Get married at the chapel in flip-flops

That’s what this article (kind of) suggests.  The point is that if you saved money for the wedding and reception rather than splurging you would have hundreds of thousands of dollars saved in a few decades (if your investments did well).  It turns out the recession is forcing parents, rather than the bride and groom, to pay for more weddings.  Good news:  the cost of a wedding fell in 2009 from 2008.

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About Geoff B.

Geoff B graduated from Stanford University (class of 1985) and worked in journalism for several years until about 1992, when he took up his second career in telecommunications sales. He has held many callings in the Church, but his favorite calling is father and husband. Geoff is active in martial arts and loves hiking and skiing. Geoff has five children and lives in Colorado.

25 thoughts on “Get married at the chapel in flip-flops

  1. Great link! Loved this quote:

    “People who spend more aren’t more married at the end of it. The analysis I would really love to see would be one comparing the amount spent on the wedding and the likelihood of divorce.”

    Mormons aren’t exempt from focusing more on the reception than on the marriage. I’d like to see the church introduce mandatory premarriage counseling as a requirement for the temple recommend. Obviously, the counselors would need to be trained professionals who could guide couples to anticipate potential conflicts(, money, in-laws, resolving differences) and give pointers for dealing with the problems that will surely arise.

  2. I am glad to have spent tens of thousands on my wedding and do not regret it in the least. I was a 30-something first-time bride with a 40-year old first time husband. We had endured at least 100 cheap, slapdash weddings as guests while we were single and refused to torture our invited guests with stale hard mints, basketball hoop canopies, greedy gift tables, and metal folding chairs.

    We paid for our own reception– truly a celebration of our having found each other, dared for two years, and married at the right place and time. My gown alone was $8,000– a stunning hand-sewn couture number. We treated our guests to a five course meal, had an orchestra, band–the works! It was a miry we were happy to make for our friends and family who had supported us all those years.

  3. Btw, I would imagine my daughters are not going to want weddings with a reception at the chapel. Luckily, they are certain to be independently wealthy by the time they get married (at least based on the types of weddings they want).

  4. Mikayla, there’s a jack for every jill, and I’m glad you found yours. I would consider imitating your reception experience a friggin disaster.

  5. To each his own as far as a reception goes or a wedding.

    I read an article once about modern day weddings which said that we have these big over the top weddings because people are living like married people to begin with, and some how the big wedding signifies that change in your life that the wedding itself used to signal. I have to agree. Sometimes I watch wedding shows and roll my eyes its so ridiculous.

    I paid for my wedding, had it in the “cultural” hall at the church to save money. Our food was nice, the friends were great, and I feel good about not having spent a fortune on one day of my life.

    As for having a prenup counseling, I think that’s just one more thing for the bishop to have to do. What would be a better idea is if Mormons would get the notion out of their heads that you have to be married and popping out babies by the ripe old age of 25. We were married at 30 years old each. I struggled with my singlehood in my 20s, but it also provided experiences that I needed to have to make me who I am today. There is NOTHING wrong with being single and Mormon. I wish some of the “older” folks would get that and embrace single members instead of reminding them they are single. I still walk out of lessons on eternal marriage in church they bug me so much….

  6. I’m a big believer in weddings being low cost. It is about starting your life together. Who wants to celebrate starting a marriage by wasting tens of thousands of dollars? I don’t get it.
    I think it is sad that people live together nowadays because they can’t afford a wedding. Then maybe they do have a wedding (that their children attend) and waste money that is better spent on eliminating their credit card debt.
    I hope I am raising my children to realize that a wedding isn’t about $$.

  7. “As for having a prenup counseling, I think that’s just one more thing for the bishop to have to do.”

    Not true. In other churches, there are required “pre-Cana” (that’s the Catholic nomenclature) classes organized for multiple congregations. LDS social services would be a natural. It could be done at the stake level.

    My wedding dress was homemade and I wore it as a temple dress for 25 years or so. When I took my own daughter to the temple, I decided it was time for a new one.

  8. Mikayla, Considering the utter contempt you express for both your guests and your hosts, I would have regretted having anything to do with your wedding. A five-course meal is an insult to your guests if you think it is compensation for the shabby way you treated them.

  9. Hey, my in-laws insisted on a lavish reception, and paid a ton for it. I didn’t mind, since I couldn’t afford it and they insisted their daughter get the full treatment.

    Of course, they spent the next eleven years trying to convince their daughter to leave me because a good Mormon would take care of his family by earning the big bucks, instead of dragging them through graduate school.

    Looks like they finally succeeded. She’s taken the kids and moved back with her parents – and she’s been pretty explicit about it: She wants the money, and if I’m not going to make it, she’s going to get the courts to force me to pay it to her through alimony and child support (it’s a no fault divorce state, so there’s nothing I can do about it. Despite my student loans, I will pay alimony and child support. My lawyer told me that once she’s filed for divorce, the state doesn’t care if I starve to death or go into bankruptcy, as long as I pay the money). Her parents will cover the rest for her, since she’s doing their bidding now.

