Letter to the editor: Wedding Guide doesn’t factor in reality
To the editor:
I am shocked by your publication of "The Wedding Guide" on March 27. I have read it carefully, and I have not been able to find what motivated you to distribute this supplement. My only assumption is spring is here, flowers bloom, animals mate, and people get married. Perhaps the logic is if you graduate in May, you should tie the knot no later than June.
As a happily married student, I would have liked the editors to consider the downside of getting married. You have less time for school and for yourself, and decisions like graduate school and jobs have to be decided with two people in mind. Also, I think you should break down the wedding numbers for your readers. In 2007, the mean cost of a wedding was $28,800. This is not the cost of an extravagant wedding; this is the average wedding. Paying this amount using a 14 percent APR credit card and making minimum payments each month (and without charging anything else on this card), it will take the happy couple 31 years to repay this debt. Add the $576 monthly wedding payments to your student loan payments to get an idea of your cash flow before food, rent or utilities. We can all argue about the decrease in minimum payments when the principal has been partially repaid, but remember you’ll be making the highest payments during the first few years after the wedding – exactly when you are making less money because you just graduated.
Of course, we could all follow Mr. Dominic Dames’ advice (Wedding guide, pg. 4) and spend only $3,600 on our wedding and honeymoon. Does this include the engagement ring? I don’t think so, because as Ms. Debi Ostrom tells us on pg. 11, "the general rule is to spend two months salary (on the ring)." I figure a student who works part-time and makes $8 per hour should spend $1,280 on the ring.
Plus, spending $3,600 on the whole thing probably does not fit with the maxim "A girl should never lower her expectations" (Wedding guide, pg. 7). Paid with a 14 percent credit card, the modest $4,880 for wedding, honeymoon and engagement ring may cost you an additional $6,398 in interest payments.
If the supplement was intended to help students with life choices, I am looking forward to the supplements about how to apply to and get funding for graduate school, volunteering in the U.S. or abroad, globe-trotting on a budget after graduation, among other possibilities for college graduates. There are many ways to live happily ever after.
Susana Velez-Castrillon Ph.D. student in management