How much do you plan to spend on your children's weddings?

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MrBobcat
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Re: How much do you plan to spend on your children's weddings?

Post by MrBobcat »

nonfacebookuser365 wrote: Mon Oct 28, 2019 11:36 am Wedding costs are the responsibility of the bride. When did this change?
About the same time dowry's went away. :P
MathWizard
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Re: How much do you plan to spend on your children's weddings?

Post by MathWizard »

I have 2 sons as well, around marrying age.
I paid a portion of the wedding cost as did my wife and her parents for our wedding
nearly 40 years ago, so my sons may do so as well.

For planning purposes, I have assumed $5K each. I don't know that it will be needed,
but things happen. I'm sure my wife will want new formal wear. I would wear my best suit,
but my wife may insist on a tux.

There are rentals, and gratuities for the officiant and organist. There is a rehearsal dinner
for families to get to know one another. The couple often does not think about these other expenses,
so we may need to step up.
theplayer11
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Re: How much do you plan to spend on your children's weddings?

Post by theplayer11 »

MrBobcat wrote: Mon Oct 28, 2019 11:54 am
nonfacebookuser365 wrote: Mon Oct 28, 2019 11:36 am Wedding costs are the responsibility of the bride. When did this change?
About the same time dowry's went away. :P
not in my area 25 years ago..bride's parents were expected to pay. Groom's parents paid for the rehearsal dinner. That was the standard for most all my friends and wife's. If has changed, it's been in last 20 years..and that is because people are getting married later as I posted earlier.
smitcat
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Re: How much do you plan to spend on your children's weddings?

Post by smitcat »

randomguy wrote: Mon Oct 28, 2019 11:01 am
flyingaway wrote: Mon Oct 28, 2019 10:31 am
theplayer11 wrote: Mon Oct 28, 2019 10:27 am Hopefully I have raised my kids well enough whereby they wouldn't want to waste a lot of money or their parents money on their weddings. There are many ways to have great weddings without spending ridiculous amounts of money.
I am curious to know how much is ridiculous amount of money on a wedding, in your opinion.
More than I spend is ridiculous. Less than I spent is cheap:)

On pretty much every spending topic on bogleheads, you will have a group of people who will say spend 0 dollars cause this is some luxury purchase that doesn't matter and an other group saying spend on how much value it adds to your life. Figure out who you are. Same thing with every other gifting opportunity like college, first cars, house down payments, ......

"More than I spend is ridiculous. Less than I spent is cheap:)"
An accurate and perfect answer - thank you for that!
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Watty
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Re: How much do you plan to spend on your children's weddings?

Post by Watty »

There is no one "right" amount but a few takeaways from past threads about this.

1) Give them a set amount and then let them figure out how to work within those limits. This will prevent gradually increasing costs unless they want to pay for the extras. It will also get you out of the position of having to approve their choices.

2) If it is OK with you let them know that they can use any leftover money for whatever they want like the honeymoon or a house down payment. My son's future in laws did this and they had a frugal wedding but were then able to use the rest of the money on a house downpayment. Everyone involved was happy that they did this.

3) Times are changing. Your kids and their future spouses may very well have lived together for five years before they get married which at least in my mind makes the idea of paying a big wedding a lot different and harder to rationalize.

4) By far the best financial thing that you can do for you kids is to make sure that your finances are rock solid will support you even if you live to be 105 and happen to be retired through hard investing times like the double digit inflation years of the late 1970s, the dot com, crash, the financial crisis, etc. I know people that are having to financially support their parents and it is hard on them and especially their spouses who see a lot of the families resources being used to support the inlaws. If giving them $20K each would be a stretch then consider a more modest amount. Any other money could potentially be invested for decades to support you when you are 95 or the kids could inherit it some day.
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Re: How much do you plan to spend on your children's weddings?

Post by TomatoTomahto »

We only have one son with a serious GF, but you never know. He isn’t interested in getting married young (he’s early 20s now), and he makes good money, so I think our contribution would be more a gift than paying for a wedding.

That actually raises an interesting question that hadn’t occurred to me before. We gift our kids the annual gift tax exclusion annually. If we pay for a wedding, is that excluded (ie, can my wife and I gift $30k plus wedding)?
I get the FI part but not the RE part of FIRE.
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anon_investor
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Re: How much do you plan to spend on your children's weddings?

Post by anon_investor »

First of, OP you are very generous, and congrats on being in a position to give your sons such a generous gift.

When I got married, my parents and my in-laws did not offer to pay anything (and we did not ask). At the time I was still paying off student loans and my spouse was only working part-time, so we were on a pretty tight budget. Ultimately, instead of paying anything towards my wedding, my parents gifted us a low 5 figure amount, which I used to pay towards my 6.8% interest student loans. Thinking back I do not think I could have asked for a better gift. I am glad that my parents did not offer to pay for my wedding. We had a budget wedding and did not waste a lot of money, and everyone still had an amazing time (the key is not to skimp too much on the food and boos!). Being able to use the money to help payoff my student loan debt was amazing. I know if they had offered to "pay for" all or part of the wedding, being in our 20s we likely would not have used that money to have a fancier wedding...

