There’s a trendy Netflix show that asks couples a critical question: Would you rather have your dream wedding — or your dream house? It’s a fascinating and addicting show because, for many people, it’s highly relatable. Considering the cost of an average wedding in the United States is between $19,000 and $28,000, that’s a sizable amount of money that could go toward a down payment on a home.
Life’s milestone moments are exciting and often expensive, but it’s essential to decide if it’s worth the cost. This decision is inherently personal since we all place different values on different things. However, when others want to pop the champagne and throw a big party, you may feel tempted to do the same. Instead of forking over the change, take time to decide what matters to you to enjoy these extraordinary experiences without breaking the bank.
Here, entrepreneurs and financial experts offer their best advice on making these meaningful choices:
Take away the societal pressure, and think about what really matters to you.
Most people imagine their future, whether as little kids dreaming of all their life will be or young adults attempting to map out the path ahead. But as we make more laps around the sun, it’s important to do a little soul searching to figure out what truly matters to you right now. As entrepreneur Annette Grant says, you may not be the same person you were when you were younger, and you might have different thoughts, opinions, and feelings towards the world and how you want to spend your time here on earth.
For example, as a child, you fantasized about a big ball gown and a rose garden on your wedding day; now you think you’d enjoy a more intimate experience and a vintage satin dress. When you remove pressure from your past self and from society, you can determine what you truly want out of a milestone experience. To start digging deep, Grant suggests listing the pros and cons, and ask yourself questions like these:
- What other milestones would you make in that same year?
- What makes you most excited when you think about your wedding?
- What makes you feel anxious?
- Where is your money best spent for your future?
- Would you regret not having a big event? Or is a small one, just fine?
“If you’re more jazzed about one milestone than another, invest in that,” Grant says. “Knowing your mission in life, your vision for yourself, and your vibe can help you make important life decisions and decide what best fits into who you are and what you want.”
Ask yourself if the event improves your network or your net worth.
You earned a big promotion at work, and your friends suggest a big ‘ole bash to honor the moment. While you’d enjoy popping a bottle of bubbly on a Friday night, you’re wondering if catering, decorating, and all of the other expenses are worth it for job news. To explore this milestone moment, as well as others, consider if it will increase your network of people and benefit others, or if it’ll improve your personal net worth, suggests financial advisor Angelica Prescod. Even if it will ultimately become an expense, is the experience worth that cost to you? These
are all questions to explore before you sign on the dotted line.
Consider if you’d rather have one mega moment or many micro-moments.
Most of us are chasing after financial freedom in some way. Whether it’s the ability to order anything you want off a menu at a fancy restaurant or being able to pay every last bill on time, the way to get there is to be mindful of your spending. And if we are celebrating every last everything, it’s tough to stow away cash for a rainy day (or, ahem, retirement). A more money-mindful way to honor life’s milestone moments is with micro-parties, instead of mega ones, Prescod shares. “Let’s say, a couple elopes and has small events every year with 20 different people celebrating their marriage for the next ten years,” she says. “This allows the cost of each event to be based on available cash flow, and a true link between the attendees and the hosts can occur.”
Define what success means to you and celebrate it.
We all measure our progress in a variety of ways. While some are eager to have a baby shower, others find it unnecessary. Some save up their pennies and dimes for years to purchase a home, while others would rather use it to travel the world. The beautiful thing about life is that there is no set way to do it, and it’s up to each individual not only to define what success looks like but how to celebrate it, too. As Grant says, most take note of all of your wins, no matter how small or how large. “Celebrating along the way just makes life all the sweeter,” she says. “If we’ve learned anything over the last two years, it’s to make the small moments count and to not put off those bucket-list experiences with your closest family and friends.”
We only recommend products we have independently researched, tested, and loved. If you purchase a product found through our links, Sunday Edit may earn an affiliate commission.