DINKS Reality: Who Wears the Financial Pants in Your Couple?

by Kristina Tahnyak on February 21, 2011 · 9 comments

As you know I am not married, so I don’t have any personal stories to share about my wedding. However, I am 30 years old, this is around the age when people start to get married and settle down both personally and financially. Rich Bride, Poor Bride is a show that details the wedding process on any budget, from very small to extremely big.

I have been to a few weddings over the last few years and although I haven’t seen the planning process, I have been to the final product. I can definitely tell the difference between a $5000 wedding and a $40,000 wedding.  I have heard that the bride takes the front seat during the wedding planning, but I would also hope that the groom gets to have his say. Once again, since I am not married I don’t speak from experience.

There was a recent episode of the television show Rich Bride, Poor Bride that discussed a couple named Amy and Jon. Amy is a controlling wife who micromanaged their wedding, and Jon is an adoring husband who is afraid to say no.  Afraid. Is that even a word that should be used in a relationship?

A couples wedding may be their first major expense together, if they haven’t already bought a house.  In my opinion the wedding process will set the tone for the rest of their financial lives together.  If both people financially contribute equally into a relationship, then shouldn’t they both have an equal say in how the money is spent?

Most relationships whether they are a marriage, a friendship, or within a family, have one member with an A Type Personality.  There is a difference between taking the lead and being a relationship dictator.  The last time I checked it takes two people to get married, so why should only one person have the right to make all of the financial decisions?

I am not sure why someone would want to be married to a control freak.  I also don’t understand why weddings are such a big deal!  Isn’t the point of a wedding to get married to the man or woman of your dreams?

We don’t need to spend $40,000 on a wedding to prove our love to our husband or wife.  We also don’t need to spend $40,000 on a one day ceremony to prove our love in front of our family and friends. Why are weddings such a spectacle? I can think of at least 5 other things that I would rather do with $40,000 other than spend it on a wedding.

If you spent a lot of money on your wedding, would you have rather spent it on something else?

(Photo By Ben Sutherland)

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 E.D. February 21, 2011 at 7:10 am

We didn’t spend much on the wedding – around $10,000 in 1999, including the wedding rings and dress. That was a mutual decision. We didn’t want to (and didn’t have the money to) spend much more than that.

In terms of everyday finances, we used to split it – both working off a master spreadsheet – but DH missed a bill payment and there was some confusion in general. Now I pay all the bills and keep the spreadsheet, but we still share the decisions.

2 Wade February 21, 2011 at 10:40 am

My wife and I also share in the finances. We don’t like to tell each other what to spend our money on, and we discuss any purchase over $100.

As far as the wedding went, I had say in everything except for the hula dancers. They ended up being about half of the price of the wedding and it didn’t matter how many times that I said “nom,” we still had them. Our wedding was around $7000 in 2007, but would have been closer to $4000 if I had my way. Actually, my way would have been at the courthouse, and use the money for a trip. I prefer a week long experience over any one day event.

3 Alotta Lettuce February 21, 2011 at 1:35 pm

I’ll be honest: I wear the financial pants in my marriage. I have more interest in personal finance in general, and I’m more willing to do the work it takes to manage our accounts and adhere to our budget. That said, we devised the budget together, although we definitely butted heads in a few areas. But seriously, if I didn’t actually track our expenses, update him on how we’re doing in particular categories, transfer funds from checking to savings, and manage our online bill pay activity, we’d be a hot financial mess. Not in debt (probably), but just incredibly unorganized and we’d likely have little to nothing in savings. And while I KNOW that my money-conscious ways annoy him at times – particularly when he wants to buy something we don’t need – he thanks me profusely every time he sees the evidence of just how much progress we’re making.

As for weddings, well, I agree completely. We only spent about $3,500 on our 45 person, backyard wedding in the summer of 2009, and while that’s minor duckets in comparison to what many couples spend on their weddings, I STILL look back sometimes and think about all the other things we could have done with that money, or areas where we could have cut costs without sacrificing the parts of the day that were most important to us.

4 Dave@50plusfinance February 21, 2011 at 11:19 pm

Men don’t get involved in wedding plans because they just don’t understand the reason behind it. I’m sorry but men are ignorant to the whole wedding process and the need for it. I’ve been in 2 weddings and I felt like a cork on the ocean in both. I just went for the ride because basically my opinion and input was not needed. Mothers, friends, sisters and every other kind of female eat, live, and breathe that stuff. There is a gene women have for weddings that men thankfully never received.

After the wedding the bride, IMHO, is done with the financial side of the marital duties. It’s onward to the babies part of our tour. If I sound sexist, I would agree.

In my experience I have known women who didn’t want to be involved with the finances and I was fine with that because I had a knack for it, so it was a mutual accommodation. Still there was 100% communication and understanding of the plans present and future. It works for us.

The first wedding was paid by the brides parents, cost $40,000. The second wedding cost $4000. Sure the first one was amazing with all the ice sculptures and 10 piece band. But the second without all the bling was just as great.

Thanks, Kristina. Great post.

5 Dani @ OK, Dani February 23, 2011 at 9:18 am

My wedding cost $2000 :) We didn’t want a big spectacle like most folks want. We went to the valley of fire in Nevada and said our vows there then had dinner on the Vegas strip. It was perfect!

6 James February 24, 2011 at 6:45 am


You gotta tie the knot. Its much better than being single.



7 Masthaven February 25, 2011 at 11:40 am

Kristina – there’s only one simple answer to your question: “the wife does”

8 Misty February 28, 2011 at 7:43 pm

My partner and I are not married, we’re both over the age of 30, and we do NOT plan to have children. My partner gave up his condominium in town to help me buy a 5 acre mini-farm out in the sticks and we split the house payment, the electric, the internet, and heating (we have corn burner and gas heat alternately supplemented with space heaters). As the house is in my name, I am responsible for repairs, insect treatment, etc. We divided the house up, he has the 2 spare bedrooms upstairs as his “playzone”, I have the downstairs and the barn. We don’t tell eachother how to decorate, clean, or otherwise organize each other’s space. Bank accounts are separate. I write up an invoice for my partner at the end of every month while I pay bills and he writes me a check. No arguing. No problems. I earn much less than my partner but that’s just how life is. If he wants a toy, as long has he can fork over the month’s upkeep, he can knock himself out. When we go out we alternate paying or sometimes we just pay for ourselves – as my partner usually racks up about 4 times the bill that I do. Sharing isn’t all it’s cut out to be people – asking your partner to hand over their paycheck or vice versa does not = love.

9 MakintheBacon$ July 8, 2012 at 9:13 am

I know people who have spend $50-$60 grand on their wedding and I think why? I’m not married but in a serious relationship. I’m 50/50 on the wedding thing. A lot of my friends are in the their late 20s, early 30s and some are married, some are not. Sometimes I think its a lot of time, money and effort wasted on this one particular day. II’d like a small, intimate wedding, but it may be hard, cause I have a lot of relatives on my dad’s side. i’d rather spend the money on a down payment for the house or even the honeymoon.

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