You may consider doing something similar for your sons. If they do not have student loans, that money could be a jump start for something else that will last much longer than 1 great night, like a future home down payment, maxing out a 401k for the year, etc.

In terms of how to invest your money while you wait to gift it, I see nothing wrong with a money market account, since it seems like the investment time horizon may be very short. No sense taking much risk on the principal. You could also always invest the money 100% in VTSAX and gift them the shares. :sharebeer
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JoeRetire
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Re: How much do you plan to spend on your children's weddings?

Post by JoeRetire »

nonfacebookuser365 wrote: Mon Oct 28, 2019 11:36 am Wedding costs are the responsibility of the bride. When did this change?
Who said anything about the responsibility? The OP stated that they want to put some money aside.
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PVW
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Re: How much do you plan to spend on your children's weddings?

Post by PVW »

flyingaway wrote: Mon Oct 28, 2019 9:30 am requires me to work at least for another year.
The tradition of funding your kids weddings comes from a time when parents were the only source of funds for the celebration. It sounds like your children will be able to fund their own weddings so why would you delay retirement to provide something for your kids that they don't need?

If it's not a burden, then $20K seems like a reasonable number. From some quick googling, it looks like $20K is about the average cost of a wedding in a LCOL and maybe half of an average wedding in a HCOL area. So this number seems generous, but not so much that it is encouraging extravagance.
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Re: How much do you plan to spend on your children's weddings?

Post by Pigeon »

We plan to have gift each daughter the same amount, probably around $15,000. They can do with it what they will, whether it's applying it to a wedding or a down payment on a house, etc. We paid for their college educations.

We have a very large extended family, and these people are important to my daughters. I can easily see how the guest list would be well over 100 people even if it's just family, assuming the groom's side has some relatives, too. It wouldn't be about impressing other people or Say Yes to the Dress, or any of that stuff.

It would be about creating a warm, inviting event to share a family milestone with the people you love and who have supported you in life. In such circumstances, IMO, feeding people well, providing some alcohol and dancing is not uncalled for. The costs add up, even if you try to keep it low key. We've had all kinds of family weddings, from the farm-to-table high end restaurant (with a 6 hour open bar) on the side of a mountain ($$$$$), to a mostly DIY outdoor wedding in October (brrrr) at a barn ($$). It still adds up when you have a huge family. We are not religious in the least, so there's no "sacrament" involved, but family is really important to us.
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Re: How much do you plan to spend on your children's weddings?

Post by oldfatguy »

TomatoTomahto wrote: Mon Oct 28, 2019 12:16 pm
That actually raises an interesting question that hadn’t occurred to me before. We gift our kids the annual gift tax exclusion annually. If we pay for a wedding, is that excluded (ie, can my wife and I gift $30k plus wedding)?
Good question. It seems to me that it depends on who is actually hosting the party. In a "traditional" wedding, the invitation usually comes from the parents. If the parents are throwing the party, then I don't think it is a gift to the child. If, on the other hand, you just give a check for $X,000 to one of your adult children, to help pay for a wedding, that definitely sounds like a gift.
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Re: How much do you plan to spend on your children's weddings?

Post by lazydavid »

My current plan is $0. My son will be getting my car when he turns 16, along with a replacement if it becomes unreliable before he launches. We will be paying for his education. We will be matching his Roth 401k contributions. At some point we will probably help with a downpayment on a house.

But he is responsible for any and all parties he wants to throw, including a wedding reception. So my general answer, like many others, is $0. If he wants to do a destination wedding such as getting married on a beach in the Caribbean, and is (hopefully) interested in us attending, we will absolutely pay our own way, and also for the betrothed's parents if it would be a financial burden for them.

Full disclosure: My wife and I saved for and had what we consider to be an expensive wedding (right around $30k), and both wish we hadn't. It was great fun, but we agree the money would have been much better spent elsewhere. If we could turn back the clock we would have gotten married by the JoP for $200, or flown our parents to the Bahamas for a few days for a private ceremony. We own our mistake, and expect our son to own his choices as well.
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Re: How much do you plan to spend on your children's weddings?

Post by nonfacebookuser365 »

theplayer11 wrote: Mon Oct 28, 2019 11:59 am
MrBobcat wrote: Mon Oct 28, 2019 11:54 am
nonfacebookuser365 wrote: Mon Oct 28, 2019 11:36 am Wedding costs are the responsibility of the bride. When did this change?
About the same time dowry's went away. :P
not in my area 25 years ago..bride's parents were expected to pay. Groom's parents paid for the rehearsal dinner. That was the standard for most all my friends and wife's. If has changed, it's been in last 20 years..and that is because people are getting married later as I posted earlier.
Agree. It’s still that way in our area. Parents of the bride pay the wedding shindig.
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MrBobcat
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Re: How much do you plan to spend on your children's weddings?

