I’m just gonna put it out there: My fiancee is way better at planning our wedding than I am.
She often tells our friends, “Lionel is getting an invitation to our wedding. There will just be a big X on the floor with “STAND HERE” written in big, easy-to-read words.”
Yes – I’ll be first to admit it: I am a terrible, terrible wedding planner. If you left it to me to plan my wedding, I’d have everyone gather at my place, hand out McDonald’s nuggets and potato chips (maybe some beer), say our vows, and call it a day.
And after talking to friends and colleagues, I’ve realised that this is a pretty normal phenomenon. For most couples, it’s usually the lady who does most of the wedding planning, and the guy helps out in the (extremely limited) ways he can.
Yes, this actually happened
(I can hear the chorus of guys brimming with righteous anger yelling, “Hey, that’s not true – I planned my wedding and it was awesome!!!” I get it, I get it. I’m making a veeeerrryyyy generalised observation here, amigo.)
Why though? What makes us guys so bad at planning our weddings? I can’t say for sure, but here are 3 reasons why I’m better off letting my fiancee call the shots:
I Have No Aesthetic Taste
Here’s a story about how I discovered my lack of aesthetic taste. Once upon a time, my fiancee and I were shopping for rubies for her engagement ring. As we examined a whole tray of rubies at a jewellery fair, I tentatively pointed to one and ventured, “How about that one?”
My fiancee gave me a look like she just saw a plate of mashed worms. Then she rolled her eyes and said, “Okay. Why don’t you let ME choose the ring instead.” The end.
So it’s true. I have a terrible eye for design. Take this blog, for example. I chose this theme because it’s the simplest theme I could find, and allows me to mask my lack of aesthetic taste by pretending to be all minimalist or whatever.
Weddings are a nightmare for non-designy people like me. Do we go with the cream or pink envelopes? How do we dress up our reception table? What colour should the bride’s shoes be? What flowers should we hang on the church pews?
Guys are (in general) not as good as girls are in these things. Here’s a test. What colour are these flowers?
Guys will say, “Blue”. Girls will say, “Baby blue”.
Guys – test your lady friends with any other colour. You’ll learn a whole universe of words like “magenta”, “deep lilac”, “eggshell”, and “emerald”. See? Even their very vocabulary puts girls at an advantage in the aesthetics department.
Planning a wedding is like picking up rice grains with a needle, and then arranging them to form a beautiful picture of a peacock.
Me? Here’s how I would draw a peacock:
Planning a wedding requires you to have a ridiculous amount of attention to detail:
- What hair accessories should the flower girl wear?
- What teacups do you use for the tea ceremony?
- What selection of hors d’oeuvres should we order? (And how do we pronounce “hors d’oeuvres” without sounding like a douche?)
My fiancee has the uncanny ability to zoom in on details like these. She can spot a butter knife placed 20 degrees off-centre on a table across the room. Scary.
Me? I’m more of a “big picture” kinda guy. If you asked me to organize a pot-luck, I would literally send out an email saying, “7pm on Saturday. My place. Bring food.”
I’m Less Particular About Wedding Stuff
Look, I get it. A wedding is a once-in-a-lifetime event. Many girls grew up dreaming about it. Before they meet their husbands, they might already have everything planned out in their heads: The wedding dress, the pearl-white Mercedes, the grand archway made from 999 fresh Dutch tulips, etc.
My fiancee didn’t really grow up dreaming of this (thank goodness she wasn’t thinking of a $12,000 archway), but she has a specific idea of how she’d like it to turn out. Knowing that it’s important to her, I’d naturally let her decide on the elements that she cares about the most.
That might make us guys seem like uncaring schmucks who don’t give a crap about how our weddings turn out, but that’s not true. We care about making our wives-to-be happy. We just don’t care about whether the fairy lights are “cool white” or “neutral white”.
It’s like eating with a friend who’s vegetarian. The one with stricter dietary requirements decides the restaurant. To suggest anything else would be selfish.
What This Taught Me About Investing
Okay, before you start accusing me of being a lazy slob who didn’t lift a finger to plan his wedding, here’s a list of things I DID do:
- Budgeting: I tabulated our savings, calculated our housing downpayment, and allocated our combined funds towards how much we could spend for our renovation vs. our wedding. Including making tough choices like: “If you want that fancy toilet bowl, we’ll need to give up that photoshoot with that celebrity photographer, k?”
- Picking the hymns / readings: The spiritual aspect of getting married is really, really important to me, so I spent quite a bit of time reflecting on and selecting the readings.
- Wedding programme: I did up a kickass Excel sheet of the actual day’s programme, including who is supposed to do what at any given point in time. I’m good at arrowing people like that.
- Staying out of the way. ‘Nuff said.
In other words, I played to my strengths. I may not be good at design, but I can crunch the numbers. I may not be particular about the details, but the church readings are really important to me.
Sometimes, it’s better to stick with what you know.
The same applies to investing
Many people (especially us guys) get really cocky when it comes to investing. We feel that just because we read a few books or attended a weekend course, we’re suddenly amazing and are ready to earn MAXIMUM PROFITS from our “secret” trading system (that has been taught to thousands of people).
Me? I know that over the very long run, close to 90% of professional investors fail to beat the market. And I know that I’m not as smart as they are, nor do I have the time/resources to invest better than they do.
So what do I do? I stay out of the way. I don’t try to beat the market.
Instead, I invest passively into broad, diversified indexes that track the entire market. Over the long run, I can safely expect to achieve the market returns, which can be anywhere from 6-12% per year on average.
That may not sound like a lot, until you actually look at the numbers.
Case in point: If I invested just $1 a day in the S&P 500 since the day I was born ($11,283 invested), I would have ended up with $57,432 today – that’s a 409%+ return!
Sometimes, it’s far better for your wealth (and your marriage) if you stay out of the way, and focus on what you’re good at.