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Wedding or Career first?

My boyfriend and I got engaged over Xmas and quickly started to plan our wedding for 2016.  We are both really looking forward to the wedding and 2016 already seems so far away but we decided to give ourselves 2 years for a few reasons.  We live in Australia so logistically its difficult for us to get back to arrange things (we definitely want to get married in Europe and have decided on Italy).  We also wanted enough time to save for everything as we will also be paying for everything ourselves. 

Anyway before we got engaged we had both begun to study in Australia - my boyfriend decided to do a masters and my study is so that I can qualify as a lawyer in Australia (I already completed the study in the UK).  Me qualifying as a lawyer is something that has been happening and in my sights for the last 5 years.  It has been delayed partly due to my own decisions to travel and then partly due to money and a few other circumstances out of my control.  The study is really expensive and is also time consuming along with working a full-time job.  My boyfriend has been deferring his study for the last few semesters and doesn't have any plans to go back this semester until we have more money - this is his decision and I have tried to encourage him to go back.

We've managed to save a bit for the wedding but I keep lying awake at night going over the figures in my head and it would mean that if we were to pay for the wedding and study we would have no spare money at all and may still not be able to pay for everything when it came down to it.  That freaks me out the most, the fact that we will have booked everything and not have the money to pay it all.  The last year has been a struggle for us anyway as we have been setting up home in Australia and we are finally in a position where we can maybe enjoy our lifestyle a bit here but with saving for the wedding and study we once again have no spare money.  

I am starting to realise that I can't do the wedding and study at the same time am really in a predicament about it all.  My head says we should study and get qualified and then hopefully both be in a higher paid jobs so we can pay for the wedding but my heart says wedding.  Our families and friends are all really excited as well about the wedding and part of me feels like I will be letting them down too.

I know nobody can tell me what to do but does anybody have any advice or is anybody in a similar position?  I've spoken to my fiancé and he said he will do whatever makes me happy which although lovely isn't really helpful xxx               


  • LeaMarieLeaMarie Posts: 723

    Firstly, do not worry about letting anyone down - They will be happy and excited for whenever you get married, whether next week or four years down the line.

    The ultimate thing here is that you need to decide what is more important to you... Your studies or the wedding? 

    My rationale would be that you two will still be together, being married or not won't change that, so it would probably be best to complete your studies first, then get married. After all, you set out on your journey to build a life in Australia - if you put your studies on hold to do the wedding, then you run the risk of missing out on potential opportunities. 

    Sorry if not the answer you want, but that's how I would look at it x

  • Weddin crazyWeddin crazy Posts: 1,743

    Could u not get married in Australia so it's easier to organise etc, do things a bit cheaper then save up n have a long honeymoon in Europe after studies?

  • welshb2b2welshb2b2 Posts: 15

    My fiance and I have been together 12 years and also got engaged at Christmas. We have been living together 7 of those years but waited to get engaged until we were in higher paying jobs.

    We absolutely prioritised getting our professional qualifications and I don't regret that one bit - our careers are a foundation for our lives together. Paying for our small wedding is still a challenge, despite the fact that we both have good jobs.

    That said I was never in any rush to get married. If you do want to get married soon though , it doesn't have to be complicated, or expensive. You have to do what's right for you , and your fianceimage 

  • i agree with wedding crazy, that would be your best option, Italy is also quite difficult to get legally married in and more expensive than a lot of other places. You'll be amazed how quickly you can organise a wedding so concentrate on your studies for now  and see how you feel next year xx 

  • GMH24GMH24 Posts: 227

    Where in Australia do you live? There are some stunning places to get married there, my dream was to get married in Kings Park, Perth, and then go for a meal to a nice restaurant afterwards. If it wasn't for the cost of the flights over it would have been by far the most cost effective option.

    Would you consider having a smaller wedding that way you can still concentrate on your studies and then maybe a few years down the line you could renew your vows and make that into a bigger celebration?

  • FutureMrsKFutureMrsK Posts: 234

    Career first, your family and friends will understand. During your studies the time will fly past and before you know it you will be booking the date for your wedding. 

  • Weddin crazyWeddin crazy Posts: 1,743

    It depends really are you wanting to be married or have a wedding. If ur eager just to be married u can do tht easy n bit cheaper n still have an amazing day. If u want a huge wedding n all the trimmings you will have to wait. 

  • BettybubbleBettybubble Posts: 33

    The fact that you are lying in bed worrying about paying for the wedding suggests that underneath you already know it's not the right time.

    Boyfriend and I have been together for 21 years (today!) and we only just came to feel that marriage was right for us. Despite that we are as giddy and excited as if we were kids! So I really don't think waiting a while will make it any less exciting when you decide to go for it.

