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High costs of weddings...and going into debt?
Old 07-22-2008, 04:56 PM   #1
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High costs of weddings...and going into debt?

So I have recently had reason to think about this a bit How have folks resolved this including for guys buying rings and the cost of the weddding itself...I have casually heard people go into major debt on this issue... How does being frugal fit into this or does it not?
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Old 07-22-2008, 05:06 PM   #2
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Old 07-22-2008, 05:20 PM   #3
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This is why the young folks should not totally piss off and disown mom and dad until after college expenses are paid, wedding expenses are paid and their generous inheritence has been locked up in an irrevocable trust.
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Old 07-22-2008, 05:28 PM   #4
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I don't believe in going into debt for a wedding (talk about starting out on the wrong foot!). Because of a bit of luck in our financial situation, DW and I were able to splurge on a very nice wedding, reception and honeymoon without going into hock. If the only way to have a fancy wedding had required going into debt, we would've gotten married at town hall and had a nice dinner out with family and friends.

I know that many people feel that it's a once-in-a-lifetime day, and that it's worth going overboard for, but I don't agree if it means starting off the marriage in debt.

I know that the social pressure to get a big ring, etc. is huge. I'm fortunate there; DW is frugal, and picked a small, simple engagement ring for herself (I paid for it). She still wears it with pride all these years later, bless her!
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Old 07-22-2008, 05:33 PM   #5
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This is a test. Your future spouse can spend lots of dough and still pass, but the process of spending ridiculous amounts on something so frivolous as a big party must be physically painful for them. If they adopt the attitude that reason does not apply in this situation; that, for example, you should get the ice sculpture because their cousin had one; then you must dump them. Good luck.
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Old 07-22-2008, 06:06 PM   #6
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We planned it all out, said 'well, that was fun', then went to the courthouse instead.
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Old 07-22-2008, 06:16 PM   #7
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My ex and I wanted a small, simple wedding with only immediate family. My mother wanted my wedding to be big and lavish and expensive.

Guess who won? That's right. 300+ attendees. At least we didn't have to pay.

I think a big, expensive wedding performs a hazing function. If the bride and groom survive it without going mad, they know they can get through a lot together.

Oh, and as for the rings? I had an heirloom diamond engagement ring, so all we had to buy was the actual wedding band for each of us. We managed to get gold bands. Mine cost $20, his cost $30, but we managed to talk them down to $45 for both. Mind you, these were gold bands but it was 1975 and these were very THIN gold bands. We both thought the value was in the meaning of the bands, not the cost.
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Old 07-22-2008, 08:24 PM   #8
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And following up my post on paying for college--our continuing frugal lifestyle enabled us five years later to pay for the majority of DD's wedding too--DSIL's parents paid for the liquor. It was a lot of fun. Like paying for college, it was good to be up front with DD about it at the beginning.

So Maddy, who's getting married?
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Old 07-22-2008, 08:42 PM   #9
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I went to a cheap public university so my parents had money to pay for my wedding. We also tried to invite as little people as possible to save money. Also had friends and family help out with stuff like photography and flowers. We bought the flowers wholesale and then my hubby's godmother arranged all of it for free so we got thousands of dollars worth of flower arrangements for less than $200. Also for the photography we opted to just get a DVD and print everything ourselves. Some photographers charge something like $15 per print so it was much cheaper to do it through snapfish. But if you take the dvd deal you need to make sure you have the right to print as many as you want. Getting married in the non-peak season also saves you a bundle of money on the venues.

Anyway, here are a couple posts I wrote about weddings if you are interested: Sensible Ways to Raise Cash for a Wedding | Wise Bread
The Frivolity of a Modern Wedding — The Baglady
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Old 07-22-2008, 09:32 PM   #10
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Xynny: How did only inviting little people save money? Could you get away with smaller meals? Half off tuxes? Other? Sorry-couldn't resist.

To add to the wedding stories: My father-in-law had a great way of saving money. When he heard I had proposed he took my wife aside and said "I'll give you $4000 to elope." We didn't. But we kept the bill around $4k.
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Old 07-22-2008, 09:37 PM   #11
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No debt for our wedding (both parents financed) we had over 500 people but with a family friend catering the church gymnasium for the hall and keg beer as the single largest expense I don't think we hurt them too bad.
I bought her ring used 1/4 carat solitaire for $200? $250? so no debt there (she was emotionally able to let go of it later so we now have her over a carat).
We did burn through most of the wedding gift cash paying for the honeymoon (Mauii & Oahu) but again no debt. DW opened a duffle bag of cash during the flight to open the cards. I asked her to tone it down so we didn't get mugged.
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Old 07-22-2008, 10:12 PM   #12
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No debt here either, but spent 7k total including the honeymoon (Poconos baby!), I hear the average is up to 20k for the wedding alone.

I would pass on to everyone the following observations we made before our wedding that were confirmed after it:

Flowers are way overrated. Get bouquets for the female half of the wedding party - done.

