While perusing the internet this week, I came across several advertisements for financing your wedding. Because there is nothing that says we are ready for the next chapter of our lives like starting it with a massive debt. Curious, I investigated more. Washington Times reported that the average price of an American wedding had reached a mind-boggling $35,329!
WHAT! On a party?
This amount could send that couple on good economic footing into the world. 35,000 dollars is a great downpayment on a home in most states or even a paid in full, flat-out cash price on some fixer uppers or condos.
It could allow that couple to house hack and cover all of their housing expenses!!! Why would anyone in their right mind finance a wedding?
Where are the friends and families not condoning excess and telling the perpetrators of such wastefulness what they are doing? TIME reports as of 2016 that 1 in 3 people have no retirement savings and that 72% of millennials have less than $10,000 in savings.
Where did we go wrong?
When did declaring our love for someone for our all our friends and families to nourish and protect become a pinnacle of American consumerism?
Does having the $3,000 dress instead of the $300 one say our love will last forever? Well it better, because that debt probably will stick around for a while.
But guess what, it does not, in fact quite the opposite.
On average, if you spend more money on your wedding ring and wedding, the marriage is less likely to last! The professors went on to hypothesize that it was possible that the economic stress of the debt from the wedding was what caused such outcome.
Do we need more reasons to be fiscally responsible, on this special day?
It goes on further to say:
“evidence suggests that the types of weddings associated with lower likelihood of divorce are those that are relatively inexpensive but are high in attendance.“
So if you want that marriage to last, go cheap, but don’t skimp on the people.
I didn’t know all this when I got married, but this is exactly what I had.
A big, cheap wedding.
This is what I did to get the wedding that I wanted without busting my budget, all said and done I think I ended up paying less than $2000 for 80 people:
Buy many of the things you would normally rent. And then sell them back on ebay.com, craigslist.com, or a Facebook group. Net after the sale will be a fraction of the cost to rent. It is usually pretty easy to do in bulk, but you can get more back separate. I got all sorts of things on Amazon.com: Wedding Fairy Lights, Table Runners, Table Cloth, Vases, and anything else you can think of!
Choose a cheap venue. We did a backyard wedding, and it was wonderful. Other places that are cheap are city parks, national parks, and some other public facilities.
Get a pre-owned wedding dress. Using an expensive dress for one day is wasteful. I bought something that I had tried on at a store for half-off the tag. And guess what you can sell it again afterward!! I used Pre-Owned Wedding Dresses, and I have nothing but good things to say about them. Many of the dresses offer returns.
Get a Birthday Cake! I went wedding cake shopping and was disgusted both with the level of quality and the price. Instead, I decided to go to my local bakery and ordered three all white birthday cakes. They were amazingly good and a fraction of the cost.
Rent the tables and chairs, make sure to shop around and don’t mention that it is a wedding.
Don’t skimp on the Wedding Photographer. This was the one thing I wish I hadn’t gone cheap on. Still, there are so many amazing photographers out there I would choose one that isn’t huge on the wedding circuit to get more value.
Food. This was my biggest expense. I had my favorite restaurant cater a buffet. The meal was my chosen splurge for my guests that made my wedding feel not low budget at all.
Get flowers in bulk. I ordered 450 roses in three beautiful colors from Sam’s Club.
Have family help out! Some family members will want to help share in your big day; this is an awesome way. Those flowers need to be arranged, the chairs set up and moved, maybe you have a cousin who would rather give some time than cash for a present!
How do you feel about the modern American wedding? What was your wedding like or what are you planning?
My husband and I have traveled extensively, both independently before we met, and then together. Our first Christmas together was in Paris, our first valentines day we had dinner on a beach in Cambodia with children running by with sparklers. We have the travel bug. If you know what this bug feels like, you will understand that staying in one place for a long time can be painful. You can feel like you have to ignore a part of yourself, because no one else tends to understand it. It feels like being a bird in a cage. Luckily, I have been a lovebird with my perfect match with me, but it has been stifling for both of us.
When we got pregnant with our first child, we did not have location independent jobs, and we had been working our way around the world using HelpX and WWOOF. We decided we didn’t want to live by the seat of our pants with children; we needed to know everyone would be clothed and fed. So, we headed back to the United States and began settling down into a more ‘normal’ life. We both had given up our higher paying jobs when we left to go travel, and when we came back it was 2009, no one was hiring, it felt like we were starting all over again.
The plan begins. We stumbled upon Rich Dad, Poor Dad. Our vision: We would get enough rentals to give us location independent income wherever in the world we were at, we would be set for retirement, and not have to worry about not contributing to our IRA, 401Ks, and mutual funds, unless we wanted to.
We have now been back in the United States for close to nine years now. We have three beautiful boys now. We are so close to our goal we can taste it! What does that goal look like? $2500 of passive or location independent income per month. Enough to ensure we do not go without food or housing for our whole family in most developed places and live very nicely in places with lower cost of living. But, have you ever been so close to your goal but not been able to realize it? It is excruciating! It makes you want to rush, maybe skimp just a little. So we have set a date to leave, my husbands 40th birthday, which gives us a clear defined date to focus on to get us where we need to be.
We plan to slow travel; we will move to a place and live there for a few months if we like the area, trying to use the full length of our tourist visas. We like the beach, so we will try to stay near it most of the time. Since we are so close to the border of Mexico in Tucson, AZ. We plan on just taking our van and heading south and stopping for a few months when we see a place we like. Slow travel and using vehicle will help to keep costs down. Have you ever bought airline tickets for five???
As for our children, we plan to worldschool. What is that you say? It is like homeschooling but using where you are to be the catalyst for what topics to be teaching. My husband was homeschooled, and I once upon a time was a scientist, so I feel we will be able to be competent worldschoolers. We, however, will adjust our plans if needed, nothing is more important to us then our children’s wellbeing. But, for now, I will just dream of my little polygots, talking to other children about world history, economics, and current events.
Here is our planned route, this will take several years: