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I’m Back (and with some big news!)

Well that was a long break. Work has been absolutely crazy for the past few weeks, with the fiscal year end, a conference in Vegas, and hiring a couple new additions to my department. There are plenty of topics there I could write about, from how to evaluate yourself for your performance review, to gambling, to the exorbitant amounts of money we pour into conferences, to what happens to your raise when your boss decides to hire two new people instead of the one he had budgeted for. I’ll likely write about some or all of those topics in the coming weeks, but there’s something much more exciting I’d rather write about… I got engaged on Monday!

It’s been an incredibly exciting few days, and I’ve had conversation after conversation with friends and relatives about all the sappy, romantic aspects of getting engaged. My Facebook wall is plastered with congratulatory messages and tons of adorable pictures. I figure for this blog, I’ll stick with the financial aspects, most of which are actually pretty exciting too.

The first thing everyone says when they find out you’re engaged is “let me see the ring!” I’m proud to be displaying an absolutely gorgeous ring on my finger that I can show off to all my friends. I’m in love with this ring. How much did my fiance spend on it? Nada. It’s a ring that’s been in his family since 1935. It was a gift from his great-grandfather to his great-grandmother for their 25th anniversary. It has been through two more owners since then, and now I’m so honored to be the new owner. We were really lucky to get this ring of course, and if we hadn’t, my fiance would have probably ended up spending more than I wanted him to on a ring. Still, even though it was dumb luck that we got this ring, I feel like it’s a great financial start for our future.

The second thing everyone says when they find out you’re engaged is “when’s the wedding?” Why anyone thinks we’d already have a date set a mere day after the proposal, I don’t know, but we’ve been asked quite a many times already. I posted several weeks ago about two weddings I attended, one expensive and one frugal, and my fiance and I are using those two weddings as a starting point for most of our conversations. (I was happy that my suggestion of having a barefoot wedding on the beach was met with some excitement.) We’ve agreed that we’re in no rush and we’ll visit as many places as we have to until we find the right location for us. My parents are also visiting in a few months, so we’ll be able to sit down with them and talk about budget. I’m not sure if they’ll be able/willing to pay for the whole wedding, but we’ll be eternally grateful for any financial assistance they give us!

Since the engagement, we’ve also started talking about merging finances and working toward specific goals like the down payment and the investment portfolio together rather than each doing our own thing. We don’t know exactly how we’re going to do it yet, but we’ll figure that out soon enough. Any advice on merging finances would be much appreciated!

All in all, it seems like we’ve gotten very lucky financially, between the family ring and my parents’ willingness to help pay for the wedding. I had been quite concerned that the engagement and wedding would seriously derail our long term goals, and I’m incredibly touched by the willingness of our families to help. I realize at the same time that as a blog post, I’m not offering any concrete advice on saving money on engagement rings or weddings. I did have a thought last night though that would be an interesting one to discuss: it is the tradition that the bride’s family pays for the wedding, but that came from a time when women were considered objects to be given from the father to the husband, endured during a time when people typically got married very young and therefore didn’t have their own money to pay for a wedding, and may not be a viable option in a time when a bride’s parents are looking to retire and have recently lost a good chunk of their retirement funds. Is it still reasonable to expect that the bride’s parents will pay for the wedding?

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