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May 28, 2008


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WEDDING LOANS? Are you kidding me?

If you can't afford a fancy wedding, don't buy one. There's nothing worse than money problems in a marriage - my parents showed me that. Making your wedding a financial burden for years is just inviting maritial discord, resentment, and potentially divorce.

We got married by a justice of the peace and had a reception a few months later. We certainly don't miss not having a fancy wedding, and the couple hundred grand of extra net worth (ie, wedding expenses saved and compounded over the years) did far more for marital bliss than a fancy wedding would have.

One wonders how many of these wedding loans will outlive the marriages?

I have a life long friend, Emily, whose parents took out a 10k loan for her sister's wedding. It was nice, but it only last 3 hours. And the marriage didn't last much longer - only about 6 months. Not a wise decision.

I am single, but if I get married, it will be - the justice of the peace and a small reception for really close friends and relatives. Why invite people who don't care about me? Really, how many guests in a typical wedding are close enough friends or relatives to actually care about bride and groom? I was invited to a wedding once by an acquintance - not a close friend, just a guy I met once or twice a year. Some of the people he invited didn't even like him. At least he had money.

Somehow I've never understood the idea of spending so much on what is essentially a big party. OK, I am not young now, but even when I was young I'd never wanted or needed a big wedding. One girl I knew back in college had a very simple wedding and then went on a really good honeymoon in Europe. She told - her parents could afford either one or the other and decided that a) she'd remember a really nice trip much better b) honeymoon is cheaper. My parents commented how smart a decision this was. Another girl had a big wedding, but she had rich relatives who paid for it.

Then there is this issue with bridesmaids dresses when a bride can ask her friends to spend money on expensive dresses they don't need and sometimes cannot afford. Yet they are placed in a situation in which it is difficult to refuse. Some friends of mine were in this situation when I was in college. A few years ago when a daughter of a friend of mine got married she had no bridesmaids: she told "I cannot do this to my friends".

Whatever your wedding plans - large or small, the chances are that you will always exceed your budget. At the time you only intend to get married once and so the temptation to push the boat out is inevitable. All I can say is make sure you start saving for your wedding as soon as you know you're getting married. Under no circumstances take a loan out as you'll be paying it back for years. If your budget is small, then accept you will have to have a smaller wedding. This doesn't mean it won't be special as it will.

A friend this weekend easily had $100k+ wedding. Whose to say it was wrong? I doubt she paid for it, likely her and his parents did. As long as they can afford it not a big deal.

But loans??? eek. I doubt they would be doing it so lavishly if they actually had to pay for it.

"Whatever your wedding plans - large or small, the chances are that you will always exceed your budget. "
Small is relative. When I said small, I meant a justice of the peace with a nice reception in my own home with a variety of home-cooked dishes (if the mother is willing and able...). No band, no professional fotographer and only as many people you can fit in your place. Hardly something that might exceed anybody's budget. For someone else small may be 100 people and a reserved historical mansion.

I agree that if people want a lavish wedding and can afford it it's perfectly fine. If they cannot afford it, they shouldn't borrow money to do it. One party and headache for years to come. Instead they could probably come up with something memorable but cheaper like a nice honeymoon (if they can afford it).

I think the wedding and reception should be memorable and nice for the guests but should be planned against a budget. My wife and I got married in Hawaii and had about 30 people total for the ceremony & reception. It was held outdoors and was a great setting for us. Overall it was around $10,000 for the wedding and reception. Of course airfare, hotels and incidentals were extra but I used frequent flyer miles & points to subsidize this. Overall it was reasonable and made some great memories. Money well spent. I had saved up for this and paid for everything by credit card but had the cash to pay the cc off immediately.

There are a lot of BS expenses we were able to cut. For example we wanted to get it videoed and the planner was insistent that this will cost $3000. By shopping around via the internet we were able to get this reduced to $795. Similarly for the flowers, the planner wanted to spend thousands on flowers and we were able to get something very nice for about $500- after all Hawaii is a great climate for growing all sorts of flowers at a reasonable price.

I find that for every type of good or service there is a pricing structure geared to price sensitive customers as well as price insensitive customers. Please don't self select yourself into the latter category.


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