Marriage or Mortgage; Why Large Weddings Are A Scam

Marriage or Mortgage | Netflix Official Site

A promotional poster for the Netflix original series Marriage or Mortgage. This TV show has stirred up some conversations about the importance of marriage in a couple’s relationship. Photo Credit: Netflix

Warning: this article contains spoilers for season one of the Netflix original series Marriage or Mortgage.

The other day while I was browsing Netflix, looking for a new show to watch, I came across the show Marriage or Mortgage. The concept of the show is simple: set in Nashville, Tennessee, an engaged couple meets with a real estate agent and a wedding planner with a budget (normally 25-35 thousand dollars) that they will either spend as a down payment on a house or on their dream wedding. Before they make this decision, the real estate agent, Nichole Holmes, will show them three houses that closely match the couple’s criteria for the perfect home, and the wedding planner, Sarah Miller, will take them shopping for different elements of their dream wedding, from venues to ice sculptures or even a ranch fountain. 

Before I watched Marriage or Mortgage, I thought the choice between the two was simple: I would much rather have the security of a home than one night of fun. But most of the couples didn’t share this same opinion. Out of the ten episodes in season one, only four of the couples chose to use the money for a down payment on a house. The others chose the wedding, which was painful to watch considering most of the show was filmed in late 2019 early 2020. This meant that the weddings mostly happened during the pandemic and were not the dream that the couples signed up for.

This show solidified my belief that big dream weddings are a scam, even outside the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Weddings have been corrupted by industries just trying to take advantage of love by making couples pay exorbitant amounts of money for one day of their life.

Weddings overall are extremely expensive. According to the Wedding Report, a research company dedicated to providing unbiased wedding statistics, weddings in the US cost, on average, 24.7 thousand dollars in 2019. This number went down to 19.85 thousand dollars in 2020 due to the pandemic, but is estimated to go back up into the 24 thousands by 2023. Prices vary heavily based on the state; for example, a wedding in Portland in 2019 would cost an average of 30.9 thousand dollars, compared to the average of 24.7 thousand. These prices seem even more unreasonable when comparing them to the average price for a down payment for a home, which is 12.5 thousand dollars on average according to American Family Insurance. 

Taking numbers out of the situation, choosing a wedding over a house often goes against the couple’s best interests. Let’s take Liz and Evan Zimmer, the couple in episode one, as an example. Evan Zimmer said it himself at the beginning of the episode that buying a house was the “smart decision to make.” They were new to Nashville and wanted to get settled in a house, both agreeing that renting was not a good decision due to the high prices. They also have a dog named Franklin, who would be able to have a backyard to play in if they decided on a home, instead of needing to go on walks if they stayed in an apartment. Even with all of these factors making the house look like the more desirable option, the Zimmers decided on a wedding.

I’m not blaming the couples who chose a wedding over a house by any means. I’m blaming the society that has told engaged couples that weddings are so important that they should take priority over a home. It felt wrong listening to Miller talk to each of the couples about venues and dresses while a home would provide so many more benefits overall. Although I see the appeal of a wedding, ultimately it’s just one night of fun as opposed to the years of security that a home provides. 

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