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Old 06-06-2015, 08:03 AM   #1
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Weddings

Would really like to hear your thoughts on weddings.

The "average" cost appears to be $25,000.

Am having a little trouble getting my mind around this one. Back in 1958:
Candlelight Church wedding 200 friends and neighbors.
Reception for 150 at the Lawn Bowling Center Hall.
No tables...seats around the room, buffet type. Lobster, chicken and ham sandwiches and all the fixin's, put together by both our family "teams" the day before.. Open bar. Dad's friend Pete Winarski and his Polish Polka Band provided the music (not all polkas). Fantastic night of speeches, singing and dancing... everyone dancing... from 8 to midnight. My bride and I had so much fun, we stayed to the end, and spent our wedding night in a motel in the next city, instead of where we had reservations 50 miles away.

DW's wedding gown a gift from her Dad's business partner's daughter who wore it the year before. Her mom and my mom made the attendant's dresses. My tux and shoes $18 rental, and the gold wedding bands $40.

Total cost... $500.
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Old 06-06-2015, 08:34 AM   #2
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Yup, nice weddings do cost at least $25,000. My wedding....many, many years ago was in the $2,000 range. My DD, over 23 years ago cost 15k, my DS, a couple years later, cost more. So, each time I offered each kid cash if they eloped or to pay up if they wanted the wedding. I paid 100% of DD, 50% of DS......and that's the way it was. The good news was I could afford it....gave up vacation those years.....and, back when I got married, gas was 25cents a gallon, a pizza and 2 cokes were $1.25 and the drive in movies were 90cents.

But.......I made $78.00 a week at my entry level job.
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Old 06-06-2015, 08:41 AM   #3
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I just attended my niece's and I bet it was over that, but it was beautiful. Reception was at the Biltmore in Atlanta, magnificent pictures, the Biltmore was full of flowers on pedestal stands, they had a band and not a DJ. But, my niece is not yet 30 and has hit the $100K/year mark, her husband is also well-employed and my brother (her father) is the Tax partner for a large (but not Big 6) CPA firm. I suspect that when they pooled their money together they were able to afford it without wrecking their finances for the next 30 years. (Oh, yeah- niece got a full ride college scholarship so no student loans.) They're living in her condo in Buckhead which has gorgeous views of the Atlanta skyline.


Still, it was like watching train wrecks when I was on theknot.com planning my wedding in 2003. Plenty of financial train wrecks planning weddings that were way more than they could afford, who had a big diamond in their engagement ring but no savings. The "Open Bar" at my parent's wedding in 1952 was a keg of beer in my grandparents' basement (reception was held in their house). DH and I had a joyous church service but had only 50 guests at the reception and bought the wine at a local winery. It kept the costs very reasonable- and we each owned houses, which were sold shortly thereafter when we moved for my job and bought one together.


Weddings have pretty much been blown out of proportion, though. Everyone wants ot do what her BFF did and then some.
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Old 06-06-2015, 08:48 AM   #4
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We eloped in 1982, and I think we spent a couple hundred on flowers, pictures, and a night in a Milwaukee hotel. My boss gave me $ for dinner.
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Old 06-06-2015, 08:53 AM   #5
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Have no idea what ours cost, 45 years ago and it was minimalist. DD was about $15k 17 years ago. DS got married late and am glad they forwent the big deal. However, they had probably one of best weddings in terms of fun. I think he spent about $2,500; it was in Tanzania where he works. All the parents came from the states and a lot of his local co-workers/ friends. We got to meet a lot of the expat community there. Funniest part was the license: they had to indicate whether it was monogomist or polygamist!
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Old 06-06-2015, 08:56 AM   #6
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We were one step above eloping after a death in the family--twelve at the wedding, twelve for dinner afterwards. OTOH we spent a ton (for us) on our DD's wedding and almost as much on DS's and don't regret a penny of it.
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Old 06-06-2015, 09:14 AM   #7
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I was a "mature" bride. And even though my dad offered some funding (about $3k) it was on us. I wanted to elope, but DH talked me into a small wedding in my home town. It was beautiful - married on a bluff above the ocean. My best friend made the wedding dress. Since it was small -we went to a room in a restaurant for champagne brunch after the service. Total, including the honeymoon was under $5k. We then spent $3k for a bigger catering hall "reception" a month later in the city where we lived and where DH's very large Italian family was - 100 people, buffet dinner, wine and beer, DJ...

