House or Honeymoon?


by Brandi Savitt – June 30, 2011

When Romance & Practicality Collide

In just a couple of short weeks, our dear friends Sam and Lila will say “I do” in front of their closest family members under the apple tree in Lila’s parent’s backyard.  Twenty relatives, NO friends, a simple dinner at the local steakhouse, and NO honeymoon.  Why?  Sam and Lila want to buy a condo in Brooklyn…

Starting Off on the Right Foot?

Some of their close friends were a bit stunned at first by their decision – and were  sad that they wouldn’t be able to celebrate with them on their special day.  But, you know, who could really blame them for wanting to start their married life off with a stronger financial foundation?!  They had always planned to have a big celebration and then go off on a romantic island vacation – seaside cabana and all…but things changed when Lila’s parents offered them a $20,000 cash gift to use towards their wedding OR buying a house!  Having already started a house fund of their own, all of a sudden their dream of home ownership could actually be an instant reality!

But what about the romance of a big celebratory ceremony, reception and honeymoon to commemorate your nuptials?  Is there something to all of that tradition that helps a marriage start off on the emotional right foot? If your marriage is (hopefully) a once in a lifetime event, isn’t your wedding the time to REALLY enjoy yourself and your loved ones if you can afford to do it up right?

What is Most Important to Both of You?

As we all know, the wedding industry is BIG business, and many brides (and grooms) want their special day to be as memorable as possible.  But what does that really mean?  The answer is: IT’S DIFFERENT FOR EVERYONE!  The KEY to starting your life off together on the right path is not a new house or a big party, it’s –COMMUNICATION!  Sit down with your partner and discuss what is most important to each of you when it comes to your actual wedding, your family’s expectations, and your financial future together.  Not only will your honesty bring you closer together, but really listening to each others desires and fears, and coming to a decision TOGETHER will set the precedent for the many difficult discussions that will come up throughout your married life.

Weigh the Pros & Cons

When it comes to budgeting and planning for your wedding, honeymoon and financial well being – literally start off by making a list.  It may sound silly, but weighing the pros and cons WILL help you both prioritize what is most important and bring perspective to your planning process.  Has it always been your dream to have your friends and family send you off with a bang, or go to Tuscany with the love of your life?  Or is starting to house hunt top of your list?  Remember, you only live once and life has a tendency to get in the way – so Carpe Diem!  Just remember -  NEVER should you, your parents, or anyone contributing to your wedding EVER go into debt as a result.  With the exception of a new affordable monthly mortgage – starting a marriage off in debt is a BAD BAD IDEA!

No Regrets Allowed

While many women say they wished they had eloped and used their wedding money to buy a home, many others feel that their wedding was the most precious and most memorable day of their lives.  Whatever you decide – try never to say “what if”!

For all you married ladies out there, what do you think?  Is a big wedding and honeymoon worth it?  Or is practicality the way to go? If you could do all over again – what would you do?!

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2 Responses to “House or Honeymoon?”

  1. stephanie says:

    My parents gave us a similar offer: spend x amount on the wedding or elope and buy a house….at the time we thought about it seriously, and went for the big wedding! Knowing my father, if he didnt have the chance to walk me down the aisle, and if my mother didn’t get to design the huge cake, they would have regret ever offering…We are so happy we chose the wedding….you can usually save more money, and there will be other houses, but you only (hopefully) get one wedding day!

  2. Gee says:

    We chose the house. My husband and I were young, we never wanted to rent, and we both didn’t have father’s in our lives. We grew up poor. We were paying for everything so we had a small wedding with just our closest family and friends and bought a big brand new house with most of our savings. This was a long time ago but, we certainly felt like we made the best move. Over the course of buying and selling we were able to sell that first home for double what we paid and were able to put a big down payment on the next brand new house. We are now in our early 40′s and will have our house paid off before we are 50. I feel like my wedding was perfect and I didn’t need to spend alot of money.

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