Couple that Got Engaged with $57 Etsy Ring Plans $20K Wedding After 4 Years of Saving

“I think going into debt for a wedding you can't afford is the worst way to start a marriage,” bride Viviana Vazquez said

<p>Artit Wongpradu/Getty</p>

Artit Wongpradu/Getty

A New York City couple is taking a money conscious approach to their lives — and their wedding.

Viviana Vazquez, 28, shared in a Business Insider op-ed that she and her fiancé Xavi have always been focused on their finances, even while attending Baruch College in New York City, where they met and fell in love. Nearly a decade later, they say they are finally ready to walk down the aisle after years of saving.

“I think going into debt for a wedding you can't afford is the worst way to start a marriage,” Vazquez. “That's why we're having a long engagement: to make planning and saving for our wedding stress-free while balancing other financial responsibilities and still being able to prioritize health, travel, and leisure.”

Vazquez, whose parents were immigrants from Mexico, said that she didn’t always have an easy time financially as she was “the first” in her family to “graduate from college” and became a teacher in the New York City public school system for “stability and plenty of time off.”

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By the age of 22, she said she had accumulated $15,000 in debt due to student loans and credit cards. She said she finally revealed her financial situation to her fiancé in 2019 when he “brought up moving in together,” and from then on, they became honest with each other about their finances.

The couple continued to be open about their financial situation, even when Vazquez transitioned into a role at a fintech startup in Atlanta where her salary was $57,000. At the time, they discussed getting engaged, but because they were short on cash, they “bought a $57 ring on Etsy to formalize our commitment.”

He eventually popped the question on October 9, 2021 with a handwritten love letter that she “found” on a gondola ride in New Orleans, where they first exchanged “I love you’s.”

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“We knew it would take a while to become financially stable again, so we agreed on a long engagement so that we could save up,” she recalled. “We knew from the start that we'd be paying for the wedding ourselves and wanted to do so without taking on debt or adding any extra stress.”

She said they both eventually landed six-figure tech jobs in New York City the following year and finally felt “comfortable enough” to start saving for their wedding. They each saved $10,000 for the event, by putting at least $500 a month into their respective high-yield savings accounts until they saved $20,000 to use on their wedding budget.

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It paid off and Vazquez was able to upgrade her Etsy engagement ring in 2023 to a 1.7-carat lab diamond ring. The rest of the funds were broken down into: $10,000 for the resort ceremony and reception, $2,000 for wedding attire, $800 for a family dinner and $1,150 for miscellaneous expenses in addition to other funds.

“To me, $20,000 is still a lot of money, so it feels like a huge milestone to be able to save it and pay for our wedding ourselves,” Vasquez said. “Part of me feels guilty that I'm spending so much on our wedding, but we're very proud and thankful that we can have the wedding of our dreams while remaining frugal.”

The pair are planning to finally tie the knot on August 30, 2025 — something Vazquez said felt earned.

“We've worked so hard and waited so long to be able to do this,” she shared. 

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