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Marrying in Corona times: good for your wallet

Last Updated on January 1, 2021 by Mr. FightToFIRE

You read that right, I’m a married man as of the 2nd of May!

First things first, saving money was not the key reason we got married in this period ;). The major reason we wanted to get married was that we believe in it and want to share our lives. Cliché, I know.

Another more practical reason was the fact that my wife is non-EU and for us to be together we need to perform family reunification which goes a lot easier when you are married.

The rings

Our wedding bands
This is the render of the wedding bands we ordered to symbolize our commitment to each other.

Even though we didn’t spend much on our wedding, there was one item that was worth every euro: the rings. It symbolizes the commitment to each other. As cliché as it sounds, both I and my wife feel the same about marriage.  For us, it is a true symbol of the total commitment between husband and wife. It’s something you commit to for the rest of your life. Having the “luck” to marry in times of crisis helps us grow closer and appreciate each other more while living in a 40 m² apartment.

Going local

For this proof of commitment, we wanted something that we both liked and that would last a lifetime. At first, we thought of ordering them online. When searching online, the offering at hand surprised me. Before, I never looked for wedding rings, so seeing quite a few online sellers was a novelty to me. I thought at least the jewelry market was a sector that online consumerism had left untouched. I was wrong. Online sellers like Lucardi, Glamira, Diamore, and many more offer a wide range of engagement and wedding rings, shipping a matter of days.

The image on the left is from Glamira. Thanks to this online jewelry, we could find a design that we both liked. But instead of ordering it through them, we went to a local store and asked for a quote. We got an excellent offering with a 10% discount because I ordered the engagement ring there as well.

It ended up costing 1594 EUR for:

  • 2 rings
  • 18K yellow and white gold
  • 5 mm and 3 mm
  • 2 mm thick
  • engraving

Even if I could get it cheaper, it would be wrong to go back on our verbal agreement in times where the local retail sector is struggling.

Curious how the wedding bands impacted my Savings Rate (SR) for April? Go to my SR of last month and take a look.

I, my fiancée, and a government official walk into city hall

That’s it, really. Our wedding ceremony was obviously held in the city hall, but there weren’t many people. Heck, we almost failed to arrive at our wedding on time. Since it was so close -the city hall was literally right around the corner- we figured we had time enough, but time flies by when you are busy getting ready for your wedding ceremony. Arriving right at the stroke of 12:30 -the scheduled time-, the city official, the usher, and a translator for my fiancée were waiting for us.

To allow friends and family to follow the ceremony, I set up a Facebook Live. They make modern technology such as Live streaming for this moment. It allowed over 20 people to follow one of the happiest moments of our lives.

Going digital

Facebook Live is probably the prime example of how we shared this exciting day with tens of people without spending much. While the absence of family and friends in person left us with a heavy heart, a digital tool helped us lift this feeling and created an atmosphere filled with joy plenty of laughter.  Instead of having 20+ people physically present, everyone could follow from the comfort of their own home. In turn, we didn’t have to foresee a venue and catering.

As I alluded in the beginning, keeping the euros in our pockets was not of major interest to us, especially on this day, but it was a nice consequence of the circumstances. Nevertheless, I would like to share some other things that helped add sunshine to a cloudy day while at the same time limit spending.

The expenses

  • Decorating our apartment (instead of a venue): By ordering some balloons and a “just married ” garland, we could create a little bit of a “marriage” atmosphere. This decoration was 9.99 EUR. We also got wooden a “Mr & MRS” sign for the same price.
  • Ordering takeaway: In our case, we ordered sushi, which wasn’t the cheapest but was a lot cheaper than catering for 20+ people. We ordered sushi for three (big eaters :D), got two additional special rolls, and 2 Wonton soup. All of this combined cost 110 EUR.
  • Getting a small cake (and other desserts): Since a lot of the specialized bakery stores that do larger cakes were closed, we had to get creative with the cake. We ended up getting a cheesecake. This one had a beautiful white color and had a small chocolate decorative piece. Aside from this, we also got white and pink Macarons that surrounded the cake and 15 pralines. The total for dessert was 98.5 EUR.
  • Flowers: I put flowers separate from decoration since the main purpose of the flowers was to make our bouquet. There weren’t many flower shops open at the time (they are allowed to work again in the meantime), and the ones that were charged a hefty price for a bouquet  (50 – 70 EUR). Interestingly enough, it was my wife that suggested we get several separate flowers from a local Aveve store and make our bouquet. This resulted in two smaller but colorful flower pieces for a fraction of the price: 39.56 EUR.
  • (Bonus) Personal signing pen: This one isn’t a saving, but it is something we can reuse. As it was not allowed to sign with a pin from the city hall, we ordered our gold plated, “engraved” pen to sign the official documents with. 23.85 EUR (incl. shipping) is what we paid. One important point about this pen, which we found out after we received it, was that “engraved” is a lie. It’s just a sticker! we didn’t let this small thing get to us but be warned those that want to purchase from this site.

Nothing fancy, just love

In total, we spend 291.89 EUR (excl. wedding bands) to at least create something that seemed like a marriage party. While it wasn’t anything close to a full-fledged party, we had all the elements: friends and family (online), a festive atmosphere, good food, and a cake. Thanks to a tripod that could hold our smartphone we could stream and record the event and afterward make pictures to share.

All things considered, we were able to make it our own. Making something that wasn’t fancy but had just as much love. At the time of writing the measures are still in place and will be for a while longer. But once things return to (semi-)normal, we hope to still host a small BBQ for friends and family.  Next is a ceremony for the friends and family of my wife in her home country.

We ended up having a great time even though we couldn’t do all the things we thought of doing at the beginning of the year. Have you experienced something similar in the past?

Please leave a comment below!

I'm a developer for a major financial institution in Belgium that is present in over 40 countries. I have over 8 years of working experience in the development of customer applications focussing on all aspects of banking. This helped me gain a deep understanding of the inner workings of a commercial bank. All of this experience in both banking and life culminates in this blog about personal finance and my fight towards FIRE.

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Amber Tree

Congratulations with the wedding. I wish a life of joy together.

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