This probably won't come as a surprise to you, but weddings are expensive AF.
Even when people say, “Oh, we're just going to have a small wedding,” it still ends up being a butt ton of money. The average wedding in America costs between around $19,000 and $33,000, so around $26,450. Yeah. Do you know many people in their 20s with that much cash lying around?
If you want to have a big wedding, it's important to think about where the money will come from to fund it. Whether it's from family or saving up yourself, it's still a lot of dough for one special day.
I'm planning on eloping when the time comes. For me, it's about both saving money and avoiding family drama. I can't lie that the thought of avoiding the stress that comes with being the center of attention at a large event and the expenses involved is attractive to me.
People decide to elope for many different reasons. Be it financial, family, job-related or just because, the money that would have been spent on a wedding can be put towards some really awesome stuff.
If the average wedding costs $26,450, here are some big, important adult expenses that money could go towards instead:
1. A place to live happily ever after.
Weddings involve booking a venue for one night of magic. But why not use that money toward a down payment on a home or apartment for you and your betrothed?
Once you're married, you'll probably want to upgrade your living situation, anyway. I'd always rather put my money toward something that will last, or something necessary, like a home. Is a wedding 100 percent necessary? I don't know.
What I do know is that having enough to cover the costs of moving or getting a new place would definitely be less stressful than scrambling to plan and fund a giant wedding.
2. Investing for the future.
Getting hitched forces you to think about the future. Once you've decided you want to spend the rest of your life with someone, it's probably a good idea to tuck away money for, you know, the rest of said life.
Basically, putting up $26,450 now for a wedding means losing potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars for retirement you could have invested.
Investing early means having more to look forward to later when you're retired, and you'll have much less to stress about before getting to that point in life. If your retirement investments are covered, you can make that money work for you by investing to build wealth.
3. A college fund for your future kid.
Maybe this is too far in the future to think about, or you're not sure about having kids, but it can't hurt to put some money away for this expensive milestone.
Imagine being able to send your future kid to the school of their dreams without having to worry about loans because you and your spouse smartly saved thousands of dollars instead of throwing a big wedding. Even if you don't end up having kids, or your future children decide not to go to college, that money wasn't wasted and you can use it for something else down the line.
4. A really awesome vacation.
What if you could travel without having to consider your budget? By using the wedding money for a lavish vacation, the sky's the limit.
Not throwing a giant wedding means being able to splurge on the vacation of your dreams. Maybe you always wanted to travel with your new hubby or wife for months at a time. Maybe you've always dreamt of staying on your own private island or in a castle.
Instead of having the wedding you always wanted, use the money to take the vacations you never thought you'd be able to have with your partner.
5. A car.
Like weddings, cars are not cheap. Buying a car can be a stressful experience alone, especially if you don't the money you need for it. The less money you have toward buying a car, the bigger the loan you'll need to cover it. And the bigger the loan, the longer amount of time you'll be in debt.
Unlike weddings, debt isn't fun.
6. Continuing your education.
If you choose to elope, you can put the money aside to go back to school for another degree or just take classes on the side to develop skills. You could even take classes to explore different hobbies independently or with your partner.
Weddings teach us a lot about family, but you can't really put that experience on your resume. A wedding will probably not help you land a new job or a raise, but continuing your education can.
7. Put it towards redecorating and house construction.
Maybe you already have a great place to live, but the kitchen hasn't been redone since 1975. Post-elopement would be a great time to get your hands dirty on a new house project.
Or maybe you need extra cash for furniture and appliances, since you probably don't have a registry when you elope. Not throwing a wedding gives you the cash to do that.
You could also just save it for the inevitable home disaster, like a tree destroying your roof or a burst pipe. One day, one of those annoying things is going to happen, and you'll be happy you chose to elope when you can pay for it without getting in debt.
8. Give it to charity.
It's always important to give back. Instead of using the $26,450 to throw a wedding for yourself and feeding guests, you can always donate the money to those less fortunate.
9. Pay off debt.
This is the last time I'll mention debt. Especially for those tying the knot in their 20s, student debt is a reality they know all too well. No one wants to start their new lives in matrimony while trying to get out of debt. Choosing to use money that would go to a wedding and using it to pay off debt can help relieve a huge amount of stress.
When you get married, your spouse's' debt basically becomes your debt, too. It hurts your credit score, which affects your ability to get good rates when purchasing a home or a car, and is a huge burden in general.
When it comes to choosing between a magical wedding or freedom from debt, I'd always choose the latter.
10. Something you've always wanted that will last.
Maybe you already have a place to live, some money invested and no debt. Why not use some of the wedding money towards something you've always wanted that will last longer than a big ceremony, like a boat, pool, private island, second home or whatever else you can think of? Whatever it is, make it worthwhile.
A wedding day is one of the biggest life milestones a person can experience, but when it comes down to it, maybe skipping the big event to fund something that lasts longer and is more useful (like a house) would be a smarter move.
Eloping doesn't make your marriage any less special. Compared to having a wedding, eloping comes with a huge financial benefit that frees up cash for those big life expenses that usually come after the big day.