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Is groom Ben onto a winner with his ‘pay £150 to attend our wedding’ idea?

PUBLISHED: 06:00 25 September 2017

Could the genius of groom-to-be Ben Farina spawn a glut of payformywedding.com-type businesses? (This photo, by the way, is posed by models.) Picture: Monkey Business Images

Could the genius of groom-to-be Ben Farina spawn a glut of payformywedding.com-type businesses? (This photo, by the way, is posed by models.) Picture: Monkey Business Images

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With three nights at a spa hotel, plus all food and drink, doesn’t it actually look good value? asks columnist Peter Sharkey

'Investors should consider replicating Bens gumption; for irrespective of their efforts, its often not possible to get the investment results we crave when operating alone,' says Peter Sharkey'Investors should consider replicating Bens gumption; for irrespective of their efforts, its often not possible to get the investment results we crave when operating alone,' says Peter Sharkey

You have to admire Ben Farina’s laudable combination of creativity and business sense. Like most lovelorn blokes in his situation, prior to taking the decision to go down on one knee and propose to sweetheart Clare Moran, Ben had clearly done his arithmetic and concluded that, assuming Clare said “yes”, if the couple wanted to invite all their friends and family to the subsequent wedding, he would need either to win the Lottery or rob a bank. Or both.

Getting married can be an expensive business, what with the cost of the church, the organist, the wedding dress, shoes, bridesmaid outfits, photographer, cars, hotels, flowers, honeymoon and a host of extras. Ben calculated that, in total, it would cost around £10,000, a sum he didn’t happen to have lying around as he practised popping the question to Clare, but then few 33-year-olds do.

Furthermore, he had an idea that while Clare would accept his proposal, she would be a little concerned that the couple couldn’t afford a wedding on the scale they would both prefer.

But Ben had a plan.

Mindful of the need to spend £10,000 the couple didn’t have, Ben hit upon the idea of asking guests to pay to join in their nuptials to ensure the big day, scheduled for June 2018, would go ahead. Accordingly, the couple’s 60 guests have been asked to pay £150 a head and £50 for children.

If that sounds a little excessive for dressing up to attend the ceremony before sitting down to a wedding breakfast and subsequently consuming enough alcohol to coax guests up onto the dancefloor in order to release their inner Abba, think again.

This column is brought to you in association with Almary GreenThis column is brought to you in association with Almary Green

The resourceful Mr Farina says he “had it all mapped out before I proposed”, because in return for £150, guests will receive a three-night stay at a spa hotel in Derbyshire with all their food and drink included in the price.

Suddenly, Ben’s innovative plan looks remarkably good value. He’s even persuaded his mum to provide a hog roast for the wedding guests, though I’m not sure that’ll be on the big day, when she might be inclined to don an outfit more in keeping with her status as the groom’s mother, rather than an apron and a chef’s hat.

Ben Farina’s impressive initiative proves once again that necessity is the mother of invention; don’t be surprised to see other couples adopting a similar strategy, or to see websites emerge (payformywedding.com?) advising people how to go about it.

But what, you might ask, does this happy tale have to do with saving money, this column’s self-appointed brief? After all, the purpose of investment is to make money, not spend it. However, I would argue that investors should consider replicating Ben’s gumption; for irrespective of their efforts, it’s often not possible to get the investment results we crave when operating alone.

Evidence of this arrived last week when an analysis of the best-performing global investment trusts over the past decade was published.

Among the top half-dozen was a long-term favourite, the Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust, deemed “the largest and most liquid UK-listed trust” by researchers. The trust is so big (worth around £6billion) that earlier this year it was promoted to the FTSE100. Amongst its largest shareholdings are interests in Amazon, Facebook, Alibaba and Alphabet, which we all still know as Google. It would take an enormous amount of time, effort and money to invest in the spread of 74 companies that make up Scottish Mortgage’s portfolio, yet anyone can invest into the trust from just £30 a month

Over the past decade, the trust has made a total return of 300.9% for investors, primarily by implementing a fairly straightforward strategy of keeping hold of shares that continue to perform well. Its managers ignore “short term macroeconomic noise”, otherwise known as nonsense and supposition, and prefer to be guided by their own conviction that company A or B will perform well over the longer term.

In many respects, the Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust is an investment replica of Ben and Clare. Investors without the resource to buy stakes in Amazon and a host of others are usually better off investing with tens of thousands of like-minded folks in order that everyone reaps a benefit. Scottish Mortgage levies an annual charge of 0.44%, but as it also operates a savings scheme that permits investments from just £30 a month, it’s easy to see why, like an invitation to Clare and Ben’s wedding, this represents decent value for money.

Peter Sharkey read economics at the University of Bristol. He worked as an accountant on three continents and has been a company director and investor for more than 30 years, building and selling three different companies.

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£150

Sum requested from 60 guests to attend the wedding of soon-to-be married Ben Farina and Clare Moran. See above for details.

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