Wedding splurges and savers

It’s finally here: the big day you’ve always dreamed about your whole life, the day where you’ll gaze into your lover’s eyes and finally say “YES!” to a lifetime of joy, struggles, triumphs and … debt?

The wedding business is huge here in Utah, with a bride tying the knot approximately every 1.2 seconds (maybe not true, but probably not too far off). Traditionally, it’s the bride’s parents who pay for the lavish affair (or if your name is Kate Middleton, hundreds of thousands of English taxpayers).

So the question I’m asking all you married people is: Do you regret spending too much or not enough on your wedding?

I recently saw an episode of TLC’s “Say Yes to the Dress” where a particularly spoiled girl bought not one but two incredibly outrageously priced gowns for her ceremony and reception. Price tag: $50,000. At $25,000 each, that’s more than half my entire wedding, honeymoon and several months’ worth of rent and tuition put together. Yowzah.

“So what if my (fianc) has to get a second job washing dishes at night? If that’s what it takes, that’s what he’ll do! I kid, I kid,” she giggled nastily as her soon-to-be-husband suffered a minor heart attack at the register.

If this woman was willing to spend so much on just her dresses, which, of course, will only be worn for a few hours in one day, then who’s to say what financial distress will be awaiting this couple after the honeymoon’s over?

I know some people argue that because your wedding only does happen once upon a time (or perhaps more, considering the growing rate of divorce and second marriages) in your lifetime, then why shouldn’t you make it as absolutely special as possible?

Kim Kardashian certainly embraced this way of thinking for her 2011 wedding to NBA star Kris Humphries, maxing out, well, someone’s wallets at around $20 million. This TV royalty star had not two but three custom Vera Wang gowns for herself as well as outfitting her sisters and mom in the same designer’s dresses. (As crazy as that sounds, that was still only about a third of what the wedding cost for the real royals – Prince William and Kate Middleton!)

Most people in this entire world won’t ever make that much money in their lifetime. I think it’s safe to say that is a perhaps a little … excessive.

On the other hand, I’ve known people who absolutely refuse to spend hardly anything on their big day, arguing the exact same point with an opposite view: Because it is only one day, why would anyone spend big bucks that could be saved for a new house, car or very possibly a new family member in the near future?

I know of one girl who bragged to my husband at having spent only $1,000 on her entire wedding. I don’t know how that’s even possible. And a cousin of mine decided not to even spurge on a suit, let alone tux, and sported worn jeans and a button-up T-shirt for his wedding.

I probably fall somewhere in between these two extreme ways of thinking. It’s a big enough deal that deserves some money spent, but shouldn’t be all about the money. Obviously, it’s about the love which (have we forgotten?) cannot be bought, and the sacred joining of two people starting a new family, the most powerful unit on the planet. (P.S., rumors have already begun to circulate about Kim and Kris breaking up after only a few short weeks of marriage.)

How much do you think is too much – or not enough – to spend on a wedding? Do you regret the amount you spent?

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