Half of Weddings Lead to Divorce, The Other Half to Death!

Wedding Rings

I love weddings! I love everything about them: the dresses, the decorations, the speeches, the cakes. Everything… except the high price tags. Those hurt my soul. Spending a crap ton of money on a single day can set couples up for failure. The same amount of money that you could spend on a down-payment for a residence spent in a matter of hours. It’s beautiful for your friends but crazy for you!

The first wedding that I remember (I think it was my aunt’s) was when I was like five years old. I was a flowergirl dressed in this really cute pink/purple shiny dress with fun puffy sleeves. I loved that dress! After the wedding, I was so upset that I grew out of it so quickly. I’d probably still be wearing it now, if I could!

Since then I have gone to so many weddings! I’ve been to giant affairs in gorgeous churches that involved standing and sitting. I’ve attended weddings that overlook the ocean at sunset. My uncle had us all hike up to a cliff overlooking Lake Superior to watch them get married, with the full moon rising behind them. That was amazingly cool! I’ve been to several destination weddings as well. There is nothing better than watching a couple get hitched in Hawaii!

Hawaii at sunset
Hawaiian weddings are the best! Just look at this sunset!

The problem is the cost. If you spend $25,000 on a wedding, you’re altering the course of your and your partner’s financial futures. If you put that money into an index fund with compounding interest at age 25, you could have $275,000 by the time you are 65. That wedding (ONE DAY!) just cost you a quarter of a million dollars!

My Wedding!

While I love weddings, I don’t like public speaking. The idea of standing in front of a bunch of people and saying stuff is just horrifying. NOPE. I’m also very cheap. My parents (mom and stepdad) got married at a courthouse and I was more than willing to do the same. However, my future mother-in-law wanted a wedding. We compromised with a friend of the family, who is also a judge, officiating our wedding on the shore of Lake Sammamish. There were like eleven people and two dogs there, and it lasted six minutes. Short and sweet!

Green Eggs and Ham Wedding Cake
This is one of my favorite wedding cakes, made by my mother-in-law. So fun!

Weddings are entertaining and beautiful and can make you feel all the things. However, the fun part is the reception. We had two: one at Mr. ItchyFeet’s parents’ house and one at a work-friend’s place. My mother-in-law did a ridiculous amount of work cooking the food for our first reception and the second reception with co-workers was a potluck. Both were so much fun and we wouldn’t have changed a thing!

I bought my dress as an end of the season summer-dress for $16. It’s pink and super cute. I still have it and actually wear it during the summer (sometimes at other people’s weddings!). My mother-in-law helped us out by paying for the judge (who brought her wife and dogs to beautiful Lake Sammamish in August and was wearing a swimsuit under her official robes… YES!) and all the food at the first reception. My BFF did my makeup and my mom did my hair. I bought a cake for the second reception from a local grocery store. All in all, I think the entire cost of the wedding and both receptions was around $600, and we all had a really great time!

Have fun!

That’s the thing. I’ve been to so many weddings in so many settings with so many costs and every one of them was a ton of fun… for me. However, the more expensive the wedding, the more stressed the bride and groom were. It’s almost like the more you spend, the more you are under pressure to please everyone else who came, and not making sure you’re enjoying yourself. I don’t see the added value.

Tea leaves in cup
The tea leaves don’t lie. It’s all going to be okay.

By the time Mr. ItchyFeet and I got married, I had already saved enough to have an average wedding or put a down-payment on a fixer-upper condo. No brainer. We went with the condo but still had a wonderful wedding. That condo was the jumping off point for our future. We fixed it up, sold it, and could then buy a fixer-upper house. We fixed up the house, and the sale of that is giving us security now that Mr. ItchyFeet can no longer work because of his disability.

Wedding on a budget

There are so so many ways to save money on a wedding and still have a wonderful time. Movies and TV have made it seem like you have to have this one type of wedding which costs an absolutely absurd amount. If you have plenty of money and are happy with public speaking, by all means, go for it. If you are like me and don’t, get friends and family involved and see what you all can come up with. People are so creative! It also makes the wedding more magical when the people who are there to celebrate your union have some vested interest in seeing it succeed.

Iguana on the sidwalk
I leave you with this iguana pic from sunny Costa Rica. They just make me happy!

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