Top Four Questions You Need to Answer Before Tying The Knot

Written by: E J Stedman

Someone may even run out for a panic-bought congratulatory card if you’re lucky.

I am getting married. Judging by the wealth of I’m-Getting-Married bridal blogs out there, the mere fact that I agreed to legally bind myself to another sack of flesh makes me a pre-eminent expert on event planning, marriage and relationships in general. Hurrah. I’ve never been an expert on anything before!

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Especially weddings, because I have literally never married a single person ever. Not even a little bit. Fortunately for all you lonely bastards out there, the internet is more than willing to help all those who haven’t managed to tie the knot yet.

There’s oodles of totally-not-patronising-at-all advice on such illuminating topics as “If he does these five things, marry him”, “Don’t marry the girl who asks these 10 question” and “At what age should you start settling for less?”

If you’re really lucky, one of you will die, and if you’re married, the other one won’t have to pay Inheritance Tax on all their cool stuff when they snuff it.
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I’m certainly not going to miss out on all the fun, so based on my hugely limited experience of planning a wedding and getting married, here’s Four Questions You Need to Answer Before Tying the Knot.

1. Do you have £774?

Oooh it’s hilariously expensive to get married! My goodness me. Those fun wedding mags that are designed to make you feel bad about your choice of bridesmaids dresses estimates the average UK wedding costs £27,000.

Let’s be clear here: what they’re really talking about is the cost of the reception, which in layman’s terms is a party. Granted, it might be a really nice party, with sexy swan napkins and toddler sized centrepieces, but it’s still a party with absolutely no relation to the Actually Getting Married bit. Think about it.  

For £774, you can: notify the council of your upcoming nuptials, get married in a registry office, have a copy of your wedding certificate (add £4 for an extra copy), and get divorced. That’s right kids; the entire life cycle of marriage can be yours for less than the price of a semi-functioning 1999 Ford Mondeo. Your dad would be proud.

N.B – I’ve heard church weddings are a little more expensive, but I have no idea of the details. Belief in an all-powerful celestial being is no longer a pre-requisite for marriage (thank god), so all you saucy heathens can do it on the cheap, leaving you with more cash for your hideous, blasphemous divorce.

2. Can you take at least one day off work?

If you’ve already taken all your holidays for the year, have pushed the boundaries of unpaid leave and had more sick days than strictly necessary, you might need to wait til next year.

Even at cheapo registry offices, getting married on a Saturday or Sunday is more expensive than a cheeky Tuesday ceremony – to the tune of hundreds of pounds.

Presumably divorce courts operate on a Monday – Friday basis too, so ideally you’ll need two holiday days left unbanked, just in case.

Or you could be totally baller and slip off to get married in your lunch break. Then you get to sit down at your desk, nonchalantly announce your recent wedding to your colleagues, and let the chaos break out around you.

Someone may even run out for a panic-bought congratulatory card if you’re lucky.

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3. Do you enjoy avoiding inheritance tax?

Woo! If the hip rich kids are anything to go by, paying tax on stuff is only for lame impoverished people. And, as it turns out, the unmarried.

If you’re really lucky, one of you will die, and if you’re married, the other one won’t have to pay Inheritance Tax on all their cool stuff when they snuff it. If you’re just en couple, the surviving partner could be liable to pay 40% inheritance tax on everything over the value of £325,000.

4. Do you believe in true love and happily ever after?

EHHHH. Wrong answer. If there’s one piece of relatively unsarcastic, semi-helpful advice that I can give you, it is thus: your wedding (upcoming, unplanned or otherwise) is not going to dramatically change your life. Your partner will not stop being frustrating, annoying you, or generally getting on your rag when you become engaged.

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Getting married is not a magic stop button to their infuriating tendencies other than that magical stop button of divorce, and even that isn’t fool proof.

If you’re hoping that the salve of marriage will smooth over the lumps and bumps of your relationship, save yourself £774 and use your day off to do something else. If one of you gets down on one knee, bear in mind the person you’re proposing to is the one you’re going to be marrying, not an invented and improved version who remembers to buy toilet paper and doesn’t snore.

Repeat after me: it’s nothing but a legal document for tax reasons.

Read more wedding related advice with our top four don’t make me sell my kidney wedding necessities.

Photos by Mike Barry

Photos from our shoot with North London’s very own Lucky Sixpence Bridal, finders and upcyclers of brilliant vintage wedding dress for BadAssBrides. Check out our interview with lead BadAss Anna here: click me – you know you want to.

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