Post by MrBobcat »

theplayer11 wrote: Mon Oct 28, 2019 11:59 am
MrBobcat wrote: Mon Oct 28, 2019 11:54 am
nonfacebookuser365 wrote: Mon Oct 28, 2019 11:36 am Wedding costs are the responsibility of the bride. When did this change?
About the same time dowry's went away. :P
not in my area 25 years ago..bride's parents were expected to pay. Groom's parents paid for the rehearsal dinner. That was the standard for most all my friends and wife's. If has changed, it's been in last 20 years..and that is because people are getting married later as I posted earlier.
They may have done it out of tradition but expected may be a bit strong, but then again traditions/expectations are different everywhere.

Our folks split the cost pretty equally back when we got married and that's what we're doing for our kids.
Last edited by MrBobcat on Mon Oct 28, 2019 12:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
alex_686
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Re: How much do you plan to spend on your children's weddings?

Post by alex_686 »

flyingaway wrote: Mon Oct 28, 2019 11:32 am For God's sake, they are my sons, not strangers on the streets, or any unknown people on a charity organization's list that many people here are eager to denote money to.
Bogleheads tend to be a practical lot. Why spend money on a fancy party? Not being sarcastic - legitimate question to help you calibrate on what is important. I had a modest wedding because my wife was headed towards grad school and the money could be spent in a better place. In other cases, maybe not. Maybe the woman has been fantasizing about the wedding. Sometimes the parents want to show off. One couple I knew had over 100+ close family members that had to be invited - both of their parents had 5+ siblings. I want to say there were 25+ first cousins that came.

Anyways, back to your point. While I think marriage is very important, but I think weddings are kind of silly. And I think big weddings can actually distract from marriage itself. I have known people to shack up, buy a house, and have a kid in the time it has taken them to save for the big event.

I would think a modest gift of cash early in the process without strings attached is the best way to go. Wedding, honeymoon, down-payment on first house, whatever.

I know modest is a relative term, but consider this: How many times will your sons be getting married? Maybe once, but valid numbers are between 0 and 3. 3 gifts for one son, none for the other?
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themesrob
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Re: How much do you plan to spend on your children's weddings?

Post by themesrob »

oldfatguy wrote: Mon Oct 28, 2019 12:28 pm
TomatoTomahto wrote: Mon Oct 28, 2019 12:16 pm
That actually raises an interesting question that hadn’t occurred to me before. We gift our kids the annual gift tax exclusion annually. If we pay for a wedding, is that excluded (ie, can my wife and I gift $30k plus wedding)?
Good question. It seems to me that it depends on who is actually hosting the party. In a "traditional" wedding, the invitation usually comes from the parents. If the parents are throwing the party, then I don't think it is a gift to the child. If, on the other hand, you just give a check for $X,000 to one of your adult children, to help pay for a wedding, that definitely sounds like a gift.
and this is how to my understanding the tax treatment works. if the parents are signing the contracts with the vendors, etc., then there is no reporting it on the Form 709 -- the value of the "gifts," as it were, are spread across the recipients, i.e. everyone attending the wedding. If the parents write a check to the children that exceeds the annual gift threshold, however, even if it's designated "for the wedding," then it's reportable.

(I found an old thread on this topic -- the SF Gate article cited therein says the same: viewtopic.php?t=168112)
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Re: How much do you plan to spend on your children's weddings?

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$0000000000000000000000000000000000000
theplayer11
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Re: How much do you plan to spend on your children's weddings?

Post by theplayer11 »

MrBobcat wrote: Mon Oct 28, 2019 12:45 pm
theplayer11 wrote: Mon Oct 28, 2019 11:59 am
MrBobcat wrote: Mon Oct 28, 2019 11:54 am
nonfacebookuser365 wrote: Mon Oct 28, 2019 11:36 am Wedding costs are the responsibility of the bride. When did this change?
About the same time dowry's went away. :P
not in my area 25 years ago..bride's parents were expected to pay. Groom's parents paid for the rehearsal dinner. That was the standard for most all my friends and wife's. If has changed, it's been in last 20 years..and that is because people are getting married later as I posted earlier.
They may have done it out of tradition but expected may be a bit strong, but then again traditions/expectations are different everywhere.

Our folks split the cost pretty equally back when we got married and that's what we're doing for our kids.
if someone is following tradition, then they are indeed expected to pay. They are one in the same.
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TomatoTomahto
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Re: How much do you plan to spend on your children's weddings?

Post by TomatoTomahto »

oldfatguy wrote: Mon Oct 28, 2019 12:28 pm
TomatoTomahto wrote: Mon Oct 28, 2019 12:16 pm
That actually raises an interesting question that hadn’t occurred to me before. We gift our kids the annual gift tax exclusion annually. If we pay for a wedding, is that excluded (ie, can my wife and I gift $30k plus wedding)?
Good question. It seems to me that it depends on who is actually hosting the party. In a "traditional" wedding, the invitation usually comes from the parents. If the parents are throwing the party, then I don't think it is a gift to the child. If, on the other hand, you just give a check for $X,000 to one of your adult children, to help pay for a wedding, that definitely sounds like a gift.
Well, in that case, perhaps we’d pay for the wedding.

We are not extravagant showy types, although we do spend freely. Our own wedding was at town hall and cost, iirc, $150 including license and lunch for the witness.

