“But we’re only living together because we can’t afford to get married…”

…she insisted when the conversation turned, once again, to the fact that she was living with her fiancé.

I liked the guy. I had no issue with them being together, getting engaged, planning a wedding. But I wasn’t a fan of their living arrangements.

“We simply can’t afford to get married.”

“That’s not true.”

“It is true. You just don’t understand.”

“Oh, I understand. It’s not the marriage you can’t afford. It’s the big, fancy wedding.”


“It doesn’t cost anymore to live together, married, than it does to live together, unmarried.”


my mom purchased more than half of the “bubble bottles” at a garage sale!

A heavy sigh and more silence. Because she knew I was right.

Now before you go accusing me of not liking weddings OR thinking that wedding ceremonies are unimportant, let me set the record straight.

I LOVE weddings. Just ask my husband who’s been drug—I mean urged to go—to more than his fair share of weddings (in his opinion). I loved every second of planning my daughter’s wedding and all the do-it-yourself projects we took on to minimize the cost. What fun I had perusing the pictures from their special day to use in this post.

And as far as the importance of wedding ceremonies? I dare you to find ANYONE with stronger feelings about the significance of a wedding. The day a bride and groom pledge, before GOD and family and friends, to spend the rest of their lives together? It’s one of the most meaningful occasions in a person’s life. It should be at least because marriage is serious business.

So, why was I not buying my young friend’s can’t-afford-it excuse for living with her guy?

the garter

her beautiful wedding dress came from the half priced clearance rack as did the matching flower girl’s dress!

Frankly, I don’t buy any of the many reasons couples toss around for “playing house” before the “I do’s”. But that’s another discussion for another time. Stay tuned.

The reality about weddings is simply this. A big, fancy affair doesn’t make a couple any more married than a small, intimate, simple ceremony.

“But weddings should be special and unique and… and I know exactly what I want!”

ABSOLUTELY, weddings should be special—a memorable celebration of two lives joined for the journey ahead.

And yes, most brides enter into wedding planning with several—often several dozen—long-held wedding dreams. Precise ideas about the dress… or the flowers… or the wedding cake… the reception decorations or the first dance. After all, she’s been dreaming of this day for years! It has to be perfect.

wedding party

Our “create your own bouquet” party resulted in gorgeous bouquets at a fraction of the cost!

The groom might have his own “must have” list.  A certain kind or color of tux… a preference about the ceremony music … a sweet limo ride to the reception. Could be he’s planning an exotic-paradise honeymoon.

Ah, the honeymoon… I’m a firm believer in honeymoon get-aways. A time set aside to relax and enjoy each other. But it doesn’t have to be elaborate or mega-expensive to be exciting and fun.

In the midst of the hoopla and excitement of “wedding fever”, it’s easy to get carried away. Rational thinking and common sense can fly out the window. Too many ideas and opinions and decisions can have your heads spinning.

wedding party table - crop

The moms and grandmas handled the reception decorating.

Reality check #2. There’s no better time to practice the blending of ideas and the fine art of budgeting than when planning your wedding and honeymoon.

So, grab a pen and paper and, together, make a list of your absolutes, whatever you think you can’t do without. Then run each “must have” through the following questions:

  • Will the day be ruined if this is a no-go?
  • Can something less expensive/complicated/elaborate be substituted?
  • What about a compromise, a little give-and-take?
  • Can we spend fewer days away OR choose a less extravagant locale?

And dancingthen the final test: are we willing to wait, in a non-living-under-the-same-roof, no-sex arrangement, for the needed funds to accumulate? If the answer is “yes”, fine. If you agree that’s what you want, there’s nothing wrong with that.

My advice to all wedding-planning couples is this: don’t let the wedding become more important than the marriage. Some couples put way more thought and planning into the wedding than into the marriage. And that’s a serious mistake.

The wedding celebration will fill a few hours. It’s an occasion you hope to remember fondly for years. But the marriage should last a lifetime.

Resist the culture’s many reasons for living together before the “I do’s”. Save co-habitating—and sex—for marriage. YOU are worth it. Your future spouse is WORTH it. Your MARRIAGE is worth it.

Your thoughts, comments, questions and concerns are always welcome. I’d love to hear from you in a comment (below the title) OR by email at waitingmatters@gmail.com