  • herstoryherstory Posts: 1,268

    We got married after 11 and half (yep the half matters) together, life just got in the way, it was wonderful but I wish we had, had a cheap and cheerful (rather than expensive and cheerful) wedding years ago. Okay we always knew we were together but legally we were not each others best of kin and I always hated the fact if something serious happened to either of us our parents would be asked their opinion over our partner image I know you can make a living will etc but it's just much similar if you are a married couple.

    Looking back we should have had a fun small wedding a decade ago and had a big blow out 10th anniversary party instead!

    The really annoying thing is by the time it is our 20th wedding anniversary we will have been together 31 years! I think we maybe celebrating 20 years of being together instead, so I only have another 8 and half years to plan the party!

  • BettybubbleBettybubble Posts: 33

    We are starting with a 22nd anniversary instead of a 1st

    So in four years we will be celebrating our silver anniversary image


  • Thank you for all of the advice everybody image

    I completely understand the people who don't want to splash out on a fancy wedding and we have considered other options but we are both in love with the Italian wedding we have started to plan (surprisingly the venue hire and catering costs aren't that expensive either).  Herstory, what made you wish you had a cheap wedding?  In hindsight does it seem to have been a waste of money?  I have heard a few people say similar things as well.  I have been trying to cut down a few of the things from our wedding budget that we don't need but eventually it isn't even going to end up being enjoyable to plan and we really wanted the wedding to be personal to us.

    We have started to talk about the doing it in Australia idea a bit - I looked at a few venue prices though and it was very expensive.  My fiancé doesn't really like that idea and with flights costing around 800 - 1,000 pounds it may mean my sister and other family members or friends wouldn't be able to afford to come and its really important to me to have some of these people at my wedding.

    I am going to have to have a chat with my fiancé this weekend and see what he thinks is the best thing to do.  If I think about it logically it seems silly for us to have a really low quality of life just so that we can have a pretty wedding and despite wanting a nice wedding it is certainly more important to me to have a nice life together xxx     

  • herstoryherstory Posts: 1,268

    I will be honest my big expensive wedding (18k I think, I stopped counting when we got to about 16k) was lovely, but we kind of felt after 10 years plus we shoudl splash out.
     If we had got married 10 years ago as new gradutes everyone woudl have understood why we had a budget wedding, and to be honest while the setting may have been different and we would have had cheaper outfits and photographer I doubt the emotions would have been any different and that it would have meant less.

    On a practical level we would have been each others next of kin sooner

    on a vanity level I would have been a slim and pretty young bride

    on a meaning level more important family and friends woudl have been there, espically family in a decade a lot of people in my parents and grandparents generation have either passed away or wer too ill to attend.

    We could have still had a fab 10th anniversary party, after all a wedding is really an excuse for a party if you think about jsut the ceremony that bit doesn't cost much, if we cut things down just to the ceremony even with venue hire it woudl have been about 4k instead, and 10 years ago if we had told everyone were are going to a resturant and they have to pay for their own food and drink they would have understood.

    We always knew we were goign to be together forever but never legally declared it, so I think certain people doubted it. The only upside is I had a decade of my MIL not wanting to talk to me on the phoen now we are married she wants a chat!!!!

    Honestly don't worry about all the wedding extra's, I knwo I woudl have looked a lot better in my weddign pictures as an early 20's bride than I will in my ones where I am 31!

    There is also a lot of fun to be had not havign all the fancy bits and getting people to help out, even though we spend a fortune we did most of our own decorations, I underestimated how long it woudl take so the night before teh wedding I had hardly any but with the help of 10 fab family memebrs and friends we got it done, it wasn't excatly how I wanted it but it did look fab and I will always remeber those hours spent with those fab people.

    Honeslty if I had got married 10 years ago it would have probably been a church wedding with a reception in a church hall, but it woudl have been no less fablous, I have cousins who married young on a smaller budget and their wedding was as memorable as ours, unlitmately a wedding is about the people that attend they make or break it, I have been to expensive weddings at very posh places but everyone was trying to be too posh and no one had any fun, didn't help the drinks were extortionate!

    Remember you can always do a renewal of vows when you have more time and cash, I had a friend who will be doing this on their 10th anniversary because their photographer manager to loose all their offical pictures,thsi was before anyone had thought about wedding insurance!



  • herstoryherstory Posts: 1,268

    I also cringe at what we spent, yes it was a great day, but that cash would have paid for a few fab holidays!

    I will also say competitiveness played a part for me my younger brother had a fab wedding 4 years ago, I want ours to be better.

    We honeymooned in old town dubrovnik, it is a good thing we didn't go on holiday there before getting married, it is stunning and the few foriegn brides (mainly american and chinese) we saw out there did things like hire a yatch to take the wedding party to the reception or maybe it was on the yatch who knows, and there pictures will have a wow factor but as it is such an old city will also be timeless.

