Get married...just do it on your own terms!

The top five reasons…as in these are just the top five and there are more!??!?!?!  Yes!  Turn off the “I want a fairy tale wedding switch,” suspend all thought of the multi-million dollar wedding marketing machine and listen up.  What you are about to read will save you money, time and give you back years of your life …because planning for a wedding will slowly suck out of your bones.  To be clear, this article is NOT advocating against marriage – just the socially accepted, draining, expensive, sometimes self-aggrandizing way of getting there - with a full blown, time consuming and overpriced wedding!

 Top Five Reasons

 1. Cost.  The average wedding in the United States costs $29,000.   If you were to take $29,000 today and invest it in a mutual fund that grew an average of 5% a year, you would have $47,763.27 in 10 years, $78,666.56 in 20 years and $129,564.58 in 30 years.  Not bad.

2. Time.  The average number of hours spent planning a wedding is 250. Of note, 250 hours = over a month and a half of work (based on a forty hour work week) and the time it would take to drive from the west coast to east coast - 7 times(!).  Or, you can pay a wedding planner to do it in about 150 hours.  A good wedding planner costs on average $3,262 for the event, or just over $20 an hour.  Ref #1 above.

3. Life Stress.  When planning a wedding, the rest of your life doesn’t stop - it gets busier.  You try to cram more of your regular work into fewer hours so you can plan the wedding.  All the while, you are planning for other post-wedding events, maybe a move or job change…the list goes on and on.  There are direct links between stress and poor concentration & memory, sleep difficulty, weight (gain or loss), heart related problems and anxiety/depression.  The road to happiness should not negatively affect your health!

4. Event Stress. Okay, so let’s say you have all the money and time in the world and life stress is not an issue.  Chances are if you are in this position, then the event stress will be even greater.  This is your attempt (and I chose that word wisely) to keep up with social and personal expectations.  Such as, pleasing the future mother-in-law, inviting all the right people, registering for the perfect gifts, pleasing bridesmaids (seriously, like there is a chance that would happen)…the list goes on and on.  Save yourself time, trouble and energy.  Elope!

5. It’s the 21st Century!  Make your wedding unique – travel, pick a beautiful spot and do it at sunrise/sunset, sky dive or find a famous person to marry you.   Anyone can do a normal wedding – a glass is a glass, a white dress is a white dress and no colors are unique…the whole world uses them – not unique!

Modified Top Five Reasons

If you think this idea is crazy and wonder what possessed woman wrote this (yes, this article was written by a woman), then at least follow these simple guidelines:

1. Be smart with your money - take a third or even half of what you planned to spend and invest it.

2. Be selfish with your time – don’t let wedding planning consume you, force yourself to do something completely unrelated once a week during your planning season.

3.  Recognize things you can control – and control them, stress about what you can’t control.

4.  You will not satisfy everyone – so don’t even try, it is your day, ref #2 – be selfish.

5. Make it memorable in a non-wedding way – break from the norm, make it unique, anyone can have a fairy tale wedding, give yours a twist.

Again, this article is NOT against getting married, just an extravagant wedding  – save your money, your time and your sanity and don’t let it consume you.  The end result is the same; you will be married to your best friend…and won’t be in debt, or the hospital!