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  • For Love & Money is a weekly Business Insider column answering relationship and money questions.
  • This week, a reader wants an expensive wedding — but their fiancé wants to stick to a budget.
  • Our columnist says they don’t have to give up all their dreams, but a marriage is about compromise.
  • Got a question for our columnist? Write to For Love & Money using this Google form.

Dear For Love & Money,

I recently got engaged to the love of my life. I’m so excited about the marriage, but also for the wedding! I know how superficial that makes me sound, but I have planned for this day since I was six — there are 72,000 pins on my Pinterest board!

I want to rent out a castle, buy a Vera Wang gown, invite everyone we know, and feed them a four-course meal. I know it’s a lot and probably out of budget, but I am not against taking out a loan for it. My parents will pay for some, and my fiancé’s parents may be willing to chip in. I think we can scrape together enough to make it happen.

My fiancé is dead set against all of this, however. He says it’s about the cost, but I think he’s just worried people will think we’re irresponsible for spending that much on our wedding. I don’t care about other people’s opinions or the money! We only get one chance to do this. I don’t want to settle for some cheap cake-and-punch affair. How do I convince my fiancé a big wedding is worth it?


Big Dreaming Bride

Dear Big Dreaming Bride,

You mentioned planning your wedding since you were six years old, a story that conjures a precious image — a little girl with her head bowed over bridal magazines, craft scissors and stick glue in hand, a large binder beside her, already planning what will surely be the best day of her life. It’s an image so wholesome and adorable that it’s been the foundation for the entire wedding industry for decades.

I love this for you and every bride who has lived the legend, including myself. As a child, I, too, lay awake planning my big day and my lacy white gown. I also built and decorated my future mansion, complete with a diamond-encrusted swimming pool and themed bedrooms. I spent a lot of time dreaming up the clothes I would wear someday and wishing on the belly buttons of Treasure Trolls for curly hair (update: it worked).

Like many people, I fantasized about the aesthetic of my future life. That’s what my dreams of party planning, decorating, and fashion all came down to: creative expression.

What marriage taught me, however, is that sharing a life means sharing these dreams with someone else. For many people, dreams for the future aren’t an artistic outlet. Rather, they are an opportunity to practice financial responsibility and demonstrate how low maintenance they are. In other words, for some people, their big dream is a sensible budget.

That’s been the most challenging part of marriage — learning to share my plans with another person with just as much of a right to make decisions as I do. I would suggest you begin practicing this reality now. This marriage, and therefore this wedding, is as much your fiancé’s as yours, so he gets just as much say over the decision-making.

In your letter, you wrote, “He says it’s about the cost, but I think he’s just worried people will think we’re irresponsible for spending that much on our wedding.” Maybe you’re right. Perhaps he is scared of how his parents will respond to him taking out a wedding loan to finance his wedding, or perhaps he is telling the truth, and he simply doesn’t want to spend that much money. Either way, his reasons are irrelevant. He has told you how he wants to do things, and it’s important that you respect his wishes.

Gender stereotypes tell us that the groom’s only real wedding responsibilities are to shoot a few “want to be a groomsman?” texts, have a tailor take his measurements, and show up at the ceremony on time. But his desire to keep things small tells me he has real opinions. That doesn’t mean you need to delete your Pinterest board and settle for a cake-and-punch reception; this is your wedding, too.

There has to be an option between a castle and a church basement, and that option is where you will find the perfect compromise. Insist on searching for this compromise together. Show him your Pinterest board and encourage him to make one of his own. Do some pricing together, and then build a budget based on what you learn.

You two can look for creative ways to throw your dream wedding on a budget. I promise if you’re both flexible and committed to helping each other pull off the big day, you’ll have a blast doing it. And what better way to begin a marriage than with teamwork and a whole lot of fun?

Rooting for you,

For Love & Money

Looking for advice on how your savings, debt, or another financial challenge is affecting your relationships? Write to For Love & Money using this Google form.