    I do suspect the Chinese bride I saw was doinf the go to fabolous places and get pictures in your wedding outfit because I only saw her and the groom and photographer!




  • herstoryherstory Posts: 1,268

    I will also say in your shoes I would pick my outfit and the grooms the photographer and challenge our families to plan it all, okay you have input into the ceremony, but the rest really doesn't matter......yep I said it image


  • Thanks for all of your advice.  I will be turning 30 next year so whether we get married now or postpone it a few years I will still be 30+.  We spent quite a bit of our 20's travelling and even though we both went to uni straight out of school we decided to travel first was more important to us.  We have been talking a bit about what we really want and have kind of cut it down to a skeleton ie that we just want a nice holiday with our close friends and family and its looking a bit more affordable.  We also wrote a priorities list and I think were both just going to have to be more realistic about what we can and can't do.  We also got some good news on Friday about my fiancé's job which is going to help us a lot financially.  Our budget at the moment is now 12k (it was 15) but I think we have accounted for everything.  I didn't want to spend any more than 10k but its hard as my fiancé really wants to invite all his family.  Out of interest was there anything in your budget that you didn't think about or forgot you would have to pay for? xxxx


  • herstoryherstory Posts: 1,268

    Glad you got some good news and that you have both agreed on your priorities.

    Budget advice:

    I have a big family, in the end a lot didn't turn up so that saved thousands, so if your hubby wants to invite everyone get the invites out early so if there are drop outs you can get your suppliers to adjust the numbers and not end up paying out for people who won't be there.

    Invites, we did ours on vista print anyone who commented on them loved them, and it was cheaper than getting 'proper' wedding invites.

    Favours, appreciated by some but half were left on the tables, if you do them keep them cheap and cheerful.

    Initially the groom didn't want a videographer I did, we did budget for one and glad we did, even if it just allows use to watch one of the bestmens speech (he had 2 bestmen) again, half of it didn't go in because I was plotting how to injure him!

    Photo's a pro photographer is defiantly worth it, even if it is just for the ceremony, formal shots and speeches. We also didn't do the traditional grooms side and brides side pictures, I split the groups further down to being each parents side, means we have some great pictures to pop in the thank you cards after all anyone on my mum's side probably doesn't want a picture that has people they barely know from my dad's side in it.

    Wedding website, with gift list is worth it, I wish we had done ours sooner, I would have been cheeky enough to put in elements of the wedding and ask people to contribute, especially as you can say we are combining our wedding and honeymoon so contributions to either would be great.

    Grooms suit, originally thought he would hire it but he had a bad experience in moss bros, then walked into House of Fraser and bought one. Okay he can wear it again but that was a few hundred extra that we had not budgeted for.

    Suit hire for the guys, the grooms dad was threatening to wear a suit older than the groom, both bestmen had said they had black suits, we decided if we wanted to be sure they looked presentable hiring was the only option, they then al asked who was paying for hire, we decided to cover the whole cost, but I was pissed none made an offer to contribute.

    Bridesmaids outfits and accessories, I went overboard, I also panicked about there shoes bought some then found some better ones..........I would say if you have bridesmaids set a budget and stick to it!

    I think the fact you are getting married aboard will mean you automatically miss a lot of the things people spend way too much on, but I ill say you will at the time of buying be able to justify it to yourself.

    Bride and grooms presents to each other, not needed or set a budget, my husband got some personalised cufflinks, he forgot to get me a gift so I picked a bit of jewellery on honeymoon it doesn't mean any less to me and as I had picked my wedding jewellery if he had bought me some I probably would not have worn it until the reception.

    All the little details, ye they are great if you have the time and money to do them but if you don't, don't worry about it, we ran out of time to do an order of the day or all the little signs for things like the cake and sweet table, we printed off our table plan the night before, we had an etsy seller do some cards (A5 onside logo for the table the other we printed a piece of paper off with the guests names) we could put in a frame, total cost no more than £30.

    I would advise any bride consider second hand, we had second hand decorations and my veil and hair comb were second hand.

    Feel free to PM me your list if you want someone who has been there done that to take a look.

    I would say with a wedding abroad you have translation costs etc and possible excess luggage to think about! I could not have got married abroad I always over pack for holiday!</p

  • Thanks image yes wondering what to do about the suits ie whether to risk telling them to wear their own or not!!  I completely agree with the favours too and I'm not too sure if I will have them or not.  The same thing happened at my sister's wedding - everyone left them on the tables!  I am terrible with packing too so that one is going to be fun! xxx  

  • It sounds like you want to have your cake and eat it too, which is understandable, but you will need to come to a decision at some point!

