Recession Mama

{June 1, 2009}   You Should Elope…

By Katy

Recently, on Recession Mama’s facebook page (Yes!  We have one now!), a “fan” wrote this to me:

“$29K? Are you serious? You should elope.”

She also wrote:

“I still don’t understand, that in this economy, someone would shell out that kind of money just to get married. Your site is called Recession Mama… spending an exorbitant amount of money on frivolity just doesn’t seem appropriate, in my opinion. We have to stimulate the economy, yes, but we also have to make sure our needs are met and that our children are taken care of. I have so many friends who have lost their jobs in the past year. It’s incredibly sad to see them struggle. I have a friend in Boston who was a music industry executive. He now sells tour tickets for the trolley. Is there not a better way to spend wisely and save the rest? You, too, can be jobless. I had to let you know how I feel.. it’s been bugging me for a week.”

Here’s what I started to say:

I have had the same thoughts and this is why I wanted to write RM. If you’ve read my earlier blog posts, then you would know that I have struggled with whether I should have a wedding at all in this recession. But if you read my blog posts, you’ll also know that I’ve been really responsible with my money. I have been out of a job, many, many, many times. That’s why I have no debt (except for my mortgage), I have a year’s worth of expenses saved up (most people recommend 3-8 months…I actually have a year’s worth…, I have way more than a year’s worth). And I have postponed this wedding for more than a year now b/c I haven’t been able to justify spending the money.

Now, here’s where I’d like to explain further…

My fiance and I discussed this person’s opinion afterwards, and we really did not understand her calling our wedding “frivolity.”  Is the joining together of two lives frivolous?  We really do not think so.  Although I am really not a romantic and am usually quite cynical about marriage, I’ve definitely taken the idea of getting married to this one person extremely seriously.  We’ve discussed everything…from children to ambitions to finances.  We’ve even gone to pre-marital counseling together to make sure we’re thinking about what we need to think about and really know what we’re getting into.  So the thought of someone actually considering that the idea of getting married and having a wedding to show that union, as “frivolity”…well…let’s just agree to disagree on that one.

Believe me, I have definitely struggled with the idea of having a wedding in a recession.  My fiance and I have discussed what we could do with the money, if we weren’t planning a wedding.  After all, I am extremely practical, financially, and I have a dad who is proud to be called “cheap!”

I do love the idea of eloping.  But for me, eloping or having a wedding doesn’t have anything to do with money.  It’s about joining two people who truly love each other and want to spend the rest of their lives building something together (whatever that may be should be up to the couple).  Whether someone elopes or has a wedding…that’s a choice and shouldn’t be based on what other people want or think.  (Yes, I know some of us don’t even have that choice!)

But I disagree that I should not have a wedding just because we are in a recession and that other people are not working.  Recession Mama isn’t about being cheap, frugal, or hoarding your money in this recession.  It’s about being able to talk about our finances and share our thoughts about money, no matter what your circumstances are.  I know now why no one likes to talk about money.  It’s because some of us are so quick to judge someone else’s life without really knowing what their lives are like.  I knew I was going to get criticisms from people who didn’t know me when I decided to disclose how much a wedding truly costs in Southern California.  Most of the people I know who have had a wedding here would tell you that $30,000 is really on the cheap side for a decent wedding.  Also, I, too, spent some time not working this year, and if I had any debt…I wouldn’t even dream of having a $30,000 wedding.  But again, I have taken care of my needs.  I have also saved up for this wedding, and I will be paying for it in CASH.   I am not putting myself into debt for a wedding, and I am helping people who are working in the wedding business.  If everyone who had money just hoarded it in this recession, we would really be in trouble.  I never believed in the idea that you had to “settle.”  I am marrying the man of my dreams.  I have a job that many, many people dream of doing, and I work hard for my money so that I can also have the wedding of my dreams.


Lydia says:

Mean Old Aunt Lydia is glad you guys have saved up for the wedding. It’s your $$, it’s your wedding, do what you think is right. You’ll be employing lots of folks to do your wedding. They have to make a living, too. 🙂

Katy says:

Thanks, Lydia! And you don’t sound mean at all! 🙂

recessionmama says:

from Heather-

I don’t think you should feel bad about wanting to have a beautiful wedding. You’ve worked hard to pay for it. So you deserve it! Don’t let anyone make you feel guilty. Your wedding could be what keeps a caterer or florist in business. That saves jobs. It’s not frivolous at all.

