Within one week of meeting my husband, I knew I was going to marry him. Once I got him on board, we’ve been confident proponents of the old adage when you know, you know. We had a lot of the right things in common, but the easy favorite is our shared love of not wasting money.
So when a wedding was on the table, we just didn’t do one. We did the necessary paperwork and have been happily married for 8 years now, and we are still happy with our decision to boycott the big party.
The choice raised some judgmental relative’s eyebrows, but ultimately we didn’t have a wedding because we had other plans for our money.
Why didn’t we have a wedding
I’m a shameless believer in the law of attraction and a bunch of other mindset stuff. Because of that, I know money is not finite. There is plenty of it to go around and find it’s way into my bank account (and yours too! I know this. It is fact. 💵🔮😜).
So when I said we had “other plans for our money” I don’t believe we traded a wedding fund for some other stuff. There are a ton of reasons we didn’t have a wedding, and they aren’t all money related. These reasons made the cost of a typical wedding unjustifiable in my mind.
1. we were/are young
I didn’t want to do it just to do it. I imagined the wedding I’d like, and we were in the position to have a very watered down version of that. I’m talking DIY everything and dollar store substitutions. More power to those who are down with that but no thanks, I’ll wait.
People are getting married later now too, and that comes with a ton of perks. The older we are, the older our guests will be, and the more mature our gifts and their taste would be. Not to sound too nitpicky, but the cost of a wedding doesn’t stop with the couple. Wedding guests put up an average of $400-$1000 just to show up well-dressed. When we tied the knot, damn near all of our friends were broker than broke. We were basically babies at 22 and so were they.
I imagine their version of celebrating us would’ve been as unsophisticated as our centerpieces.
2. My personality couldn’t handle it
The decisions, the strict refund policies, the attention, the price tags 😵 all of that grossest me out.
I never thought of myself as type A, but Theres a couple circumstances when my neuroticism kicks in hard: when I’m planning an event and when I’m spending more than $50.
The thought of planning a wedding stresses me TF OUT. The thought of attending my wedding and having 50+ personal interactions in a 4-hour window makes my throat close up. I can easily imagine myself spending countless showers arguing with vendors in my head. Annnnd I’m exhausted. Next.
3. Our families are…. massive
I have a giant family that would overwhelm any guest list. Granted, not everyone needs to be on the guest list, but what are the deciding factors? I didn’t want to find out.
And since a typical cost per guest is easily $100 after food and all the things, I hate the idea of excluding friends because it “isn’t worth it”. Ouch. Everything just hurts when I try to imagine limiting my guest list to only the “essentials” for the biggest celebration of my adult life.
4. Our parents weren’t going to pay for it
Neither of our parental sets are comfortable enough to shell out much of anything for something like this. We realized real quick that gifted wedding expenses are common, but unlikely in our case.
If our parents had been ready, willing, or able to help us out with thousands of dollars (and minimal strings attached) then I probably would’ve gone for it by now.
5. Paying for it with credit was out of the question
I know plenty of people pay for their own wedding without help from parents, but I was still sitting on my student debt with virtually no “real” income.
When wedding talk comes up, well wishers must assume we want one of our own and insist we can make payments to make it happen.
No judgement to anyone who decides to charge wedding expenses, but I am not interested in making those payments and remembering my wedding with a monthly bill.
6. I was/am expecting it to be ruined by obnoxious family members
Considering we would’ve been paying for it ourselves and saving up or paying it off we’re the only options, the reality of my dad pulling out a sport-style air horn moment set in.
after all that planning and spending, I have full faith that someone would be a complete ass and ruin the type-A planner in me’s day.
7. I’d rather have: a big ring & a house
our wedding money was better served elsewhere 💁♀️
a wedding would be fun, sure, and beautiful memories would be made (drunk cousins included). But I don’t want to invest that kind of time and money into something so fleeting.
so instead we spent a pretty penny on a ring that I don’t want upgraded anytime soon 😜 and had enough cash leftover to buy a humble fixer upper (with a miniature mortgage).
the ring isn’t necessarily an investment for our future, but I look at it like I’m wearing my wedding on my hand. Every day. And the house was a good investment. We have a super small monthly obligation and I’ve been able to make shameless improvements and rip it apart as I see fit! It even helped me find a new hobby (who knew I’d love decks so much?!).
8. We were ready to start our life together
You don’t always have to be married to start a life together, but we did. He was active duty military and stationed overseas. The easiest way for us to move in together and get the show on the road was to legally tie the knot.
The only thing standing between us was Uncle Sam and our single status.
At the time we were married, he was 5 months away from a 9 month deployment to the middle east. Needless to say, I was not interested in waiting for that to end and a wedding to go down before we could make arrangements. It would’ve been at least two years before we could even begin the very long process of getting me vetted to move with him as a dependent.
What can I say? We were determined.
what we did instead of a wedding
Even the least traditional weddings require the marriage certificate to be signed in the presence of a witness or two at a courthouse somewhere. But with his military status he couldn’t “just run home” to get the job done.
As you can imagine, this is not uncommon for military families.
With the proper paperwork (power of attorney, copies of birth certificates, payment, etc) you can be married by proxy which means one or both of you don’t even need to be there. Kinda shady, but that’s what we did.
We went through proxymarriage.com and they hooked us up. Literally. Neither of us attended our legal wedding and the marriage certificate was signed by strangers on our behalf.
How necessary is a wedding, anyway?
It’s not. Like, not even a little bit. I guess it’s important for religious reasons, but the vows and the priest/pastor/officiant do not require a giant party. We aren’t religious, so a wedding is just the formal celebration of a marriage to me. My husband and I have been successfully AND happily married without ever having a wedding of any form.
A wedding doesn’t make a marriage. A wedding gives you a good excuse to spend a ton of money and pray for good pictures & decent weather.
Don’t get me wrong, they can be great for getting distant relatives together and capturing timeless memories. But a wedding is not required for a happy life with your significant other, and it’s not a promise of one either.
will I regret not having a wedding?
This is highly personal. I’ve gotten this question a handful of times.
My answer is an easy no.
I do not regret opting out of a wedding. The ONLY thing I wish I had were some good pictures of me in a white dress, but there’s always time for that. I fully intend to fork over a pretty penny for some decent pictures one of these days, but there is no “wedding requirement” for me to wear a white dress.
We are expecting to celebrate our marriage one day (call it a wedding if you want), and we are so excited to have our kids there. I remember looking at pictures of my parents wedding and being upset that I wasn’t there! Crazy kid stuff, but the thought of celebrating with them just makes me happy.
I don’t see anything wrong with having the celebration whenever. People delay their honeymoons, why not delay the wedding?
Eloping is awesome & I totally recommend it
Skipping our wedding and virtually eloping wasn’t an easy decision at first glance, but after carefully considering the pros and cons I am more than happy with our decision. People ask me about it often and I can honestly tell them I recommend it if they’re considering the option.
Because we eloped, we were able to start our life together sooner and I am forever happy about that. We’ve since purchased and renovated a home (with plans for more!), we’ve taken a handful of awesome honeymoons, we’ve had a couple babies.
We didn’t: Spend too much money or take on unnecessary debt or sacrifice what I like for what I can afford.
I was featured on RocketMortgage! Read more about saving money on a wedding here: