Posted by: Alton Rocker | June 9, 2011

Weddings = $$$$$$

The Total Money Makeover

Join the drawing for this Best-Seller!!

Let’s face it.  As a man with three daughters I’ve had my share of experience with the cost of throwing a wedding.  To be honest, we are a very frugal family and our daughters are not extravagant so their requests were not a great burden.  Nonetheless, a wedding can be a serious financial commitment and if not carefully planned can put parents, and the “happy” couple, under monetary distress.

Let me first share a story.  A close friend had a daughter that had always dreamed of the perfect wedding.  His wife also believed that nothing was too good for their princess. So he borrowed (and mortgaged) to get the money needed to make his daughter and wife happy.  The wedding was an amazing event, bridesmaids and groomsmen filled the sanctuary.  Ice sculptures and centerpieces were breath-taking.  A fully catered reception dinner with band and open bar at a beautiful ski lodge overlooking the valley below.  All the best for daddy’s little girl.  But soon enough the party was over, the band went home, the bar closed and the bride and groom were on their way to an all expense paid honeymoon to remember.

Great story, now here’s the “rest of the story”.  Within two years the couple had filed for divorce, Dad was still paying for the wedding and Mom was on the verge of a nervous breakdown.  The moral?  The amount of money spent does not translate into the longevity of the relationship.  Too many times I’ve witnessed the “event” take precedence over the significance of the “commitments” being made.  A simple public ceremony in front of family and friends, where the couple fully understands the vows that are stated, is far more meaningful and lasting than an extravagant, lavish affair that can overshadow the reason for the event in the first place.

I’m not trying to sound “Grinch-like” and throw a wet blanket on a young girl’s dreams, (and many Moms).  It’s just that I have watched too many couples focus on the event instead of the relationship.  My advice is to slow down, take a look at what’s really important.  Is it really that important what shade the tablecloths are compared to the napkins?  Will it really matter 10 years from now if we went with the chicken instead of the prime rib?  Focus on the relationship, get some solid premarital counseling, pray together and don’t let the many distractions overshadow the meaning of the ceremony.

By the way, I would really like your feedback on this article.  Comments, suggestions, or opinions will be placed in a drawing for a copy of the best-seller, The Total Money-Makeover, by Dave Ramsey.  Keep those comments coming and you could be the one to get this great book.



  1. Boy, that hits the nail on the head. Hits a little close to home. De ja vu.

    • Hey Monte,

      Thanks for your feedback. You have been entered into the drawing for the Dave Ramsey book. What would you advise a parent to do when feeling pressured to break the bank for a wedding?

  2. Our wedding wasn’t over the top, and we didn’t have to go in to debt to pay for it but still I reflect back and think, gee I would have done things differently. Whenever my opinion is asked I always say “have a dessert only reception, or a light brunch, do your wedding on an off day, or have a destination wedding, rent your gown, and let your bridesmaids pick their own dress with a color guide line.” Spend a little more later on in your marriage to celebrate years of growing together!

    • Shara,

      Thanks for your experienced counsel. We appreciate your feedback. We hope to hear from other couples that may have a story about their wedding day expenses. Feel free to pass the word along to others you know. If we receive a lot of feedback we may push the drawing to two books.

  3. Whenever I have friends who are getting married, I share one insight with them… “I guarantee something is going to go wrong on your wedding day. The food or the pictures or the dress take your pick. But at the end of the day, you are still just as married and still just as in love and that is what is important.”

    Thanks Dave for this fantastic article, hopefully this will take some pressure off of many engaged couples (and their families) about their special day.

    • Jeff,

      Thanks for your feedback. It reminds me of my son’s wedding. Just before the bride’s walk down the aisle the group discovered that no one knew where the pillow was that held the wedding rings. There was a frantic search for about 5 minutes while the wedding march played over and over. The guests were starting to wonder what was going on, hoping the bride hadn’t changed her mind. It was finally found sitting on a stool right by the door to the sanctuary. Hiding in plain sight!

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