There are a some things in life you’ll never regret: deleting Facebook, lifting weights, and getting married at City Hall are among them.
Five years ago Sally and I decided to get married at City Hall. The wedding cost us $1000 and the story went viral at the time.
There were a number of reasons we had a small wedding; the main one, of course, being lower cost. If my memory serves me correctly we had about $30,000 saved up at the time. Not bad considering we lived in Korea as teachers and Australia as baristas the previous few years!
However, $30,000 is the cost of an average wedding these days and we preferred to use that money as an emergency fund or down payment on a house.
Another reason for our small wedding: laziness. It’s really frustrating planning a large wedding. Some couples are engaged for two or more years while they plan every detail! Two years to plan for one day seems insane to me. I don’t think the reward is worth it as I would have hated every moment of the planning.
Then there is pressure on who you invite. Family members you barely speak with? Long lost friends? And who makes the cut to be a groomsman? Also, who wants to be a groomsman? If I have to wear one more $300 ill-fitting polyester suit rental, I will lose it.
Many couples seem to worry more about their wedding day and less about their lives as a married couple. The wedding day is just one day. Get a few good pictures and get on with your lives.
Having a small wedding is also a test of loyalty. Does your spouse want you or do they want a big ceremony? When I mentioned the possibility of a small wedding; Sally jumped at the chance.
Now we are five years in and there have been no regrets. It was one of the best decisions we’ve ever made!
We got married at San Francisco City Hall and then got on with our lives together. And life has been mostly great! Here on some tips on how we’ve been relatively stress-free in our relationship the past five years:
- Joint spreadsheet, not joint accounts. We share a Personal Capital account but all of our investments and bank accounts are separate. We’re a team and are working towards a common goal: financial independence. That doesn’t mean all of our accounts need to be connected. My money is her money and her money is my money. We discuss large purchases but for the most part, we buy what we want. Luckily, we don’t want much.
- Don’t sweat the small stuff. This is the title of a bestseller and a cliché but it’s also a good reminder. We are healthy, we have good jobs, and we live in the USA. Life isn’t that hard. There are few reasons to be upset. We spent the past five years building up our portfolio and while we’re not financially independent, we will never be hungry or homeless. We’ve worked hard and stopped worrying about small things!
- Share responsibilities. We both do dishes and wash laundry. Sometimes I go grocery shopping, sometimes Sally goes grocery shopping. It’s not a contest and it’s not 50-50. We both work 40+ hour weeks and do our best to help each other. No need to keep score, this is a relationship, not a competition.
- Say sorry. We aren’t politicians so it’s ok to admit when you’re wrong! I’ve said and done things I shouldn’t have. Nothing has been relationship altering but I’m not perfect. You shouldn’t hold grudges with your spouse; that’s not how healthy relationships work.
- Always try to improve. Couples get complacent (and fat) when they get too comfortable. Make goals and put systems into place to improve yourself and the relationship. I don’t enjoy working out but I try to lift weights at least three times per week because it improves my body and my mood. Wives don’t want to come home lazy husbands watching football and drinking beer all day. Don’t take your spouse (or yourself) for granted.
- Plan fun adventures. Being married can get boring if you let it. Going to the movies, a new coffee shop, an inexpensive dinner, or a hike can improve your relationship significantly while costing very little. We’ve built a sizeable nest egg so we’re able to plan domestic and international trips which always gives us something to look forward to. We just came back from Florida and have trips to Las Vegas and Colombia on the calendar for later in the year. We’re trying to reach financial independence as quickly as possible but you need to enjoy the journey as well.