We just came back from a lovely wedding of a close friend of ours this weekend. It was an out of town wedding with 2 nights in a hotel. It was loads of fun even if we did have a 4 month old! The wedding had me reflecting on our wedding that was just 6 years ago (or forever ago depending on who you ask). The thing about reflecting is the line of questioning that eventually pops up is “would you do anything differently?” Scott has touched on this previously; financial regret only happens when things don’t work out the way you want them to.
We are happily married so I don’t regret getting married but do I regret spending what we did?
In Canada the average wedding costs about $30,000 according to a 2015 poll of brides. This includes the engagement ring and the honeymoon. This poll also indicated that 75% of brides expected to go over their budget. It is possible to throw a wedding for much less than that. People do it all of the time. Personal finance is personal so what people do with their money is their choice. Whatever makes you happy and as long as it’s YOUR money (aka not debt) then go do it.
If we were to include our honeymoon in Germany and engagement ring we were above the average from the poll. And that was back in 2011. But here’s the thing. I don’t actually care. I rarely mourn money that is already spent. We paid for the wedding in cash all by ourselves so we don’t owe anything to anyone. As I mentioned the fact that we were able to live at home allowed us to save up money to pay for a wedding and house in the same year.
Other Uses For Money:
Could we have taken some or all of that money and applied it to our mortgage? Sure we could have. That might have saved us a couple of months or possibly a couple of years. We could have spent less on the wedding and more on the honeymoon. Yes again. We had a rocking time in Germany but I’m sure we could have done it up even more. Even still we could have invested all of it and gotten married at city hall.
But we didn’t. And it doesn’t matter.
We were together for a long time before we got married and we spoke in depth about the budget for our wedding at the time. We made a conscious decision to get married and spend what we did on the wedding. There was no fighting about money, how much we wanted to spend on some ridiculous thing or any other wedding drama that happens. We worked together to be in total agreement on what we wanted and were a united front when our families questioned decisions we were making.
Know what you want:
When you are making a huge financial decision understanding what you want is the most important step. I would have regretted not getting an engagement ring, throwing a big party for our friends and family and cutting back on gifts to our wedding party just to have my mortgage paid off 6 months sooner. I wanted a church wedding, a dress, and a honeymoon. With a little luck and hard work we were able to pay for it. I don’t even regret the fall out that happened with one person in my wedding party (who really shouldn’t have been there) because that toxic relationship is now over and it dragged on for too long anyway.
As I get older I’m trying not to get to a point where I’m regretting the things I didn’t do. I would much rather do something, have it not work out, reflect and learn instead of wondering “what if?”. I think that is a worse type of regret because you are always wondering how life would have been different if you did something and not learning from a mistake that was made.
So no, I don’t regret my expensive wedding.
If you are married or getting married do you regret any of your spending?