I have to say, I was overwhelmed with joy when I read about the low key affair that Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan put together this weekend. Everyone knows I love weddings and celebrating happy occasions, but some of the costs for these things have totally gone out of control! Back in 1997, when I was planning my wedding, I have to say it was a very tense time. All I wanted to do was elope– go somewhere fun, exchange my vows with my husband– simple no fuss, no frills. Unfortunately, the groom did not share in this vision– he, being an only child, did not want to rob his family of the wedding celebration.
Arguments over such minor things like the price of flowers, transportation for guests, menu choices, etc. ensued, and it is a miracle that we survived that year. Seven years later when we split, we had nothing to show from the actual party, and I couldn’t care less about the wedding gifts. What did I care about the most? My son, and the pictures from all our wonderful trips, including our honeymoon in Hawaii. I think that says it all.
Some of my friends joke that my new status is “in-between husbands.” I have no idea if that day of exchanging vows will ever happen again, but there is one thing I know for sure– there is no way I am going to spend anywhere close to $27,000 (the average cost of a wedding in the U.S.). That same amount of money could buy a decent car, be a down-payment to a house, maybe even a year’s tuition for a child at a state school.
Whenever (if ever) I tie the knot again, I am opting out of all the pomp and circumstance that goes along with a traditional wedding. Hopefully, Mr. Right will understand and agree that a huge party is unnecessary to honor your commitment to become life-long partners, what really matters is actually putting in the day-to-day effort required to keep it all together. While one can never predict what will make a marriage work or not, I’ve got to admit that lots of my clients fight over money and have fundamentally different views on savings versus spending. Maintaining a marriage is expensive- homes, cars, trips, kids, it all adds up. Save your money for that, not some party that few will ever remember.
Hopefully, Mark and Priscilla will set off a new trend, so people with far less fortunes will think twice before spending money frivilously. I truly wish the newly weds all the best, and I admire their remarkable courage in bucking tradition, standing firm as a couple and not caving into external pressures or expectations. External threats to a marriage are always there– it is those that maintain a united front (and are careful with money) that succeed.