Big wedding day or big future?
In a break from tradition, many people are eschewing a big wedding, and its associated costs. Instead people are using the money for alternative plans.
They call it the best day of your life; it’s certainly the most expensive. The mean cost of a wedding in the US is over $30,000 and that’s not even a big wedding. It’s enough money to start a business or make a down-payment on a house. Some women are saying no to the wedding industry: while they aren’t necessarily opposed to getting married, they’re seeking to spend their money on alternatives to that big wedding.
3Plus talked to a few women who decided to save on their wedding and invest their money in something else. (All names have been changed for privacy.)
Abby, 32, asked her parents to pay for her grad school after they funded her sister’s wedding. “I was a 22-year-old asshole and I thought I’d never get married. I was furious that they would give my older sister money for a party (as I saw it) but expected me to take out loans for my education.” She eventually won her parents over; “and I ended up marrying a guy I met in grad school, anyway. We just had to make it a cheap wedding!”
Sarah, 71, gave her daughter money to invest as an alternative to a big wedding. “Since my daughter was a kid, I’d been secretly saving up money to give her as a wedding present, because that’s what my parents did for me. When she talked about setting up her own business, I gave her the option to use that money so she wouldn’t have to take out a loan, and she jumped at it.”
Maria’s parents gave her and her fiancé a $5,000 cheque when they announced their engagement. “Three weeks later [our dog] Ashido got sick and most of the money went on his vets’ bills. My mom’s still upset that I chose my dog over a big wedding. I realise now that when [my parents] said we could spend the money on anything, they actually wanted us to spend it on either our wedding or a house.”
HOUSE DOWN PAYMENT
After saving up for her wedding, Suze decided to invest the funds in property instead. “My husband and I saved like crazy in the three years leading up to our wedding. We both took second jobs and we cut our expenses as much as possible. About halfway through, we realised we’d never had more money in our savings, and we decided not to spend it all on one day on a big wedding. We had a cheaper event than we’d originally planned and asked for cash rather than gifts from our guests. At the end of it, we had nearly $30,000 to put a down payment on a house.”
Having your own home can trump a big wedding.
Saving money can give you a cushion when things go wrong, as Katya discovered. “My ex and I saved up $9,000 for our wedding – and then broke up. We lost the deposit on the venue but I still ended up with about $3,000 after we’d split the remaining savings. It paid for me to spend four months travelling in Asia.”
Not only that we are seeing a decline in the number of marriages taking place. Could cost be a factor?