At the time 99/2000 it was averaging about 20k.

Like Athena - I was shocked on theknot.com what people were spending. But found some good tips there - I used a rose vendor (2g roses) and did handtied bouquets. Gorgeous flowers for under $100.
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Old 06-06-2015, 09:25 AM   #8
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Our wedding cost us $5.00 and we are still married 45 years later.
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Old 06-06-2015, 09:41 AM   #9
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My only daughter is getting married in August. She always wanted a big elegant (read expensive) wedding and years ago I promised to pay for such. I think it's a total waste of money. But nevertheless that's what we are doing. I wish it was only $25,000. About 200 people, nicest private club in town, excellent menu, open bar, well staged, well known professional band, photographer, cocktail party night before, etc.
In the overall scheme of things not material to us financially so what the heck you only live once and I certainly only intend to do this once!
I set a budget for her and she has pretty well stuck to it. We also offered her the cash in liew of wedding. She declined.
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Old 06-06-2015, 11:05 AM   #10
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Another case where median could be more helpful than average.

Celebrities and other very wealthy people could throw averages way off.

That said, if you are having a sit down dinner in a nice hall, approaching $100/person is probably not unusual, 200 guests is not unusual, so that's $20K before a band/DJ/photographer, and a zillion incidentals.

You can do it for far less and be perfectly happy with it. Personally, I think it all goes by so fast that a more modest approach is fine, maybe even preferred (people concentrate on actual conversation rather than details of 'the event'), but to each their own.

But I'm not surprised at the $25K figure.

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Old 06-06-2015, 11:13 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by imoldernu View Post
Would really like to hear your thoughts on weddings.

The "average" cost appears to be $25,000.

Am having a little trouble getting my mind around this one. Back in 1958: ...
Total cost... $500.
Also, $25,000 today is $3,050 in 1958.

CPI Inflation Calculator

Considering the band was a gift, sounds like the food was a gift (or at least the prep and serving?), the wedding dress was a gift, the bridesmaids dresses were gifts (or at least the tailoring), no tables and buffet style dinner ....

is the delta from $500 to $3,000 really that hard to 'get your mind around'? What if you paid out of pocket for all that and sit-down dining, and those numbers might be including a rehearsal dinner the night before, showers? I don't know?

-ERD50
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Old 06-06-2015, 11:42 AM   #12
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We were married in 1976 and my Dad paid for it. I think he said it was around $3,000 but I could be mis-remembering. It was at a catering hall and was a buffet. Does $18-20 per plate make sense for 1976? It was about 110 people, I really only cared about maybe 30-35 of those, our friends and close relatives. The rest of them were people my parents knew, someone who had invited my parents to their own child's wedding and were expected to be invited.

We were 21 and away at college and it really became my parents wedding and we were just the main act. I would have preferred a small casual wedding, but no one asked me, they just tried to go with what was "expected" after browsing through bridal magazines.

It will be 39 years in Sept, so the wedding did what it was supposed to do!

Our sons are 28 and almost 31. Neither is dating anyone right now so no thoughts about wedding budgets. If/when the time comes we would contribute something and let them decide how to use it.
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Old 06-06-2015, 11:54 AM   #13
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That average wedding cost figure is actually very misleading. This article says a more typical cost is around $15,000.

For me, personally, I got married when I was 37. My parents gave me a wedding gift of $5000 (this was in the early 90s) and I could use it how I wanted. I had -- for some strange reason -- always thought that getting in Las Vegas would be romantic so we went there and got married. I've never been sorry. We still had plenty left over the $5000.

A couple of weeks ago, I went to my niece's wedding and I'm quite sure that it cost way more than $25,000. The dress alone was several thousand dollars. The wedding was in a beautiful wedding chapel. I'm sure the pictures and video (several photographers and videographers) was expensive. The reception was at a very nice hotel. The food was great (and had an open bar). It was just a lovely, lovely event.

I know the bride was given a certain amount of money from her parents for the wedding (I don't know how much but I think it was quite a bit). I feel sure the couple contributed some money of their own (I believe groom's parents paid for their honeymoon), but they are both well established in their careers and can afford it. It was a wonderful wedding.

I have already told my kids that I am not going to contribute the cost of a new car to a wedding. I will give a certain amount, which they will be free to use as they choose. If they want the big, fancy wedding and can afford it, then fine.
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Old 06-06-2015, 12:03 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ERD50 View Post
Also, $25,000 today is $3,050 in 1958.

