Re: Wedding debt..
05-24-2012 07:20 PM
Honestly, everyone is different when it comes to what they want. Personally, I must admit that most girls are the ones that prefer a dream wedding (one they can't wait to have since they are little girls). I am generally frugal when it comes to many things and always look for the best deals on everything and how I can get money or benefits from doing simple things (like shopping online). I have no problem negotiating for a price I want on anything (cars, appliances, electronics) and I NEVER pay the sticker price.
That being said, I am a girl and when it came to my wedding I knew that I wanted to have it my way. I also knew that we would have no help from either set of parents. I already owned my home (well, had a mortgage) before I got married, had over 100K in student loans (my DH only about 20K) and had about 20K in CC debt between the 2 of us, and we each had a car loan. We paid off the CC debt in a year.
My original wedding budget was 30K (excluding honeymoon). I am a very eco conscious person and everything had to be sustainable and organic with no waste, etc. The reception alone was 20K. My dress, the rings (which are made of wood), the honeymoon, and half of what the photographer and videographer cost was paid upfront (no debt). The reception, as well as flowers (none cut, all planted), decor and entertainment, and rest of photo/video was put on CCs. I made or repurposed a lot of things in terms of decorations. Overall we ended up with about 25K in CC debt and got about 11K in gifts, which immediately paid that down. All of this was put on my 2 CCs that gave me a 0% transfer rate for 15 months, so technically we paid almost no interest.
I know that to many people that sounds like a lot of money for one day, but I wouldn't change it for a thing. I am also very confident that this is my one and only wedding. We have gone into our relationship with very realistic expectations about finances and what our goals are in life. We don't just waste money on things, generally buy only what's really necessary and think twice before we do. But there are certain things that we both like or want that we don't deny each other. For example, DH must have a new car every few years, and that's fine since that's his little indulgence. My car is paid off and will last me a very long time and I have no desire to have the newest, greatest thing as long as my current one is working. I got my expensive wedding which he wasn't crazy about but had to understand. Either way, we figure out the most logical financial way to handle things, spending as little as possible on interest, etc.
And I agree that a wedding is in many cases about family and they tend to have expectations (even if they are unable to contribute). I am not sure why many people suggest a courthouse wedding, though. Depending on your faith, you can just as well get married in a church. I am not sure if the courthouse charges a fee, but I know that most churches will marry you for a small donation (I know Catholic church is required to).
OK, I am getting a little long here. Bottom line is, you have to be able to discuss your finances and expectations openly if you want your relationship to work in the long run, and you have to respect each others desires. If you can not compromise on this, chances are you will have a lot of issues with everything else down the road. You may also want to find out (subtly, of course) if your gf is expecting a diamond. Personally, I specifically hinted to my DH about the fact that he better not think of buying me traditional jewelry due to the environmental concerns (absolutely NO diamonds allowed). He couldn't have been happier.
PS. Have been married almost a year now, no CC debt and student loans and mortgage will be paid off by 2020 at the current rate (not scheduled to be paid off until 2040 according to amortization). Can't wait to pay cash for everything!