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Inside views on the jobs market

Love in the time of caution

May 8, 2009

This is part of a series of personal accounts about how people are surviving the recession. The writers are contributors to Associated Content. For more stories in this series, click here.

By Kristen May

It worries me how oblivious I was to this recession. I knew bad things were happening. But then I blinked and suddenly this country is in the worst recession in my lifetime.

I do have something to blame my lack of attention on: I’m in love.

I got engaged Dec. 24, and my fiancé and I are planning a wedding for June. This is not the best time to be making big changes intentionally. But I’ll be giving up a paying job and moving to a city where he’ll be in school. Then I’ll have to find a job. We’ll be dealing with the intricacies of being married while trying to pay the bills with nonexistent money. Maybe it’s just the rose-colored glasses, but I’m confident it will all work out.

My parents are graciously paying for the wedding, but my fiancé and I have been keeping costs low for their sake, knowing that they are living under financial stress. (They had retirement accounts that were hit hard, and we haven’t started saving yet.)

We decided to reduce costs by serving cake and hors d’oeuvres at the reception instead of the traditional sit-down dinner. That way, we can still send out 200 invitations and expect 150 guests without too much cost per person.

In addition, we are planning to use recorded music during the wedding and reception, to hire a friend with experience as a photographer and to have fewer bridesmaids and groomsmen. Our dress scheme for the wedding party is also cost-sensitive. We gave them basic colors they need to stick to rather than requiring them to purchase or rent specific elements.

In addition to moving our belongings a few thousand miles from Northfield, Minn., to Columbia, S.C., my fiancé and I are responsible for the honeymoon and wedding bands. My parents have a timeshare and his have frequent-flier miles, but the two of us are saving for a rental car, food and additional expenses for our honeymoon.

Our wedding bands are a bit trickier. We want them to match my platinum heirloom engagement ring, and platinum is far more expensive than gold. Because of this, I have been especially cautious in my spending and especially quick to take any money-making opportunities I can find.

The last thing I want to do in this economy is to go into debt. That’s much of the reason we’re in trouble.


Try for yours and your hubbys bands. Just got married in April, we went through them. Had the best prices we saw anywhere. Awesome cust. service. And Fast. Good luck and congrats! :)

Posted by Nikki | Report as abusive

I believe that this flu is mild as stated by many governments and the media has over hyped the situation, Why have governments ruled against visiting Mexico when the virus is registered in the U.S.A. AND MOST PARTS OF EUROPE. The mexican economy is suffering greatly thru the fact that people are being stopped taking vacations there, come on governments lift the ban on travel to Mexico WAITERS AND STAFF AT THE ALLMOST DESERTED HOTELS ARE BEING SENT HOME AND HAVING TO LIVE ON 50 PESOS “$2 or £2.50 a day.

Posted by mike | Report as abusive

With all due respect, why don’t you just have a smaller wedding – with fewer guests? Are you doing an evening wedding? If not, and your wedding is an all-day event, that’s a long time to go with only hors d’oeuvres and cake. Like it or not, weddings are a business. In all likelihood, your guests will be giving you gifts, some of which may be cash. And, honestly, how would you feel if your guests showed up empty-handed? As much as it might suck, there are expectations that go with weddings – on everyone’s part. Guests usually give a gift to cover the price of their meal (I didn’t invent this) and the happy couple usually feeds their guests. And you have no way of knowing that all only 150 of the 200 will accept. They may all accept. In any event, etiquette dictates that even those who don’t accept will send a gift. To me, it’s the same thing. As far as having less people in your wedding party, why would this cost you any less? You’ve already said that they will be covering the cost for their outfits. Will it cost you less since now, you will not have to get them gifts for being a member of your bridal party? Are they still on the guest list and therefore, would you still be expecting a gift from them? Do yourself a favour and have a smaller wedding. What’s supposed to be important is the marriage and the new life that is beginning… Again, I honestly mean no disrespect. Best of luck in your new life.

Posted by Kelly | Report as abusive

Although the economy is hurting and money is tight, I definitely recommend that you spend the extra money on platinum for your wedding rings. It sounds like buying platinum is already your goal, but if you think about the long term and the fact that you’ll wear these everyday, I don’t think you’ll ever regret spending a little extra money right now to get what you really want.

When my husband and I got married, we were in a similar situation. Money was very tight, but we were not as fortunate to have our family pay for the wedding. However, we still bought the ring we really wanted because we knew it wasn’t something that was going to be gone after the big day. Platinum wedding bands, even in tough economic times, it’s still a totally solid investment. Things will turn around, and when they do… you’ll be very happy that you have matching platinum wedding bands.

Posted by Carly | Report as abusive

When I got married, my husband and I were both earning minimum wage. Our families were poor – we were on our own, entirely.

I bought my wedding dress, which was actually a bridesmaid dress in ivory for $200 (half my paycheck). My husband wore his only suit.

For the wedding, we did splurge and hire a photographer, but we set up monthly payments from the moment we hired her. We got married at our historic court house, which didn’t cost a cent. We had no flowers, except my modest bridal bouquet. For music, we had a friend play acoustic guitar. My cousin, as my wedding present, threw our reception at the local city hall. My foster sister made our wedding cake, which was Halloween orange if I remember correctly! We served cake and punch.

Instead of having a wedding dance, my new husband, the wedding party (which consisted of my sister and my hubby’s best friend), and I went to a Rocky Mountain Oyster feed! (Google it if you aren’t sure what rocky mountain oysters are. LOL)

In all, I think we spent $500 total, including my dress and our rings. Now that’s a frugal wedding!

Posted by Heather | Report as abusive

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