enter into a legally binding contract. It's important to snap a picture of the happy couple signing the marriage register, but one should never lose sight of what promise is being made when the words 'I do' are said.

The majority of us sign up to contracts regularly – a new mobile phone, a rental agreement, TV subscription, a re-mortgage. They all have T&Cs and lay out what happens if the consumer/provider relationship breaks down. Such contracts aren't too dissimilar to a Pre-Nuptial Agreement. In Scotland, such an Agreement looks to ring fence certain assets from becoming matrimonial property and subject to sharing if the marriage or civil partnership breaks down.

Many people view Pre-Nuptial Agreements in a negative light. No one wants to ruin the pre-wedding bliss by mentioning a pre-nup to their spouse or civil partner-to-be at the cake tasting. But what if Pre-Nups were not only useful, but romantic too? It might not be an easy conversation but be open and flag the points raised below.

1. Plan for your future: we all know the mantra 'failing to prepare is preparing to fail'. Pre-Nups aren't only useful in the case of divorce. The Agreement is a plan and it provides a structure for how you and your spouse or civil partner will take care of one another, financially, during the marriage. The terms of a Pre-Nup don't just cover 'what's mine' and 'what's yours', it can provide for life or health insurance, access to bank accounts and financial arrangements for supporting children. These are topics which really matter and act as a reminder that you are planning a future together.

2. A Pre-Nup offers protection: security, certainty and protection. Three good nouns. Who doesn't want that? Entering into a Pre-Nup when your relationship is strong and solid is much better than trying to make decisions after a separation when the want to punish or lash out at one another may be strong.

3. Talk openly and honestly about finances: money is most often the cause of arguments between couples – even more so than who does the dishes each night or who snores the loudest. Money is personal and the thought of tying you (and your bank account) to someone else, for life, can be daunting. If you have assets that were acquired before marriage or partnership, have built up a business or anticipate an inheritance, you should consider a Pre-Nup.

    Pre-Nups are no longer exclusive to the couples inhabiting the pages of "Hello" or the "Forbes Rich List". At least add it to the wedding planning to-do list and give it some thought. If you've already said your vows, it's not too late – a Post-Nuptial Agreement can be entered into during the marriage.


    Kate Bradbury