Planning for an Indian wedding In NY/ NH area.

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Topic Author
haranoth
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Joined: Wed Apr 06, 2016 12:07 pm

Planning for an Indian wedding In NY/ NH area.

Post by haranoth »

My fiancee and I are planning to get married in next year in NY/ NH area.
I am pretty decent with finances and my fiance is getting better at it. Finally, she is out of debt and we are in a decent place with our finances.
I am not sure how it works with her close family, but they go all in on weddings , whether or not they can afford it.
She has a lavish wedding plan , with about 400 guests and 2-3 days of wedding.
We don't want to burden our parents with finances.

Here's couple of things about Indian/south-east-asia weddings that I can shine some light on.
-- big wedding (400+ guests)
-- no alcohol (her family has religious sentiments against it), except for a few close friends, we don't plan to serve to anyone.
-- food/caterer Indian cuisine, which is usually quite cost effective
-- 6 or 11k just goes into wedding gowns/sarees etc.


It's been extremely difficult to work this out, due to her proclivity towards a big wedding and going lavish like the rest of her friends/family in NY area.
I had no idea NY weddings like her friends cost upwards of 45-50K. I mean , for gods sake that's a house down payment.

So, I had couple of general questions regarding relationships and weddings.

1) Everytime, I talk to my fiance about finances, she sort of shies away. I have made her read a few bogleheads recommend books(coffeehouse investor etc) and she has come around a few things. But, it seems like everytime I talk about finances, I am trumping over her hopes and dreams and lifestyle. How do you start and hold conversation, if your partner is not as frugal as you? She doesn't come from a rich family either, but she does not come with the understanding as to how to spend/save the money. I, for one do not care about living upto her friends/family lifestyle standards , if it's not benefitting me or is within my price range. So, how do other bogleheads deal with their significant others regarding finances, without hurting their feelings.

2) Can someone actually give some guidance about having an Indian wedding, with a reasonable price range with 400 guests. I was thinking getting some farm/barn in NH where the family can travel close to NY, would bring down the cost quite a bit, rather than having a wedding in NY. I am not aware of wedding prices in NY. Is there an Indian food caterer in NH area , that can help arrange wedding in NH 15-20k total? Any thoughts?

Thanks
Last edited by haranoth on Thu Aug 30, 2018 5:31 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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ResearchMed
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Re: Planning for an Indian wedding In NY/ NH area.

Post by ResearchMed »

Can't help with the relationship finances (but this doesn't bode well IF it goes beyond a one-time wedding situation)..

As for caterers, to start with, here is your link for Google:

https://bit.ly/2wfmYKs

There do seem to be some vendors, and if you start with them, you'll probably get into a larger network.

RM
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cheese_breath
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Re: Planning for an Indian wedding In NY/ NH area.

Post by cheese_breath »

ResearchMed wrote: Mon Aug 27, 2018 9:07 am Can't help with the relationship finances (but this doesn't bode well IF it goes beyond a one-time wedding situation)..
+1
The surest way to know the future is when it becomes the past.
Gill
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Re: Planning for an Indian wedding In NY/ NH area.

Post by Gill »

cheese_breath wrote: Mon Aug 27, 2018 9:23 am
ResearchMed wrote: Mon Aug 27, 2018 9:07 am Can't help with the relationship finances (but this doesn't bode well IF it goes beyond a one-time wedding situation)..
+1
Couldn’t agree more. Huge red flag!
Gill
Cost basis is redundant. One has a basis in an investment | One advises and gives advice | One should follow the principle of investing one's principal
yougotitdude
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Re: Planning for an Indian wedding In NY/ NH area.

Post by yougotitdude »

My wife is indian and her parents covered ours. It was an great experience but I'd hate to see the bill.

Indians throw crazy, expensive weddings. I've heard several stories for them to be over $100,000 or more.

Her parents took care of pretty much everything. We just showed up. I know that's not super helpful but weddings are super important thing for the Indian culture.
Wellfleet
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Re: Planning for an Indian wedding In NY/ NH area.

Post by Wellfleet »

haranoth wrote: Mon Aug 27, 2018 8:48 am
2) Can someone actually give some guidance about having an Indian wedding, with a reasonable price range with 400 guests. I was thinking getting some farm/barn in NH where the family can travel close to NY, would bring down the cost quite a bit, rather than having a wedding in NY. I am not aware of wedding prices in NY. Is there an Indian food caterer in NH area , that can help arrange wedding in NH 15-20k total? Any thoughts?

Thanks
A friend of mine refused to burden his Indian family with a wedding of this style (no idea if it was cost or personal preference) and did a backyard wedding instead, immediate family only. We were invited to party for the weekend in their city.

Why not upstate NY, Massachusetts or Vermont? New Hampshire isn't all that convenient to New York.
IngognitoUSA
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Re: Planning for an Indian wedding In NY/ NH area.

Post by IngognitoUSA »

A NH destination wedding will cut the number of attendees. Not everyone wants to pay for hotels unless you are close enough. As for red flag, could not disagree more. Wedding are important to Indians and if they are planning a $100k wedding, there is family wealth that you will get in the future.
Mjar
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Re: Planning for an Indian wedding In NY/ NH area.

Post by Mjar »

haranoth wrote: Mon Aug 27, 2018 8:48 am My fiance and I are planning to get married in next year in NY/ NH area.
I am pretty decent with finances and my fiance is getting better at it. Finally, she is out of debt and we are in a decent place with our finances.
I am not sure how it works with her close family, but they go all in on weddings , whether or not they can afford it.
She has a lavish wedding plan , with about 400 guests and 2-3 days of wedding.
We don't want to burden our parents with finances.

Here's couple of things about Indian/south-east-asia weddings that I can shine some light on.
-- big wedding (400+ guests)
-- no alcohol (her family has religious sentiments against it), except for a few close friends, we don't plan to serve to anyone.
-- food/caterer Indian cuisine, which is usually quite cost effective
-- 6 or 11k just goes into wedding gowns/sarees etc.


