Mortgage or Marriage?

Mortgage or Marriage?

June 29, 2022

Which is more important — the dream wedding or the dream home?

OVER THE YEARS, both the average cost of a wedding and the average deposit required to buy a property have increased. As a result, this has forced some younger couples in the UK to decide which is more important to them — the dream wedding or the dream home?

IS REALITY TV NOW REFLECTING ACTUAL REALITY? The Netflix reality show Marriage or Mortgage reveals a lot about the emotional aspects of home buying, as couples decide whether to spend their savings on a wedding or a home. In the popular show each episode focuses on one couple that are shown properties to fit their budgets while a wedding planner takes them on a tour of venues, trying on wedding dresses and tasting food for hypothetical receptions. Low interest rates, stagnant wages and high rents have made saving hard work for many, and some younger people are now finding that they cannot afford to get married and jump on the property ladder at the same time. The average wedding in the UK in 2021 and 2022 will cost a little over £20,000[1] and that only includes the costs of the day itself and not the cost of the honeymoon or other associated events like a bridal shower.

COST-CONSCIOUS ATTITUDE Since the average price of a property in England is £256,000[2], a 10% deposit (which is typically the minimum you would need to save) would be £25,600, but first-time buyer deposits are often much higher. Plus, there are various other costs involved, including mortgage arrangement fees and survey fees. Even if you approach both with a cost conscious attitude, it would be difficult to save for a deposit and get married at a combined cost of less than £50,000.

IMPORTANT LIFE GOAL For couples who each earn around the average UK salary, saving that amount could take between 10 to 20 years. So, many people in their 20s and 30s are forced to choose whether to postpone the big day or wait until afterwards to save for a home. Recent research[3] highlighted that 12% of UK respondents believe that taking out a mortgage was more important than getting married. And, while 76% of people think that buying a home is an important life goal, slightly fewer (64%) think that getting married is an important life goal.

MEANINGFUL RITE OF PASSAGE Although no one can predict how the housing market will go in the future, the difference between spending on a wedding and spending on a home is tangible. In one case you get a beautiful day and a meaningful rite of passage, but in the other you get real property you can live in for years. A home of your own is also an investment that can pay off down the road and one that should see its value grow. Saving towards a common goal or goals, creating a monthly budget, making joint decisions and dreaming about the future are critical building blocks for a lifetime of partnership. These skills will serve you well in almost any scenario, whether staged for TV or happily ever after.

Source data:
[1] blog/average-cost-uk-wedding.php
[2] inflationandpriceindices/bulletins/housepriceindex/ july2021

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