Ahh the day all women wait for and men hate to pay for: the wedding day. With the last month of summer underway it seems appropriate to reflect on one of summer’s biggest event types: weddings. Traditionally speaking a person’s wedding day is infinitely special and should be perfect because it will only happen once (right?). The second most special day for (most) people is when a child gets added to their family, but you can’t plan that one to a T and ladies know, deep down, that they will be sweaty, swollen, and swearing for that one so having the expectation of perfection is idiotic. Therefore, the wedding day is it! The day where every hair, fiber, tie, and petal has to be perfect, but at what cost? Weddings can range from $50 at the court house to $50,000, or even $500,000! (No, I am not kidding.) However, according to the Wedding Bell’s survey the average Canadian wedding in 2011 cost $23,000 and according to the Knot survey the average cost was 27,800, while other sources quote the average Canadian wedding to be $35,000; none of which include the honeymoon! Some readers might be thinking “Oh, yeah. That’s reasonable”, while others are shocked at the price tag! There seems to be a great divide forming between the group of people who think a wedding should be cost friendly, and the group that takes the financially frivolous position.
Given the article name of “Wedding Cost”, I think most readers know by now that we’ll be defending the position of cost friendly weddings rather than financially frivolous. Taking into consideration that people are getting hitched at a younger age than previous trends show we have to look at a new contributing factor: pop culture and the expectations that it gives us. Take for example the Kim Kardashian wedding which busted onto the scenes with a cost of $10 million for a marriage that lasted for a brief moment in time. As silly as people okay, women SAY it is to expect something that lavish and extravagant given the fact that they’re net worth isn’t in the millions, that doesn’t mean they don’t secretly WANT that, or at least the emotional equivalent (which they believe can only come from the luxury party). We also have to look at the fact that the generation getting married right now is extremely selfish and feels an elevated sense of self entitlement. Especially those who are the children of free spirited, “peace and love” hippie baby boomers who raised their children to be, want, and have whatever they desire; the exact opposite of how they were raised by their war and depression veteran parents who instilled strict structure and the ideals of work hard and keep your head down.
So what are the rippling effects of splurging on a gown you’ll wear once, need help using in the washroom, and end up sweeping the floor with at 11pm when you finally blow off those “must have” shoe’s that kill your feet as you break out a cotton puffed version of Cadillac Ranch? What are the consequences of renting the “best” DJ your city has to offer knowing full well that they will still play the Bird Dance song, typical country ballads, and of course Bon Jovi’s “Living On a Prayer”. Or limos that the guys will of course fit in, but the Rainbow Bright bridesmaids are terrified to move inside of just in case a shoe makes a mark, or snags some lace? How about the effects of serving top shelf liquor at an amazing venue that 90% of the people won’t remember because the open bar hinders the memory, and your glam fab gown was meant to draw attention to you all night, not the drinks or venue; a little conflicting aren’t they?
The rippling effects of debt that is caused by a wedding are endless because everyone’s circumstances are different, and there are hundreds of combinations; however, we can point out a few glaring ones.
No down payment on a house.
People get married to fulfil that primal urge we will (hopefully) never evolve out of: reproduction. People want a family; but where do you put a family? Not in a one bedroom apartment. You need a house, a nest, a cave, a dwelling, whatever you want to call it, and those require money; SURPISE! The average wedding is equivalent to a substantial down payment on a starter home in most areas of the world; instead of spending it on a wedding, spend it on the reason you (should be) getting married for – family.
No baby bank.
With centuries of wisdom under our belts, humans should realize by now that babies need supplies that people don’t normally have. Just like you needed that extra moving out cash so you could buy a frying pan and a set of cutlery in your first “apartment”, you’ll need a baby fund in order to pick up a breast pump and a Jolly Jumper. So with building a family in mind does it really make sense to spend five to ten thousand dollars on your one-time shine, Swiffer wedding dress?
Next up: compounding interest!
Wow, this is one rippling effect that is constantly overlooked while you’re charging those must have hand painted chocolate party favors people aren’t going to know if they should eat or frame to your credit card with an interest rate of ONLY 19.99% calculated daily. More and more people are paying for their wedding with credit. Now, if you’re paying it off as you go that’s one thing – it’s actually a great way to boost your credit score which will help you get a mortgage on that starter home you wanted! But the people employing that strategy I can almost guarantee are on the side of cost friendly weddings too, so back to the point. People are paying for their weddings on credit. Let’s think for a minute why someone would use credit rather than “cash”? Well the first answer that comes to my mind is it’s because they can’t actually afford what they’re doing! Even if a newlywed couple was able to pay off say $30,000 worth of wedding debt in one year. The amount they would pay in interest would be around $6,000! Which means their wedding actually cost $36,000 simply because they paid with credit. How counterproductive to other financial goals is that?
Furthermore, consider that financial stress is the leading cause of divorce, and 40% people who say “I do” between the ages of 20 and 25 end up taking it back in (an average of) a two to three short years. With this in mind, I really do scratch my head as to why anyone would deliberately create obstacles, stresses, and hindrances for their marriage to overcome straight out of the gate by spending gobs of money on this sacred day that is supposed to signify the beginning of a partnership, a life together, a new beginning if you will, that is now crippled because of financially frivolous, emotionally charged, irrational decisions. In conclusion, it is safe to say that starting your life off with the one you love by being wedding poor is simply illogical.
Stay tuned for how to keep your wedding on budget, and tips to ensuring wedding poor stress doesn’t lead to fights, lost love, and a jaded signature that says “I don’t, anymore”. In the meantime, check out common mistakes made during debt repayment, how to find money in your fridge, how to save $16,000 a year, and how to make a budget.