It's been extremely difficult to work this out, due to her proclivity towards a big wedding and going lavish like the rest of her friends/family in NY area.
I had no idea NY weddings like her friends cost upwards of 45-50K. I mean , for gods sake that's a house down payment.

So, I had couple of general questions regarding relationships and weddings.

1) Everytime, I talk to my fiance about finances, she sort of shies away. I have made her read a few bogleheads recommend books(coffeehouse investor etc) and she has come around a few things. But, it seems like everytime I talk about finances, I am trumping over her hopes and dreams and lifestyle. How do you start and hold conversation, if your partner is not as frugal as you. She doesn't come from a rich family either, but she does not come with the understanding as to how to spend/save the money. I for one do not care about living upto her friends/family lifestyle standards if it's not benefitting me or is within my price range. So, how do other bogleheads deal with their significant others regarding finances, without hurting their feelings.

2) Can someone actually give some guidance about having an Indian wedding, with a reasonable price range with 400 guests. I was thinking getting some farm/barn in NH where the family can travel close to NY, would bring down the cost quite a bit, rather than having a wedding in NY. I am not aware of wedding prices in NY. Is there an Indian food caterer in NH area , that can help arrange wedding in NH 15-20k total? Any thoughts?

Thanks
I am assuming your are Indian as well. I was at a Indian wedding at Radisson Hotel Nashua and the couple were both money minded people so it couldn't have cost as much as you are listing in your OP. Their wedding looked just as good as another Indian wedding I have been to. So look into that location. And subsequently the bride's sister had her wedding there as well a year or so later. I would imagine you could get the wedding under 25k. They had I would say easily 300-400 guests. The venue was very nice IMO. If you want more info DM me and I can get basic info for you to explore that area from my friend.

If you are not Indian yourself then Indian weddings are completely keeping up with the Jones IMHO as being Indian myself. There will be always at least one aunts/Uncles that will say one negative thing about your wedding behind your back to her parents which depending on her parents will take personally or won't care. Knowing my parents they would rather spend more money to avoid that. Indians care about weddings, it is a different ball game than Christian weddings that get done within one afternoon/evening. Also its actually more cost effective to travel to India to get your bride/groom wedding clothes than buying her plus she will get more choices as well. Every Indian couple that I have known here has gone back to India to get their wedding clothes in India for a wedding here. One saving grace of Indian wedding clothes is that you can wear them again vs a wedding gown will never be worn again unless it is handed down to another family member.

If this is a one time issue with money with the wedding you may just need minimize it where you can and choose your battles but if this is a systematic issue with her money handling behavior then you are best to have a real heart to heart about money. Also the way I would approach her about this heart to heart is ask her how she felt when she was in debt and how she felt when she got of debt, use that sentiment as the basis of her going into debt for the wedding asking her if she wants to go thru that feeling again for X years that it may take her to get out of debt again and what she could do with that money instead (a good down payment on a house, put money into existing mortgage, home improvement renovation, etc). You can't force her to read books and see your way, you have to go after the emotional side of money to change behavior. If anything I would start playing Dave Ramsey podcasts while she is in the car or around so it slowly gets in her head about debt and what bad debt can do to your life vs good debt as other BH adovocate.

good luck.
Topic Author
haranoth
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Re: Planning for an Indian wedding In NY/ NH area.

Post by haranoth »

Wellfleet wrote: Mon Aug 27, 2018 9:47 am
haranoth wrote: Mon Aug 27, 2018 8:48 am
2) Can someone actually give some guidance about having an Indian wedding, with a reasonable price range with 400 guests. I was thinking getting some farm/barn in NH where the family can travel close to NY, would bring down the cost quite a bit, rather than having a wedding in NY. I am not aware of wedding prices in NY. Is there an Indian food caterer in NH area , that can help arrange wedding in NH 15-20k total? Any thoughts?

Thanks
A friend of mine refused to burden his Indian family with a wedding of this style (no idea if it was cost or personal preference) and did a backyard wedding instead, immediate family only. We were invited to party for the weekend in their city.

Why not upstate NY, Massachusetts or Vermont? New Hampshire isn't all that convenient to New York.
We have some family and friends in Mass and NH area as well. Plus, I am not sure whether Mass will be any less expensive to be honest. But, Thanks for pointing that out ; we should look at mass and Upstate NY as well.
Topic Author
haranoth
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Re: Planning for an Indian wedding In NY/ NH area.

Post by haranoth »

Mjar wrote: Mon Aug 27, 2018 9:59 am
haranoth wrote: Mon Aug 27, 2018 8:48 am My fiance and I are planning to get married in next year in NY/ NH area.
I am pretty decent with finances and my fiance is getting better at it. Finally, she is out of debt and we are in a decent place with our finances.
I am not sure how it works with her close family, but they go all in on weddings , whether or not they can afford it.
She has a lavish wedding plan , with about 400 guests and 2-3 days of wedding.
We don't want to burden our parents with finances.

Here's couple of things about Indian/south-east-asia weddings that I can shine some light on.
-- big wedding (400+ guests)
-- no alcohol (her family has religious sentiments against it), except for a few close friends, we don't plan to serve to anyone.
-- food/caterer Indian cuisine, which is usually quite cost effective
-- 6 or 11k just goes into wedding gowns/sarees etc.


It's been extremely difficult to work this out, due to her proclivity towards a big wedding and going lavish like the rest of her friends/family in NY area.
I had no idea NY weddings like her friends cost upwards of 45-50K. I mean , for gods sake that's a house down payment.

So, I had couple of general questions regarding relationships and weddings.

1) Everytime, I talk to my fiance about finances, she sort of shies away. I have made her read a few bogleheads recommend books(coffeehouse investor etc) and she has come around a few things. But, it seems like everytime I talk about finances, I am trumping over her hopes and dreams and lifestyle. How do you start and hold conversation, if your partner is not as frugal as you. She doesn't come from a rich family either, but she does not come with the understanding as to how to spend/save the money. I for one do not care about living upto her friends/family lifestyle standards if it's not benefitting me or is within my price range. So, how do other bogleheads deal with their significant others regarding finances, without hurting their feelings.

