This is a deeply personal entry. That being said, I feel like it’s important for some people to have a reality check.
Weddings aren’t cheap. My mom is planning a wedding. Her budget was initially 10K. (In my mind I’m like TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS?! WHAT!?) But I guess that is a small budget. Then it escalated (as it always does.) First 12, then 15, then 20, and finally, the honest cost, 30K. This was for somewhere around 150 people. She heard many times that it’ll never be the price you plan for.
I went to a wedding last year that was well over 100K, and though it was fabulous, the cost scared me to death. For me, 100K is buying some cheap land, building a small house, buying some seeds,and doing my thing. Obviously this doesn’t buy a house anywhere near “society”, but still. ONE HUNDRED THOU. Just writing this has me in a panic.
Plus, people my age often have multiple types of debt – such as post-secondary education, cars, houses, etc. But for this article, we’ll put that aside.
Here’s a little back story for you…
I grew up saving 0$. I assumed I would just fall into debt like the rest of society going to school (which didn’t end up happening) and I’d “deal with that then”. The most money I had saved before graduating high school was about 700$, which I spent in a couple of months easily. I was about impressing people. I dressed to impress. I had stuff. I ate out a lot.
As I moved into adulthood, the spending continued. I got a credit card initially to have an emergency thing, next thing you know I have two, and I’m using one to buy snacks at work. (I was 19 at the time.) I also bought myself a weekend to Calgary, including a thousand dollar shopping spree (“I’ll pay this off in a few pay cheques, whatever.”) Then, I had one of them down to just a couple thousand dollars, and then I moved out on my own. I obviously didn’t have the money for curtains and what not, so again, out came the credit card. But I was also still irrational about impressing people, so I also had to go to lululemon and buy a hoodie, aritizia to buy yoga pants, a nintendo DS, etc. Let me remind you all at this time I was making easily under 1700 a month after taxes.
I luckily always had the money to pay every month, though, at one point, my one credit card’s minimum payment was almost four hundred dollars a month. I eventually consolidated both my credit cards into a loan, though with very high interest.
About a year and a half in, my grandma was kind enough to pay it off for me, and in return, I would make the payments to her, less interest. Again, another year and a half of payments, and I was finally free.
I paid off the remainder of my student loans (which wasn’t a whole lot, since I only went to college for 6 months – another fun story for another time!), and I was 100% free!
Once I was out of debt, I’ll admit I lived for a bit. I saved here and there, but nothing major. I was about 24 by the time this all went down (I’ll be 27 this year). Since then, I’ve been saving. I decided the money I have been saving is going to go to something I really want. I’m saving for a huge trip, starting September 16th. Initially, when I was planning my trip, a wedding was still a maybe (a lot of people I know were asking why not, etc.), and then it hit me smack in the face. I don’t like living with debt anymore. I don’t like the feeling of owing someone something. The pressure, the stress, the worry – I’m finished with that. It’s one thing to be in debt since you have a mortgage, or a car, etc. But the point is, you have something to show for it besides one day. I am certainly not putting myself into debt to go on my dream trip!
Ps. Debt Sucks…
Our culture is so obsessed with having things immediately that we’ve forgotten what it’s like to actually be free of negative financial constraints. Negative meaning at the end of the day, you have nothing physically substantial to show for the debt. (ex. House, car, etc.)
We as a culture also seem to be obsessed with being famous and the centre of attention. Surely every bride’s dream is to have everyone ooh and ahh over her.. This may sound ridiculous, but honestly, I’ve had enough of that. I competed in pageants for at least 5 years, and let me tell you, looking “perfect” on stage is an empty feeling that makes you resent yourself over the smallest things. We need to turn our vision towards everyone’s hearts rather than their outside appearance. But I digress…
I chock it up to this: If you don’t have the money in your bank account to do it right now, then it cannot and should not be done until that money is present. If you don’t have 10K to spend on your wedding right now, realize that that means your wedding should not happen until you have that money straight. That doesn’t mean you should put it on loan because everyone else does it that way. At the end of the day, you’re footing the bill.
Plus, this may be shady, but real talk, how many people get invited to weddings solely based on guilt? (Ie. I invited this cousin so I have to invite the rest of them, I don’t like them but they’re family, etc.) STOP PAYING OUT YOUR HARD EARNED MONEY FOR PEOPLE YOU DON’T LIKE! If you don’t like them, there is a very good chance that the feeling is mutual, and nothing you do will change that.
Instead of having a wedding, I am going on quarter year (at least) trip, and I can’t be more pleased about my decision. I am spending my hard earned dollars on myself, doing what I want, not what society says is the norm.
The following paragraph is bold and REAL
If you’re planning a wedding, think long and hard if it’s worth it, maybe even shave back the guest list a bit if you can. Think about what you’re doing for yourself, and what you’re doing to impress people. Also, there is no shame in asking for cash as a gift (in my opinion at least!). No one has room for a damn blender, registries quickly turn into an out of control wish list (I need a punch bowl even though I never make punch or have friends over) and no one wants a fucking microwave. It’s the best way you can receive cash tax-free!
Don’t give out favours – the cost of food is enough, save your money for your honeymoon.
Also, just know that no matter what you do, someone attending most likely won’t be in agreeance with what you like, so just remember, you’re paying for those people to eat (and drink!). Are they worth it? :- Probably not…
To recap – I’m not having a wedding because:
- I don’t have that kind of money (for that!)
- Debt sucks, and it’s not worth getting into for one day.
I have been engaged for over a year now, and I will be getting married before my trip, but it will be as cheaply as possible. Our love is there, married or not. 🙂
I hope you enjoyed this random edition of “Why Wednesday”. Check me tomorrow for a delicious salad recipe. 😉