Centerpieces are easy to make yourself. Small fishbowl, fill with potpourri, cover with doily and ribbon - done. BONUS, people can actually see each other from across the table!

Gifts are a total waste. You ain't picking out a personalized gift for every single person at the party, why spend hundreds on half bottles of wine, little chocolates, etc.? Ask 10 people what they got as a parting gift at the last wedding they went to, you'll come up near empty.

Cut the list short. If you are paying, then Dad's business partner can pound sand. Work the business deal at the golf course! This is important to enforce even if the parent offers to pay for this guest, as you may get sized out of a venue you like. We had our reception in a 19th century schoolhouse on top of a hill with 3 private acres, sheep grazing on the hillside - maximum seating 74. Perfect.

One area I would splurge is pictures. We paid $1k for them and enjoy looking at the album to this day, almost a decade later.
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Old 07-22-2008, 11:18 PM   #13
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A good friend of mine came up with what I thought was a good solution- his two daughters were getting married a few months apart- he told each of them he would give them $20,000 as a wedding gift, they could spend it any way they wanted- on the wedding, a down payment on a house, new car, whatever.

I think one bride blew the whole 20K on the wedding, and then some. The groom's parents ponied up the difference. The other one had a very small wedding at home and used her 20K toward a down payment on a house.

The grooms didn't get much of a say in the matter, if I recall.
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Old 07-22-2008, 11:36 PM   #14
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We spent probably a little more than I would have liked (around $8k), but to tell you the truth, it was a blast and I don't think I would have changed very much.

Still, even though we spent a good deal, we could've spent much more. We skimped on some key expenses, mainly by having the reception at a venue outside the city, and having it on a Sunday afternoon. In think in most cases the location is easily the biggest expense. If you want a Friday or Saturday evening reception (even a Saturday afternoon) at a nice place, be prepared to spend.

Originally we weren't going to hire a DJ and just do the music ourselves. However, it was such a hassle just trying to think of enough songs, then organizing them, then trying to harangue some of our friends into managing the stereo and playing certain songs at specific times. So about a week before the wedding, I decided I didn't want the additional stress, and called up a DJ. The $400 I spent on him was well worth it.
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Old 07-23-2008, 12:15 AM   #15
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Quote:
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My father-in-law had a great way of saving money. When he heard I had proposed he took my wife aside and said "I'll give you $4000 to elope."

I fully intend to steal this idea. Your FIL is a genius.
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Old 07-23-2008, 12:21 AM   #16
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By the time my spouse and I married we were middle-aged (well late 30s -early 40s) had purchased our own home and lived together for several years. We decided combine the wedding ceremony/honeymoon and eloped to Las Vegas - I think the actual ceremony was less than a $100 without an Elvis impersonator. Part of our reasoning was cost but I was also rather anxious about marriage and did not want the added stress of planning an event. The fact that our families are somewhat scattered and not really that involved in our lives also played a factor. After adding up the money we received from friends & relatives we came out close to even.
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Old 07-23-2008, 09:25 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Bestwifeever View Post

So Maddy, who's getting married?
Thanks for all of the advice....My high school girlfriend and I are getting very close again...I ended up moving in high school and a lot of stuff happened in between....I havent asked her yet but it is very much moving that way...maybe in a year or 2...

BTW, I guess I wouldnt be going into debt since I have never been married and late 30s and LBYM, but spending 20k is a major deal breaker for me, for sure...My impression is that it would be for her, too since she left megacorp a few years back for a lower paying job that is much more service oriented working with kids and is looking for a used Honda Civic right now since her existing one has almost bit the dust...
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Old 07-23-2008, 09:33 AM   #18
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We did a relatively simple ceremony at family's house, had a reception the same day, then since my parents didn't have to pay anything for the wedding, they paid for the cruise ship fare to make a relatively inexpensive honeymoon consisting of a weeklong cruise to the Caribbean.

The engagement and wedding rings were all had for slightly under $2000 total, but we are all happy almost 5 years after the fact. A $10,000 ring isn't really 5x nicer than a $2000 ring. But you do have to give her whatever it takes to get her to marry you. Could be a good test, as spending $10,000 for a piece of shiny carbon typically isn't a good sign of LBYM attitudes.
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Old 07-23-2008, 09:34 AM   #19
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My father-in-law gave us a $1000 wedding gift if we'd keep it simple and cheap. We were married in a public park by a district justice, and the reception was a low-key event for a few folks at my in-laws' house.
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Old 07-23-2008, 09:41 AM   #20
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Cool, Maddy, that is good and a great idea to move slowly in that direction. Never underestimate the power of having a shared background in smoothing the course of marriage. Not to say those from different "places" can't work it out, but it sure makes it easier.

15 years ago in September: what do I remember...there were 300 people there, no A/C, a kicking band, and we gave out cardboard fans with a Kahlil Gibran quote on them for favors, and lots of good beer. I think it cost Dad around $6k for everything, including my custom-made dress (made by my second cousin, whose Mom made my Mom's dress back in the day). We danced, we sang Willin' with the band on stage, we partied. Still having fun all these years later.
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