I have long said that I’d gift an amount equal to twice the cost of a wedding if the kids elope, but that was before we began to worry about estate planning :beer
I get the FI part but not the RE part of FIRE.
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JoeRetire
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Re: How much do you plan to spend on your children's weddings?

Post by JoeRetire »

flyingaway wrote: Mon Oct 28, 2019 11:32 am For God's sake, they are my sons, not strangers on the streets, or any unknown people on a charity organization's list that many people here are eager to denote money to.
Don't let others' opinions bother you.

You can be as generous to your family as you can afford and as you choose.
They can choose to be as frugal with their family as they choose.

For me, charity begins at home. I'd do anything I could for my family.
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MnD
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Re: How much do you plan to spend on your children's weddings?

Post by MnD »

For our son we are paying for a fairly high headcount rehearsal dinner and a gift of a trip to Hawaii.
Daughter-in-law's father is paying for the actual wedding costs.
For our daughter if and when that day arrives we'll offer a fixed sum of $10-15K towards the wedding.
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Re: How much do you plan to spend on your children's weddings?

Post by Broken Man 1999 »

Two weddings, one in 2005, and one in 2006. Each right around $20,000, CPI calculator at bls.gov says today's dollars equivalents are now $26,400. Though, frankly wedding prices, like college tuition prices, have been greater than the overall inflation. So that $26,400 figure likely understates the amount necessary today to have a like wedding.

Part of the $40,000 total was from an inheritance I had received prior to my father's death. After the summer wedding in 2006, he died in the fall of 2006. He doted on his grandchildren. I'm likely to do the same for our grandchildren, if I am around. Paying it forward. My father made a lot of things easier for his children, and I have followed in his footsteps as much as I could.

Most of the expenses were in the venues, and the dinners. There were well over 100 guests for both weddings. We had an open bar, with free-flowing beer, wine, and hard liquor from start to finish. The wedding in 2006 sported Cuban food, and we had a cigar roller making cigars for anyone interested. Surprisingly, many of the older women were partying hard and were smoking stogies like they knew what they were doing, including the mothers of the bride and groom. :beer

I did offer each daughter the full $20,000 if they wanted to do something else, like elope, but both declined.

Honestly, DW and I have ZERO regrets. I'd do it all over again today with no hesitation.

Weddings gave us an opportunity to visit with relatives we hadn't seen in years.

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Re: How much do you plan to spend on your children's weddings?

Post by TheOscarGuy »

flyingaway wrote: Mon Oct 28, 2019 9:02 am I have two sons who do not have serious girlfriends at this time. But I want to set aside some money for their eventual weddings before I retire. I am interested in knowing how much do you plan to spend (did you spend) on your children's weddings? And how do you invest the money?

Some background information: we are an upper middle class family in a low cost living area. Both my sons are now working in other states (high cost living areas), one just started working three months ago. But they have very good jobs with good salaries. I am planning to set aside $20K for each of them and put the money in a money market fund.
Aah. I am a little away from that point, and I am hoping I will raise a child that refuses to spend $$ on wedding. Maybe I will present them with a proposition: ' I can spend 10K on your wedding now, or I can give you 40K for down-payment on your home' :D
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Re: How much do you plan to spend on your children's weddings?

Post by dcdowden »

My wife has always assumed that a wedding will cost the same as about 1 year of college - but there is a big range between a year at a low cost community college, a state university or an Ivy League school. As it happened, she went to Cornell and her parents paid for a typical Long Island Wedding for us 43 years ago which did cost about the same as a year at Cornell. We wound up splitting the total cost of our Son's wedding 13 years ago, but we had a lot more relatives attending. That wedding cost somewhat less than the cost of a year at either of the private schools that our kid's attended. Hopefully, our now 30 something daughter will get married someday and it will be interesting to see whether she wants something like the fancy destination weddings in Ireland, Aruba or Cancun that she has attended or something more local with a much larger guest list. Since she is ten years older than when her brother was married and well established in her career rather than just starting out, she has far more of her own resources as well. So far she has been a saver, but does love to travel. So ... who knows? Unfortunately, Chicago is rated as the nation's third most expensive location for a wedding with an average cost of over $60,000 in 2018 - which does sound like a year at a top private school now.
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Re: How much do you plan to spend on your children's weddings?

Post by GatorFL »

I have the "tale of 2 weddings". My daughter got married in October 2018, my son got married in September 2019.

Daughter's Wedding: My daughter and her husband travel the world together and decided to marry themselves in the Rocky Mountains (it is legal to self-marry in Colorado). They are not the pomp and circumstance type, and much prefer a mountain to a fancy wedding venue. They rented a huge 10 bedroom Airbnb about a month after the wedding for friends and family to celebrate the union. While my DW was a little disappointed not to be at the actual ceremony (they tied the knot at a remote lake about a days hike in), they did recreate a small ceremony a month later. The entire weekend was relaxed, heartwarming and fabulous. No pressure, just good family and friend time complete with cookouts and a few nights around the fire. I paid for the Airbnb, which was a few thousand dollars. Best wedding ever. Total cost for my daughter's wedding was 3K which included the food and drink for the weekend.

