Play by Play: Should They Skip the Wedding and Buy a House?

When Jordan Slice and her husband Jeremy Metcalfe got engaged their junior year of college, they knew a traditional wedding wasn’t for them. The couple had already been paying their own bills for a while and had become very money-conscious, so they just couldn't see justifying the expense of a big wedding. 

"We knew neither of our parents had money set aside for a wedding and we didn't value it that much," Jordan said. "So we kind of viewed it as a party we were throwing for other people."

That point of view ended up being life-changing one day in December when Jordan's sister sent her a listing for a $54,900 home close to downtown. Jordan and Jeremy had been renting in a historic section of town and they loved the eclectic, unique styles of the older homes in the area. Jordan especially loved the small features, like the transoms and faux crystal doorknobs, that are usually missing from new construction.

This house had all of that, plus a yard for their three dogs and their cat. It was close enough to downtown to bike to work and even though there were some high-crime areas nearby, the home was located in a safe neighborhood. And since none of their money was tied up in wedding planning, buying it was much more than a pipe dream. So they decided to look. 

"My husband and I drove by the house and we looked in the windows and everything. It looked just like the pictures and it seemed legit, so we called the Realtor."

"It was like the clouds parted, music played, and everything was perfect. When we walked in, it just felt like home.”

Kelli Cooper, their Realtor, ended up showing them a few more homes in the area, but none of them were quite right.

“One was a foreclosure in an area we loved, but it was going to need a lot of renovations,"Jordan said. Since we hadn't saved a lot of money, we needed something move-in ready. That ruled that out. We saw another one closer to where we actually bought, but it was in an area that was a little rougher that we felt comfortable with. Then we got back to our house. It was like the clouds parted, music played, and everything was perfect. When we walked in it just felt like home.”

Jordan didn't know if financing was going to be a problem for them. Her husband was still in school and since she’d graduated a semester early, she was in between college and a career. It was 2010, the recession was in full swing, and jobs were hard to come by for most young people. Jordan had worked as a vet tech throughout college and had a job lined up at a small non-profit, but she hadn’t started yet and her salary wasn't huge.

Jordan asked her future employer for a letter that would verify her start date and her salary and with bated breath took all her documents to the bank to apply. Between the promise of her new job and the employment history she'd built up working as a vet tech, she was able to get approved and the couple was ready to put in an offer. 

Kelli suggested putting in an offer slightly below asking, even though the home was already a steal. The sellers countered and after the negotiations were done, they ended up paying the listing price, but the sellers paid thousands of dollars in small repairs that had come out during the inspection process. 

"People said we'd regret it."

A year after the couple moved into their house, they decided it was time to officially get married. So, one Thursday during their lunch break the pair went down to the courthouse to apply for a marriage license. Legally, they had to wait 24 hours to pick up their marriage certificate, so on Friday during lunch they headed back to the court house. They took the certificate across the street to get notarized, brought it back to be filed, and they were married. It was all very romantic, Jordan joked. 

The entire time they were engaged, people told Jordan and Jeremy how much they'd regret skipping the wedding. But it's been five years since they bought their house and four years since their visit to the courthouse, and they couldn't be happier. For Jordan, foregoing the traditional wedding and buying an affordable home gave them the opportunity to travel and be financially secure. 

"Maybe we're not far enough out, but I've never regretted not having a wedding and not having wedding photos or anything like that--and my husband's the same way," Jordan said. "The whole thing has allowed us so many more experiences that we wouldn't have had otherwise."

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