Author Topic: Project Free Wedding aka TSEAOLAW  (Read 489 times)

curiousmitch32

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Project Free Wedding aka TSEAOLAW
« on: August 25, 2017, 03:12:40 PM »
Hello!

I discovered MMM about 5 months ago and have been cruising through the readings ever since.  A few months before that my girlfriend did something cute #DancingInGroceryStore and I thought to myself, "Wow. She's great, I want to marry her."  I haven't asked her yet but it got me thinking about all sorts of things wedding related.   

Now, I am in a group of friends that one might call early retirement at birth group #richparents. They all work because early retirement hasn't occurred to them or perhaps because of a misplaced since of familial obligation. Either way, they were born into a nice spot. 

So far, most of their weddings float between 50-100k #WeddingAtTheMuseum. I get nauseous when I start to think about going down a similar route.  Luckily I have a girlfriend who is already pretty frugal.  Although I haven't yet proposed, she and I have talked about a non-traditional path for a wedding.  I know MMM weighed in on weddings and his take is reasonable. I am all for reasonable but I also like adventure. I want to create a path which will be both badass and below what my normal expenses are (this will make more sense in a moment). 

My GF is in school right now (Pacific College of Oriental Medicine [acupuncture]) and will finish in the spring of 2019.  My goal/project between now and then is to plan the a trip throughout the world in which we elope all over the place. I am calling this The
Spectacular Eloposaurous Adventure of Light and Wonder
or TSEAOLAW.  Somewhere between now and then I'll propose. If I look particularly medium-attractive that day, she might say yes and then the game is afoot!

I thought, my thrifty, smart friends of the internet (you) might be able to help with ideas on how to get it done! 

Here are the ground rules:
1. I know this won't be free but my goal is to be clever and pay as little as possible. I figure my normal monthly expenses are around $2000. If I keep my costs below that, I would consider it a "free" wedding.  In other words, I wouldn't be spending more than I normally do.
2. My GF will want to get a dress and I want a tux (or to at least look nice). My hope would be we would be wearing our wedding gear multiple times throughout TSEAOLAW.
3. We will want to have good quality pictures taken of us throughout TSEAOLAW.

That's about it, everything else is pretty negotiable! 

My initial thoughts are something like this. We will leave on a extended trip not married and we will return married. I could start opening credit cards and accruing travel points/miles (of course paying off min balances and all the commandments of travel hacking).  I will plan a trip to visit multiple countries and block out about 3 months of our lives to do so.  Once we set an itinerary, I will inform friends family of where we will be on a particular date. Our more adventurous friends can join us and maybe participate in a brief ceremony or exchange of vows when we are together. I feel like it would be nice to do this multiple times  throughout the world. 

More about my situation.
Male
30
salary 92k
plan on leaving job when GF finishes school so time off won't be an issue.
Currently in Chicago and plan to move to St. Louis following school/TSEAOLAW.


I think getting others to weigh in on this would be a really fun experiment.  If there is no interest, that's cool too, I'll just go pound sand. 

I figure this would be enough to begin the process and I can answer questions and get more specific moving forward. 

TSEAOLAW or bust!

DarkandStormy

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curiousmitch32

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Re: Project Free Wedding aka TSEAOLAW
« Reply #2 on: September 05, 2017, 02:33:10 PM »
Nice resources D&S!

I have been following mad fientist for a bit now but don't believe I have landed on the other two.

Thank you!


DarkandStormy

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Re: Project Free Wedding aka TSEAOLAW
« Reply #3 on: September 05, 2017, 02:50:41 PM »
Nice resources D&S!

I have been following mad fientist for a bit now but don't believe I have landed on the other two.

Thank you!

No worries.  There are plenty of sites out there, but those three are free.  The Travel Miles 101 e-mail course is free and highly recommended.

If you can be organized, you should definitely be able to churn through a few cards a year (depending on your spending level).  You could probably pile up close to 500,000 points (or more) by the time you plan out your trip.  The key here is you don't excessively spend more than you would have and you pay off your credit cards in full and on time.

But yeah, definitely game the system.  You could have $10,000+ worth of travel built up in points/miles.  Good luck!
The Chase Trifecta:
Earn 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points with Chase Sapphire Preferred - $4k spending in 3 months.
https://www.referyourchasecard.com/6/2MOVOLZCEJ
Earn a $150 bonus with Chase Freedom Unlimited - only $500 spending needed in 3 months.
https://www.referyourchasecard.com/18/ENYF0FTS66
Earn a $150 bonus with Chase Freedom - only $500 spending needed in 3 months.
https://www.referyourchasecard.com/2/DBOP9XI9XT

Recommended Cell Servce - Google's Project FI: https://g.co/fi/r/THK0WX

Livingthedream55

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Re: Project Free Wedding aka TSEAOLAW
« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2017, 09:02:36 AM »
What a sweet idea! Also consider very low cost places to stay. Hostels immediately come to mind (perhaps splurge on a private room for you both!) and also look at sites where you get free housing and food in exchange for some volunteer work. Here is one: https://www.workaway.info/ Keep us posted!



FallenTimber

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Re: Project Free Wedding aka TSEAOLAW
« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2017, 10:01:17 AM »
Congrats on finding the right gal! There's no better feeling than realizing you've found the woman you want to spend the rest of your life with.

I think it's a great idea (assuming your soon-to-be-fiance is on board). My wife and I are in the wedding industry and attend 40+ weddings every year, and it's unbelievable to see the amount of money spent on a single day. You've probably already seen the statistics on the success of a marriage vs. the cost of the wedding, so I won't bother going there.

My wife and I got married three years ago and stuck to our budget of $5,000 (over 60% of that was on the photography). We kept it relatively small with 75 guests. We decided to do a chili fest, which meant that we cooked up a handful of our favorite chilis, and we also asked a handful of our friends and family to cook and bring their favorites. Some had beef, some had chicken, some had bison, some were vegetarian, some had beans, some had no beans, some had chocolate. It was a fun spin on the traditional wedding dinner, everyone loved it, and it only costed us about $4 per person (compare that to the national average of wedding dinner, which runs $85 per person). We also spent about $500 on beer, wine, and whiskey, and had plenty of leftover to last us for the next 6 months.

My quick two cents:

1. As you already mentioned, don't skimp on the photography. The photos and the memories they'll hold will be worth more than gold and you'll cherish them forever. Even on an extremely tight budget, we allocated $3,000 to photography. At the very least, you could hire a professional for your ceremony (however brief it may be). If you need any help finding professional photographers in various states or countries, feel free to PM me.

2. The best time to buy a wedding dress is fall / early winter. That's when places are getting new dresses and clearing out last year's dresses.

3. Remember that it's your wedding. Everyone is entitled to their own big day, but you can be certain you'll hear everyone's opinion after you propose. If someone doesn't like your unconventional approach, they can go get married themselves and have a conventional $50k wedding and blow all of their money. It's simple advice but it can be tough when you're getting pressured by the people you love the most. Stick to your guns--you have an awesome idea.