Nice day for a frugal wedding


Friends of mine who’ve been together for years have got engaged, which is very exciting. Congratulations! Especially as – as far as I know – they hadn’t really planned it before. He is divorced, and she is a modern career woman who’d never bothered about matrimony because she’s hardly a conventional type. After all, she had a Buffy the Vampire Slayer party for her 30thbirthday last year!

Yours truly went as a vampire while DJ went as a perverted ventriloquist dummy character who only featured in one episode! Before you get worried, she told us who we had to come as. I’m a bit concerned why they thought the sleazy dummy character suited DJ, but there you go!

DJ & I have been together nearly five and a half years and lived together for four. Friends of ours have met, married and had (two) children during that time. But he remains shy of the M word and can’t see the point of it all. Needless to say, my parental-types are scratching their heads/polishing their shotguns.

But my question is this – is marriage frugal? Apologies if this seems heartless but it has to be done! While it might all be very romantic, is there a financial case for matrimony?

Presumably there could be if you get divorced! At least if you’re the Heather Mills/Kevin Federline of the couple and require financial support, you could be laughing. Experts say it’s more likely assets will be divided equally between you if you’re married rather than living together. On the other hand, you’ve got the divorce costs to contend with (Mills claims to be in about £1.5m of debt from lawyer’s fees), not to mention the stress. And if you’re the Britney Spears/Paul McCartney party you’ll wish you’d just cohabited.

The average wedding costs almost £18k now(or 667 water butts!) and there are only a few financial benefits to getting hitched. And the government is considering giving cohabiting couples much the same legal rights as married couples anyway.

There are two big benefits to marriage, however, spouses are exempt from inheritance tax on their deceased spouse’s estate but an unmarried partner has to cough up. Plus a married couple can shift assets between them to make use of their individual capital gains tax allowances. However, IHT is only payable on an estate worth more than £300,000 anyway. Above that level the estate is taxed at  40 per cent. Ouch! Of course, the unmarried partner won’t get anything anyway unless their deceased partner has made a will leaving the estate to them.

So – and I think this is a depressing conclusion – I figure financially it’s probably only worth getting hitched if you have children – to ensure equal custody rights which unmarried fathers currently don’t get – or if your partner is minted. So until DJ or I becomes a millionaire, don’t expect to see a ring on my finger! I just hope I still have all my own teeth and hair by then…

I’m taking a frugal holiday next week so see you the following week. And thanks for all your helpful comments about cheaper ways of getting to Stansted and support for my frugal diet!.

Are weddings a waste of money? Or do you think marriage is a frugal winner in the long run?

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5 Responses to Nice day for a frugal wedding

  1. GRAEME says:

    I noted the comment on misuse of water.  During the summer we had the floods and the one decent water station packed in, so we were kindly provided with bottled water.  We swore not to waste water anymore, and yet a few months on, all is forgotten and I find myself washing a couple of cups, then discarding the water and starting all over an hour or so later.

  2. piper says:

    It\’s habitual isn\’t it?  We\’re just so used to throwing water away – we\’re conditioned to do so.  My plan of saving the washing up water and watering the plants kind of fell by the wayside over the last couple of days as it was raining so much!  I hope that when we get our water butt it\’ll be easier as we\’ll be able to store the water in there. 

  3. Sally Anne says:

    Just thought I\’d drop in a comment – i know the blog is pretty old (in blog terms anyhow!). My better half & I had been togeather just shy of 10 years when we decided to take the plunge – even the cat was complaining she wanted all surnames the same in her hovel!. I was gobsmacked at the cost of getting married in the UK, and as we were planning on honeymooning in the USA, we decided to detour to Vegas and get hitched there. Yes there was just the two of us, yes it was fantastic and yes I would do it this way if I had to do it all again. Cost of ceremony, flowers, DVD and photos $399!!! We just got our clothes here and toddled off so investigate alternative venues and you may save a bundle!

  4. piper says:

    Wow – what a brilliant idea.  After all, a wedding is about the two of you rather than anybody else. I hate the idea of having to throw this huge party that you probably just spend all the time worrying about and whether people will enjoy themselves when it\’s not about them anyway.  Did you family & friends kick up a fuss though?

  5. Emma says:

    My husbands niece recently got married and including the  honeymoon she (estimated) that it cost her and her husband over £22,000.  Wow, when my husband and I got married in 1999 it cost us £520.  (£450 for the photographer and album (we got him down by £200 by asking for an album with less pictures in it); £50 for the registry office; £20 for our outfits (my husbands suit came from a charity shop£5 and my dress was £3 from a charity shop which I dressed up with ribbons and cake decorations (sounds strange but is true – it looked lovely).  We asked everyone we knew not to buy us any presents but to contribute to the wedding (even though everyone (bless them) still bought us presents. Our families paid for the reception hall, buffet, disco, wedding cake, bouquet, car (my dad\’s Austin 8), hair (my husbands niece did it), wedding rings – I think that was it.  We couldn\’t afford to go on honeymoon (we couldn\’t afford the wedding) and still have never been on holiday but we love each other very much and now have a 3 year old boy.  We wouldn\’t have changed our wedding for the world, it was our families that made it special – not how much was spent!!!  My husbands niece and her husband will be paying for this wedding (so  they say) for the next 5 years – that\’s a long time to pay for one day!!!!!!

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