Today is our 43rd wedding anniversary. As with all relationships there are ups and downs. We’ve had some doosy fights over the years–which happens when you’re both alphas, but we’ve also weathered some astonishing hardships with what I think is a lot of grace and acceptance.
I think part of the reason we’ve lasted so long is because we have similar core values. One of the values we share that I’m most happy about is that we’re not reckless with money. I’m sure it has a lot to do with the fact that we didn’t have a lot of it–especially in the early years.
We’re adaptable. We made do with what we had and learned early on that going into debt was the devil’s bone yard.
For me, being frugal started when I was just a kid, but it carried over into our married life, starting with the wedding.
Like all young people, we desperately wanted a honeymoon. The best we could afford was Canada. It was fun, but in order to afford it we cut the cost of the wedding to the bone.
We got married at City Hall and announced to our families that there wouldn’t be a reception. We just wanted a meal with them before we hit the road for Canada.
To our shock, my parents surprised us with a homemade reception, complete with a beautiful cake from our local bakery, and a dinner my father prepared from scratch. The menu included filet mignon, an exquisite Caesar’s salad (which still makes me salivate), and more champagne than I’ve ever seen in my life. The only guests were our combined immediate families.
My “wedding” dress cost all of $10. I got it on clearance at a local department store. It wasn’t a wedding gown, just a nice dress I thought was fitting for my big day.
Our honeymoon was the price of gas, food, and a few nights stay at a motel.
In all, I doubt we spent more than $300 for my dress and our honeymoon. My parents probably spent near that on the food and wine. These were 1975 dollars.
According to Business Insider, the price of an average wedding today is $33,391, but it varies by where you live. This does NOT count the cost of the honeymoon.
If I were to venture a guess, I imagine most people spend it on the venue, the meal, the flowers, the cake, photographer, and the gown. And for what? One day.
One day that means something to only you and your new spouse. I think that’s what people need to keep in mind when they plan a wedding. By all means celebrate, but don’t go into debt for a party.
I can honestly tell you the spread my parents threw for us was way nicer than if we had hosted a costly (fancy) reception full of drunk people and nasty looking food. There’s just no comparison.
To date, I have never been to a catered affair where the food was better than what my parents gave us. You simply can’t compare a home cooked gourmet meal to cold chicken and dry steak.
I was so proud of my niece when she too bucked tradition and opted not only to pay for their own reception, but had it at a small, local restaurant, inviting only the most important people in their lives.
Maybe I’m wrong but I think people are pressured into having these expensive parties. The moment you say wedding, people assume you’re going to go all out. The question is, why? Sometimes it’s as simple as saying no to tradition.
In the end, a wedding is just a stepping stone. I’d rather spend my money for an entire path and not just the first step.
If you’re married, how was your wedding? Where did you go on your honeymoon? Looking back, would you have done anything differently?