CPI Inflation Calculator

Considering the band was a gift, sounds like the food was a gift (or at least the prep and serving?), the wedding dress was a gift, the bridesmaids dresses were gifts (or at least the tailoring), no tables and buffet style dinner ....

is the delta from $500 to $3,000 really that hard to 'get your mind around'? What if you paid out of pocket for all that and sit-down dining, and those numbers might be including a rehearsal dinner the night before, showers? I don't know?

-ERD50
Hmmm... yeah... something to think about. But to put it into another perspective... We had both just finished college... For me, it was all scholarship, but the total cost tuition, room, board and expenses came to $1400/year... Same school, Bowdoin... current cost $62,000 yr. Inflation calculator says it should be $11,450.

My mind doesn't stretch well these days.

go figger
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Old 06-06-2015, 12:14 PM   #15
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We were one step above eloping after a death in the family--twelve at the wedding, twelve for dinner afterwards. OTOH we spent a ton (for us) on our DD's wedding and almost as much on DS's and don't regret a penny of it.
Our wedding did not cost much because I just started my full-time job.

My daughter is getting married later this year, and they first wanted a minimal wedding. However, we insisted on including more relatives and friends, so offered to foot the bill. We can afford it, besides being too lazy to do the work.

My daughter and my future son-in-law are grateful. We told them the gift amount, and let them manage within that amount plus what they put up themselves. It's going to be fun.
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Old 06-06-2015, 03:07 PM   #16
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A cousin went the other way a few years ago. They lived on a farm in a single-wide trailer along with several other relatives of the farm's owner. The wedding and reception were there, the reception was under tents and the caterer had a huge smoker for the beef. They sure didn't have anywhere near $25k to spend on a wedding. But they're still happily married and everyone had a good time so it doesn't take gobs of money to launch a marriage.

When DW and I got married in 1988 I think we spent about $2,500 for wedding and honeymoon. We kept it small and she bought her dress at J.C. Penny. We also gave serious consideration to just eloping to avoid all the fuss.
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Old 06-06-2015, 03:20 PM   #17
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I was a "mature" bride. And even though my dad offered some funding (about $3k) it was on us. I wanted to elope, but DH talked me into a small wedding in my home town. It was beautiful - married on a bluff above the ocean. My best friend made the wedding dress. Since it was small -we went to a room in a restaurant for champagne brunch after the service. Total, including the honeymoon was under $5k. We then spent $3k for a bigger catering hall "reception" a month later in the city where we lived and where DH's very large Italian family was - 100 people, buffet dinner, wine and beer, DJ...

At the time 99/2000 it was averaging about 20k.

Like Athena - I was shocked on theknot.com what people were spending. But found some good tips there - I used a rose vendor (2g roses) and did handtied bouquets. Gorgeous flowers for under $100.
Thought I'd add a picture of the venue at my wedding.
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Old 06-06-2015, 03:33 PM   #18
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Imoldernu "The "average" cost appears to be $25,000."


Jerome len "Yup, nice weddings do cost at least $25,000."


Athena53 "Weddings have pretty much been blown out of proportion, though. Everyone wants ot do what her BFF did and then some."


Mine was about $500 for minister and restaurant. Just immediate family and close friends and a dinner at a nice restaurant. My husband and I didn't take a honeymoon because we wanted to buy a house as soon as possible. My sister's wedding was around $50,000. not counting honeymoon cost. Both wedding were "nice" just depends on what you want.
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Old 06-06-2015, 03:46 PM   #19
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We spent nearly $25K on our wedding back in 2001. DW's parents really pushed many of the expenses (upscale venue, bloated guest list, etc...). They paid for the additional expenses we incurred because of that push. So we ended up spending about $10K out of pocket, which at the time was about one month worth of income for the two of us, so it seemed quite reasonable.
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Old 06-06-2015, 03:48 PM   #20
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We went to a family wedding in Pennsylvania in April. The ceremony was in a small Baptist church and the reception in the church hall. I'd guess that the whole thing was less than $2.5K. We also went to a wedding in Atlanta last weekend. Both ceremony and reception were at the Carter Center (President Carter's presidential library). It was probably the nicest wedding I've ever attended, and I'm certain it ran more than $25k. But I wasn't paying for it, so I just enjoyed the festivities and spending time with good friends. As nice as it was, it's hard to say that the people in Atlanta had 10X as much fun as the ones in Pennsylvania. And both couples are just as married.
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