Singing the wedding bill blues

By 23:11

A number of my friends got married over the years. When I spoke with them they were all full of excitement as their faces lit up to talk about planning the best day of their lives. Now that I’m getting married, people are asking me about the wedding and my face darkens and I have the grumpy cat look going on. With brutal honesty, I tell everyone exactly what’s happening. And you know what; it’s not all sunshine and roses.

I am lucky. I don’t have overbearing parents or in-laws demanding things or loudly giving their opinions. I generally do what I want to do within certain constraints. I’m luckier than most brides. My biggest problem about the whole wedding thing was the cost. Weddings are not cheap and although my inner princess wants a fairytale wedding, my outer independent-woman is like, “Woah Sunshine. What about your other ambitions that your money needs to buy?” So now I’m trying to balance the finances for a wedding, a honeymoon and a house.

Of course, if I wasn’t at the getting-marriage stage, I wouldn’t have to throw away money on a wedding, my apartment would still be sufficient and my holiday would be cheaper. Basically, I’d be winning financially and splurging on myself.

Whenever I talk about the cost of a wedding, people help by telling me to go all cheapo. But I don’t want a wedding I can afford. I want to be able to afford the wedding of my dreams.

Everyone talks about this once-in-a-lifetime wedding day experience. It got me thinking that my honeymoon is also a once in a lifetime experience. If I had to choose between the two, I’d pick the honeymoon. It’s where you’re away from everyone and just enjoying each other’s company. It’s a magical and special start to your married life in the perfect honeymoon destination you’ve been dreaming of for years. My dreams are all about the Maldives.

I noticed my conversations about the future have started to involve kids. Within 6 months, I’ve gone from wanting to live in an apartment that I own to wanting a big fancy house.

No wonder I’ve been depressed about wedding finances! Every time I think about the budget, I have to wonder whether I can also afford my fairy tale wedding, dream honeymoon and my grown up home. And the last thing I want to do is be in debt after getting married.

So I decided to logically think about the finances properly. I started a detailed wedding budget based on figures from my friends’ weddings. Please include everything – costs of all functions, outfits, honeymoon, etc. You want to know what the total budgeted amount is without the surprises. The fiancé and I were quite depressed after this exercise so give yourself a bit of time getting used to how much your weddings is going to cost. If money is scarce and important to you, like it is for me, you’ll never get over what a waste of money this whole thing is.

Wooo-saaa. Let’s get rid of that bit of negativity at the end there and get back on track. About a month later, I actually sat down with the fiancé and discussed our finances at a high level. You can go into detail if you want but it’s like slitting your wrists. When you focus on how much you spend and your inadequate savings skills, you’ll soon want to cut down on everything you think you spend too much money on, only fuelling the depression further.

We discussed how much savings we have at the moment, added in how much we expect to save every month until the wedding, added in any bonuses we (read: I) expect until the wedding and then deducted any big expenses we (read: the fiancé’s second masters degree) expect. We then compared that total to the cost of the wedding and we realised that we can actually afford the wedding and honeymoon. The house just needs to wait a while.

I’m still not getting everything I want this year but at least I know that I’m not going into debt because of this. The finance depression does get easier. Staring at the budget means that costs aren’t a big surprise – just a big amount. It feels good knowing that by the time my wedding comes, we will be able to pay for the whole thing. It’s still a horrible feeling whenever I have to give my money away and I still try to cut down on wedding costs.

It’s for everything that I want to do with my hard-earned moola that I imagine I will still be singing the wedding bill blues until well after the wedding is over. It will be a year of wanting what I can’t afford and settling for what I can. It’s be a year of mood swings from excitement to sadness. I know my friends hate it but I probably won’t be the radiant bride thrilled about everything within the wedding process. All I know is that once I’m married, all this will be worth it.

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  1. You can have all the things you want. Work harder, earn more money.

    1. The "work harder, earn more money" phrase is a great fallacy in thinking. One day I will write about it.

  2. the only couples who don't stress about wedding finances are the ones who are lucky enough to have it covered by their parents.