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Living Frugaly, Part One: Don’t Let Your Wedding Cost You Your Marriage

Wedding Bells Blues

The wedding industry is booming.20151015_093646

Everything from the bride’s dress, the photographer, and of course – my personal pet peeve – the wedding planner. All are big money. Brides-to-be have been convinced, “It’s the most important day of your life, spare no expense.”

And many a groom, wanting to please their soon-to-be wife, have fallen for the ridiculous idea that the engagement ring must cost at least three month’s salary. The concept is, If he really loves you he’ll spend that much on you.

Seriously, who came up with this stuff?

The truth is if he loves you he’ll want to lead you into good stewardship as Christ commands.

I’m about to say something that will probably be very unpopular. Concerning the “spare no expense wedding” & the “three-month-salary wedding ring”. Both those pieces of advice are very unwise and financially unsound! We have become a society that will spend thousands and thousands of dollars on an occasion that lasts a few hours, tops, while not preparing financially for the many years that follow..

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a momentous occasion for bride and groom, their families and friends.
It is a day that should be treated with respect. However, so should the actual marriage. You know, all those days that come after the rice is thrown? Yep, they are important also.

I have a family member who spent over $10,000 on her wedding. She had food catered, a huge dress, and a dress covering I can’t even begin to describe. There were a few limos involved, a huge bride’s cake, a groom’s cake, a reception at a fancy eatery on the bay, a cruise on a boat and tons of other stuff that still boggle my mind.

Imagine that $10,000 invested wisely for the next thirty years. Compound interest and time are amazing allies. Use them!

My ex-wife and I spent less than $200 on our wedding. The cost of the location was zilch, zero, nada. It was held at her oldest sister’s house. The mayor of Shelly, Idaho performed the ceremony for free in exchange for us donating at least a whopping $5 to a certain charity. We donated $15. The cost of food was minimal. It was a pot luck! Invitations were ordered online and I doubt we spent $100.00.

The number one cause of tension between man and wife, and the eventual cause of many divorces, is money related problems and a couple’s differing perspectives on money. The fact that society encourages such a large expenditure of funds from the very beginning is, then, more than a little disturbing.

Imagine the positive economic impact if the soon-to-be-joined were encouraged to spend as little as possible so they would have more for their future together. Doesn’t it make more sense to begin the marriage voyage with a healthier money outlook, helping to avoid the one thing that’s proven to end marriages the world over?

Let’s not set up future couples for failure. Teach youth to ignore the advertising ploys of the wedding industry. Teach them to consider their financial futures. Let’s encourage them to treat their marriage with even more respect than the wedding by fueling the marriage with the gift of financial freedom.

To be clear, I’m not saying a big,  traditional wedding with all the bells and whistles is wrong. Having all the extras isn’t a bad thing IF you already have other things in place like an emergency fund, personal savings, college savings, retirement fund(s), your Will and Health Care Directive, etc.

Yes, I fully advocate having these things in place BEFORE that knot is tied. This adds financial security and a peace-of- mind to the marriage from the very beginning. It also shows and sustains good financial habits that will not be easily broken.

Keep your financial future in min & Stay Frugal!

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