2) Can someone actually give some guidance about having an Indian wedding, with a reasonable price range with 400 guests. I was thinking getting some farm/barn in NH where the family can travel close to NY, would bring down the cost quite a bit, rather than having a wedding in NY. I am not aware of wedding prices in NY. Is there an Indian food caterer in NH area , that can help arrange wedding in NH 15-20k total? Any thoughts?

Thanks
I am assuming your are Indian as well. I was at a Indian wedding at Radisson Hotel Nashua and the couple were both money minded people so it couldn't have cost as much as you are listing in your OP. Their wedding looked just as good as another Indian wedding I have been to. So look into that location. And subsequently the bride's sister had her wedding there as well a year or so later. I would imagine you could get the wedding under 25k. They had I would say easily 300-400 guests. The venue was very nice IMO. If you want more info DM me and I can get basic info for you to explore that area from my friend.

If you are not Indian yourself then Indian weddings are completely keeping up with the Jones IMHO as being Indian myself. There will be always at least one aunts/Uncles that will say one negative thing about your wedding behind your back to her parents which depending on her parents will take personally or won't care. Knowing my parents they would rather spend more money to avoid that. Indians care about weddings, it is a different ball game than Christian weddings that get done within one afternoon/evening. Also its actually more cost effective to travel to India to get your bride/groom wedding clothes than buying her plus she will get more choices as well. Every Indian couple that I have known here has gone back to India to get their wedding clothes in India for a wedding here. One saving grace of Indian wedding clothes is that you can wear them again vs a wedding gown will never be worn again unless it is handed down to another family member.

If this is a one time issue with money with the wedding you may just need minimize it where you can and choose your battles but if this is a systematic issue with her money handling behavior then you are best to have a real heart to heart about money. Also the way I would approach her about this heart to heart is ask her how she felt when she was in debt and how she felt when she got of debt, use that sentiment as the basis of her going into debt for the wedding asking her if she wants to go thru that feeling again for X years that it may take her to get out of debt again and what she could do with that money instead (a good down payment on a house, put money into existing mortgage, home improvement renovation, etc). You can't force her to read books and see your way, you have to go after the emotional side of money to change behavior. If anything I would start playing Dave Ramsey podcasts while she is in the car or around so it slowly gets in her head about debt and what bad debt can do to your life vs good debt as other BH adovocate.

good luck.
Thank you.. I will look into Radisson Hotel in Nashua. She is planning to go to India for wedding gowns and stuff.
Those were some great advices, in terms of relationships.. I am not sure, whether she has really experienced or cared about whether she is in debt or not. She used to be very much just spending on Credit card and foot the bill, when she could. But I guess, I kind of get frustrated since , I have experienced the tremor of financial crisis in 2007-2009 myself and have lived on my own without any parental giveaways since 16 years old; so spending so much money for 2-3 days of wedding seems a bit unimaginable for me. But , I do understand this is part of the indian culture.
Anyways... thanks for the advice. I guess relationship finances and relationships are a learning experience for both of us :)..
Thanks again.
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Nate79
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Re: Planning for an Indian wedding In NY/ NH area.

Post by Nate79 »

Is $50k a financial burden or peanuts in your income/net worth for you and your soon to be wife?
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dm200
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Re: Planning for an Indian wedding In NY/ NH area.

Post by dm200 »

Did you mean NH or NJ? NH is a distance from NY.
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ResearchMed
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Re: Planning for an Indian wedding In NY/ NH area.

Post by ResearchMed »

IngognitoUSA wrote: Mon Aug 27, 2018 9:54 am A NH destination wedding will cut the number of attendees. Not everyone wants to pay for hotels unless you are close enough. As for red flag, could not disagree more. Wedding are important to Indians and if they are planning a $100k wedding, there is family wealth that you will get in the future.
The OP and fiancee do not want to "burden" their parents with the cost.

So you've made two assumptions that are most likely incorrect:
The parents aren't footing the bill, and may well not have that vast "family wealth" that you seem to think OP should be counting on (a VERY risky plan for future financial security).

Additionally, even IF (and this is apparently unlikely to occur) they end up inheriting "family wealth", that won't help in the interim with how they handle regular expenses for what could be several decades.

A big question is whether the couple can keep this "splurge" to the wedding, and then continue on to have a fiscally prudent lifestyle.
(I put the word "splurge" in quotes above, because IF this type/cost wedding is a genuine cultural - and perhaps religious - "thing", then I think it should be kept separate from other major financial decisions like costs of housing, cars, etc., and also daily costs. This wedding seems to serve a very important/significant function, and that should be respected. But that assumes that they CAN afford it, even if parents cannot/will not.)

RM
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middistancerunner
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Re: Planning for an Indian wedding In NY/ NH area.

Post by middistancerunner »

Looking at your post history, unless things have changed, it simply doesn't seem like you have the money for a lavish wedding. (In February 2018 you posted about an upcoming debt liability, taking out a loan to pay it, and having only $2K in your emergency fund.)

The average cost of a US wedding is now $25,000. I believe that is for a wedding with about 100-200 attendees, i.e., less than half of what you're talking about at 400. And you're not in a LCOL area, either. So I wouldn't be at all surprised if an 'average' wedding for your cohort is $50,000 or more, just as you fear.

I think you need to have a really sober conversation with your fiancee about what it means to have the kind of wedding she wants, which is a $50,000+ wedding. From you post it sounds a little like she doesn't want to spend her parent's money, but she is alright with spending yours. Perhaps that is an uncharitable interpretation, but it's what I got between the lines.

I think you should approach her with a concrete, specific discussion about how you two will pay for a wedding with a budget of $50,000. Get down to brass tacks with her about where that money will come from. Will it come from debt? Is she thinking credit cards? If she wants to go into debt: what lender, for what amount, at what interest rate? How long will you be repaying the debt? Is she alternatively thinking it will come from your savings or 401K? Does she have some of her own savings she wants to spend? How much can you both cash-flow from income? Maybe her parents really do want to help?

If none of those options for coming up with $50,000 are ok with her, maybe she will naturally start to rethink what it would *really* take to get the wedding down to a cheaper amount. If so, this process will produce buy-in and commitment from her.