Son's Wedding: My son and his wife did the traditional wedding at a local vineyard complete with catering, DJ, dancing, and all of the traditional activities. I contributed a total of around $5000 which paid for the rehearsal dinner, booze at the reception, and part of the honeymoon. I'm sure the bride's family spent 20K. Total cost for my son's wedding was approx. 25K

They were both great weddings, but I honestly had more fun at my daughter's wedding. We could just be ourselves and not feel obligated to comply with wedding customs.

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Re: How much do you plan to spend on your children's weddings?

Post by Texanbybirth »

I'll try to answer without getting judgement about the $$$ itself. I would gladly work one more year (probably not more than one) to be able to pay for my daughter's (and sons') wedding(s) if it was necessary. That would amount to more money than we received from parents for our wedding, but possibly not too much more if you factor in inflation since our kids are 4, 3, and 7mo right now. :D :D

My bride and I were very thankful for the gift our parents were able to give us to fund our very moderate Catholic wedding. Our paychecks covered the rest and the honeymoon. I would love to be able to do the same for our kids, and I know my wife feels the same way. I'm glad you're asking OP, but you'll still find the best answer in your (and your wife's) heart, not here on the forums.
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Re: How much do you plan to spend on your children's weddings?

Post by marcopolo »

flyingaway wrote: Mon Oct 28, 2019 9:30 am
I said that I am planning to do that, which requires me to work at least for another year. I have no idea how much it is a going cost for a wedding. My wife and I did not have a formal wedding and we did not inform our parents before we got married, that was more than 30 years ago.
It is certainly a personal decision, and tradition probably differs in every family.

Our kids are 21 and 18, so hopefully any weddings are still a number of years away. We have not given it much thought, but we will likely help out with a fixed amount in the range you are contemplating. But, I have to say, I would NOT have even considered working an extra year to do that. To be honest, i think my kids would prefer we not help them with their wedding costs if that was the trade-off. But, like i said, it is a very personal decision.
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Re: How much do you plan to spend on your children's weddings?

Post by Katietsu »

marcopolo wrote: Mon Oct 28, 2019 2:06 pm
flyingaway wrote: Mon Oct 28, 2019 9:30 am
I said that I am planning to do that, which requires me to work at least for another year. I have no idea how much it is a going cost for a wedding. My wife and I did not have a formal wedding and we did not inform our parents before we got married, that was more than 30 years ago.
But, I have to say, I would NOT have even considered working an extra year to do that. To be honest, i think my kids would prefer we not help them with their wedding costs if that was the trade-off. But, like i said, it is a very personal decision.
Yes, to get back to the money not the personal attitudes on wedding styles. If the OP is “upper middle class“ then $20,000 seems reasonable. However, if the OP is upper middle class with two children, then $40 k should not require an extra year of work. If the OP is working full time at a $50 k a year job, then a $20 k contribution towards a wedding seems out of sync.
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Re: How much do you plan to spend on your children's weddings?

Post by rjbraun »

lazydavid wrote: Mon Oct 28, 2019 12:40 pm My current plan is $0. My son will be getting my car when he turns 16, along with a replacement if it becomes unreliable before he launches. We will be paying for his education. We will be matching his Roth 401k contributions. At some point we will probably help with a downpayment on a house.

But he is responsible for any and all parties he wants to throw, including a wedding reception. So my general answer, like many others, is $0. If he wants to do a destination wedding such as getting married on a beach in the Caribbean, and is (hopefully) interested in us attending, we will absolutely pay our own way, and also for the betrothed's parents if it would be a financial burden for them.

Full disclosure: My wife and I saved for and had what we consider to be an expensive wedding (right around $30k), and both wish we hadn't. It was great fun, but we agree the money would have been much better spent elsewhere. If we could turn back the clock we would have gotten married by the JoP for $200, or flown our parents to the Bahamas for a few days for a private ceremony. We own our mistake, and expect our son to own his choices as well.
Interesting, and certainly not the first time I've heard someone regret the cost they spent on a wedding. Just out of curiosity, if you're comfortable saying is it more just the principle of having dropped around $30k on the wedding or is it that the cost has directly affected your current lifestyle (would have preferred to buy a different house, say, but were short the funds, have to clearly work longer, etc.)

I've just found that I've become much more sensitive to prices and what I'm getting for my money (aka "value") now that I'm older. It's ironic, though, as I have far more money now than before and in that respect spending money (within reason) or not will unlikely make much difference in the overall picture.
drew1976
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Re: How much do you plan to spend on your children's weddings?

Post by drew1976 »

I plan to have a chat with my kids about college tuition/wedding/post leaving my house expectations about when they are 18.

My intentions are to be as even as possible and my initial thoughts are around 50K per kid overall. Anything less than 50K they spend on college can be gifted for a house, wedding or car when they are ready. I know college can quickly consume this amount but I think we can realistically expect scholarships, work and grandparents contributions.

I may try to work some investment component into it (ie start investing that 50K at 18).

I personally don't want to pay for weddings but making it one big pool makes sense to me and then I don't have to care. Same for sons and daughter. Seems weird to pay for a wedding based on old BS antiquated dowry customs.

