Meet Josie! She's a long-time Chipper and newly-married woman.
This is her story...
In July, I got married to my partner of five years, Alec. It was a very special day surrounded by our friends and family, and we had an absolute blast. We came back from our honeymoon last week and, in the midst of reflecting and reminiscing about the whole experience, we started talking about how we felt about the money we’d spent.
Alec and I were both relatively pragmatic when it came to spending money on our wedding. We did the whole thing ourselves and kept it low-key. Neither of us had been dreaming of anything specific since we were four, so there were no grand expectations. We both had similar priorities – good booze, our favourite people, and lots of cake. We’d also planned carefully to make sure that all of the big expenses were spread out over the course of about a year, so the cost never overwhelmed us.
But there is such a thing as too much planning, and it did get to the point where we felt like professional wedding planners rather than the blushing bride-and-groom-to-be. After we announced last year that we were engaged, the only questions anyone seemed to be able to ask us were about the wedding. What venue did we want? How many people would we invite? What kind of cake were we having? What kind of shoes was I looking at? Incessant questions from excited and well-intentioned friends and family.
We felt the pressure. And, being organised people, we swung into action and started giving people answers to all their questions. We booked a sensible venue that we could afford, we wrote very strict guest list, we chose a modest cake and I bought low-heeled shoes that weren’t too extravagant.
I maintain my belief that a practical approach to wedding planning is important. Especially if, like us, you’re on a pretty tight budget. But over time it just turned into another admin chore, part of the furniture like paying the bills and emptying the dishwasher. We never argued about wedding stuff, but we hardly ever did anything spontaneous and crazy and exciting either.
I can’t remember when the breaking point came, or even what the final straw was. But by April I had started talking about how I wanted us to have more fun with the planning, and it turned out that Alec felt exactly the same. We had been so focused on being sensible that we’d forgotten the most crucial element: the joy. For us, the pressure of not spending too much money, and the self-control and the compromise, had overshadowed everything. So we decided to let ourselves be a bit irresponsible for once, and do something way out of our budget, just for fun.
I wasn’t panicking about this because I knew we both had a bit of money in Chip savings. I tend to keep just half an eye on Chip – I prefer not always knowing exactly how much is in there. Alec had also been using the app for around six months, and with our pooled resources we had enough to splash out on a little luxury.
Early on, we’d decided that at the reception we’d just play a Spotify playlist through a decent set of speakers. But that wasn’t exactly what we really wanted in our heart of hearts. What we really wanted was a band. We’re both huge electro fans and most of our dates over the years have been gigs. It took us literally no time at all to decide that our luxury would be a wedding band for the reception. We were giddy with excitement while we chose our band and booked them, and it was so nice not to be bellyaching about the price or combing the internet for the best deal. We just chose what we wanted – money no object.
Fast-forward to the wedding and the band was a huge hit. They definitely brought everyone onto the dance floor, and we had so much fun. Money well spent, and it saved us from feeling like we were completely sensible and boring. We definitely needed that one blowout – and I’m happy to say that the rest of the wedding and the honeymoon came in on time and under budget!