Till debt do us part

Are you tempted to borrow money to have a special pre-nuptial shoot or a grand wedding reception? Don’t do it! You are putting your relationship at risk.

A scroll on your Facebook and Instagram feed will make you feel envious of that couple who had a photoshoot in a posh resort. You gasp in awe at another couple’s lavish wedding reception.  Created by a crew of artistic and tech-savvy kids, the mementos boast of almost Hollywood-caliber videos and photos. You sigh in envy.

And now it is your turn to tie the knot, and you feel the urge to follow the trend. You feel the pressure from your own family members and friends. “It’s just once in a lifetime.” “It is your way of showing your love for one another.” “You’re creating special memories.” You hear a lot of things and you also come up with all justifications, even if you know the truth very well. YOU CANNOT AFFORD IT.

Here is my advice. STICK TO YOUR BUDGET. By “budget”, we mean the money on hand—not the money you anticipate to earn in the months or years to come.

The wedding is just 1% of your marriage. Don’t go into financial misery because of this 1%.

Starting a marriage with debt is just so wrong. How are you creating nice memories on an interest-bearing loan? How can emptying your savings account be a proof of your love?

A wrong financial decision will have a lot of ripple effects.  Once you start a family, the expenditures are endless. You need to find a place to live in and equip it with the right furniture and appliances. Once the wife gets pregnant, there will be constant visits to the doctor. When the baby comes, expenses are tripled. Add to these other issues that always come up—like a parent needing medication or a typhoon damaging your roof.

What if you started with zero in your emergency fund? What if you are still paying the loans you incurred for that wedding reception? You will borrow more and more. And it will be harder and harder to get out of debt.

 Ask any marriage counselor. Money problems are a constant irritant in marriages. Many relationships have turned cold, if not bitter, because of constant financial issues.  You can avoid or minimize such irritants by proper handling of finances right at the onset.

Therefore, start your marriage right with a simple, well-budgeted wedding. There is no need for an extravagant pre-nuptial photoshoot.  With a little creativity— you, your partner and some friends can come up with a scaled down version of a shoot. Sure, the quality is not the same. So what? The success of your relationship does not depend on that.

A simple church or civil ceremony, followed by an understated reception, will do. There is no need for a couturier or a venue filled with roses. Nor is there a need for wedding souvenirs.  Again, your love for one another is not measured by how much the wedding bill is. If that were true, celebrity marriages would have lasted a lifetime. Memories are created on a daily basis— not just on the pre-nuptial shoot or on your wedding day. If you put a price tag on the quality of memories, then—you have no idea what true love is.

Have a realistic look at what kind of wedding you can afford, without emptying your savings account or needing to go to a loan-shark. Stop comparing yourself with other couples who have higher incomes or rich inheritance.

Again, the wedding is just 1% of your marriage but if you go overboard with your budget, it has the potential to affect your life and your marriage for many years.

A frugal, solemn wedding is a step in the right direction.

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