Personally, I received zero money towards our wedding ceremony from either parent but sister is getting $20K+. This is partly why we eloped (note: I am not bitter about this - I planned my wedding on my own terms and wanted no input or expectations from anyone. 20K to give others power into decisions wouldn't have been worth it.) Given my setup above, even if my contributions go into a wedding, I don't expect to have any input whatsoever (though will be happy to provide guidance about the whole 50K)
Last edited by drew1976 on Mon Oct 28, 2019 2:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
lazydavid
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Re: How much do you plan to spend on your children's weddings?

Post by lazydavid »

rjbraun wrote: Mon Oct 28, 2019 2:35 pm Interesting, and certainly not the first time I've heard someone regret the cost they spent on a wedding. Just out of curiosity, if you're comfortable saying is it more just the principle of having dropped around $30k on the wedding or is it that the cost has directly affected your current lifestyle (would have preferred to buy a different house, say, but were short the funds, have to clearly work longer, etc.)
I don't think it had a dramatic effect on our lifestyle, it's really just the principle of the thing and that we would have preferred to use that money for any number of other things, whether that be investing, making an even bigger down payment on our first house, taking a couple additional extravagant trips, etc. Something with lasting value.
randomguy
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Re: How much do you plan to spend on your children's weddings?

Post by randomguy »

alex_686 wrote: Mon Oct 28, 2019 12:46 pm
Bogleheads tend to be a practical lot. Why spend money on a fancy party?
Bogleheads tend to think of themselves as a practical lot. Then they post long threads trying to justify the impractical choice they want to make..
Xrayman69
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Re: How much do you plan to spend on your children's weddings?

Post by Xrayman69 »

flyingaway wrote: Mon Oct 28, 2019 11:32 am
RickBoglehead wrote: Mon Oct 28, 2019 11:03 am
Why? Why is it on you to be prepared for someone else's desires, especially if they are ridiculous, in your mind?
For God's sake, they are my sons, not strangers on the streets, or any unknown people on a charity organization's list that many people here are eager to denote money to.
+1. I love my daughter and find great joy in her smile (priceless).

I don’t know how much I will contribute.

Time will tell and I don’t want to give my daughter a blank check or the sense of entitlement. I hope she will develop a sensibility and appreciation for our fortunate position. I would also hate to contribute to something particularly if I think the potential mate may be an (expletive). My wife’s brothers both married (expletives) that we’re shown to be (expletives) throughout life and to the day of their passing my in-laws both just gritted their teeth. They were very generous to me and my wife for our weeding as we were both just finishing up school and they seemed to have had a great time and spoke of this joy until the day of their passing.

I pray that my daughter finds a mate that will be as kind and loving to her as my wife has been to me and my daughter. If this is the potential case (I know I don’t know how marriage will end up) I will make sure that I am supportive of her desire to the point of my ability.
theplayer11
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Re: How much do you plan to spend on your children's weddings?

Post by theplayer11 »

Xrayman69 wrote: Mon Oct 28, 2019 3:37 pm
flyingaway wrote: Mon Oct 28, 2019 11:32 am
RickBoglehead wrote: Mon Oct 28, 2019 11:03 am
Why? Why is it on you to be prepared for someone else's desires, especially if they are ridiculous, in your mind?
For God's sake, they are my sons, not strangers on the streets, or any unknown people on a charity organization's list that many people here are eager to denote money to.
+1. I love my daughter and find great joy in her smile (priceless).

I don’t know how much I will contribute.

Time will tell and I don’t want to give my daughter a blank check or the sense of entitlement. I hope she will develop a sensibility and appreciation for our fortunate position. I would also hate to contribute to something particularly if I think the potential mate may be an (expletive). My wife’s brothers both married (expletives) that we’re shown to be (expletives) throughout life and to the day of their passing my in-laws both just gritted their teeth. They were very generous to me and my wife for our weeding as we were both just finishing up school and they seemed to have had a great time and spoke of this joy until the day of their passing.

I pray that my daughter finds a mate that will be as kind and loving to her as my wife has been to me and my daughter. If this is the potential case (I know I don’t know how marriage will end up) I will make sure that I am supportive of her desire to the point of my ability.
You bring up a great point. Would you be more apt to pay more if you really liked the future bride/groom? I would find it very hard to pay for my daughter's wedding if I didn't like the guy or didn't think it would work out...50% don't.
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beyou
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Re: How much do you plan to spend on your children's weddings?

Post by beyou »

I would not encourage frivolous spending. Can't of many things more frivolous than the lavish weddings people have.
My FIL offered cash in lieu and my bride to be and MIL wouldn't hear of it.
Years later my FIL had serious financial troubles, and I realized he couldn't say no to his wife and daughter, part of what led him to his financial demise.
I have learned to say no.

So the answer is zero. My boys better marry practical or rich girls...
I paid for college, not paying for a party.
randomguy
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Re: How much do you plan to spend on your children's weddings?

Post by randomguy »

theplayer11 wrote: Mon Oct 28, 2019 3:42 pm
You bring up a great point. Would you be more apt to pay more if you really liked the future bride/groom? I would find it very hard to pay for my daughter's wedding if I didn't like the guy or didn't think it would work out...50% don't.
It is more like 1/3rd of first marriages don't work out. I don't think many parents are paying for their kids 2nd and 3rd marriages:) It is even less if the couple is in a bunch of common upper middle class demographics (over 25, college educated,....).

