There are many advantages that come along with being married that probably aren’t considered above simply having the blessing and pleasure of loving someone and being loved by that special someone, until and beyond death. That is obviously the most important reason and I wouldn’t disagree with it at all, as it is definitely good to be loved by someone you love. But once you finally have that, you also begin to see just how beneficial it was to your finances, your social life, and your life period; to merge as one. Together, being responsible for the house-whole receivables and payables.
Which brings me to the point, or non-point, of an expensive and extravagant wedding. This is not to encourage a man to propose with a cracker-jack box ring and have a shot-gun wedding, it’s only to bring into focus the cost that should be taken seriously. I don’t care what Betty White said, when she sang the lyrics to No Pain-No Gain, “A little bit of pleasure is worth a whole lot of pain.” No, it’s not.
I have chatted with quite a few people about their wedding plans, with regard to location, photos, videographer, the dress, entertainment, Invitations, gifts for the wedding party, mother/father of the Bride and Groom, Rehearsal Dinner, the cake, the rings, how many will be in the wedding party, the flowers, the rings, the reception and so forth. I wanted to get general idea of where their head was, when it came to the topic of the wedding, and plans on making the decision to either spend an astronomical amount or to make it a quickie. Both men and women, married and single, as well as those couples that I spoke with; collectively agreed that the expense of the wedding should not plague them in the years to come. Seems like a no-brainer.
However, I chimed in with some of my celebrity friends aka a small, elite group of the few; who argued that since it was something they would only do once, they wanted to go all out, with the kit and caboodle. That few, described the wedding of epic proportions, either had or to be had. In their description, they expressed the desire to have a destination wedding, in which family would be flown in to celebrate along with them. One couple said they did a destination wedding, where those who attended, were responsible for their flight, but once there, it was all expense paid. The price tag of their wedding came in at a hefty total of 45k.
Now, while it can certainly be done at a more inexpensive rate, depending on the arrangements and the accommodations provided that are being paid for; I did not hear anyone speak of that. It seems as though, when considering a destination, where all would be able to attend – it was no way to split the bill. And I do mean that literally. I must mention that the elite few, also agreed that if they were not as fortunate financially to throw away dollars, north of 30k, they would not do it.
Which is what brought me back to those who still insisted on elaborate weddings that would hunt them at the bank for the next year or so. Of the 15 couples I spoke to, only three couples are still married 20 years later. Whereas, the others split 5-10 years in and ended up splitting the financial responsibility in the end to resolve the divorce decree. Six of which have remarried, took a substantial turn in making plans on their second time around. The remaining individuals, who have yet to remarry, said that if they were to consider the cost of a new wedding – it would be with a different approach.
In speaking to all of the couples, men, women, and singles… it was determined, at least with this group study that finances always have been and still are the greatest discussion, compromise and reason for marriages that do not make it. For them, the biggest expense came in at the cost of the wedding, followed by the kids and the cost of their home. With the wedding debt being larger than the combined debt of personal debt that each individual brought to the marriage- all agreed that The Wedding of a Lifetime, should absolutely NOT be the bill of a lifetime. And if they had a chance to do it again, they would do it differently.
This brought up the topic of living above or below means. This is something that everyone should consider and give much account to. While it’s nice to dream of that fairy tale wedding, it could come with an enormous price tag. The cost of a wedding should not exceed your means to pay for it. It should not be a monthly bill going forward into your marriage (at least not after 6 -12 months.) The couples that gave attention to this matter from the beginning remained together after 20 years. We think that is because from the beginning, they were on the same page with regard to financial responsibility. In trying to pass down some pearls of wisdom, I believe it was my dad who said, “I once met a man who said he paid an arm and a leg for his wedding. After which, he had no way to hold his wife – because he didn’t have a leg to stand on.” -) Pass it on.
Posted on http://www.workingmother.com 1/21/17
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