Wedding Etiquette: Kathy and Peter

'Til Debt Do Us Part

Kathy and Peter are planning their wedding and have so far estimated that it will cost them between $35,000 and $40,000.

Peter, concerned that they only have $2,500 in their savings account, wants to reduce the costs and have a more practical wedding that fits their budget. However, Kathy insists upon having the wedding of her dreams with all the frills, including spending $7,000 on Ecuadorian roses, one of the most expensive roses available.


Kathy refuses to cut costs and is willing to go into debt over it.

Dr. Phil asks, "You can't think that I'm going to say 'Go $48,000 into debt for a 30-minute ceremony!'"

"I've just waited so long to find the perfect person, I'm 35 years old," replies Kathy. "I've had in mind what I've wanted for my wedding forever. And I want it to be a perfect day. It's just something I always wanted."

Peter adds, "I don't want to wreck her dreams ... Most women dream about this exotic wedding, but I don't know how I'm going to do it. I'll feel like I'll let her down if I can't pull it all off."

"I'm just trying to be realistic with you," says Dr. Phil. "You can't afford the most expensive roses in the world draped all over your wedding. On the other hand, you don't need to be having this in your backyard doing hot dogs. You need to have a really nice wedding that you can be proud of, and you don't need to be guilt inducing him about ruining your day."

"There's a feeling that comes from having this experience," says Dr. Phil. "There's a feeling that comes from walking down the aisle, and it's beautiful and everything is wonderful," says Dr. Phil. "It's the culmination of everything you've dreamed about everything you want. Is there a way to get that feeling for less than $48,000?"
Dr. Phil continues with his advice: "Isn't there a point at which you say, 'We have to get creative here because I have this fantasy of everything I want, but I have this reality of what we can afford.'"

"I think people focus way too much on the wedding and not enough on the marriage," says Dr. Phil. "If he is the right guy, if he is 'Mr. Wonderful,' then it wouldn't matter if you married him out in the parking lot. What would matter is that you were taking that step in your life and you were doing the union between the two of you that is going to be your future. And that needs to be your focus."

Dr. Phil concludes, "The reality is you cannot afford this and so you need to get happy about something you can afford and focus on the union instead of just the event."