Saturday, 23 May 2009

a quandary

Now we all know weddings can be ridiculously expensive. With the Pound being so weak and the general economic downturn it means that everything in the UK is more costly than ever before. Then again I know this means that suppliers should be more willing to haggle. So there are deals to be had.

However, as a couple very early on in our careers we have modest (read no!) savings and little in the way of disposable income. We are currently renting our lovely flat in London, do not own a car (although having a car in London is by no means essential) and have no children. Basically our biggest commitment is rent and mobile phone bills.

So here is the quandary, my generous parents have offered us a serious amount of money as a gift for our wedding but have hinted that we may want to use it in the future as part of our mortgage deposit or something similar.

Actually, yesterday I met with a lovely friend who found the pressure from her parents and the general demands, that the wedding industry generally demands, far too tedious, rift making and ultimately disheartening. One minute she was trying to source the perfect laser cut butterflies for the tables and the next she was a Mrs. Does she regret anything? Yes – but only the 8 months it took to make the decision. Her wedding was perfect (for her), everyone ate like kings, drank like fishes, and most of all she got married in front of her loved ones and in these shoes!

Now we are both sensible people and our first instinct would be take the incredible offer of money and invest. Nothing high risk – although what isn’t in the current climate?

My parents eloped, have no physical mementos of their day but their memories and they are still together 30 years later. I do dream of a seriously simple day with a small registry office wedding, on the hip and trendy King’s Road – very close to where we live now, with just our parents, for the rest of our friends and family to meet us outside with confetti and a Routemaster bus with the Champagne flowing to take us to my parents house for a delicious decadent meal around one long table, without a tablecloth.

However, no sooner as this thought has crossed our minds we both have a far more powerful yearning to have our day to openly declare our love for each other in front of our loved ones. Again we both know this need not be a serious hoopla but we (well the boy maybe a little bit more) want to have something. Now what is that something? My other dream would be for us to hire a large private house with room for 40 people. Preferably somewhere it might snow in Scotland in November. We would all arrive on the Friday for an afternoon of decorating and reminiscing. We would marry on the Saturday in a Humanist ceremony in the morning, enjoy a decadent meal with wine a plenty. We would dance ‘til dawn with our friends and loved ones. There would be room for relaxing, karaoke and other frivolities. On the Sunday we would wake and cook a colossal brunch and giggle over the previous evening’s exploits until we had to leave. Perfect. Now we only need to find somewhere that allows us to cater, does not charge corkage and is pretty. Oh, and does not require the sale of some of our non-essential organs.

We also know we can always make more money. As my mother in law says “Sometimes it is worth living in the now” than planning for a future which may not even happen. But the nagging doubt in my mind is whether it is supremely selfish to spend a ridiculous sum of money on one event? On the other hand?! I could argue this for hours and still be no closer to knowing what I actually think.

We both have career paths which mean we will always be able to find work in some capacity. They are not recession proof but there will always be jobs particularly allied to law which will need well trained staff and hospitals regularly are in need of locum doctors. So for the next few years at least we would be able to survive. Another delightful quirk of medical training is that when deciding on the type of speciality you wish to pursue you have two choices. Either you choose the type of speciality you love or you choose the place in which you want to work. I only want to follow one path (and if I did not gain a training post in this speciality I would be “happy” to try another career) and this may require me to travel the length and breadth of the country for the next few years before I became a consultant. So it would be foolish to mortgage up in a city in which I may not stay. But on the other hand maybe we should make ourselves a nest in one city which we can call home. Oh gosh I have been rambling on - Help!

I would love to hear your stories and why your day was or will be perfect for you.

Enjoy the rest of your Bank Holiday or Memorial Day weekend.

Anna xxx


  1. this was a lovely read and totally relatable for me. i, too, am in the midst of planning my wedding and was faced with a similar dilemma. big fabulous wedding or a down payment on a house? for us, the decision was quite simple. i've learned that it's not at all the popular choice, but here goes... we opted for the wedding. my mister and i feel that we've learned a very valuable lesson from the current economic climate; there is no actual value to money. if you can buy a house for $500,000 and the next year it's only worth $350,000, then how can buying a house actually be justified? yes, the markets go up, but they come down again. there's no stability and it's all simply due to human nature. therefore, it will never change. i'm not sure how everything works out in england, but i know people who pay as much in property taxes as we do in rent. it's horrendous and nothing we want to be a part of. we've decided to be renters for life... unless we miraculously win the lottery and can buy a home in cash. no interest = maybe worth it. this decision makes almost everyone we know (especially our parents) extremely uneasy. but, it's the best decision for US. and now that we're eachother's new family, that's all that really matters.
    so, the wedding it is. there was definitely that part of me that wanted to keep it very simple, especially since i've never liked large crowds of people and i detest being the center of attention. but besides the day our children are born, this is going to be the most important day of our lives. we want to look back and remember how amazing and beautiful everything was and that everyone we love and loves us was there to witness it. i guess what i'm trying to say is that if you really want to settle down and buy some property, you can technically find a way to do it any time in your life. but, your wedding? well, that's just one day...

  2. Thank you so much for taking the time to write such a lovely comment. Thank you. It has really allowed me to appreciate that although it is only one day but that one day is special and needs to be celebrated. Whoop! The blog can live on! I do hope you visit again soon.

  3. I really enjoyed reading this too. My advice would be have the big wedding, it's important to celebrate the big moments in life and getting married's big. I also think it's important to have the people that you love around you. We talked about eloping but there were people I just couldn't bear to get married without.

    But, I would also say that it doesn't have to be as expensive as hooplas can sometimes be. (Obviously I don't know what your budget is so I'm just going on averages!) We had 40 guests and the wedding cost us about £3500 in total, including a week's pre-wedding honeymoon, which clearly isn't a *small* amount of money, but it is a lot less than the average. There are definitely ways to celebrate in style without spending a fortune!

  4. And thank you Peony. A hooplow it shall be. Fabulous but thrifty! Hmm I fear we shall not be wed in London. Which won't make me too sad. At least the boy grew up in Northumberland which offers us a whole realm of other possibilities! A winter wedding on the North East coast could make us all happy (well perhaps!).


So, I really love all the sweet and/or informative comments that you lovelies leave. Yet if you feel the need to be unnecessarily rude or offensive I will delete your comment and not feel bad about it. So just be constructive alright! Hugs to all you wondrous others.


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