Living with credit

Young British couple has ‘credit crunch wedding’

Emily Crone

In today’s sluggish economy, planning a costly dream wedding is enough to throw young people into major debt (unless the bill is conveniently footed by the proud parents). One British couple is having a “credit crunch wedding” in order to save costs and avoid going to debt just to get married, the Daily Mail reports.

Christopher May, 21, and Odette Fenwick,19, are the parents of a 5-month-old daughter and knew that spending a fortune on their special day was out of the question. The duo planned a wedding for this month that will cost just under £500, or roughly $1,000 (at today’s exchange rate, one dollar equals £.53). To put that in context, You and Your Wedding Magazine did a survey of 1,500 brides and found that the average wedding in the United Kingdom costs £20,273, the Daily Mail says.

How did the couple spend so little? They bought several wedding staples on eBay: a wedding dress for £52, satin gloves for £5, a choker necklace for £5.75 and a tiara for £7.99. They bought the veil from a charity thrift shop (£5), got plastic champagne glasses from a discount store (£13.16) and rented the groom’s suit and gazebo. And get this: Their rings cost only £19 (I assume they’re forgoing precious metals and stones).

The wedding will be a civil ceremony rather than a religious ceremony, which will cost £43.50, and the reception will be at May’s place of work (an engineering plant). Not exactly romantic, but perhaps they have a nice lawn. The couple bought enough food and drinks to serve themselves, the best man and their immediate family, but they asked the other 20 guests at the ceremony and an additional 20 guests at the reception to bring their own food. “Most will bring a plate of snacks and some booze. Nobody minds — they all think it’s a great idea,” Fenwick tells the Daily Mail.

“Most brides would want their dress to cost thousands of pounds, but that wasn’t ever an option for me. Our credit crunch wedding is going to be the best day of our lives and without breaking the bank,” Fenwick says. “It’s surprising how cheap things are when you look around. The budget kept threatening to creep up, but I wouldn’t let it.” Now that’s one smart cookie.

I’ve always said I want to forgo a big wedding for a great honeymoon and a down payment on a house. While it may be fun to look back on a “dream” wedding, is it really rational to spend thousands of dollars on one day’s celebration? Sure, I love pretty cakes and fancy invitations, but I’d much rather use that money for the trip of a lifetime and my future home.  Bring on the eBay dresses and plastic champagne glasses!

See related: Wedding + credit card = a perfect marriage?, Don’t say ‘I do’ to bad credit, 12 debt questions to ask  before getting married

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