Why would you do this?

I was struck by this news item.

One in 9 couples planning to marry this year, or 225,000 engaged pairs, owe $3.7 billion in personal loans for canceled weddings during the pandemic, according to a new analysis from Loanry, an online personal lender. That works out to about $16,444 in outstanding balances on average for each couple.

“This last year will have been devastating for many couples,” said Ethan Taub, founder of Loanry, “especially for the percentage paying off loans for weddings that haven’t happened.”

The analysis considered five factors: the average number of weddings that take place each year, the percentage of those postponed this year, the number of personal loans taken out for weddings, the average cost and budget of a wedding, and the average loan amount for a wedding based on Loanry’s own data.

I can understand couples who want to have a nice wedding. Some like to have really grand weddings but the idea of taking out a huge loan for what is a one-day party is something I cannot wrap my mind around, because it means you will start married life with a huge debt burden hanging round. your neck.

It is one thing to take out a loan for college education because that is an investment that one can hope to recoup with higher income. But wedding expenses are not like that.

In Sri Lanka, wedding expenses were usually borne by the bride’s parents and there too there is the deplorable practice of families spending far more than they could afford just to keep up with the Joneses and to impress people.

In the US, I blame the wedding industry who have created the impression that a big fancy wedding is what everyone should aspire to. Celebrities feed into this mindset but they have the money to have a splashy party.


  1. Malcolm says

    Couldn’t agree more. My wife nd i had a lovely wedding where most things were done by fmily of friends keeping the cost low. Still the 2nd best day of my life (the first being when she said yes).

  2. kestrel says

    This is strange to me too. I’ve never had money to just throw around. I was always spending it on crazy things, like food.

    When the Partner and I got married we went to a Justice of the Peace and it cost roughly $50. But! Since no one knew about it, we were able to equally offend every single person by them not receiving an invitation. PRICELESS.

  3. sonofrojblake says

    Marriage means different things to different people. My stepsister had the big, expensive party she wanted. Her marriage lasted less than a year. These facts are not unconnected.

  4. says

    I’ve been to a few weddings and receptions in South Korea and Taiwan, and they’re just as ostentatious and wasteful as anything in Canada or the US. It’s all about showing how much they can throw away. That’s what the song “Gangnam Style” was about, conspicuous consumption and displays of wealth that you can’t really afford.

    The idea that you can’t have a good wedding and reception for less than $10,000 beggars belief. How much does it cost to rent a small hall for an evening and have a decent cake and meal for fifty to a hundred people?

  5. Holms says

    The same goes for the silly monies people spend on the wedding ring. Ditch the idea of spending three months’ income on a boring old diamond and get a semiprecious stone in his or her favourite colour/s; agate, opal, lapis, etc.

  6. rockwhisperer says

    Husband and I got married in a church ceremony (my mom insisted). There were seventeen people present, plus a neighborhood cat who wandered into the sanctuary. We had midmorning cake and punch on the church back lawn. This was back in 1980, and my mother was appalled at my choice of minimalist reception, but I had an ulterior motive: my parents couldn’t conceive of a proper wedding reception without alcohol, and the mere presence of it would have offended my in-laws. 11 am is too early to drink, at least as my parents conceived it.

    Mom still felt obligated to whine about the cost of the wedding, though if she’d planned it they would have spent much more. I think it might have simply been obligatory whining.

    Husband and I are still (reasonably happily) married. No longer a religious believer, I now figure it’s because a cat came to bless us.

    I’ve attended several very elaborate, expensive weddings over the years. A few of those folks are even still married.

  7. seachange says

    Why are Unitedstatians immune to deplorable practice? Is there no wedding industry in Sri Lanka?

    Here in California being married is a community property thing, and this includes the assets and the debt. I know my sisters are (at least one reason) still married in times of better and worse because the mortgage/car/other debt would be too much and the values of the owned shared things like the house and car and marriage are high, if only sticking with it is so far bearable. That is to say it is an investment in a better financial future to not have to live on the one income alone with incurred debts. I doubt very much that it was a deliberate double-dog-dare on part of anyone who incurs debt to marry, but it is a reality.

    Humans like to mark out life-changes, and we do it with our brains instead of our instincts. Our imperfect brains.

  8. TGAP Dad says

    My wife and I have been married 32 years, so I have occasionally been asked to opine on a couple’s wedding. My advice has always been that I’ve never met a married couple who wished they’d spent more on the wedding, but I’ve met plenty who wish they’d spent less. If any couple is committed to spending a pot of money, I suggest they get married in a small civil ceremony, and use the money for the honeymoon. That said, my own wedding was none of the above. We used a country club-like facility for the wedding and reception, which I could get cheaply as an employee of the company; the ceremony was officiated by the mayor of the city. We had about a hundred guests total, and no debt afterward.

  9. says

    Partner and I had a lovely wedding in a private garden, we used our network of friends to make it truly memorable for a minuscule cost. My mother made the wedding outfits. Thirty plus years later I still think it was a good idea. Had the VHS tape of the day digitized last year, it was hilarious to hear again the sheep bleating in the paddock behind us, all through the service.

  10. Katydid says

    I was maid-of-honor in seven weddings in one year, and knew I wanted no part of the wedding industrial industry when I got married.The whole thing just seemed so stupid and pointlessly expensive and you have to plan so far out and even so, you often can’t get your choice of reception hall on a date you need. When it was my turn to get married, we were staring out in our careers. He got a suit perfect to wear in the office or on interviews, and I got a skirt suit of the same quality. We went to the Justice of the Peace with two witnesses (friends of ours). A month before the JoP wedding, we went to our favorite restaurant and priced out what a no-holds-barred fancy dinner for 50 would cost--a fraction of what a reception hall would cost, and the food was actually good. We called all our friends and invited them to have dinner with us NOT mentioning the wedding, and when they all turned up at the restaurant, we sprung the surprise on them and told them dinner was our gift to them.

    The wedding rings, clothes, and dinner were paid off in three months. The fancy clothes lasted for more than a decade.

  11. Who Cares says

    Cheapest wedding I’ve been to was one of my sisters. Booked a time for when they offer free civil unions. No church (that did offend a few people on both sides of the tree), no party (that did offend some more people), half a day of in the morning for people to wish them well (which got them complaints that other people had to work).

    From that you can conclude that the money isn’t spent on/for the marrying couple but everyone from the family to friends to coworkers.

    The most lavish was my brothers, whole day ceremony, castle, cars, everything. But it didn’t get him a dime of debt since he is good at his job and gets compensated accordingly. Both him and his wife made it clear to me that that was the sole reason they’d gone that far, they could afford it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *