Wedding or Marriage

A Wedding or A Marriage? Part 1

Here at the Traveling Wallet I am trying to talk about the journeys we go through in life, and one of the many stops people encounter is indeed the wedding. At 27 I’m at the age where everyone seems to be getting married or having babies. Seriously its every where.

But today I’d like to focus on marriage, lets start with a story. Maybe you’ve had a conversation like this lately maybe not but what’s the first thing to talk about when there is a proposal and therefore a marriage on the horizon. Well The ring of course… what follows is an actual conversation

Coworker ” I’m going to propose to Jenny*, how much did you spend on your wife’s ring?”

“I spent about $300 on it”

Coworker “Oh I’m not that cheap.”

“It’s actually exactly what she wanted.  Anyway, Will she still say yes if you gave her a ring from the candy machine?..ok ?then it shouldn’t matter?”

Doesn’t that exchange just paint the picture perfectly?

I think in this day and age we all need to sit down and ask ourselves this hard question. As a man, would she still say yes if I gave her a cereal box ring? and as a woman, Would I marry him if he gave me a vending machine ring? Really you are marrying the person not the ring. It seems to me the perfect test. I mean if the answer is no , why are you even getting married?

Wedding rings Roamer
The meaning of the wedding isn’t lost in the simplicity of the rings. They are after all a part of the whole. The goal is a happy and long marriage.

So I will be writing a series talking about ways to save on the wedding but we all need to remember it’s just the wedding not the marriage. Wedding vs. Marriage these are not mutually exclusive but we do have to recognize there is a difference and a rather important one at that.  When you realize that and remember it, it will be easy to cut and slash all the waste. 

Getting Married? Focus on what’s Important!

Save money on the wedding by focusing on the marriage.

Weddings have become big stage productions.  The wedding has become a show, a moment in your life to pretend you are royalty and to show everyone how amazing, fabulous and well off you are. God dammit this is the one day in your entire life that you deserve to be pampered and waited on. That is what a wedding is about, Right?


This might pain some people to hear but a wedding isn’t about showing off, you’ve already successfully found a mate. ( Who are you trying to impress? and why?)

A wedding really is just the door into the world of marriage, and what is a door really? Just a separation of one room from another. In this case from bachelorhood to married town.

Now think about that for a little longer.  How much time do you spend in a door way when walking from one room to another? A few seconds a minute maybe.. Is how fancy the door important? Not really, because in the great scheme of things you spend a negligible amount of time there. You spend your time in the rooms.

The same is true for the doorway to marriage. If you take the vow seriously you will be spending another  50-70 years with this person. That’s 24 hrs x 365 days x 50 yrs= 438,000 hrs and  a wedding takes what 6 hrs?  That is so small in comparison its not even .1% of the time you’ll spend together.  Yet there we are, most of us spend so much money and time for the wedding but not the same amount for the Marriage.

Now that we understand that a wedding is a doorway. Isn’t it just amazing and insane how people spend more time preparing for that 6 hrs celebrating then preparing for the 50 years after that day. So my advice lets all start preparing for a marriage not just a wedding. One of the biggest things neglected during wedding prep is having the difficult conversations before the I DO.

It’s been shown that the biggest tension between couples is indeed finances. Having an ostentatious wedding that caused you to get into debt is a sure way to start your marriage on the wrong foot.

So now that we know what a wedding is really for, saving should be easy. We can clearly look at each expense and acknowledge that  what we are adding is just to create a show, but won’t actually make the marriage any stronger. 

The Wedding Cost

During this little series I’m going to address some of the main culprits in a wedding. I’ll talk about

  1. The Location (where we get married?)
  2. The Dress
  3. The Guest list
  4. The Food
  5. The Pictures
  6. Decorations (including flowers and all the other knickknacks)
  7. The Engagement Ring.

I pretty much cover my feeling about the ring in this post. The conversation up top and the video down below really illustrate how I feel about the engagement ring. But just in case I think its completely unnecessary. But if you are going to buy one it needs to be one that you can afford. As in no monthly payments. A bigger engagement ring is not going to insure you a long marriage especially if it causes you to go into debt.

So ,here is a picture of what my numbers were for my wedding.

Wedding Cost for the Roamer
Our Wedding Costs, Itemized. HEY LOOK! I was able to save almost $800 from my budget.

We budgeted $5,000 and while that is still loads of money it is quite small when compared to the “Standard wedding” costing $25,000 or more.

Let’s finish this serious conversation on a light note. Think outside the box check out this college humor video.

I’ve been wanting to write wedding posts for a while because I really just don’t understand what is going on these days. Reading the following article really made think and pushed me to finish.

* name changed for privacy

Update: found this article about diamonds. Worth the read.

 If you had a big wedding was it worth it? What would you have done differently?

If you are getting married soon what are some of the costs your worried about?

10 thoughts on “A Wedding or A Marriage? Part 1”

  1. Our wedding was very inexpensive since we eloped while we were on vacation! (Total cost for that was ~$250 or so.) My rings were heirlooms from Mr PoP’s family, his ring was ~$300, and we spent another $800 or so catering a family and friends housewarming/belated wedding reception a few months later after we had a chance to settle in and fix up our new house a bit. The house we bought instead of having a big wedding – downpayment was about equivalent to what the average wedding costs.

    1. Wow! Mrs. PoP that is amazingly affordable!

      And I really love the idea of the heirloom ring. It must have been so much more relaxing to just host a family party at home.

      My in laws wanted more extended family to attend so they threw a party later. I didn’t include it in my numbers since I don’t even know how much it all cost.

  2. I’m so glad that there’s starting to be some push-back about the total absurdity of giant engagement rings and $$$ weddings.

    I always tell people, “would you still marry your significant other without any ring or any wedding?” It’s scary that some people hesitate before answering…

    1. You are completely right it is scary. The sad part is so many people don’t even realize it.
      Like the hesitation. That doesn’t throw up a red flag? Really?

  3. Mr. 1500 and I got married almost 13 years ago. We spent $5,000 on our wedding, too. We lived in Chicago, but got married in Madison, WI. We paid for 8 hotel rooms for our 17 guests, dinner at the hotel, the cake, my dress, his tux, the venue AND our honeymoon to Hawaii for a week.
    I don’t know how much he spent on my ring, but it is certainly not the biggest in my circle of friends. We spent $300 on each of our matching wedding bands.
    I watched most of my friends get married, and spend so much money and time setting up the wedding, only to have the marriage fall apart within 3 years. And every single friend said the same thing about their wedding day: “I woke up, then all of a sudden it was all over. I spent so much time planning, and everything went by in a blur.” I remember my wedding day, and everything that happened. SO glad I did it my way.

    1. Thanks for dropping by Mrs.1500
      That is a wonderful story. We are still early in our married years together. So I am excited to be in your position someday and be able to say we celebrated our 13th year anniversary. By then we should be retired!!

      and Wow! it sounds like your 5,000 went so much further! I do feel the wedding day does go by so fast but since we kept it low key I do remember most of it! I was very busy. one of my pointers is going to be to learn to delegate!

  4. Great post, and that video was awesome (what a fun idea for a series, too). But yeah, I didn’t know all that. The 2 months’ salary rule always seemed silly and random to me.
    Nicely done on your wedding costs, Roamer!

    1. Thanks for stopping by Kristin,

      Yeah I still need to finish the series. I think it’s great how people are starting to think more outside the box when it cones to weddings.

      Glad you enjoyed the video

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *