By now, you know that Rob and I are working to pay off $180,000 in student loan debt. You also know that we are in the midst up planning our upcoming wedding. Typically, those two items don’t mesh well. Either you are aggressively paying off debt, or you are spending a small fortune on a wedding. Right now, Rob and I are managing to do both of those things. Today, I’m happy to share how we are financially able to plan the wedding of our dreams while maintaining the integrity of our journey out of debt.
This story actually begin about seven years ago, when my brother and sister-in-law were planning their wedding. My parents helped pay for part of the event and one night, my Dad called me downstairs from my bedroom saying he wanted to talk (I was still living at home at the time). He explained that he and my mother had set aside a specific amount of money for my wedding. When the time came for me to get married, I could have the cash and use it however I wanted. If I desired to spend every penny of it on the wedding, I could. If I wanted to forgo a big wedding celebration and use the money toward a downpayment on a house, I could do that as well. It would be mine to spend as I chose at the time of my marriage. Back then, I wasn’t anywhere near being ready for marriage. But, it was a sweet conversation and I filed it away in my mind for a later time.
Fast forward to seven months ago, after Rob proposed, and we were in the midst of our Financial Peace University course. We had just begun to discuss a vision for our wedding and we worked out an aggressive plan for attacking Rob’s debt. Rob and I believe whole-heartedly in the importance of beginning our new life together on the right financial footing and we set a goal to have his entire debt paid off by July 1, 2015 (I’m actually hoping to drop the final payment in the mail the day after we are married). Once Rob and I had established a plan for quickly paying off the debt with our own resources, we decided that any financial help we receive from our parents could be spent on the wedding guilt-free. If circumstances were different, and Rob and I could not pay off his debt within a few months of the wedding, we would not have a traditional big wedding.
Instead, it would be a small ceremony with just our immediate family and a cozy, personal dinner afterward. Really. We are that serious about paying off the debt. I spend a lot of perusing Style Me Pretty (my favorite wedding blog) and I am convinced that weddings do not have to be big or expensive to be lovely. I adore the down-to-earth simplicity of this bride at her backyard wedding that was planned in only 3 weeks and the casual simplicity of this elopement. We are fortunate enough to plan a large wedding without delaying our debt payoff plan, but not all couples are as fortunate as us. And it’s ok. Small, intimate weddings can be just as beautiful (and a lot more budget-friendly).
Speaking of budgets; Rob and I have one of those for our wedding and, like all budgets, grandiose ideas must be sacrificed to stay within our spending limits. I plan to share my experiences as my Pinterest-inspired wedding fantasies faced the reality of our budget constraints. #thestruggleisreal