Katy says:

We don’t feel guilty, but I definitely wanted to address any concerns other people may have. Thanks, Heather!

Claudia says:

I think it’s funny that people criticize spending money during a recession, (i.e. the Obamas and their “date nights”) because as you said, if we don’t spend, we can’t support businesses and that would make everything that much worse. Now whenever I go shopping, I say that I’m “stimulating the economy.” You really don’t have to justify your spending to anyone because it is your money after all, but it’s nice that you have established that you have a good amount of savings, are out of debt and have a serious plan for the future. You set a wonderful example for us all and I applaud you Katy! I want to be just like you when I grow up… uh, if that ever happens!

recessionmama says:

LOL…I have tried to be responsible with my money, only because I’ve had to. When you’re a freelancer, it’s very scary if there’s no savings cushion. And yeah, I really shouldn’t be justifying my spending to anyone. But I did want to address this person’s concerns regarding the idea of our $30K wedding being “frivolous” and that just because I am a contributor of Recession Mama, I should just elope and not have a nice wedding.

Carla says:

I cannot believe that someone would call a wedding frivous. That is so insulting and hurtful. And did that person expect you to give your hard earned savings to his or her friends who were laid off? RM is about talking opening about money, but insulting someone and attacking them with hurtful words is quite differnt. Katy, you have ALL of your ducks in a row, more so than anyone our age that I know…and if ANYone deserves to have the wedding of her dreams, it’s you, mama! People who can spend …who are and have been good with their money (um…not me!) should spend and like Heather said in a recent post, help those out who are working so that THEY can keep THEIR jobs. People who judge others people’s spending habits, in my experience, are jealous and judgemental…but mainly jealous. There is nothing trivial about a wedding, and certainly not YOURS, my sister! Love ya : )

Carla says:

Frivolous…where’s the spellcheck…?
; >

Carla says:

“talking openly”..ok, I’m going to sleep now.

Katy says:

Thanks, Carla! No wonder you’re my MOH! You’re so supportive. Love and miss you!!!

Stefanie says:

I’m so excited for you, Katy! Go out there and get hitched! It’s not about anyone else except you and your fiance. Be merry, love a lot and have no regrets about whether you spent $30K or $500K (ok maybe $500K is a little overkill for the normal person, but why the hell not??) 🙂

recessionmama says:

Thanks, Stefanie! Yeah for $500K…I would pay off my mortgage and start a business! LOL.

Angela says:

I like your response. It’s interesting what people say online as opposed to your face. And yeah there are a lot of people hurting out there. But not everyone is. Should we all suffer? No.

I hope you didn’t take my comment to be hurtful. I’ve always dreamed of a big wedding. Sometimes it’s in a palace in Austria. Other times it’s in a Buddhist temple in Tokyo. Right now I’d love to have it at the Japanese garden on top of the New Otani in Little Tokyo. Because I’m not the type, I’ve never priced any of it out and chances are I’ll wind up at a courthouse and then an American Embassy to fill out the forms.

I’ve been lucky in that I have a job, don’t think too much about whether I’ll be laid off, and continue to spend as I always have. I have a bad addiction to food and gadgets so I’m trying to stay away from any Apple/Mac news right now.

I do feel guilty at times for buying more food than I’ll eat and “know” I’ll probably wind up throwing it away. I do wonder about buying a new lense and wondering if the money might not be better spent on food for starving children in Africa.

The thing is though that it’s all relative. Some might think it’s a crime to buy a million dollar home when kids are starving. But that’s what homes go for along the coast in CA. I could probably buy 5 houses for that price in Alabama so just buy one and use the rest of the money to feed the children. But I don’t think I could live there and be happy. My mental and physical health are worth something too.

Marriage is a big thing. It’s so hard to find the right guy, when you do you should definitely celebrate. I hope you guys have a long life together and will some day be telling us about your 28th anniversary that’s coming up!

recessionmama says:

Hi Angela,
Thanks! Till death do us part! 🙂

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