I *would not* embark on planning the wedding she has in mind, with the vague hope you can keep the budget down if you can just find the right caterer etc. The whole wedding industrial complex (family, vendors, her, everyone) will push you and her towards costs that will tend towards the "normal" wedding amount, which will add up to $50,000 or more. It will take extreme mindfulness and the buy-in of your fiancee to keep the amount lower than than "average." It will require actually difficult decisions, things like possibly reducing the size of the guest list. Those kinds of tough decisions may invite blow-back from her family, so she really has to be on board. But if you don't confront this head on you will very likely end up spending $50,000+ even though you didn't plan to, so be prepared mentally for that possible outcome if you can't truly confront this with her directly now.

By the way, I am an early 30s woman, so I am in the marrying age demographic and have a pretty good sense of what these pressures look like for my friends.
Last edited by middistancerunner on Mon Aug 27, 2018 1:16 pm, edited 2 times in total.
delamer
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Re: Planning for an Indian wedding In NY/ NH area.

Post by delamer »

Your fiancee really should talk to her parents (and maybe you with yours) about their ability to pay some of the costs and their expectations about the wedding.

How much are her feelings are based in family/cultural pressure versus her own desires?

I know that cultural expectation vary a lot, but as a couple you need to be able to decide on your own priorities (money, child rearing, etc.) and not let extended family or your peer group decide these important issues for you.

As you well know, debt is a burden. It can tie you down in ways that you can’t conceive when you undertake it. Debt for a 3 day event when the same end goal (a marriage) could be achieved in a a couple hours is foolhardy.
Last edited by delamer on Mon Aug 27, 2018 12:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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cheese_breath
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Re: Planning for an Indian wedding In NY/ NH area.

Post by cheese_breath »

haranoth wrote: Mon Aug 27, 2018 8:48 am ….I am not sure how it works with her close family, but they go all in on weddings , whether or not they can afford it …..

Poor role models when growing up. She seems to be following in her parent’s path.

….It's been extremely difficult to work this out, due to her proclivity towards a big wedding and going lavish like the rest of her friends/family in NY area….

This may not be a one time ‘keeping up with the jones’ event.

….Everytime, I talk to my fiance about finances, she sort of shies away. I have made her read a few bogleheads recommend books(coffeehouse investor etc) and she has come around a few things. But, it seems like everytime I talk about finances, I am trumping over her hopes and dreams and lifestyle….

I think that says it all.
The surest way to know the future is when it becomes the past.
MDfive21
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Re: Planning for an Indian wedding In NY/ NH area.

Post by MDfive21 »

if she doesn't understand the finances of a wedding, and will be grumpy if she's not allowed to bankrupt you, why would you tie yourself to her for the next 20 years?
retiredjg
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Re: Planning for an Indian wedding In NY/ NH area.

Post by retiredjg »

My personal experience is that different cultures can have very different ways of handling money. Somehow, it seems to work out within a culture. Inter-cultural marriages, on the other hand, may need some special work on financial beliefs and issues.

This wedding is an example, but it may not be the last. For example, some cultures pay much less attention to retirement savings than many on this forum - because when parents become old, they are often supported (in part or in full) by their children.

I have seen this in the east Indian culture and was told by a family member it was the norm. In the family I observed, the parents saved little and the children were given everything with the expectation that the parents did not need to save much for retirement.

Have the two of you really discussed finances and cultural differences or are you just hoping that she will "see the light and realize you are right"? I would not hang my hat on that idea. :happy
smitcat
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Re: Planning for an Indian wedding In NY/ NH area.

Post by smitcat »

cheese_breath wrote: Mon Aug 27, 2018 12:09 pm
haranoth wrote: Mon Aug 27, 2018 8:48 am ….I am not sure how it works with her close family, but they go all in on weddings , whether or not they can afford it …..

Poor role models when growing up. She seems to be following in her parent’s path.

….It's been extremely difficult to work this out, due to her proclivity towards a big wedding and going lavish like the rest of her friends/family in NY area….

This may not be a one time ‘keeping up with the jones’ event.

….Everytime, I talk to my fiance about finances, she sort of shies away. I have made her read a few bogleheads recommend books(coffeehouse investor etc) and she has come around a few things. But, it seems like everytime I talk about finances, I am trumping over her hopes and dreams and lifestyle….

I think that says it all.
Yup - this is a great summary of what I read here as well.
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dm200
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Re: Planning for an Indian wedding In NY/ NH area.

Post by dm200 »

While my wife and I had a nice wedding 40+ years ago, it was very moderately priced. I place priority on the "marriage" vs the "wedding".
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cheese_breath
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Re: Planning for an Indian wedding In NY/ NH area.

Post by cheese_breath »

1st marriage reception was punch and sandwiches in the church basement.

2nd marriage reception was more upscale... Sveden house.

I don't remember any complaints about either one.
The surest way to know the future is when it becomes the past.
Topic Author
haranoth
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Re: Planning for an Indian wedding In NY/ NH area.

Post by haranoth »

retiredjg wrote: Mon Aug 27, 2018 1:04 pm My personal experience is that different cultures can have very different ways of handling money. Somehow, it seems to work out within a culture. Inter-cultural marriages, on the other hand, may need some special work on financial beliefs and issues.

This wedding is an example, but it may not be the last. For example, some cultures pay much less attention to retirement savings than many on this forum - because when parents become old, they are often supported (in part or in full) by their children.

I have seen this in the east Indian culture and was told by a family member it was the norm. In the family I observed, the parents saved little and the children were given everything with the expectation that the parents did not need to save much for retirement.

Have the two of you really discussed finances and cultural differences or are you just hoping that she will "see the light and realize you are right"? I would not hang my hat on that idea. :happy
Yeah, probably cultural and bit of family lifestyle differences. I am trying to see whether she will see the light , without me looking like a jerk in the process. Very thin line to walk ...
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haranoth
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Re: Planning for an Indian wedding In NY/ NH area.

Post by haranoth »

middistancerunner wrote: Mon Aug 27, 2018 10:37 am Looking at your post history, unless things have changed, it simply doesn't seem like you have the money for a lavish wedding. (In February 2018 you posted about an upcoming debt liability, taking out a loan to pay it, and having only $2K in your emergency fund.)

