When Vivian Tu hops on a call from Miami in late March, she’s just recently launched her podcast, Networth and Chill. You might know her from her as “Your Rich BFF” or “Your Favorite Wall Street Girly” from all her Instagram reels and TikToks saturated with useful financial information (not to mention funny stories and bits). Tu used to be a a trader for JP Morgan, but transitioned into the media space and now offers financial advice as digestible, downright fun content. And alongside content creation and the podcast, she is working on a book and planning a wedding.
To get it all done, Tu maps out a schedule by time blocking, which is putting to-do list items into time blocks on a calendar. “Instead of ‘Hey, you need to go to UPS to drop off this thing,’ I'll block out 45 minutes to actually do it,” she tells Modern Luxury. And that way I have nothing better to be doing during that time except for the tasks I need to complete.”
Tu also dove into spring with a partnership with Citi on its Double Cash Card. She admits to getting a lot of brand opportunities, but only takes on the ones that she really feels she can stand behind.
“I feel like Citi is a brand that can truly be applicable to every single consumer's life,” she explains. “And I love the Citi Double Cash card because I don't need to track categories or spending all while earning cashback. And I think that's really smart for young people as they begin their financial journeys [who] are looking to make smart decisions.”
Between Tu’s top-notch financial expertise and personal experience currently planning a wedding, she is the ultimate source for nuptial planning. Read on for her insider tips on weddings.
“Wedding planning I would say is so similar to budgeting,” Tu says. “You need to sit down and decide what matters to you.” For Tu, she and her fiancé came up with three non-negotiables to kick off planning: really good food, really good entertainment and being married in Italy. With other elements out of focus, they cut flower costs and are foregoing bride and groom parties.
Despite being a highly organized person, Tu says she was surprised by the sheer number of things that need to be coordinated. But that doesn’t mean you need to sweat the small stuff. Just be ready to tackle the details. “Oftentimes, the cost of hiring a full planner or even a partial planner, who may just help you with the event on the day of, might be worth your money and your time,” she notes.
In addition to the brilliant tips she's already posted about for cutting flower and cake costs, Tu also suggests considering the wedding date. If these aren’t part of your non-negotiables, it could be a good idea to schedule your wedding outside of the summer season. “I think a lot of brides, myself included, are very afraid of rain,” she says. “And I know it's supposed to be good luck, but I think having rain on your wedding day can be a little bit of a bummer. That said, if you are willing to risk it on a shoulder season, you're going to be able to save very literally thousands, if not tens of thousands, of dollars on the venue.”
And especially if you get married during rainy months, Tu recommends asking the venue to have a marquee tent on standby (as part of your contract with them) to put up if it ends up raining. “Trying to lump as many of those extraneous additional costs into the venue cost itself is going to be really helpful in cutting down all those, what I like to call, contingency costs, in case something happens that you can't control that morning,” she says.
One glorious innovation of 21st-century shopping is being able to rent high-quality fashion, and that doesn’t stop with wedding dresses. For your one-night-only dress, one path to take is to rent a gown. “There are so many services out there where you can literally just rent a wedding dress and they have every size and style under the sun,” Tu says. “And obviously renting is going to be a lot more affordable than buying.” If you prefer to keep your dress though, Tu recommends keeping a diligent eye out for sample sales.
She adds, “I think a wedding dress is less focused on of the moment, of the season and more [of] what do you like? How are you going to feel confident?”
Sure, a wedding’s most important element is the couple getting married, but when it comes down to it, there is no celebration without the party. From the wedding shower to bachelor and bachelorette parties to the wedding itself, friends and family are pretty involved. And sometimes that can mean knowing when to say no. “I think any scenario is OK,” Tu says. “We also have our own financial priorities. And it's not OK to necessarily stunt your own financial well-being… You don't want to have that be the reason why you're behind on your finances because you had to go to a friend's wedding.”
However, the way you deliver a no is always important. Tu breaks it down: “It can't be, ‘Your is wedding so expensive. I don't want to go.’ It should be, ‘Hey, I am so bummed to be missing this. I'm going to send you a lovely gift. Thank you so much for thinking of me and inviting me. I just am not going to be able to make it.’”
Indeed, it is essential to know your non-negotiables for a wedding to properly map out a plan. But before you can make that decision, it is imperative that partners have a candid conversation about money. “Almost one in 10 Americans surveyed in a recent Citi study do not feel comfortable discussing their finances with a partner, at all,” Tu says. “And in my opinion, regular money conversations with your significant other should be really normal and transparent. They don't have to be this scary thing that you do over a desk. Order a pizza, have a glass of wine and have a weekly check-in just to talk about your saving and your process, especially as it pertains to the budget for your wedding. As a lot of us probably know, when you set a budget for a wedding, sometimes we can go a little over the budget. So you want to make sure that you're staying on track and not getting too over your skis.”
Photography by: Jordan Bakare