Having a wedding can be an expensive affair. With weddings in 2012 on average costing $28,427 (CNN Money), more and more couples are waiting to get married.
An Extended Engagement
Take Jake and Rachael (not their real names). Jake and Rachael have dated for nearly 5 years now and have lived together for a year. Jake recently popped the question, and they were initially looking at a 17 month engagement.
However, they are saddled with a fair amount of student loan debt and won’t be getting much in the way of parental support to help pay for the wedding. Now, they are talking about pushing the wedding back and having a 29 month engagement so they can pay for the type of wedding they’d like. All told, they will be together 8 years before they tie the knot. They are both in their early 30s.
My husband and I had a 10 month engagement. We, too, were flat broke. My husband was still a college student and couldn’t work because he was on an international visa. I had just finished my masters, had a fair amount of student loan debt, and was teaching several part-time college jobs that didn’t pay squat. Simply put, we couldn’t afford a wedding.
Luckily, my mom had saved $5,000 for my wedding, and that was what we used. My mom’s only request was that we have a large wedding and invite our large family and some of her friends. We had 175 guests, which meant we needed to stretch our dollars. We did so by making all the food ourselves the night before the reception, making most of the items for our wedding from scratch, and having my aunt make the cake. My dress only cost $175, which came to $250 total with alterations.
But what if that $5,000 hadn’t been there? Would we have waited several years to get married until we had saved enough money?
Honestly, if we had waited, we would have likely had a 5 year engagement because that’s about how long it took me to earn a decent salary when I finally got a full-time teaching job. If I’d wanted a wedding that cost the same as the average 2012 wedding, we’d have likely had a 10 year engagement!
If my mom hadn’t offered us the $5,000, I think I would have preferred to have a very simple, small wedding. I wanted a wedding because I wanted to be married to my husband more than I wanted a fancy wedding. I don’t think I would have wanted to wait 5 years to officially begin our lives together.
There seems to be too much pressure now to spend copious amounts of money to have a lavish wedding. My mom recently told me about a couple that spend $50,000 on their wedding and were divorced in less than a year.
My Questions for You
If you’re married, did you delay getting married until you could have the wedding of your dreams? Or did you have a simple wedding because that’s all you could afford?
Would you prefer that your children delay their marriage until they can afford a lavish wedding, or would you prefer they spend less and get married earlier? How important is age as a factor in each scenario?