The average cost of a US wedding is now $25,000. I believe that is for a wedding with about 100-200 attendees, i.e., less than half of what you're talking about at 400. And you're not in a LCOL area, either. So I wouldn't be at all surprised if an 'average' wedding for your cohort is $50,000 or more, just as you fear.

I think you need to have a really sober conversation with your fiancee about what it means to have the kind of wedding she wants, which is a $50,000+ wedding. From you post it sounds a little like she doesn't want to spend her parent's money, but she is alright with spending yours. Perhaps that is an uncharitable interpretation, but it's what I got between the lines.

I think you should approach her with a concrete, specific discussion about how you two will pay for a wedding with a budget of $50,000. Get down to brass tacks with her about where that money will come from. Will it come from debt? Is she thinking credit cards? If she wants to go into debt: what lender, for what amount, at what interest rate? How long will you be repaying the debt? Is she alternatively thinking it will come from your savings or 401K? Does she have some of her own savings she wants to spend? How much can you both cash-flow from income? Maybe her parents really do want to help?

If none of those options for coming up with $50,000 are ok with her, maybe she will naturally start to rethink what it would *really* take to get the wedding down to a cheaper amount. If so, this process will produce buy-in and commitment from her.

I *would not* embark on planning the wedding she has in mind, with the vague hope you can keep the budget down if you can just find the right caterer etc. The whole wedding industrial complex (family, vendors, her, everyone) will push you and her towards costs that will tend towards the "normal" wedding amount, which will add up to $50,000 or more. It will take extreme mindfulness and the buy-in of your fiancee to keep the amount lower than than "average." It will require actually difficult decisions, things like possibly reducing the size of the guest list. Those kinds of tough decisions may invite blow-back from her family, so she really has to be on board. But if you don't confront this head on you will very likely end up spending $50,000+ even though you didn't plan to, so be prepared mentally for that possible outcome if you can't truly confront this with her directly now.

By the way, I am an early 30s woman, so I am in the marrying age demographic and have a pretty good sense of what these pressures look like for my friends.
Thanks for the informative post. The money is supposed to split 60-40. And I have a vague feeling, she was planning on pulling on her emergency/savings and stop paying into 401k to meet her 40 percent. Nonetheless, I guess my concerns are more on the front, that I like partying like any other bloke, but I don't see a point in spending 50k on one day, when that same amount can be used for a downpayment. But, you are right, she is possibly getting pressured from family and is in denial as to what that might do to our finances. I guess , both of us will have to make some tough decisions for the wedding. Thanks for your comments.
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Re: Planning for an Indian wedding In NY/ NH area.

Post by delamer »

haranoth wrote: Mon Aug 27, 2018 1:57 pm
retiredjg wrote: Mon Aug 27, 2018 1:04 pm My personal experience is that different cultures can have very different ways of handling money. Somehow, it seems to work out within a culture. Inter-cultural marriages, on the other hand, may need some special work on financial beliefs and issues.

This wedding is an example, but it may not be the last. For example, some cultures pay much less attention to retirement savings than many on this forum - because when parents become old, they are often supported (in part or in full) by their children.

I have seen this in the east Indian culture and was told by a family member it was the norm. In the family I observed, the parents saved little and the children were given everything with the expectation that the parents did not need to save much for retirement.

Have the two of you really discussed finances and cultural differences or are you just hoping that she will "see the light and realize you are right"? I would not hang my hat on that idea. :happy
Yeah, probably cultural and bit of family lifestyle differences. I am trying to see whether she will see the light , without me looking like a jerk in the process. Very thin line to walk ...
In fairness to both of you, don’t wait too long to resolve this. At some point the planning will take on a life of its own and it will be hard to stop.

And you should be looking at the wedding costs as how they will affect your joint finances, not how much each of you is contributing separately. You don’t need to combine your accounts, but you do need to set your goals together.
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Re: Planning for an Indian wedding In NY/ NH area.

Post by middistancerunner »

haranoth wrote: Mon Aug 27, 2018 2:09 pm
Thanks for the informative post. The money is supposed to split 60-40. And I have a vague feeling, she was planning on pulling on her emergency/savings and stop paying into 401k to meet her 40 percent. Nonetheless, I guess my concerns are more on the front, that I like partying like any other bloke, but I don't see a point in spending 50k on one day, when that same amount can be used for a downpayment. But, you are right, she is possibly getting pressured from family and is in denial as to what that might do to our finances. I guess , both of us will have to make some tough decisions for the wedding. Thanks for your comments.
Cheers, happy to try to help :)

Have you guys considered premarital counseling? This is common in the culture I come from and it would cover things like making sure you are on the same page financially. I feel like at this point, you will be merging finances, and should be able figure out how to have a frank and honest conversation about where your 60% and her 40% are actually going to come from.

I'm not in the camp of some here saying this is enough of a red flag to call the relationship into question. But I do think that this is absolutely something that you should be able to resolve in a good, positive way before the wedding. It should be a non negotiable pre-marriage goal to establish the ability to talk about finances in a healthy way, and the first exercise is financially planning the wedding.

My partner of 10 years and I aren't married (in part because I think weddings are too damn expensive) but I can say that having a shared financial goal that you both really, really want can be incredible for helping you figure out your joint financial future and put it on a good path. For us, it was recently purchasing our apartment. It required major sacrifices on both our parts and was the catalyst for us being able to finally get on the same page about financial decision making. Previously our finances were separate and he was a bit more of a spender than me. The arduous process of making something financially big *work* ended up reorienting us as a couple in a very positive way that has already had major dividends. We are saving much more as a couple now than we would have been had we never started down this path, and we are making better decisions.

Whatever you end up paying for the wedding, if it gets you talking and operating towards shared financial goals in a healthy way, it will have lasting financial benefits. On the flip side, if you can't really talk about it and end up putting it on credit cards or financing it in an unhealthy way, you may end up doing the same for future decisions like houses, cars, where to send the kids to school, etc.
Last edited by middistancerunner on Mon Aug 27, 2018 2:23 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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ResearchMed
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Re: Planning for an Indian wedding In NY/ NH area.

