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Save Money On Your Wedding By Focusing On the Big Picture

by The Happy Rock on June 5, 2007

weddingtable.jpgSorry to disappoint, but this isn’t your ‘how to save money on your photographer type post, or ‘how to cut wedding costs’. Just as understanding what our cars say about us can save us a bunch of money on car purchases, remembering this key tip can shave thousands off your wedding bill

The commitment of two adults choosing to share their lives together forever, is the BIG DEAL

The trend seems to be for weddings to become more and more lavish, even to the point couples are willing to take on $10,000+ in debt to live up to some external standard for what a good wedding should be. A wedding isn’t about the flowers, the dress, personalized gifts, or the DJ. It is about two people making a life-long commitment to one another. Our consumerist culture does play a big part in the spending trend, but so does the fact that weddings aren’t a big transition for a lot of people. In the days of live-in boyfriends and combined finances in dating, a wedding doesn’t signify a huge change in people’s lives. With the reduced significance for the wedding day, we like good Americans, try to imbue meaning into the event by spending.

For my wife and I, our values lead us to do things traditionally. Long courtship (2 years), long engagement (2 years), no living together, no sex, and no shared finances. Marriage represented a radical change to us. In the end we paid $10,000 cash for a beautiful catered wedding. The stress wasn’t too much and the celebration was significant and meaningful. While we planned the external events of the wedding, we also tried to pay attention to the internal journey that marriage represented. We devoted significant time to prepare internally for the change that we were embarking on. The celebration was awesome, but the act of getting married was much much better. It is hard to quantify, but I suspect that our financial and life circumstances, along with our values saved us thousands of dollars on our wedding. Our union was the big deal, not the chocolate fountain and amazing ice sculpture we could have had.

Inspired by an interview with Rebecca Mead.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Double Eagle June 6, 2007 at 9:13 am

The sad part is that the actual commitment often takes a back seat to the giant wedding extravaganza. Depending on the source, it’s believed that between 40 and 50% of first marriages end in divorce. Perhaps if more couples paid closer attention to what’s really important, this trend would change.

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Ed B June 7, 2007 at 4:59 pm

We had our reception in a historical building. It was amazingly cheap ($500) and available (we only had a 3 month engagement) http://www.haddonfortnightly.org/default.asp I’d recommend it to anyone.

I think a big part about the overdone weddings. Is that women have been dreaming about it as a fairy tale all of their lives. Guys don’t care about the food/flowers/music. Let’s just Git ER Done. Any go on the honeymoon.

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Lazy Man and Money July 10, 2007 at 12:35 pm

For my wedding, I had some self-imposed peer pressure to be a little more lavish. I know it sounds like an oxymoron, but it’s a keeping up with the Jones’ thing. We could have gone with something less, but we make more money than some in our social group and I didn’t see a reason for it to be significantly less fantastic than theirs. So when everyone else had an open bar, I figured that it doesn’t make sense for us, who make money, to ask people to pay. We definitely wouldn’t have gone into debt over it.

You make a great point about it not being a significant change in many people’s lives nowadays. However, it is often one of the few times you really have an “excuse” to get everyone to drop what they are doing and have a party. I’ve tried to plan events for as few as six people and found that it can be difficult to sync up a schedule. That was our thinking behind the wedding.

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TheHappyRock July 10, 2007 at 1:19 pm

Lazy thanks for the comment,

It sounds like you made conscious decisions on how much you will spend on your wedding and what will make you happy. That is a huge area for people to conquer, as we usually spend first then think. If you are want to live with the cost or if you think it will be a benefit then spend away.

I do agree it is cool to get all your friends in one place, it probably won’t be able to happen again on that scale. I don’t know about you, but I was only able to shake hands and briefly schmooze with most people. I didn’t realize it would be such a fast paced day.

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Jia August 7, 2009 at 8:58 am

I totally agree with you. You should do whatever you CAN to make yourself and your spouse to be happy.

As long as you are satisfied with what you have at the wedding, you are okay.

As long as you don’t leave anything to regret later on, you are okay.

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Matt August 17, 2009 at 1:00 pm

I couldn’t agree more – it’s the symbol of the marriage which is important. I had a friend who spend a very large amount of money on his wedding, in excess of £50000. It was beautiful, really a lovely day, but we went to a friends wedding recently where they spent less than £6000. It was intimate, and personal and just as emotional.

I would say though, that even though weddings can be done on a budget, don’t scrimp on your photographer – good ones are worth their weight in gold.

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Camilla September 16, 2011 at 7:39 am

I definitely don’t think that it’s necessary to spend a huge amount of money on your wedding, just to make you happy. The wedding is supposed to be personal. It’s supposed to be exactly what you want. The most important thing, well the most important thing to me at least, is that you’re happy with your spouse. Everything else comes secondary.

I also support the idea of setting a budget. It doesn’t really matter what it is (although setting it too low can be difficult). Even if you’re willing to spend however much money, having a budget helps the caterers etc. So definitely set a budget.

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Adam December 5, 2011 at 12:43 pm

Well said, I think a lot of people get carried away and use it as an excuse for a big party and to patch over relationship cracks in the hope that a big wedding will solve the problems. A small wedding based on a solid relationship with focus on unity rather that expenditure is the right way to go

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