Culture Shock

I just had a conversation which left me in shock.

I’ve never discussed anything financial with co-workers. My assumption was that, while they probably weren’t extremely frugal, they were financially prudent. As I’ve learned – assumptions are usually wrong.

One of my co-workers is getting married and he mentioned that he was spending $20k on the honeymoon. I said something about that being a lot, and asked if he was spending the same amount on the wedding as the honeymoon, and he started laughing. I upped the estimate on the wedding to $50k and he still said it wasn’t enough – apparently the cost of the wedding will be $70k-$100k!

I was totally flabbergasted. A few other co-workers were also recently married, or planning weddings, and they said that it cost them something similar. Everyone agreed that the cost was insane, but apparently the women wanted something in that price range and the guys were willing to indulge them. The attitude seemed to be “We can’t imagine that we could find a woman who would want to spend less than this on a wedding.” Maybe my standards are too high… but I would rather not get married, than marry someone who is so financially shortsighted.

Now for comparison, you could buy a small/medium-sized house in the midwest for that price. Even if, say, the bride’s parents are willing to chip in on the wedding, devoting that much cash to creating a wonderful one-day memory is just total nonsense to me. You could take the cash and put it in a savings account and not have to worry about saving for your kid’s college. Instead, this guy said he was blowing his savings on the honeymoon/wedding. I don’t know whether this was just a joke or not, but it certainly seems possible. After all, you’re not likely to have a lot of savings if you’re spending money like that.

I haven’t really been to any weddings. But my parents were married in a backyard garden, with just a few close friends and family. The cake and everything was made in-family and I believe the wedding dress was bought either on clearance or used. So I would estimate the total cost to be between $100 and $200.

Obviously that’s an extreme. But to me, it is much less extreme than dropping $70k to create a single memorable experience.

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  1. i live in south africa and the situation is similar….then everyone wonders why the world is basically bankrupt and on the brink of financial collapse……ask them how much of that 100k is on credit………….how many trillions is the USA in defecit?………its going to collapse and your post is merely a symptom of the reason why………..

  2. I wonder how much was budgeted for fireworks?

  3. Olivia

     /  January 26, 2012

    Completely agree… the first time I got married, I bought a white 2 piece suit from a local department store, we paid the judge a “suggested” $75 donation and then we took everyone out to a local restaurant for dinner (about 10 people total). Someone had the foresight to bring a lovely cake for us. We opened presents at the table. Done. Our friends took pictures and they were good; my only regret was that I probably should have gone with a dress rather than a suit, and perhaps a professional photographer would have been nice.

    In our state (Colorado), you can actually legally marry YOURSELVES… I have these dreams of just the two of us going on a weekend hike to the Rockies to someplace gorgeous, signing the certificate up there ourselves, coming back to town, having some photos of the “engagement” variety except with us being married obviously, and then throwing a backyard potluck for our friends. You could even go back on the same hike on anniversaries for pennies.


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