Post by ResearchMed »

delamer wrote: Mon Aug 27, 2018 2:12 pm
haranoth wrote: Mon Aug 27, 2018 1:57 pm
retiredjg wrote: Mon Aug 27, 2018 1:04 pm My personal experience is that different cultures can have very different ways of handling money. Somehow, it seems to work out within a culture. Inter-cultural marriages, on the other hand, may need some special work on financial beliefs and issues.

This wedding is an example, but it may not be the last. For example, some cultures pay much less attention to retirement savings than many on this forum - because when parents become old, they are often supported (in part or in full) by their children.

I have seen this in the east Indian culture and was told by a family member it was the norm. In the family I observed, the parents saved little and the children were given everything with the expectation that the parents did not need to save much for retirement.

Have the two of you really discussed finances and cultural differences or are you just hoping that she will "see the light and realize you are right"? I would not hang my hat on that idea. :happy
Yeah, probably cultural and bit of family lifestyle differences. I am trying to see whether she will see the light , without me looking like a jerk in the process. Very thin line to walk ...
In fairness to both of you, don’t wait too long to resolve this. At some point the planning will take on a life of its own and it will be hard to stop.

And you should be looking at the wedding costs as how they will affect your joint finances, not how much each of you is contributing separately. You don’t need to combine your accounts, but you do need to set your goals together.
Yes, the planning, especially if it involves cultural/religious/family traditions will go on automatic mode if you don't reel it in at the start.

Set a budget (together) and then - assuming this is appropriate, e.g., her parents are involved in the planning - explain that IF they "insist" on spending more on the cake (making this up, but "on whatever"), then the SAME amount of money must be CUT from the budget for some other selection ("their choice", perhaps?).

And if there is something that the two of you strongly prefer, then remind them who is getting married.
In the USA mainstream, it's often "The Bride" whose choices tend to come first, but the traditional "Mother Of The Bride" didn't always get the memo... :annoyed
But other relatives or friends could also play that "role", especially if there is going to be a keeping up with the Joneses "thing".

Best wishes to both of you... and good luck with the planning!

RM
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Re: Planning for an Indian wedding In NY/ NH area.

Post by TravelGeek »

haranoth wrote: Mon Aug 27, 2018 2:09 pm The money is supposed to split 60-40. And I have a vague feeling, she was planning on pulling on her emergency/savings and stop paying into 401k to meet her 40 percent.
Assuming you will eventually have a joint financial net worth and plan (doesn't mean the accounts are physically merged, which is impossible with retirement accounts anyway), I am not sure this split matters. In the end 100% of the cost seems to be coming out of your joint net worth, and the two of you need to come to an agreement whether spending that amount (100% of it) is something you can afford and whether it is a good use of your funds.
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Re: Planning for an Indian wedding In NY/ NH area.

Post by OnTrack2020 »

For the sake of doing a real rough budget, you are looking at:

Probably around $30 per person for food: $12,000
Wedding dress: $11,000
Plane tickets for India to purchase dress: $1500

That is already around $25,000 and doesn't include the following:

I'm guessing on the numbers here, but I don't think I'm that far off:

Flowers/Decorations: $4,000-$5,000
Tux Rental: $500 ?
Hair/Updos: $75 per person
Invitations, thank you cards, postage: $1,000
Music/Entertainment: $3,000
Gifts for attendants/wedding favors: $2,000
Facility Fee for reception: I don't know $2,000
Photographer/Video: $5,000
Honeymoon: $5,000

Oh yeah, wedding cake at, let's say, $3 per slice/per person - $1,200

You are already approaching $50,000, and I know I'm missing a whole bunch of stuff.
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Re: Planning for an Indian wedding In NY/ NH area.

Post by retiredjg »

haranoth wrote: Mon Aug 27, 2018 1:57 pm Yeah, probably cultural and bit of family lifestyle differences. I am trying to see whether she will see the light , without me looking like a jerk in the process. Very thin line to walk ...
I think you missed the point of my post. The fact that you want her to "see the light" indicates you feel your way is the right way and you intent to try to coax her into learning it. This is not uncommon, even in mono-cultural relationships.

What I'm saying is there is no right way. Your normal is not the same as her normal. Neither of you will be happy in the financial part of your marriage unless you acknowledge that difference and agree during peaceful negotiation on a middle ground that you can both live with because it is worth that to be with each other.

This is going to come up time and time again. When you want to put money into Roth IRA, she will want the money to go to singing lessons for your daughter because it will enrich the rest of her life. When she desperately wants to attend the wedding of a distant relative across the country which she sees as an important family obligation and you see it as a waste of money...what are you going to do (other than argue) if you two do not ALREADY have a plan in place that addresses your different opinions of how to use money?

You are going to have to figure out what you are willing to give up without resentment in order to be with her. And she is going to have to do the same. You say the wedding planning has been extremely difficult. I'm saying this is just the first hurdle to get over. I recommend professional assistance.
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Re: Planning for an Indian wedding In NY/ NH area.

Post by Nate79 »

Money problems are the #1 cause of divorce.
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Re: Planning for an Indian wedding In NY/ NH area.

Post by dm200 »

Nate79 wrote: Mon Aug 27, 2018 2:59 pm Money problems are the #1 cause of divorce.
Perhaps "disagreements" that might not be (objectively) "problems".
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Re: Planning for an Indian wedding In NY/ NH area.

Post by njdealguy »

OnTrack2020 wrote: Mon Aug 27, 2018 2:27 pm For the sake of doing a real rough budget, you are looking at:

Probably around $30 per person for food: $12,000
Wedding dress: $11,000
Plane tickets for India to purchase dress: $1500

That is already around $25,000 and doesn't include the following:

I'm guessing on the numbers here, but I don't think I'm that far off:

Flowers/Decorations: $4,000-$5,000
Tux Rental: $500 ?
Hair/Updos: $75 per person
Invitations, thank you cards, postage: $1,000
Music/Entertainment: $3,000
Gifts for attendants/wedding favors: $2,000
Facility Fee for reception: I don't know $2,000
Photographer/Video: $5,000
Honeymoon: $5,000

Oh yeah, wedding cake at, let's say, $3 per slice/per person - $1,200

You are already approaching $50,000, and I know I'm missing a whole bunch of stuff.
I'd second guess on the $11k for wedding dress thats purchased in India! That seems like more like a price if the outfit had to be purchased in the US, defeating the point of traveling there.

