Wedding expectations v’s reality… Is it just me or is everybody trying to outdo each other these days? Its like life has become a competition, the race to prove who has it all. There isn’t a day that goes by were a tragedy isn’t occurring somewhere in the world – migrants dying in a sandstorm in Algeria, flash flooding killing families in Pakistan or a gunman killing young students in a school in the U.S. But for some reason, and despite the fact that many Australians are trying to make ends meet with inflated food, utility prices and the costs associated with purchasing property, some of us want to be seen to have it all.
Weddings are no different. When my parents got married it was a small affair in a Catholic church in Benalla. Surrounded by family and close friends they celebrated their union at my grandfathers home with those that mattered most. When my sister got married in 2009, she had a small garden wedding in Montville, Queensland, followed by an intimate reception at a local restaurant. A handful of family and friends to celebrate there long awaited union.
Today, it absolutely blows my mind to hear of weddings were the bride and groom request a 5 course meal and a crazy bar tab that would leave Richard Branson shaking his head. Or the bride who paid a ridiculous amount of money on her wedding dress because it had to look like Rebecca Judd’s 2010 flamboyant masterpiece. Now don’t get me wrong, if you can afford it, then I think thats wonderful. The problem is that most of the people I hear planning there memorable weddings simply can’t!
I was sitting in a cafe in Caulfield recently next to four women in their late 20’s who had met for lunch. All dressed immaculately, designer totes tucked under the table I took a guess and thought they had to be successful young business women. Good for them, they were out together enjoying a glass of bubbly and snazzy atmosphere. Then I heard the drama, and let me add, they were not quiet about it….a result of one to many glasses of bubbly perhaps. The only dark haired girl on the table revealed in a spurt of frustration that she was having a difficult time obtaining a venue to celebrate her nuptials. Spring time in Melbourne’s South East suburbs is a busy time for wedding’s. It is also common knowledge within hospitality circles that the mention of a wedding reception can mean kaching kaching $$$.
Now it was at this point my initial analysis of these women being smart savvy businesswomen went out the window. Instead of finding an establishment that was more suitable to her budget, or trying to use her education and business skills to renegotiate the initial estimate provided by the venue, the bride simply complained about having to find the extra money. Her friend sitting to her right came up with a brilliant suggestion – ask guests to contribute! Thank goodness I had finished eating my focaccia, coughing up a chunk of tomato was not a good look 🙂
I remember my father telling me “JulieAnn, if you can’t afford it, then you can’t get it!” It was as simple as that! You work and you pay your bills. You budget money towards utilities, some fun and you put the rest away for a rainy day. If you want a pair of Diana Ferrari boots and you don’t have enough money, then you will have to wait until you can afford them. My father always gave me good advice, but it seems there are many young women who simply never got that kind of advice or chose to ignore it.
In Australia credit card debt is relatively common, the amount owed tends to be small in comparison with other forms of household debt. In real terms (i.e. in 2011-12 dollars), the average amount of credit card debt owed by households who had net credit card debt was around $4,300 in 2003-2004, $4,900 in 2005-2006, and $5,300 in both 2009-2010 and 2011-2012. People are just not listening or getting good advice….or they simply have no patience and want it all now!
According to the Australian Securities and Investment Commission, the average Australian wedding costs $36,000.00 Your Mortgage advises that on a home purchase of $400,000, where the bank would allow you to borrow up to 95%, you would need a cash deposit of $20,000. If you are looking at a property valued at $800,000, you would need $40,000. And for many Australians, it’s not their savings account thats funding there dream nuptials. 78% of Money Smart readers admitted they funded there vows via a loan or through their credit cards! Hmmmm….time that Ms Business Savvy learned how to negotiate!
Everyone wants their dream wedding… I can honestly relate to that. You see a dress that you absolutely love, that you picture yourself wearing while you walk down the isle toward the love of your life. You picture gorgeous fragrant flowers atop tables throughout your reception, scented candles perhaps and a fabulous band who can perform Maroon 5’s biggest hits. Three, Four…no maybe five bridesmaids, all your closest friends from childhood. Your future hubby wants a bucks night to remember, air fare tickets for him and his mates and a quick overnight trip to the Gold Coast. You would like to arrive on the back of a camel? Have 100 butterflies released as you leave the church?
Try not to get caught up in The Bachelor hype, its not about having the biggest or the best. It is about what you can afford, working within your budget to create something intimate and wonderful. I have been to a lot of weddings, and the best weddings were the ones that were done on a shoestring budget, were the bride and groom aimed for a fun celebration. Remember, it’s not just about impressing your friends, or having “the best”. It should be about joining in matrimony and starting a new path with one of the most important people in your life. Its about love, commitment and a good healthy dose of romance.
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