Should you have a big, extravagant wedding or use that money to invest in a down payment for your dream house? Weddings are beautiful celebrations of love and commitment, but they can also be incredibly expensive. With the average cost of a wedding in the United States surpassing $30,000, it’s crucial to consider the financial implications. On the other hand, getting a head start financially on your dream house is an excellent way to lay a strong financial foundation in your marriage. So, it poses the dilemma: what should you focus on first? We make the case for both below.
Making the Case for the Big Wedding
Having a big wedding has been some people’s dream since they were little. A big wedding is something some people have been planning since 2012 when Pinterest boards allowed you to make wedding boards. From the white gown to the gorgeous florals to the stained glass window church, you couldn’t dream going through life without experiencing these things. I mean, we only live once, right? Below, we make the case for having a big wedding over putting a down payment on a house.
- Celebrating your love
A big wedding allows you to celebrate your love with all your family and friends in a memorable way. It’s a grand gesture to show the world your love for one another. Maybe you’ll host it at a beautiful venue with extravagant flowers, food, and decor. Your love is worth it, right? Of course!
- Creating unforgettable memories
Your wedding day will be filled with unforgettable moments, from walking down the aisle to the first dance to the beautiful photos you’ll take. It’s a day to make cherished memories that will last a lifetime. “Remember when Uncle Tom got up on the table and danced with Grandma Sue to Cardi B?” I mean, c’mon it doesn’t get more memorable than that!
- An excuse to get family and friends together
When’s the last time you and all of your cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents got together? I mean, it’s so hard nowadays! Not to mention, you may want your extended family to meet your partner’s extended family. The best time to do that is at your wedding of course! A big wedding allows you to include all your loved ones in the celebration of your love, even ones you don’t talk to that often, creating a sense of togetherness and joy.
- Cultural and religious reasons
Some people may simply want to do a big wedding for cultural or religious reasons. For example, in Indian weddings, there are usually lots of extended families involved and lots of different rituals. Not completing the rituals for the wedding can be a big cultural no-no for many people of Indian descent. This goes for tons of cultures, including American culture! Especially in the South, having a big wedding is a really important part of someone’s life.
- You will make more money in your lifetime
Let’s face it, money comes and goes, but memories last a lifetime. And you only get married once (hopefully), so why not go big? There are some things in life that you can’t get back, and that’s your wedding, but you can always make more money.
Making the Case for the House Down Payment
We totally get it, you love your boo, but a house is a big deal. And, hey, just because you don’t have a huge wedding doesn’t mean you love each other any less, you’re just more interested in the future than the now. We make the case below for why you should put a down payment on a house instead of having a big wedding.
- Long-term investment
Putting a down payment on a house is a significant step towards securing your financial future. Purchasing real-estate is a long-term investment that can appreciate over time. For example, let’s say you buy a house for $400,000 in 2024. By 2030, that may appreciate to, say, around $600,000 (depending on the market, of course). You just made $200k! So, sure, you skipped the big wedding, but now you’re $200k richer and can buy your boo whatever they want for your anniversary.
- Financial stability = happier marriage
Owning a home can provide financial stability and a sense of security. For instance, you won’t need to worry about rising rent or the uncertainty of changing living situations. This can create an excellent foundation to start a marriage on. Marriages based on strong foundations may lead to happier marriages (i.e., less conflict over money).
- One day versus a lifetime
A big wedding is ultimately just one day. Having a house can last a lifetime! Even if it’s just a starter house, you’ll probably live there for quite a few years. Putting money into something that will last many years or possibly forever versus just one day may be a better financial decision.
- Creating memories in your home
Creating memories doesn’t just happen at your wedding, you know. You can also make memories that last a lifetime in your new home. Whether it’s painting the nursery together or gardening every Saturday morning, you can make your home where your marital memories begin.
- Having a small wedding can be romantic, too
Big weddings are great and all, but they’re not the only option! You can also have a small, intimate gathering to celebrate your love. Heck, having a courthouse wedding can even be chic and special if you do it the right way!
A Compromise for Both
In the end, whether you choose a big wedding or a down payment on a dream home comes down to your personal preferences. But, what if you don’t have to pick one or the other? What if compromise is possible? Perhaps you can have a smaller wedding while still allocating a significant portion of the budget to your house down payment. For example, let’s say you have a nest egg of about $30,000 that you want to spend on either a house or a wedding. Maybe you take $10,000 and spend it on a small wedding and then use the rest of the $20,000 to use for a down payment. It’s all about finding the right balance for your relationship and financial future.
Getting a Prenup to Get on the Same Page
Did you know that getting a prenup can help couples get on the same page? According to our HelloPrenup study, approximately 11% of couples look to a prenup to align expectations with their partner on financial and marital obligations. Whether that is about having children, budgeting, or spending, you can make sure to lay out your expectations of one another for the marriage and beyond. One of the things you can get on the same page about is having a big wedding or putting a down payment on a house together. Discussing this topic and putting it in writing can be a great way to make sure you are both aligned on your life and financial goals.
The Bottom Line
Remember, every couple’s situation is unique, and there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. If you are still struggling to come to a decision, it’s wise to consult with a financial advisor to help you make the best choice for your specific circumstances. Whether you decide to have the big wedding of your dreams, invest in a home, or a little bit of both, what truly matters is the love and commitment you share as you begin this beautiful journey together. Cheers to making decisions together and living happily ever after!
Nicole Sheehey is the Head of Legal Content at HelloPrenup, and an Illinois licensed attorney. She has a wealth of knowledge and experience when it comes to prenuptial agreements. Nicole has Juris Doctor from John Marshall Law School. She has a deep understanding of the legal and financial implications of prenuptial agreements, and enjoys writing and collaborating with other attorneys on the nuances of the law. Nicole is passionate about helping couples locate the information they need when it comes to prenuptial agreements. You can reach Nicole here: [email protected]