Think it would be more like 10-20% of that which it would actually cost, $2k translates to about 140,000 Indian Rupees which is also a huge budget for there.
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Re: Planning for an Indian wedding In NY/ NH area.

Post by Drengr »

Congratulations!
My wife and I are Indian. We convinced her parents to have a very intimate wedding ceremony in our local NY hindu temple with only our immediate family (11 members in total). We are so glad we did this and avoided all the family/friends drama. It helped that my huge extended family is still back in India.
However, her parents threw a lavish reception ceremony for about 350 guests to keep up with the Patels :D It cost them about $70K back in 2011. They got back about $15K in gifts (Indian wedding parties routinely accept cash/check instead of boxed gifts). Wife and I didn't spend a penny.

My wife is not as conscious of our finances as I am but is not lavish either. She grew up in a wealthy family in the US, I grew up middle class in India. She was very immature about finances early in our relationship but has learnt a lot over the past 8 years. It has taken a lot of kindness, patience, fact based arguments and diligence to follow Boglehead principles as a couple. We still routinely disagree on discretionary expenses but try to compromise with each other. It helps that we both love each other and understand that we cannot always keep up with the Jones'. Good luck!
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Re: Planning for an Indian wedding In NY/ NH area.

Post by retiredjg »

Ok folks, let's not go down that path.

I'm old. I'm female. I'm retired. Never was a judge though. :D
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Re: Planning for an Indian wedding In NY/ NH area.

Post by Dottie57 »

cheese_breath wrote: Mon Aug 27, 2018 9:23 am
ResearchMed wrote: Mon Aug 27, 2018 9:07 am Can't help with the relationship finances (but this doesn't bode well IF it goes beyond a one-time wedding situation)..
+1
Me too.
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Re: Planning for an Indian wedding In NY/ NH area.

Post by Elsebet »

Just for comparison, my husband and I got married for $300 in 2016. :)

Payment to the judge: $150
Rings: $150

We did it in the morning before work. We just wore clothes we already had. A few co-workers were the only guests and they took us out for breakfast afterwards. We then went back to work! They all thought it was delightful and we had zero stress about the whole thing. I would recommend this path to anyone. An young Indian co-worker liked our story so much he and his fiancee did the same thing a few months later.

I would sincerely try to get your fiancee on board and politely insist on cheaper options to your future in-laws. You don't have to as cheap as we did, but even half your estimate ($25,000) would be better.
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Re: Planning for an Indian wedding In NY/ NH area.

Post by Dottie57 »

Drengr wrote: Mon Aug 27, 2018 3:05 pm Congratulations!
My wife and I are Indian. We convinced her parents to have a very intimate wedding ceremony in our local NY hindu temple with only our immediate family (11 members in total). We are so glad we did this and avoided all the family/friends drama. It helped that my huge extended family is still back in India.
However, her parents threw a lavish reception ceremony for about 350 guests to keep up with the Patels :D It cost them about $70K back in 2011. They got back about $15K in gifts (Indian wedding parties routinely accept cash/check instead of boxed gifts). Wife and I didn't spend a penny.

My wife is not as conscious of our finances as I am but is not lavish either. She grew up in a wealthy family in the US, I grew up middle class in India. She was very immature about finances early in our relationship but has learnt a lot over the past 8 years. It has taken a lot of kindness, patience, fact based arguments and diligence to follow Boglehead principles as a couple. We still routinely disagree on discretionary expenses but try to compromise with each other. It helps that we both love each other and understand that we cannot always keep up with the Jones'. Good luck!
Lovely post.
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Re: Planning for an Indian wedding In NY/ NH area.

Post by NotWhoYouThink »

$50K sounds ridiculously cheap for a 2-3 day affair for 400 people in New York. You cannot afford the party your fiancée wants and expects.

Sometimes you have to give up your childhood dream and face reality. The sooner the better.
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Re: Planning for an Indian wedding In NY/ NH area.

Post by gogleheads.orb »

I don't think that a barn in NH will be all that cheap. A business hotel on the side of the highway should be the cheapest way to go. Anyplace you rent should provide everything that you need. If you need to rent porty-o-potys, table, chairs, tents etc. It will add up fast.

And I realize that no-booze and Indian food bring down the price a bit, but $50k for 400 people seems cheap to me. Even for a one-day event.
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Re: Planning for an Indian wedding In NY/ NH area.

Post by NYGiantsFan »

haranoth wrote: Mon Aug 27, 2018 8:48 am

2) Can someone actually give some guidance about having an Indian wedding, with a reasonable price range with 400 guests.
Heard from a family friend (who is bride's uncle) about similar number of guests. 3 days event at beach front location in Maryland, cost was 250k. Groom and bride split costs at 50%. Both are doctors. I have seen numbers floating between 100k to 250k on average for similar size.
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Re: Planning for an Indian wedding In NY/ NH area.

Post by LadyGeek »

I removed some off-topic comments that (1) mentioned a racial stereotype and (2) were getting contentious regarding family relationships.

Please stay on-topic to help the OP.


This thread is now in the Personal Consumer Issues forum (wedding).
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47Percent
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Re: Planning for an Indian wedding In NY/ NH area.

Post by 47Percent »

haranoth wrote: Mon Aug 27, 2018 8:48 am
She has a lavish wedding plan , with about 400 guests and 2-3 days of wedding.
We don't want to burden our parents with finances.

Here's couple of things about Indian/south-east-asia weddings that I can shine some light on.
-- big wedding (400+ guests)
-- no alcohol (her family has religious sentiments against it), except for a few close friends, we don't plan to serve to anyone.
-- food/caterer Indian cuisine, which is usually quite cost effective
-- 6 or 11k just goes into wedding gowns/sarees etc.


