I’ve had a convicted murderer ask me for share tips from jail.
I’ve had a wife ask me about life insurance payouts (while they were still married, and he was still alive).
I’ve even had a few first division TattsLotto winners ask me how to hide their loot.
But I’ve never been asked to arrange a wedding. That is until last week, when this email came through:
I need your help. It’s about my partner. See, everything Barefoot says to do, my partner does. He follows your financial advice religiously. So my question is: WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO TELL HIM TO MARRY ME? We have been together five years, have a child, a dog and a home. I get it that weddings are expensive, but I NEED the title of Mrs! Please, Barefoot, make him rush to the altar as fast as he buys your share picks!
Yes, it’s more Dr Phil than finance, but hey, I’m as nosey as the next guy — so I called Lauren up.
Turns out she’s a wedding planner. Seriously. A wedding planner who isn’t married is like a butcher without sausages, or Tony Abbott without his Speedos. It’s just not right. Lauren urged me to make it right. So we hatched a plan.
Lauren and Barefoot Chris (unmarried).
I rang her partner, Chris, and had Lauren waiting on another phone line. It was time to do a deal.
Barefoot: “G’day Chris, it’s the Barefoot Investor here.”
Chris: “I’ve been expecting your call.” (Turns out he’d read last week’s newspaper, where I printed Lauren’s question.)
Barefoot: “Now you trust me to give you good financial advice, right?”
Chris (laughing nervously): “Yes.”
Barefoot: “Well, I’ve got a great investment for you. It’s the bluest of blue chips. It pays amazing dividends. This isn’t a day trade, it’s long term. And I mean till-death-do-you-part type long term. It’s Lauren, the mother of your child.”
Barefoot (awkward silence): “So …”
Chris: “So … you’ve put me in a tight spot.”
Barefoot: “Look, let me take a wild stab at this. You’re thinking, we’ve already got a kid, and a mortgage, what do I need a piece of paper for … especially if it costs $40,000 … right?”
Chris: “You’ve got it! Though I’m pretty sure it would be $50,000 if she was involved.”
And with that opening bid I was off to the races.
I got Lauren on the line and went back and forth between the two of them like a real estate agent with two Chinese bidders.
Barefoot: “He thinks it’s going to cost $50,000. What’s the lowest you can go, Lauren?”
Lauren: “I’d do it for $20,000!” she squeals.
Barefoot: “She’ll do it for (cough, cough) $10,000, Chris, but I think she’s got more in her. Let’s push for $7,500.”
Lauren: “Oh now that’s stretching it … does that include a ring?”
Barefoot: “Chris, got any Burger Rings? Cheezels? Let’s get this deal over the line.”
No One Plans a $40,000 Wedding
The average cost of a wedding in Australia is somewhere between $36,700 (IBISWorld) and $48,296 (Bride To Be magazine).
Let’s call it $40,000.
Of course no one sets out to spend that much –- it just works out that way.
As a wedding planner, Lauren knows that — it’s the ultimate emotional spend.
And as the partner of a wedding planner, Chris has been exposed to enough Bridezillas — which is presumably why he’s guarding his Mojo like a junkyard dog.
There’s a ‘wedding tax’ that makes everything more expensive.
When I got married I remember meeting with a wedding photographer who came highly regarded.
“Photography will cost $5,000”, he said dismissively, straight off the bat, without even breaking a sweat.
“Right, well that sorts that out. We’ll get our best mate to take the snaps”, I said.
And on it went.
In the end we ditched a wedding venue and got married at our farm. The ceremony was just down from the shearing shed, under a big beautiful tree that I hope one day our boys will get married under too.
The reception was in the backyard.
Now three years (and two kids) after our wedding, here’s my reflections on the night:
I don’t remember the paper quality of the invitations, the cake, or the flower arrangements. All I remember is having a great time with my family and friends, dancing badly, and marrying my best friend.
What about Chris?
Well, he tells me he’s currently shopping for a ring, but in the meantime he’s turned into a bit of a Groomzilla:
“The only food I want is sausage rolls and saveloys”.
“Oh, and I want the Barefoot Investor be the MC”.
Now he’s put me in a tight spot…
Tread Your Own Path!