The Tomato

Mortgage payments replace traditional wedding gifts

Photo courtesy of Nastassia Dion

ONCE UPON A time, weddings were simple ceremonies for the union of two people in love. But as time passed, more and more couples wanted family members and close friends present at their ceremony, with the added bonus of more gifts.

Eventually, weddings simply became a convoluted popularity contest, with bridal registries needed to keep track of all the gifts floating around. Money has become the welcome alternative to superfluous knife sets and appliances, but now it seems some couples now taking their vows to a whole new level—with mortgage payments.

“We have been renting for so long and our friends have always suggested that we become homeowners instead, so this is a great way for them to contribute directly to our happiness,” said blushing bride Emily Rentsworth after her large wedding reception.

“If half of our 2000 guests contributed a few hundred dollars, we would certainly have enough, not only to make a down payment, but also to not have to worry about the first few months.”

This new option makes sense for many students wanting to settle down shortly after university with little money but lots of friends.

John King and Sandy Smolders are one example of a couple in this category. They have been dating for most of their university years and have several mutual middle-class friends. Since many of their friends are in debt, the couple will invite all of their friends’ parents to their upcoming wedding with hopes of achieving their financial targets.

“The days of useless presents are long gone,” says John Connor, a University of Ottawa economics professor. “Life has always been about economic gains, and the couple that chooses the mortgage-paying option for their wedding is making a sound financial decision. We’re talking years of financial security compared to blenders and bread makers—it’s not even an argument.”

Nonetheless, many disapproving students have gathered in protest outside the economics department to fight for more traditional wedding presents. One angry protestor yelled, “My parents are still married 30 years later, still have their expensive silverware and china they were given, and are still happily paying off their mortgage!”

One thing is for sure: real estate agents and banks have never been busier and for the first time in 20 years there is actually a possibility that students can move out of their parents’ house before they hit 30.