It's been extremely difficult to work this out, due to her proclivity towards a big wedding and going lavish like the rest of her friends/family in NY area.
I had no idea NY weddings like her friends cost upwards of 45-50K. I mean , for gods sake that's a house down payment.

Thanks
You have not disclosed whether you are also of Indian heritage. If not, this may actually be of interest to you.

Typically in India, the ENTIRE wedding is arranged and paid for by the bride's side. Even in this age, it is more of the norm than the exception. The groom's side may optionally contribute, but it is usually not required or expected. The entire groom's side are more like wedding guests, including the groom himself. I am not talking about dowry or anything similar. This is simply the celebration. This is considered one major gift/expense for the bride from her side. So just like saving for college, families start saving for the wedding the moment a girl is born, or even before a child is born.

Without making any value judgement, I am just letting you know that's how it works. In a way it makes sense, because the brides are the ones who are typically more particular about how lavish/large the wedding ought to be -- this case being no exception. So, many a times it ends up being a display of the bride's parents' affluence & affection.

Once you break this to your finace', the problem will solve itself. Just be sure to ask what time the limo will come to pick you up.
Last edited by 47Percent on Mon Aug 27, 2018 9:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
amindu
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Re: Planning for an Indian wedding In NY/ NH area.

Post by amindu »

Honestly, your budget of 15-20K is not realistic, we only did 2 out of the 3 days, and did not do all of the traditions and it cost us in the mid 20s in Texas.

I will share my experience, as i had 100-125 guests, my uncle has an indian restaurant and catered all events at cost, Reserved a small hall at the local Hyatt nothing over the top, simple table decor, simple cake, DJ. One of the events we held in my wife's apartment complex meeting/conference facility. Audio and Video were extremely competitive and only on the main reception day. After being extremely frugal, and shopping around, securing the best deals it still ended up costing us in the mid 20s, and i spent hours negotiating with vendors. We paid for all this out of our pocket versus asking parents.

One big mindset difference is we did not see this as your portion and my portion it was all one, after all we were getting married and it was all going to be one anyway.
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Re: Planning for an Indian wedding In NY/ NH area.

Post by Shallowpockets »

If you stay married for 50 years, you can dollar cost average it out to $1000 a year. However that is 50 years! You will not get the time value of that money even looking at it this way.
You and she do not seem to be on the same page with finances. One of the top three reasons for divorce is money issues. Perhaps the dollar cost average will not be over 50 years. Could be 1 year.
That said, you are already in this issue and as others have said it will take on a life of its own. Most likely as the venue and all its planning take place you will be the worrier about it all and will be the one to deal wih it all while the planning goes on.
Weddings tend to snare everyone into the circle with joy and enthusiasm and you will be the lone voice in the wilderness. You will be odd man out.
You should make any choices sooner rather than later.
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Re: Planning for an Indian wedding In NY/ NH area.

Post by dm200 »

I know a few folks who were divorced well before the loans for the wedding were paid off :(
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Re: Planning for an Indian wedding In NY/ NH area.

Post by beyou »

Absolutely do not pay for such an extravagant wedding. Setting a bad precedent. If her family wants to spend their money, maybe you can’t and shouldn’t stop them, but they also can’t force you, unless you let them.
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Re: Planning for an Indian wedding In NY/ NH area.

Post by spectec »

Your bride wants a traditional lavish Indian wedding but she and her family want to avoid the traditional way they are paid for (by the bride's parents). Sounds like an unusual cross-cultural expectation. Her family gets to pretend they've put on an extravagant bash to impress the uncles & aunties, but at your expense.
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Re: Planning for an Indian wedding In NY/ NH area.

Post by sambb »

It might be that she comes from much more family wealth than you, and this is not expensive to them
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Re: Planning for an Indian wedding In NY/ NH area.

Post by kenoryan »

My neighbors and best friends are Indian. Their son is getting married this weekend. The parents of the groom are spending 200 k on the wedding.

The kids are not spending much. They're probably contributing 30 k.

It's going to be a big wedding with 300 people. The actual Indian wedding is on thursday evening in the Indian temple with 50 family members. There is a function on friday evening with 100 guests. The 'official' wedding is on saturday. 300 guests. There are tons of people coming from India for the wedding. The groom's parents are paying for limos to pick people from the airport, hotel for 2-3 nights and cases and cases of scotch. They have rented a white horse for the groom to arrive to the wedding venue. The police and city have been paid to stop traffic for the groom to arrive on the white steed. Thousands of dollars worth of flowers. It's a big show. They have brought in a DJ from India for the after dinner dancing. Open bar till midnight. Pizza and more drinks at the hotel afterwards. They can afford it. But this is what a North Indian wedding is like. They have already bought thousands of dollars worth of jewelry and clothes from India. Turbans and fancy shoes for the groomsmen. Gold embroidered dresses for the bridesmaids. :shock:

Then they're going to India and having another wedding party for those family members who could not attend.

I say just give that much money to the kids. They can use it to pay off their student loans or put it towards a house. It's crazy

To the OP.......if you don't want to spend the money, just say No. It doesn't have to be a lavish affair where someone goes into debt to have a wedding. Elope. Do a destination wedding in the Bahamas.
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Re: Planning for an Indian wedding In NY/ NH area.

Post by triceratop »

I think OP is Bangladeshi. So, for people asking about the OP's background, consider that.

As others have noted, Indian weddings are famously lavish, and are often paid for by the bride's family. I have some personal experience with this -- though in my case not fully, partially because bride's parents could not approve of someone who cared so little about organizing one's life around the maximization of wealth. So the wedding never happened. But, if it had, I was clear that I was not paying more than half of what I considered a reasonable sum for a wedding. I'm white, so my figure was substantially smaller.

OP, I don't have any advice for you here other than to be clear and communicate what you feel and what you want.
I say just give that much money to the kids. They can use it to pay off their student loans or put it towards a house. It's crazy
It's often not either/or, it's "and", "also", and "as well". The student loans, postgraduate education loans, and house as well. :) Not a bad deal at all, choose your parents wisely.
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