My Expensive Wedding Was Well Worth the Money

expensive wedding

When I was newly engaged, my father came to me with a proposition. He offered to pay for our wedding -- an affair that was quickly adding up to being in the high five figures -- or we could do something quiet and he'd give us the cash. We thought about it. And being 24, we made our decision quickly. A wedding it was.

In the ensuing 13 years since we had that discussion, my father has never failed to point out what a mistake that was: "I mean, that was a down payment on a house," he's fond of telling me. But to him I always say this: Nearly 12 years and 3 kids later, and I don't regret it for a second.

My dad is not alone in his disdain for weddings, though. Countless articles have been written about what a waste of time and money they are.

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Writer Lindsay Patton-Carson just penned another one -- an essay in which she confesses that she regrets having her wedding.

Sure, the day was great. It was fun and I was happy. But I was miserable for at least four months prior and a long time after. I spent thousands of dollars on one day. I could have put that money into a retirement fund, into a home, into a car, or many other practical things. I think back about that time in my life and I have nothing but negative feelings. I regret having a wedding because it scarred me emotionally, it made me an angry person for too long, and it wasted a lot of my money.

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For me, it wasn't that stressful. I guess that's the first thing that sets me apart from many brides. I knew things would go wrong (and they did) and I knew not everyone would have a blast (some didn't), but the day was really not about that. For me, it was about seeing all these people I love in one place and being with my new spouse. 

So while I did have a bridesmaid who complained about everything at our wedding and who refused to buy me a gift because "I've already spent too much" and then later tried to talk about me to my maid of honor/best friend, I really didn't care. She could get me a gift or not.

I was having the best time of my life.

Our bagpiper was too loud? So what. Our food wasn't perfect? Pshaw. The cameras weren't put on the tables as requested? Annoying, but we'll live.

For me, the best moments of the wedding came when all of our family and loved ones were together -- my dad's toast, my best friend's toast, my grandfathers' faces.

The next year, both my grandfathers would be dead within a month of one another. I was so grateful that they had been there, that they had known my husband, and that they had shared in those memories with us. Would I have rather had a house? Not for a second.

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Me and my grandfather on June 7, 2003

Two years later we bought our first house with money we'd saved together, and later we moved to a bigger house. We had our honeymoon and managed to spend a lot of money on travel in the years before we had kids. Would we have liked to have that money in cash? Sure. Who wouldn't? But when I thumb through our wedding album or show those photos to my children, I am so glad we did what we did.

"That was your great-grandfather," I recently told my daughter while she was looking at the album. The photo? A picture of me leaning over to give him a kiss after having given him a rose to thank him for all he did for me when I was a little girl.

We have so few moments in our lives where we all gather as a family. Weddings and funerals. That's pretty much it. We'll all get the latter, but don't we want the former as well?

Weddings need not cost $50,000 and oodles of stress, either. There are ways to do them on the cheap or to have the same feelings of love without the insanity of catering companies, flowers, dresses, and planners. There are eight million ways to get married.

I chose a more traditional, expensive route, it's true. But I wouldn't trade it. Those memories are worth every penny.

Do you regret spending on your wedding?

 

Image © iStock.com/amphotora

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