    Do you want a big flashy wedding with lots of "personal details" etc, and wait until you are in a position where you can do that without going into debt/living off bread crumbs for two years/stressing about payments, or do you want to get married sooner and compromise slightly on the sort of wedding you have. Just because it isn't your "dream" wedding doesn't mean it wouldn't be a wonderful wedding.

    If you get married now, as graduates or people still in education without much spare cash to go seems excessive to have a 12-15k wedding -  simply because it sounds like it's money that you don't have. And I mean...that's an expensive wedding by anyone's standards.

    A wedding is just a day, whilst good qualifications in a field that will land you good jobs will be an important factor in your everyday married lives.

    This really isn't worth you having to lie awake at night stressing about. You have enough to worry about I'm sure!

  • Hi thanks for your input.  Its certainly a difficult decision.  We definitely won't be getting into any debt regardless of how much we save though and won't be taking out any loans or credit cards to pay for the wedding.  We are both still working full-time so not full-time students and we both earn enough to save the 12-15k so it isn't money we don't have.  Its just the choice of whether that money would be better placed going on our educations as we can't really do both without having to really scrimp and save which is something we didn't want to do as we want to enjoy the Aussie lifestyle.        

    Tbh though I thought that 12-15k is about the norm these days when you factor everything in and our budget is on the lower side compared to most friends and family I know who have got married recently.  I agree its a lot to spend on one day though and that was why we made the decision to do it abroad - so that we get a week with a smaller group of people rather than have the big wedding which is something I don't want.  I definitely don't want a big flashy wedding though if that was the impression I gave.  I do want lots of personal details at the wedding, I don't think personal details though necessarily mean the wedding is flashy but agreed it will push the budget up.  I also want a good photographer (which loads of people have told me not to scrimp on) but other than that I'm prepared to compromise on most things. 

    My fiancé is constantly telling me I can't do everything as well (something I'm having to remind myself as I have a habit of committing myself to doing too much) so we are going to have to make compromises - we have both decided we won't really have a proper holiday for the next few years but think it will be worth it.  Luckily though towards the end of last week we received some good news about my fiancés job which means our finances are looking a lot better so we may be able to continue studying and have the wedding we want xx      

  • MrsTwizbeMrsTwizbe Posts: 3,355 New bride

    Not read all posts so sorry if this has already been suggested, but could you look at a destination wedding somewhere between Europe and Australia (Thailand would have been perfect, if it quietens down)

    My friend is British and his wife is Australia, they did that to make it possible for at least some of the family to make it - in the end there were about 20 people at their wedding (including us) and it was a lovely day. Personally I love being a guest at a destination wedding (have done Mexico, Grand Cayman, Morroccco, Turkey) they make great holiday.

  • My experience. I am from France and I have met an Italian in New york during a week end. At this time I was working in Canada. Three months we got married. My mum, friends, sister came to the wedding. Now I live in Milan Italy and it has been two years of positive love. We are both fashion photographers so Milan has been a good choice. 

    Do what you feel is best for you both ! 

    If you need any advice I am here to help image

  • I have been thinking about that more Mrs Twizbe.  If we get married in Europe we will have travelled back to the UK 4 times in 4 years which makes me tired just thinking about it.  Its also a huge financial drain and really difficult to arrange the time off with work.  We have already committed to going back next year as 2 close friends are getting married and we would need to sort out some of the wedding things.  I have thought more about Australia or somewhere in Asia recently as it would give our families an opportunity to travel somewhere new (also us as all of the trips home mean we have no holiday time to see the places we really want to travel to).  The problem now is that were both so in love with the idea of doing it in Italy and nowhere seems to come close now!

    Thank you Amandine.  To start with we were definitely thinking more about other people than us in planning the wedding and I think we both need to do what we want to do as its our day xxx

  • Good luck!! I think by the sounds of it your budget is more than ample for a lovely wedding. The only thing you might have to think carefully about is numbers. Try and get a quote for food as soon as possible so you have an idea what it's going to cost you. Then you can work out how many people you can afford to invite from there?

    Do you speak Italian? That could be the other big problem about marrying in Italy - I imagine that going through an english speaking planner would basically double the cost of everything. Being able to book things yourself over the net and phone would save you a fortune.

  • Thank you BlueLondonParis.  We have a quote for a wedding planner.  It is about 1,000 pounds though I think it works out (the prices we have are in euros).  I would prefer to do everything myself but I need to clarify with the venue what their rules are as I got the impression you had to book a wedding planner with this venue as the venue isn't specifically a wedding venue.  Also we would need somebody to coordinate on the day.  I don't speak Italian either so a wedding planner will help with the language barrier xxx 

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