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Old 02-03-2015, 02:06 PM   #21
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Like many things, deciding to pay for a child's wedding is a personal decision. Different strokes for different folks.

Prototype, I think your plans for your daughter's wedding are very nice and the amount you are planning sounds perfect. It is thoughtful of you both to donate toward the wedding and to host the rehearsal dinner.
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Old 02-03-2015, 02:07 PM   #22
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My son asked for help with their wedding, and I asked them for a budget, and then I pretty much doubled it and said to keep the rest as a gift. Hopefully they will stick close to the budget and have the rest for a house or whatever. Also whatever they get from my ex- means more that they can keep. She is estranged from her family but getting some help from her "adopted" family. Long story and I don't even know all of it so I won't even try to tell it, but I knew the bulk of the cost would not be borne by them nor should it be. They've already gone above and beyond for her.

Anyway, I wanted to help, not get involved in the details, not negotiate anything with my ex-, and give them some incentive to keep it from getting too extravagant. I made it clear that if they blew the budget not to come to me for extra.

The $ amount is kind of irrelevant because it can be much more expensive in some areas of the country unless you get very creative, but it's very much in line with many of the other posts here.
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Old 02-03-2015, 02:23 PM   #23
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I don't have kids, so take what I say with a grain of salt. But I tend to agree with Brat. The real issue here isn't how big the wedding is and what you should pay, especially if you're not involved in making the decisions or causing changes in the wedding plan. The real issue is what your budget allows and how this amount fits in with your retirement plans. Nobody should feel obligated to give more than they can afford because the kids decided to have a big wedding.

However, based on the facts you presented, it sounds like the amount you're considering is more than covered by your budget and assets. In that case, it's just a question of how much you want to give, and I think that is a generous amount and overall consistent with the contributions others are making (even if not exactly equal).

But like I said, I don't have kids.
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Old 02-04-2015, 11:47 PM   #24
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Opinion: Expensive weddings are a ridiculous affectation. I paid for the wedding to my spouse of 25+ years. I've told our daughter that while I would provide funds for a home, education, etc., I will not fund a wedding that only serves to temporarily entertain a bunch of non-essential people.
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Old 02-05-2015, 06:31 AM   #25
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Thanks to all who responded. I now fell comfortable with my original plan (see OP). So I am going to budget 7K for DS's wedding this year, and just plan on $10K (2015 dollars) as a one time gift for DD.

If she has no wedding plans by 30 (she just turned 25), I'll gift the money to her over a couple of years and encourage her to invest it. Heck, for all I know I may be starting a small dribble of wealth transfer in 5 years anyway
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Old 02-05-2015, 06:41 AM   #26
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... They will graduate with degrees in STEM fields, no loans and nice cars we paid for, so I was kind of hoping that was enough for us to fund. If any additional support was needed I'd be more willing .....
I did the same for both my kids (college, cars... they are student loan free!). Ex didn't help out much. That's why I'm keeping the $$ amounts reasonable.

I can't believe I didn't think about adding "kids wedding gifts" to my budget as one time expense until I got word from DS that he was getting married. Fortunately the numbers I am going with are manageable.
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Old 02-05-2015, 10:36 PM   #27
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Weddings...just like boats or lakefront property or fast cars...triple the price on everything.

I came from modest means. My husband's family had some money but not for the wedding, as tradition dictated at the time. His family covered the rehearsal dinner. No problem.
He and I paid for everything for our wedding. We shopped around, got great deals by planning it ourselves without intervention, and had a wonderful time with 125 guests. It was low key but well planned. Nobody went hungry or thirsty.
In fact many of our guests commented on how comfortable they were NOT being at a big woohoo formal expensive reception.

Anything that our families wanted to gift to us came AFTER the fact. No fuss no muss.

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Old 02-06-2015, 07:57 AM   #28
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He and I paid for everything for our wedding. We shopped around, got great deals by planning it ourselves without intervention, and had a wonderful time with 125 guests. It was low key but well planned. Nobody went hungry or thirsty.

Expectations have really gone out of control in this area. My parents were married in 1952 and the reception was held in my maternal grandparents' house. The "open bar" was a keg in the basement downstairs. I remember that basement well. It had one of those big, scary furnaces and the walls were tastefully decorated with pictures of old blast furnaces and there were usually a few of my uncles' bodybuilding magazines scattered around. My parents are still married and solvent.

DS is my only child and he and DDIL never asked for money for the wedding. They had a brunch reception in the church basement. We did foot the bill for a rehearsal dinner that included her aunts and uncles on both sides (there were a lot of them), the 12 attendants, spouses and kids, as well as the people from my side of the family who made it to Iowa. There were 50 people and it cost us $4,500 but it was worth it. She has a wonderful family and we got to meet them all and they got to have a reunion.

Oh, yeah- I did all the bouquets with last-minute help from my mother and sister. We drove the 3 hours to Iowa with so many flowers in the back seat the car smelled like a funeral parlor. Fun times.

I do like the flat- amount approach. Then you stay out of the planning unless requested. My parents' attitudes towards our weddings was, "just tell us when and where to be there".
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Old 02-07-2015, 04:10 AM   #29
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Late DH was disabled by the time our DD1 got married in 2003. We figgured we could afford $5000. By the time DD2 got married in 2005 DH had passed away. I gave her the same $5000 + 10% for inflation. We also paid for the rehersal dinner for DD1. Inlaws paid for DD2.

