Essays & Confessions

Sorry, But I Refuse To Bankrupt My Future To Pay For My Dream Wedding

By | Wednesday, May 18, 2016


I was reading an article recently when I was distracted by one of the commenters, who insisted that it was absolutely impossible to get married for less than $30,000. She stated that every article suggesting otherwise was either impractical or irrelevant to most people’s situation. It got me thinking: If she is in fact right, and there is really no way to have a celebration for less than $30k, would I choose to have a wedding celebration?

Let’s ignore for a minute that my husband and I did have a wedding. And let’s ignore the fact that we pulled it off with the help of lots of great friends for less than $1,000.

Back in the day, we were $50,000 in debt. So would we have taken on an additional $30,000 to celebrate our marriage? That would be a firm NO. Where would we have even gotten $30k? We made a whopping $8k that first year we were married! So that is an easy answer.

But what about now? Now we have half a million in assets. Now we have really low expenses. Now we have a bit of passive income. If we were to celebrate a wedding now, would we spend $30,000?

Before we think about this, we will go off this random comment and hold to the firm conviction that $30,000 is the absolute minimum one should spend on a wedding, and there is no way around it. It’s a certificate at the court house or $30k.

It is reasonable to think that now would be the perfect time in our lives to drop that kind of cash on a wedding. Really if anyone was going to pay that much, our current situation would seem to be the ideal.But what would that actually entail? In our real life situation, here are our options.

We could drain our emergency fund and put a bit on credit cards. So this is an option. But we have five kids, three vehicles, and own multiple houses. Things go wrong ALL the time, and we have a large emergency fund, because we carry a lot of responsibility. So when an “emergency” comes up (more commonly referred to as “life”), we would have to put that on credit. We don’t charge things we can’t pay for. So there is no way I would take on all that stress for a celebration. Answer to option #1: NO!

We could sell a rental property. Our properties have a really nice cash flow (which is part of the reason we are work optional). If we sold one, we would become more work optional-ish. Am I be willing to part with thousands of dollars in passive income every year, for perhaps the rest of my life? And then possibly be forced into paid employment again. Answer to option #2: NO!

We could refinance one of our houses. This could mean looking at up to a 5.5% refinance for 30 years of payments. I don’t like payments. I don’t like paying interest. And I don’t like losing our passive income. So answer to option #3: NO!

We could $30k out of our IRA. This might make the most sense. We haven’t needed to tap our IRAs to support our work-optional lifestyle yet. They are held in Roth accounts, so we wouldn’t have penalties or taxes owed. Good option, right? Well, here is the deal. We put that money in there to make us money. That money needs to be working really hard for many years to come in order to make us money. Mostly so we don’t have to work really hard to make money. While a wedding celebration is fun, it in no way makes us money. Answer to option #4: NO!

While I think we are incredibly fortunate to have this life, and I think we are better off than your average bear, we are in no position to spend $30,000 on a wedding celebration for ourselves or our kids. If you have that kind of cash lying around, with absolutely nothing else for it to do, go ahead. Celebrate big. Throw one hell of a party. But if you don’t. You are not alone. We don’t either. Most people don’t. Why bankrupt your future for a celebration?

How about this instead? Make a deal with your future spouse. In the next 25 years, you work to build your net worth to five million. On your 25th anniversary, when you are still blissfully married, you go big! Throw a crazy party! But don’t feel pressured into something you can’t afford. Set yourself up for success. With $30k just hanging out in your saving account, think of much better your sleep and sex will be!

What do you all think? $30k or bust? If there was no way to pull off a wedding celebration for less than $30,000, would you do it now?

Image via Unsplash


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