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Your Dream Wedding Doesn't Have To Be A Financial Nightmare

Oh, this is for your wedding? Excuse me while I add 500 percent to that invoice.

18/02/2017 6:27 AM AEDT | Updated 18/02/2017 6:27 AM AEDT
New Line Cinema
If there ever was an OTT wedding, this was it.

It's not uncommon for couples in Australia to take out loans to pay for that "dream wedding". To me, this is just absurd and to be honest, really bloody stupid.

Don't get me wrong, there are definitely things I've bought for my wedding that are somewhat unnecessary, and the pull of this multi-billion dollar industry is something even I succumbed to.

There are women out there who are preyed on like ivory poachers selling every goddamn bell and whistle that could earn them an extra buck for someone's big day. A monstrosity of sugar and flour? That will be $1500 thank you. I mean, hello! What is it about the female brain that has the ability to justify these exorbitant and outrageous costs for one day, yet when it comes to investing it's like "nup, not going there".

Like a drug addict relapsing, I found myself justifying every single frill.

Let's look at this logically, ladies -- we will spend hours scrolling through Google for the perfect seasonal flower that has been imported from South America because we couldn't possibly have anything local, and a gown without French lace is a consideration you're not willing to take, but researching shares, high-interest accounts, managed funds and comparing insurance is just annoying. How does that make any sense?

Getty Images/iStockphoto
How much is it really worth?

But when it came to my turn, my 'dream day', for a short moment I fell into the wedding trap and I fell hard! Like a drug addict relapsing, I found myself justifying every single frill.

It started at one of those over-the-top bridal shows in Brisbane. I went with a friend who had been planning her wedding since forever, and not one to shy away from a competition, I felt desperately behind on the appropriate bridal behaviour. She knew every flower, frill, cake type, paper gsm, chair name and ritual. I knew absolutely nothing and felt like a mere mortal in a planet of overzealous brides.

As soon as we walked into the convention hall I was thrown down the rabbit hole and landed on what felt like the trading floor at the New York Stock Exchange but way more dangerous. There were women screaming, shrieking and selling. Selling for their lives. These women were good. So good that I almost bought one of everything. By the end of our round trip across the bridal trading floor, I needed a sweat towel, huge glass of cold vino and quite possibly a lobotomy to forget the whole experience.

This is where my smart brain and possibly my stubborn nature kicked in and refused to be sold to; I refused to relapse into spontaneous and superfluous shopping. I felt liberated and pretty proud of myself for saying no to the wedding industry and all the over-spending that came with it. But what did this mean? Did this mean I didn't want a wedding? Was I a terrible bride?

Well not exactly, but it did help us to change a few things to reduce costs.

We scrapped an over-the-top wedding cake -- no one eats it and besides, I wasn't prepared to pay an extra $3 per head for someone to scribble coulee onto a plate. (Update: we paid $300 two weeks before our wedding to have a chocolate somethin' somethin'.)

anatols via Getty Images
Pretty. Pretty wasteful.

We reduced the guest list because inviting Aunty Mary's best friend's sister was an expensive outlay. We didn't want to meet anyone on our wedding day. Nope, sorry, not happening.

We delayed the traditional honeymoon by 12 months. Besides the fact that my partner's job isn't as flexible as others, we also wouldn't be able to afford a wedding AND holiday in one year, especially when we were bankrolling it all. Besides, the pressure to run off into the sunset or onto a plane straight after a wedding sounds like my worst nightmare. I mean, this woman has got to sleep.

We had no bon-bon thingys. I've never understood this and never will. It's one less thing to organise and by the time your guests are full of booze, they're not going to care about a little cute gift that you hand made for them. (That doesn't mean that I didn't steal three of your fig jams Cessie!)

Ditch the gift registry. For goodness sake, if any of my family are reading this, please don't buy us another cheeseboard or knife set. Instead we have set up a pseudo registry at www.notanothertoaster.com.

Sell your wedding dress. This is the big one and not for the faint-hearted, but there it is. In writing!

Before you go all lady-cray-cray on me, hear me out. Your wedding dress, like everything else at the wedding, is simply a thing or, more literally, a piece of material. Albeit a big and expensive piece. Women have a habit of finding emotional connections with material things. Now I'm not saying that you shouldn't do this, but merely suggesting you consider shifting your attachment to those things that actually resemble memories, such as the photos or video.

Getty Images/Caiaimage
Keep these moments, not the material.

For me, my attachment isn't going to be to a dress that would otherwise sit in a closet for 20 years only to be gawked at if I ever have a daughter. Let's be honest, she'd probably cut out the tiniest piece of lace and get rid of the rest and it's certainly not something that you can dress up or dress down, let alone wear again.

So ladies, free the dress! Create memories that last a lifetime and don't rely on material things to do that for you.

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