A few months ago, I got into an interesting discussion with some friends who are getting married. When we started discussing the financial arrangements, they revealed that their parents would be footing over 90% of the bill and all they would have to pay for is the honeymoon. Intrigued by that admission, I told them my theory behind paying for weddings.
If you’re a big enough grown up to get married, then you should be a big enough grown up to pay for it.
As we grow from adolescents to adults, we throw off the shackles of our parents for more freedom and independence. Some of us go away to college, some of us move into our own apartments, while others continue living at home but enjoy the freedom of not having a curfew. That’s part of the journey to adulthood.
The journey doesn’t stop there. Eventually we get careers and fall in love and get married. (although, increasingly couples are choosing not to bother with the marriage thing) Once it comes time for the wedding, many couples turn back into adolescents, assuming their parents will bear the brunt of the cost. And that’s not right.
Nobody is forcing anyone to get married. And unless you’re super religious, nobody is going to judge you for just moving in together. It’s a choice made by two free willed adults. Which is why it should be solely the responsibility of those two adults to pay for it.
Financially speaking, a wedding is a giant waste of money. At their best, wedding are a largely meaningless ceremony which creates a false expectation of marriage being a magical union of heavenly bliss for a lifetime. At their worst you get bridezillas and people who get pissed off because their presents aren’t good enough.
The worst part about having parents pay for a wedding is the fact that there are people getting married without having their you know what together. While I believe any two consensual adults should have the right to get married, those two adults have no right to expect someone else to finance their life choices.
That’s what it comes down to for me, personal responsibility. If you’re an adult, it’s time to start acting like one. Adults deal with their own problems. Adults don’t do things unless they can afford them. And adults don’t expect their parents to pay for their life luxuries.
So folks, if you feel the need to get married, then you better start saving for it now. Imagine the pride parents would feel if their daughter told them “don’t worry about the money guys. Just show up.” Instead we get people like my friends, who are dependent on someone else’s finances to get married.