As the recent reality TV show “Marriage or Mortgage” made clear, cash-strapped couples who hope to throw a huge wedding and buy a nice house often can’t do both at once.
Or can they? A new reality TV show, “The House My Wedding Bought,” proves it is possible—if you pick the right house.
In this Discovery+ series, designer and real estate expert Breegan Jane helps couples balance their budget so there’s enough money to purchase property while also walking down the aisle. In the series premiere, “Party or Entertaining,” she meets Ray and Allison—an Austin, TX, couple who have $60,000 to spend.
While Allison wants to have an intimate wedding and save most of their money for a down payment, Ray wants to throw an epic event his 150 guests will never forget.
The compromise? Invest in a house that’s made for entertaining—that way, Ray can celebrate with his friends not just on his wedding day, but also well into the future.
To find the perfect party space, Jane takes the couple to tour three very different houses. Find out which property they pick, what renovations they require (and are worth the investment), and how much money they have left over to walk down the aisle in style.
Light colors can modernize a kitchen
The first house Jane, Ray, and Allison visit has four bedrooms, three baths, tall ceilings, and plenty of space for entertaining. Ray loves the large living room, but Allison is worried about the kitchen.
“Those counters don’t match that backsplash, and the cabinets are dark,” Allison says when she first sees the space.
Jane explains that updating the kitchen with lighter features would cost about $7,000, but she makes some style suggestions.
“This, to me, with the height of the ceilings, is screaming tuxedo kitchen,” Jane says. “I would keep a dark lower, maybe more in a gray tonality; brighten up the top with the whites, which will really add height to this whole thing; change out the backsplash. You’re going to get the complete modern feel.”
And as thrifty Allison points out, making these changes will surely increase the value of the home.
Change your flooring before you move in
House No. 1 has a great floor plan for entertaining, but Allison hates the actual floor. There’s carpet in the bedrooms, and Allison emphasizes how much she hates carpet.
“It gets so dirty,” she says.
Jane points out that the carpet could be easily switched out for hardwood floors for about $3,000. Jane also points out that Allison and Ray will want to do this update before moving in. After all, tearing up carpet is much harder to do when furniture needs to be moved first.
The take-home lesson? Some updates, like cosmetic touches in the kitchen, can wait until you have more money. But new flooring should happen fast, and ideally be budgeted into the purchase price of the house.
A big patio offers the perfect party space
With house No. 1, Allison and Ray learn that they’d probably need to put about $7,000 into the kitchen and $3,000 into the new flooring. Plus, they’ll have to spend money on the backyard.
Ray knows right away that the the patio is just too small for all his friends.
“With the amount of people that we have visiting, we’d probably want to bring it out to, like, here,” Ray says, gesturing out into the grass. Meanwhile, Allison says it would be nice to plant some bushes to give the yard more privacy.
Jane says pouring concrete and landscaping can be pricey, estimating these upgrades would cost around $10,000. It’s a lot of money, but if the couple want to truly enjoy their outdoor space, it’s worth the investment.
Kitchen and bathroom renovations are smart investments
Next, Jane takes Allison and Ray to a traditional, four-bedroom, two-bathroom brick home. The home provides some great spots for entertaining, but Ray just can’t look past the dated master bathroom. However, Jane points out that run-down bathrooms can be a great opportunity for handy homeowners.
“Updating bathrooms and kitchens is your best home investment,” Jane says. “If they can swing it, putting a little money into this en suite bath would totally pay off. You could easily swap out the vanity, do a soaking tub, and add a wall of tile behind it for a more modern, spalike feel, and you’d spend about $5,000.”
These updates could make a big difference in the master suite, but Ray wants something a little more turnkey. Still, it’s good to know exactly how much renovating you’re comfortable with before committing to a house.
Extend your outdoor space to get more room
With so many issues with the first two houses, Jane shows Allison and Ray a third house that’s totally unique. This three-bedroom, two-bathroom home is a new build. Though small, it’s “plug and play,” just as Ray likes it. Plus, it has a detached garage, which could be a perfect spot for Ray to have his own man cave for hanging out or inviting friends over.
However, Jane points out that the courtyard between the house and garage feels like wasted space.
“There’s sort of a missed opportunity to connect these two spaces,” Jane says.
She comes up with a plan to extend the tiny back patio and create a pergola above it. She explains that this could be a nice little sitting area, perfect for enjoying morning coffee or hanging with friends. This extended patio would be an added cost, but if it makes this house function better for Ray and Allison, it’s worth it.
Which house do they pick?
After seeing three houses, Allison and Ray decide to save some money and go with the cheapest option, house No. 1, which was listed for $297,000. They buy it for $307,000, putting $15,000 down and setting aside $20,000 for renovations.
With $35,000 going toward the house, Ray and Allison have $25,000 to spend on their wedding. It might not be the huge bash Ray had hoped for, but with plenty of space to entertain in his new house, that’s reason to celebrate in its own right.
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