The Financial Benefit of Not Caring What Society Thinks

To see if anyone had any tips for smuggling huge amounts of Chipotle into a hotel (which I only discovered at the last minute wasn’t allowed), I searched Google for “Chipotle wedding”.

I wasn’t the only person who had the idea to have Chipotle catering for my wedding, but that part didn’t surprise me. What surprised me was that most of the questions about the idea online were, “My fiancĂ©e and I both love Chipotle, but we’re nervous people will judge us if we serve it at our wedding. Should we do it?”

The answer was a resounding no. Chipotle is totally inappropriate for a wedding, said the internet.

And, for a moment, even I felt the social pressure. What would people think, eating their DIY Chipotle out of cardboard bowls with plastic spoons? And then the moment passed and I realized first that it was my friends and family so they’d probably like it, and second that since this was the one party per lifetime I was going to plan, I/we could be a little selfish and have the food and drink (water) that we like.

We rented the biggest hotel suite we could find that wasn’t absurdly expensive, asked a couple of our friends to smuggle the food past security in what we later dubbed “the meat suitcase”, and got a couple water dispensers. People showed up at six thirty and left at eleven thirty, hanging out, eating Chipotle, and watching a very brief wedding ceremony with a few impromptu speeches. The next morning everyone came over again and we made tea for around 30-40 people for a few hours. Later that night most of us went to Karaoke.

The next day my sister had her wedding. She had other plans at first, but in the end decided it would be a lot more practical and stress-free to have her wedding at the same time when everyone would be in town anyway. So she scouted out a random and exquisitely beautiful spot in the desert, and we all met there for a brief wedding ceremony (which I officiated) before hiking back down the hill and going to dinner.

Lots of people commented that both of our weddings were perfect for the respective couples. And all four of us married folk felt great. We were surrounded by those closest to us, had a great time, spent very little money, and, maybe most importantly, had zero stress associated with the wedding.

It occurred to me afterwards how different things would have been if any of us cared what society thought. What if we felt the pressure to get fancy food? To buy expensive wedding dresses? To have a traditional venue? I would have been counting down the minutes until it ended if I had a wedding like that, and I would have spent a whole lot more money and endured a lot more stress.

(It should go without saying that some people love all of those things, and that’s great! I think most couples would have been mortified at the idea of having a wedding like ours)

A wedding is just one example that happens to be on my mind. There are plenty more, though. I lived in an RV, live in an area many consider to be undesirable, wear the same clothes every day, and who knows what else.

A big part of advertising is trying to make you feel bad about yourself if you don’t do what the ad suggests. It’s effective. Every ad related to weddings, whether obvious or product placement, is intended to couple the amount of money you spend with your feelings towards your spouse. It’s ridiculous, but it’s also effective. Same with cars, houses, vacations, clothes, and… just about everything else.

It’s important to be immune to that pressure, otherwise you end up paying more for things that you like less. That’s just about the worst outcome you can get.

How do you develop that immunity to pressure? You just ignore it at first and pay attention to the results. You’ll notice that no one really cares, and those who do are often just jealous that you have the bravery to do it. You’ll also notice that it feels good to actually do what you want to do. Do this often enough, and soon society’s pull on you weakens to just about nothing.


Photo is the church in Budapest… we went there right before the wedding, sort of as a honeymoon-in-advance

Sorry for the very late post this week. It has been, as you can imagine, a pretty crazy week.

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