Both got $1000 checks as wedding gifts.
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Old 02-07-2015, 03:27 PM   #30
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We paid 100% college for all 3 kids (2 of them are 50K+ per year). His ex-wife was supposed to contribute but refused to, and he did not want to take her back to court. So he doesn't want to pay anything for weddings for his girls. He will give a nice cash gift he says. It's his call. I would just give them some money.

OTOH, I plan to give my son 10K to spend on his wedding, pay for the rehearsal dinner, and perhaps pay for their honeymoon in lieu of a gift. He is living with someone I think he will marry. Her father is destitute (alcoholic) and not sure her mom makes good money so unsure how it will all come together since she said "when I get married I want the whole big thing".
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Old 02-07-2015, 04:14 PM   #31
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I was divorced from my daughter's father . I gave her $10,000 for the wedding and paid for her gown , tiara & veil . I also gave a nice wedding present & shower present & helped with financing the shower . My Ex did contribute . I have no idea how much . The groom's parents paid for the rehearsal dinner . It was a lovely wedding .I left all the details to them .
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Old 02-07-2015, 04:23 PM   #32
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In the 70s it seemed that most people got married on the beach, or in a park, or in their back yard. Pretty cheap.

My sons and their brides paid for their own weddings, by this time they had much better incomes than I did. As to whether a certain amount spent on a wedding would or would not impact one's retirement, awfully hard to say until you have done it, and are dead.

I wanted to be married at the LA County Clerk's office. That got vetoed, but I had set my spending limits- I think it was <$20. Marriage lasted long time and gave us both a lot of pleasure. I think my failings led to its eventual loss. Marriage is a once only experience for me, not because it is or may be bad, but because it is so expensive and painful to exit.


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Old 02-07-2015, 05:34 PM   #33
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> I wanted to be married at the LA County Clerk's office.

We got married by a Santa Clara county judge. It was after the Loma Prieta earthquake had damaged the county court house, so the judges were in temporary digs in the county jail building. Followed a procession of women prisoners all chained together through the lobby. Big fun!

We did take our witnesses out for dinner afterwards, so we did spend some money on it.
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Old 02-07-2015, 05:58 PM   #34
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We got married at the courthouse in Fairbanks, AK. Most of the attendees were in NPS or USFWS uniforms. The bride wore gray. We spent more on our 20 yr vow renewal than for the initial ceremony.
2 of my kids did the courthouse thing one had a traditional wedding.
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Old 02-08-2015, 09:38 AM   #35
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I've told my daughter that my opinion is that expensive weddings are stupid, that if/when she decides to get married it needs to be a small ceremony with just close friends and family, and instead of an expensive party, put money toward investment for their future.
Agreed - we spent very little - less than $1K (without any contribution from either side of our parents) on our wedding 28 years ago.
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Old 02-08-2015, 11:15 AM   #36
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We had the discussion with our DS and DD long before weddings were in the picture. The deal was that we would deliver them to their university graduation debt free with the title to a working automobile in their pockets and that was the end of the road. DD married a few years ago to a fine fellow. They had a very lovely and I think quite inexpensive wedding at their own expense. We did give them a gift of $1,000.00. DS shows no signs of making a selection. The case gets a bit stickier in his case as he did the ROTC scholarship choice that resulted in zero costs to us for his degree. So we sort of owe him. We will work it out when the time comes.
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Old 02-08-2015, 11:32 AM   #37
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In the 70s it seemed that most people got married on the beach, or in a park, or in their back yard. Pretty cheap.
My Y2K wedding was on a grassy bluff above the ocean. My best friend made my dress (about $100 in fabric). We took the 20 or so people who attended to brunch at a restaurant on the water in Cardiff. Total bill for brunch was $450, including tip. I made my own hand tied bouquets and corsages/boutineers (sp) myself - about $100 in fresh roses and materials for the project. I love that my wedding AND honeymoon cost about $2500 - including all travel. (We lived in Philly, got married in San Diego, and honeymooned in Maui.) A month later we had a big party at a catering hall for 90 people... It was cheap because we explicitly stated it was not a wedding reception... Having it as a wedding reception jacked up the price by $15/head. The wedding industry is a racket.

It's very possible to do a very nice wedding on a budget. My parents gave me $5000 total - which we applied to the various expenses of both the wedding, honeymoon, and Philly party later.
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Old 02-08-2015, 04:10 PM   #38
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My second wedding 12 years ago was immediate family and a few friends - maybe 40 total. We did a destination wedding at a B&B in VT. We married on their lawn, and they served wonderful food. Everyone loved it. I think the whole thing cost us 3K. I personally would have done something even less, my husband wanted the wedding and planned the whole thing.
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Old 02-08-2015, 04:45 PM   #39
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Instead of an extra $10k on top of the $27,000 already spent, wouldn't it be more fair to give couple #1 the extra $14,500 ($27,000 - $12,500) you spent on couple #2's wedding?

(FWIW, we spent more on DD#2's wedding than on DD#1, and to be fair gave DD#1 the difference in cash - which they used to help with a down payment on a house.)
+1
On the surface it sounds like once again frivolous spending is rewarded, maybe not in this case, but sure looks like that or favouritism.
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Old 02-08-2015, 04:56 PM   #40
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I do find it ironic that divorced folks still think in terms of tens of thousands of dollars for a wedding.
Its really a party, so why not a Halloween Party for 15K ?
If you spend over a 100K will the marriage last longer?

I do rant, and all my ranting is meaningless, but it's pretty amazing how many young couples feel they are obligated to spend vast amounts of money on a wedding, while at the same time, they cannot scrape together enough cash to put 20% down on a house.
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