I would be very hesitant to base my offers to pay on how much I liked the spouse. Way too many ways to poison a relationship with your children.
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Re: How much do you plan to spend on your children's weddings?

Post by Grt2bOutdoors »

Jack FFR1846 wrote: Mon Oct 28, 2019 10:32 am
J295 wrote: Mon Oct 28, 2019 10:05 am Sidebar: Klang .... Calling a wedding celebration “useless” (which is sacred tradition and a sacrament in some cultures) seems like trolling and is unkind.
I was married in a Catholic church. The donation (there was no fee) we gave was $100. The lavish reception, Rolls Royce limosine, open bar, big dinner and live band are not part of the marriage sacrament.

Looking back on our own wedding (which we paid for), we certainly could have done without it. We held a 150 person party. Planning with my in laws was brutal, with them insisting on a list of people who must be invited. We went through it and found a dozen people on the list who in fact were dead. My sister in law spent probably 5 times what we did. Her marriage lasted 1 month.

For my sons, plan is $0
Did they give you the black log book too?
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Grt2bOutdoors
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Re: How much do you plan to spend on your children's weddings?

Post by Grt2bOutdoors »

flyingaway wrote: Mon Oct 28, 2019 10:29 am
KlangFool wrote: Mon Oct 28, 2019 10:02 am flyingaway,

Not in my culture. The kids could spend their own money on such a useless affair.

KlangFool
As I said before, my wife and I never had a formal wedding. I hate attending anyone's wedding. But if my children and their future spouses have different views, I need to be prepared.
Going to a wedding in the near future, from what I've heard, the place costs $200 a head. That is before music, flowers, photographer.
This is on the east coast, HCOL.
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Old Guy
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Re: How much do you plan to spend on your children's weddings?

Post by Old Guy »

My wife and I were married by a judge at the Old Pension Building in DC in front of my parents and three friends. Her parents were deceased. My parents were extremely unhappy about our choices and almost didn’t come.

I despise big weddings. I think they are useless and think the money should be spent on a down payment for a house.

Having said that, we intend to give our son about $50,000 when he gets married. This is some of the money leftover from the amount we had set aside for him to go to college that was not needed. I will strongly urged him and his intended to use the money for something other than a large wedding. But, it’s their choice how to spend their money. Once we give it to them it’s their decision.
utvolfan
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Re: How much do you plan to spend on your children's weddings?

Post by utvolfan »

HEDGEFUNDIE wrote: Mon Oct 28, 2019 10:51 am The largest driver of wedding costs is the length of the guest list. And often it is the parents forcing the couple to invite this aunt or that cousin or this family friend.
So true! My DD and DS were both given the same amount to use however they wanted. My DD soon found out that with a venue rental etc she would have to limit her guest list to about 125 people with the catering costs.
I told her immediate family and a couple of our other close friends were the only people she was required to invite. She ended up with guests who each had had a huge impact on her life along with their friends etc. I said “it’s your wedding, not mine. Do what you want.” Too many Moms out there trying to run the show—IMHO
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Re: How much do you plan to spend on your children's weddings?

Post by jabberwockOG »

theplayer11 wrote: Mon Oct 28, 2019 10:27 am Hopefully I have raised my kids well enough whereby they wouldn't want to waste a lot of money or their parents money on their weddings. There are many ways to have great weddings without spending ridiculous amounts of money.
100% agree.

We certainly might help with matching our kid's saved down payment when its time to purchase that first house.

Plans for our funding fancy weddings - $0. Hopefully our kids are smarter than that.
growingup
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Re: How much do you plan to spend on your children's weddings?

Post by growingup »

my mom had all daughters and told us she would cover undergraduate public university tuition or wedding cost. (It wasn't really a choice, she was trying to make a point that she valued our education and so should we).
we all went to wonderful public universities, debt free.. then took out loans for graduate/professional school.

My husband and I paid for our own small 50 person wedding (that we had in her beautiful backyard). She paid for "rehearsal" dinner with my immediate family and my husbands immediate family the night before. Then, as a wedding present she paid off the balance of my grad school debt so my husband and I could start married life debt-free. It was an amazing gift.

my younger sister got married a couple of years ago, and this time my husband and I paid for the "rehearsal" dinner as our gift, and her and her husband covered the cost of their ceremony etc. She didn't go to grad school and had no debt.. I'm not sure what wedding gift my mom gave her, i never asked.

So for my kids, what will I do? not sure. but I appreciate what my mom did for us so much.
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Re: How much do you plan to spend on your children's weddings?

Post by Broken Man 1999 »

JoeRetire wrote: Mon Oct 28, 2019 12:54 pm
flyingaway wrote: Mon Oct 28, 2019 11:32 am For God's sake, they are my sons, not strangers on the streets, or any unknown people on a charity organization's list that many people here are eager to denote money to.
Don't let others' opinions bother you.

You can be as generous to your family as you can afford and as you choose.
They can choose to be as frugal with their family as they choose.