    So, in my case, a lavish reception was the first step toward the divorce.

  10. I’m sure your lawyer told you that your alimony and child support depends on your income. A married guy spends almost all his money supporting his kids. A divorced guy usually spends less. Perhaps you think it is unfair because you don’t have the option of living with your parents and she does. But that is not the fault of alimony and child support laws.

  11. jks –

    In the state she filed in, it really doesn’t depend on my income. Actually, I have no income, as I graduated and couldn’t get hired (another sign, according to her parents, that I am unrighteous. The Lord would have given me a six figure job if I was a good man – just like he did with her dad). I’ve been scraping together with part time jobs here and there, though. But the economy caused my particular field to have 50% fewer jobs this year. Most of the jobs I applied for canceled the search due to lack of funding.

    And no, I don’t mind paying child support. Alimony, I do have a problem with, but there’s nothing I can do about that. But my lawyer said that the state isn’t too concerned with whether or not the child support exceeds my income. So, I’m not sure what your point is, there.

    I don’t really want to make this thread about me, though. But too late, I guess. I shouldn’t have posted in the first place. I’ll just draw the wrath of the liberals who will declare divorce is always the man’s fault and no-fault divorce is the best thing to ever happen to marriages in the USA.

  12. Twiceuponatime, I will post another time on the evils of family law (believe me, I could fill a book on that subject), but this is probably not the time or place.

    Chin up, if she is leaving you as described and the in-laws are the type of people you describe, there are much better things for you in the future. Take it from me that second chances often turn out well.

  13. With the tiniest handful of exceptions, I don’t know anyone who didn’t have his or her wedding reception either at a church meetinghouse or in someone’s backyard.

    If someone can afford more, all the better, but that sort of thing is almost entirely foreign to my experience.

  14. It sounds as if many of you folks would, upon the Prodigal Son’s return, killed the fatted gerbil and feasted on that in celebration.

    You don’t have to spend $1,000,000, or even $20,000, but you can have a wonderful celebration (and why not? isn’t the marriage of your child something to celebrate?) without breaking the bank but without looking like Ebenezer Scrooge before his night with the ghosts.

    And the argument about every dollar spent on a wedding today reducing future savings? That’s true for every dollar spent on anything. So, why not cut useless expenditures by, say, not subscribing to the Wall Street Journal?

  15. @Naismith….I disagree about the prenup classes. Just another thing the Church should let and encourage families do. You would hope that parents would councel their children on this, not the church. I would never want some old geezer telling my kids what marriage “should be”. It’s simply not the Church’s responsibility. I stick by my assertion that LDS people get married too young have have kids too fast and that’s part of our problem.

    @Twiceuponatime I’m sorry to hear of your divorce. Just really sorry.

  16. JBA –

    I should have listened to one of my BYU professors. When I mentioned I was getting married, he said “are you getting pre-marital counseling?” and I said: “No. Did you?” And he replied: “Yes. Well, actually, I didn’t the first time.”

    If I ever get married again (or somehow save this marriage), counseling is going to be a requirement.

  17. @Twiceuponatime I would suggest go to counseling anyway. My brother and his former wife did counseling, and although it did her no good (she just couldn’t seem to give up her bottle a night vodka habit and lay off the speed), he tired to save his marriage and for that I admire him — he would go even when she refused or failed to appear. I would say, keep going to counseling though, even if you do end up getting divorced. My brother has failed to do this and I’ve seen some very ugly anger issues crop up in his personality. I wish he’d go back, and I hope one day he will.

    Know this too, you are not alone. Many LDS people have been divorced and this is nothing to be ashamed of. The great thing about life is we do get a second act and a second chance. And when and if you start to date again, give yourself space and time to root thru the trash out there (because there is trash in the singles scene), but set yourself standards about what kind of girl you will and will not date. My brother has a “no train wrecks” policy. If the girl is not 100% active and living the Gosepl he tells her have a nice life. I know this might sound harsh and come with bitter overtones, but he has saved himself so much grief by being totally honest with the girls he’s dated.

    Anyway, again sorry for your divorce.

  18. Naismith: “My wedding dress was homemade and I wore it as a temple dress for 25 years or so. When I took my own daughter to the temple, I decided it was time for a new one.”

    How haart-warming! Reading that made my day!

  19. I hear you Bookslinger.

    I’d rather by unhappily single than unhappily married, or divorced, any day. I’m learning to be happily single in spite of idiot (married) Mormons.

  20. JBA –

    thanks for the sympathy. I am getting some personal counselling. My wife says she doesn’t need any, since it’s all my fault. I do know I will get a second chance someday, but what worries me most is the kids. They won’t really get a second chance to have mommy and daddy together.

    My lawyer told me that in most states what she did could have been considered kidnapping (or “custodial interference”), but in her state it stayed just this side of legal.

    As to the last two comments – even with the divorce, marriage was totally worth it. The eleven years we had were pretty darn good. It’s just her parents finally got to her. I would rather have those eleven years, even with the pain of divorce, than to not have ever been married.

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