Getting Married: US version

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In about a month, I am going to come back to China and get married. Since I have been in the US for almost 10 years, attended couple weddings, I have some ideas about the financial side of the wedding here.

Registry: when I first heard of it in 2000, I thought this is probably one of the best ideas about “giving gifts”. Here is how it works: the bride and groom made up a “wish list” of the things they want, give it to Wal-Mart, Target, Macy’s or Amazon, also they notify their friends about this. Their friends will buy the stuff from the list. But on second thought, after I made to couple weddings, I feel Chinese way of giving “red envelop with money inside” is better. Because sometimes the couple really don’t know what they want, also they can not expect everyone pay $100 for gifts, so they end up with many $20 things which are not really useful. On the other hand, with the cash (small amount putting together), a couple can do the things they want.

Diamond: Yes, this is the tradtion. I learned about this after my friend bought $500 ring when we were both in school (the graduate student month stiphend was about $1000 at that time). Later on I learned about Blue Nile founder story: he went to a traditional store to buy a ring for his fiancee, was not treated very well. He got upset and founded this online Diamond store. His “fiancee” kept the ring, but they did not get married.

The price of ring: Buffett once said one should spend 3% of his net worth. He bought $3000 ring because at the time his net worth was about $100,000. Current rule is 3 months salary (before or after tax?), this is a bit out of whack in my mind. Andy Xie, the former Morgan Stanley Asia chief economist, said diamond does not worth the money. He thinks it’s “man made luxury” created by the jewery makers to make money. I’m not going there.

Wedding: I heard people in the US spend average $30,000 for a wedding. This is a big industry. July 7, 2007 will be big because in the west “777” is the winning number in slot machine. In China August 8, 2008 (the opening day of Beijing Olympics) is considered a good day. Wedding planners will be very busy working and collecting money. So are the hotels, restautants, limos, camera men, band, etc.

Honeymoon: this is the part actually my fiancee and I decide to do. I always wanted to go to Europe. Obviously we can not go to all the places we wanted to visit in a few weeks, but we will try.

I think the most important part of wedding and all, is to create long lasting memory, not the money itself.

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