Throughout 2014, I chronicled in this blog the planning of my daughter Casey’s wedding. This, I discovered, is a process that is about as complicated as planning a NASA mission, and only slightly less costly.
There were so many moving parts, in fact, that I got 35 blog posts out of it. If collected together and binge-read (which is a term I just invented, so please credit me when you use it), an overarching theme would become clear:
While planning a wedding, women become lunatics.
That is not just my opinion. An entire $53.4 billion industry depends on batty brides-to-be (and their mothers). After all, who in their right minds would pay $30,000 (about the average wedding cost) for one evening, instead of, say, flying to Vegas for the weekend, spending $275 on the “Hound Dog” wedding package at the Elvis Chapel, seeing Cirque du Soleil, dropping a few hundred at the tables, and having approximately $28,000 left with which to start a life together.
And if you’re thinking, “But then the bride won’t have the dream wedding she’ll remember all her life,” then you are a crazy woman. Unless she obsessively watches the video (videographer: $1,500-$3,000), she’ll quickly forget the surreal feeling of going down the aisle with her parents, trying to stay in step with the possibly ill-advised processional selection of “Walking on Sunshine” played with feeling by the solo violinist ($400). But she’ll never forget being accompanied down the aisle by Elvis.
Sorry, mom and dad. You may love your daughter, but you can’t top The King.
I bring this all up now because it has come to my attention that a new internet start-up is getting ready to help couples pay for their weddings. It’s called, for reasons not immediately apparent, Swanluv.com, and it is slated to launch in February.
Here’s the deal: Swanluv will simply give you $10,000 toward your wedding. Isn’t that nice of them? You don’t have to pay them back or anything. Unless…
…you get divorced. Then you have to pay back the $10,000 with interest. How much interest, you ask? Well, that’s where it gets complicated, just like the contents of a bridal bouquet ($250).* The website GeekWire describes the process, as explained by Swanluv’s founder, Scott Avy:
“His company will look at the statistics, survey potential couples and give higher interest rates to the stronger relationships in order to ‘protect ourselves as a company.’”
So, basically, it’s a good news/bad news sort of thing: The good news is we can give you a really low interest rate on money for your wedding. The bad news is you really shouldn’t be getting married.
Avy says that Swanluv’s profits will come from advertising, not from the interest on marriage default swaps. He knows that there are tons of companies out there that will advertise on anything even remotely involved with weddings. I repeat, this is a $53.4 billion industry.
But here’s my question: Why would a couple first take a risk that some actuarial geek will tell them their relationship sucks, and then take a risk that, 19 years from now, when the kids are off to college and they can finally get divorced, they will owe approximately $38,720 to Swanluv? Especially since it’s only covering about a third of the wedding cost!
That’s insane! So lots of people–mostly crazy women–will probably line up to do it. Unless…
…they’re really nuts. Then they can go to the good folks at Promise Financial for a wedding loan. That way, they can borrow up to $35,000 and pay for the whole wedding! Plus they’ll have the peace-of-mind of knowing that they’ll have to pay back the money even if they don’t get divorced! And, what the hell, they already have college debts that will be with them the rest of their lives–what’s another $386.82 a month for 10 years at 5.9%?
In case you’re wondering, a wedding loan works just like a home loan, except, if you ever manage to pay if off, all you’ve got to show for it is a moth-eaten gown ($2,500) and a photo album (photographer: $5,000). Oh, yeah, and maybe a spouse and some kids. But, like, no equity.
Which brings to mind another question: With either Swanluv or Promise Financial, if the couple does get divorced, who gets custody of the payments?
Scott Avy says Swanluv is like a casino for marriages because it gives them a chance to gamble on themselves, instead of a roll of the dice. According to the Geekwire article, “he added that many couples will probably decide not to take the loan. But even that could raise an important question: ‘Should we be getting married if we’re not willing to sign up?’”
I think the opposite question is more appropriate. Should they be getting married if they are willing to sign up? Because, clearly, two idiots like that should not be married to each other. Especially if they intend to have kids.
In conclusion, let me offer this advice: don’t gamble on yourselves instead of a roll of the dice. Seriously, gamble on the roll of the dice. Then let Elvis walk you down the aisle for $275 and enjoy the rest of your lives together.
See you soon.
*How complicated could the contents of a bridal bouquet be, you ask? To find out, read my post about it.