You know the saying: First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes a… mortgage? As much as we’d like to have it all—all at once—most young couples can’t afford both a big, splashy wedding and a down payment on a home. When forced to choose between the two, weddings used to win; But all that changed last year during the pandemic. Many couples who had to put their weddings on hold found an unexpected silver lining: They could put that money toward a home instead.
COVID didn’t just change our plans—it also changed a lot of our priorities. As a result, the pressure and expectation to have a big, fancy wedding is officially OVER. Elopements and small-scale celebrations are more popular than ever, as couples are realizing that they can have their cake (get married) and eat it, too (buy a home) if they skip the full-scale events they imagined in the past. I think it’s a pretty smart idea. Here’s why.
1. The Pandemic Isn’t Over.
The number of vaccinated Americans is rising and rules around group gatherings are softening, but we’re not completely out of the woods yet. People are still nervous about planning (and attending) large events. A traditional, full-scale celebration could be met with mixed feelings—and mixed RSVPs. Plus, let’s face it: Posting photos of a big, expensive event is not going to garner the usual praise and attention on social media. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to go big on your wedding day! But, in the current social and economic climate, a lot of couples are deciding that it still makes more sense to elope or have a lower-key gathering instead. Both options are easier to plan, more intimate, and cost WAY less money—which means couples can get married and still have money left to buy a home.
2. Travel Is Tricky.
There are still travel bans in effect, as well as new COVID variants causing lockdowns in other countries, which means both international guests and destination weddings are out. You’ll have to kiss that fantasy of a castle wedding in Scotland or a vineyard wedding in Tuscany goodbye. Even if you get married Stateside, the odds of Aunt Amelie making it over from her home in France or your fiancé’s parents flying in from London are slim to none. It’s a much better time to focus on moving into, decorating, and getting settled in a new home than it is to plan an event that requires people to travel.
3. Buying a Home Is the New Flex.
Remember what I said about posting wedding pictures on social media? Well, posting your new home on social media won’t require anyone to write a check, wear an unflattering bridesmaid dress, or violate any CDC guidelines. In fact, buying a home together sends the same message as a wedding: I’m happy, I’m doing well, and I’ve hit one of life’s big milestones.
4. The ROI Makes More Sense.
A huge wedding might be fun for that night, but it’s less so the day after when you wake up in the same small apartment with five food processors to return and credit-card debt. A home, on the other hand, is an appreciating asset, and something that you can count on and enjoy every day for years to come. So, while the market is still active, mortgage rates are still low, and COVID is still circulating, investing in a pricy wedding just doesn’t sound as sensible as investing in a home—something we now know the value of more than ever.
So, to all the engaged couples who opted to postpone, cancel, or downsize their wedding and buy a home instead, congratulations! You made a tough decision, but it was a smart one.