When Scott Wickberg proposed to Amy in 2015, they knew they wanted a memorable wedding—but they also knew that they wanted to buy a house. Faced with the high prices of homes and wedding venues in Denver, where they lived, the couple decided to get creative and kill two birds with one stone. How? By buying a home where they’d also host their own wedding.
“At some point Scott or I said that we should just buy a house with a big backyard and get married there,” says Amy. “The more we thought about it, the more it made sense.”
Wedding or a home: Why choose?
The Wickbergs are hardly alone: Backyard weddings are all the rage right now, increasing across the country. While many walk down the aisle in their parents’ or other family member’s backyard, some, like the Wickbergs, prefer to host the event in a home they’ve recently purchased, rolling a housewarming party and wedding into one.
The driving force behind this choice is financial: Scott, a web designer, and Amy, an opera singer, weren’t swimming in cash. According to TheKnot.com, the average wedding costs $31,213, about half of which goes to renting the reception venue. Meanwhile, the recommended 20% down payment on a median $240,900 house amounts to a whopping $48,180. So, unless you have a mountain of money lying around, it makes sense to pool these expenses into one place.
“We’re definitely seeing an increase in couples trying to make the most from their limited wedding budgets,” says Ariel Meadow Stallings, the publisher behind the wedding website Offbeat Bride. “Venue rentals can be a huge part of a wedding budget, so by bundling that cost into a real estate purchase, couples can turn a wedding expense into a longer-term real estate investment.”
Not only was buying the home a good investment, it also meant that the Wickberg wedding gave their guests a taste of their everyday life. On the day of the wedding, Amy and her bridesmaids got ready right next door thanks to a friendly neighbor. And when the festivities wound down at 10 p.m. in consideration of the families living nearby, the happy couple and their guests walked to a brewery just a few blocks away to continue their celebration.
The experience proved to be a rewarding one—not just in a financial sense but on an emotional level, too.
“Even if we had all the money in the world, we wouldn’t have done our wedding any other way,” says Amy. “We loved having our wedding at home. It felt like us.”