Grad School VS. Wedding

10 Aug

This is a quick one.

I am applying to (and will probably get into) NYU Gallatin School.  Costs are cheapish: $34,000 a year.  I make…um…ZERO.  I have to go BEFORE Jonathan and I get married so it will be cheap-ER and I will get funding.  But, also, NOT having a wedding can pay for half a year.  Well, a little MORE than half a year.

He suggested that we not have a wedding.  I am inclined to agree.  Now, I know some of you eloped, but was that your first plan?  Part of me WILL be sad if we don’t have the wedding.  But, DAMN, $20,000 for a wedding?  And ours is CHEAP.  And we are not paying for catering…did you know that the NATIONAL average cost for a wedding is around $27,000?

This is gonna be a big loooooooooong conversation.


5 Responses to “Grad School VS. Wedding”

  1. Dana Brooks August 10, 2010 at 7:30 pm #

    our first plan was getting married at the brooklyn botanic garden followed by a brunch reception. probably would’ve only been a few thousand dollars. but the stress on david (he can’t deal with being the center of attention or speaking in public) combined with the stress of family we are less than close to but would have to invite would have made it feel like more.

    and most married couples i talked to say in retrospect, they wished they hadn’t spent that money on one day that ends up being mostly a blur, and instead had invested it somehow. and there’s nothing like investing it in your brain.

  2. Anne Lossing August 10, 2010 at 11:07 pm #

    Good luck with your decision .. I’m sure I’m not the only one that will be watching 🙂

  3. Leslie August 11, 2010 at 1:33 am #

    This may be an unpopular opinion, but I wouldn’t have traded my wedding for grad school. I didn’t make much when we got married, and I knew I was headed to law school in the near future. We pulled off a wedding for 175 for $12,000 (ten years ago, and in North Carolina, so your numbers sound right to me). For me, it was a chance to party with people from all my different lives and have a big family gathering (with kids, though I have nothing against a kid-free shindig). I love entertaining; We saved for 2 years and had some parental help (though not a lot, by a long shot). We ended up being even after the ceremony. That is, we didn’t carry it on our credit cards.

    That said, if I recall correctly, you wanted to elope to begin with. So if it’s school or wedding, I’d follow your original plan to elope. You can throw an anniversary party later–though, in my experience, guests travel for weddings, not necessarily for parties.

    So, yeah, it’s a hard choice. The financial guru in me says “SCHOOL, DUMBASS!” But I remember how much fun we had (though it took me a while to appreciate the fun through the fog of hard work), and wouldn’t give it up for the world. Good luck with your decision.

  4. Leslie August 11, 2010 at 1:39 am #

    Also, I took out some loans for law school. Furthermore, I was married in Sept 2000 and started law school in Aug 2001. I used my 2000 tax returns (married, filing separately, due to large income disparity) to qualify for loans in my 1st year. Just a data point.

  5. Celeste Silsby Mannerud August 11, 2010 at 8:36 pm #

    We discussed and were leaning towards eloping, but pulling my connections I was able to pull off our wedding for under $5,000 (in 2004). After seven years together, the wedding just didn’t seem like that crucial, and if it was going to cost any more, we would have spent the money to elope somewhere on a nice vacation rather than have the wedding. In the end we did it as part of a week-long family reunion vacation to keep it from being a one-day blur.

    My brother-in-law wanted to elope as well, so they simply flew over here from Norway, had me marry them, and then went on a cruise. The only guests were those who decided to fly over and stand with them on the waterfront, so that’s another option where you spend less and still have a “wedding”.

    In fact, a wedding photographer I shoot with sometimes said that she’s been accompanying quite a few brides/grooms eloping in far-flung locations with only a few close friends/family tagging along for that same reason – memorable wedding/elopement for the cost of the honeymoon. She said all her clients had the same sorts of stories – school costs, buying a home, aversion to absurd traditional wedding costs, etc…

    Just another idea to think about…

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