Within about 60 days of each other, we bought a condo and got married. When I told people these two items, their reactions ranged from active discouragement to frantic worry. No one thought it was a good idea, not even my then-fiance, although he supported me and said we should go for it if I wanted to. But now that the wedding is over and we’re adjusting to our new place, making the changes we need, the same people are proclaiming that it was a great idea. How nice to take care of both at the same time, now you two can begin your life together! Of course, our lives have been together for quite some time, but I agree. We’re not recently married and in the pain of real estate buying as first-timers. And we’re not first time owners trying to save enough for a big wedding that’s coming up. It’s done. The “wedding spending wormhole” as I like to refer to it, has closed in our universe and migrated to another unsuspecting couple who can start shelling out cash for food, beverages, invitations and all that stuff I am still in relief to be done with.
Weddings are a popular topic for personal finance bloggers, with lots of us on our 20s and 30s and either have had a wedding, plan to have one, or plan to have none at all or something small to forego spending thousands on a single day. If we’re not having the wedding, we’re invited to weddings, so we’re all familiar with the expenditures surrounding a wedding. In our case, it was a big deal but it also wasn’t a big deal. I didn’t have guilt about spending too much or too little, and I didn’t do it to please anyone else. We had our own reasons for having our wedding and I am happy we did it. Strangers, family, friends and popular culture all have their opinions on weddings, but that shouldn’t be the end-all reason for why your wedding is the way it is. Make it personal and memorable and all the “10 Reasons Your Wedding is Lame” posts in the world won’t change your mind. Going small and intimate? Enjoy. Doing larger-than-life and hiring Martha Stewart as your wedding planner? Go all out! It’s fun to see people’s personalities in their wedding, it’s a step away from our everyday interactions and a way to mark a moment in time. We want to be conscious and aware of each moment in our lives, but most of us are not. Weddings remind people of the ones they love and what the value in their own relationships and marriages. We had a couple who attended our wedding get engaged immediately after, thanks in small part to the “super romantic” weekend they had at our wedding (her words!) and that has given me so much joy. I’ve already sent her my budget spreadsheets.
And I stumbled upon our condo a few months before the wedding. I wanted to hesitate. But I also knew that it was within reach, something that I had been trying to figure out for years. Did I wait and hope for another unit a few months after the wedding? What for? We had the down payment, it was in the right location, most units in the same price range were depressing and dark. This had light. Windows! A skylight! Other financially compelling reasons! So yes, there were some sleepless nights as I wondered how we would pay for it all in the past few months, but today, I am excited about what’s next.