Now that another season of weddings is drawing to a close, I have to say I love marriage. I love my marriage. I love religious marriage. I love civil marriage. I love gay marriage. I LOVE MARRIAGE! But I hate weddings. I don’t hate having a wedding, or attending a wedding, I just don’t like what having a wedding tends to entail these days. And more importantly what they do to brides and grooms.
I am all for the celebration of two people committing to each other and I love parties, but the time, effort and money that I see going into a wedding blows my mind.
When I sit down with a client that is struggling to pay bills, or save for a down payment telling me that they are planning a big wedding celebration that they clearly cannot afford, I have to wonder why? Celebrate your love and union with your family, friends and partner-throw a party, pop some bottles and eat some ribs-but don’t go into debt to do it!
Furthermore, don’t let planning a wedding consume you. It is not that important. Your marriage is-your wedding isn’t.
Here are my top tips for those looking to take the plunge:
1) Don’t go into debt to have a wedding. This is likely the biggest mistake you can make heading into a marriage. Finances (along with infidelity), is the most common reason for divorce. Starting your marriage under an unnecessary debt load is putting pressure on your finances and your marriage-where’s the love in that?
2) Don’t extend an engagement for the perfect venue (whatever that means)-if you have 2 years to plan a wedding, you will take 2 years. If you have 6 months, you will take 6 months. Both events will essentially be the same.
3) Accept by telling any supplier you are planning a wedding means at least a 25% premium on their fee (I don’t have statistics to verify this-but I am confident you could plan the exact same event labelled as a family reunion for a whole lot less money.) Weddings have become a huge industry. You are paying a premium to have a wedding-know this going in and budget accordingly. You ought to prioritize and be willing to cut things. Your centre pieces are great-but were they really worth the $1000?
4) Remember it is not YOUR DAY. Sorry, it just isn’t. You are throwing a party and it should be about your guests. They are coming for you, so please acknowledge that fact by ensuring they have a great time and don’t have to incur costs that may be beyond their comfort levels. Making them wait, not having transportation options, having 7 speeches about how great you are-this is all about YOU. Make it about the people that are there to celebrate you, your love and your commitment to each other. You wouldn’t throw a dinner party to honour yourself (unless you are at narcissistic A-hole.). So don’t throw a wedding doing that either!
5) Your wedding day may very well be the best day of your life (although it will likely be replaced with a new greatest day at some point), but remember, it is just one day. What really matters is your commitment and effort to every day that comes after.
Marriage is not some amazing, blissful fairy tale on its own. Marriage is empty and you as partners need to fill it. Commit to your vows. Your commitment to love, support, passion, compromise and adventure-taking less and giving more-that will make your marriage full. If more couples put the time, effort and resources into their marriages that they put into their weddings, I think we would see a lot more happily ever after.