For me, charity begins at home. I'd do anything I could for my family.
This!

One of my requests to my daughters was to get their education finished before any thoughts of marriage. I told them if they earned their degrees, got married after that, I didn't care if they ended up staying home with a bunch of kids, I was OK with that.

I just wanted them to be capable of being totally self-sufficient, and to stay in a marriage because they wanted to, rather than being dependent on someone they didn't want to be with.

They actually listened very well.

I was more than happy to throw a very nice wedding for them.

Broken Man 1999
“If I cannot drink Bourbon and smoke cigars in Heaven then I shall not go. " -Mark Twain
KlangFool
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Re: How much do you plan to spend on your children's weddings?

Post by KlangFool »

MasCowbell wrote: Mon Oct 28, 2019 11:10 am
There are Asian cultures where it is expected that you throw a wedding celebration for the entire community. On a PPP absis these events would probably cost six-figures. These are the same Asian cultures that are lauded for sacrifice, high savings rates, diligent work, and emphasis on education.
MasCowbell,

For some of the Asian cultures, the guests give enough cash for the wedding banquet that the wedding did not cost six-figures for the bride and groom families.

KlangFool
Smoke
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Re: How much do you plan to spend on your children's weddings?

Post by Smoke »

They can have loan of my ladder.
Arguing for the sake of arguing is something I am not going to engage in.
Caduceus
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Re: How much do you plan to spend on your children's weddings?

Post by Caduceus »

This is coming from someone who is planning a wedding. When you say that you are upper middle class, it seems you have this idea that you need to spend a certain amount. I wonder if you've asked your sons and their partners what it is that they want. The reason I say this is that my fiance comes from an insanely rich family, and they have all sorts of ideas about how to throw a wedding. All I wanted was a simple outdoors dinner in a nice spot with lots of fresh seafood and BBQ and music. It wouldn't have cost more than $5,000, if that. And we would both have worn just the usual business suits we have for work, so no expenses there.

When we started, we had a guest list of maybe 60 people. Apart from family, I only have maybe 10 close friends I really want to be there, and my boyfriend was the same way. Then when the in-laws got involved ... it just got crazy. I think I don't even know 90% of the people who are coming now.

And what I don't really understand is that they have this idea that the wedding won't be great if the food doesn't cost at least $X, or if we don't make new suits (but we already have nice ones for work!), etc. It's about celebrating the start of our life together. I really don't care if we ordered take-out to the celebration. I actually suggested to my in-laws that they donate the money to charity instead, and we could have a simple celebration. The look on their faces made me realize that was never going to work.

I told him that to keep the peace, I would defer to their vision of what our wedding should look like, since they have so much emotionally invested in it. But it's definitely not the wedding me or my fiance wants. You should ask them if they really want some lavish celebration.
Last edited by Caduceus on Mon Oct 28, 2019 5:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
MasCowbell
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Re: How much do you plan to spend on your children's weddings?

Post by MasCowbell »

KlangFool wrote: Mon Oct 28, 2019 5:42 pm
MasCowbell wrote: Mon Oct 28, 2019 11:10 am
There are Asian cultures where it is expected that you throw a wedding celebration for the entire community. On a PPP absis these events would probably cost six-figures. These are the same Asian cultures that are lauded for sacrifice, high savings rates, diligent work, and emphasis on education.
MasCowbell,

For some of the Asian cultures, the guests give enough cash for the wedding banquet that the wedding did not cost six-figures for the bride and groom families.

KlangFool
This is true of the US as well.

My wedding with 240 guests cost $70k. We did not have a registry and did not make any indication that gifts were expected.

...By the time we finished counting the checks, the wedding only cost us $20k.

Pretty standard for upper middle class couples with similarly situated friends and family.
randomguy
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Re: How much do you plan to spend on your children's weddings?

Post by randomguy »

MasCowbell wrote: Mon Oct 28, 2019 5:57 pm
KlangFool wrote: Mon Oct 28, 2019 5:42 pm
MasCowbell wrote: Mon Oct 28, 2019 11:10 am
There are Asian cultures where it is expected that you throw a wedding celebration for the entire community. On a PPP absis these events would probably cost six-figures. These are the same Asian cultures that are lauded for sacrifice, high savings rates, diligent work, and emphasis on education.
MasCowbell,

For some of the Asian cultures, the guests give enough cash for the wedding banquet that the wedding did not cost six-figures for the bride and groom families.

KlangFool
This is true of the US as well.

My wedding with 240 guests cost $70k. We did not have a registry and did not make any indication that gifts were expected.

...By the time we finished counting the checks, the wedding only cost us $20k.

Pretty standard for upper middle class couples with similarly situated friends and family.
So who had a more expensive wedding:

a) couple who spend 20k and got 40k of cash/gifts
or
b) couple who paid 200 bucks to get married down at the court house and got nothing

Seems like having a wedding might be the smart move:)
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Re: How much do you plan to spend on your children's weddings?

Post by KlangFool »

MasCowbell wrote: Mon Oct 28, 2019 5:57 pm
KlangFool wrote: Mon Oct 28, 2019 5:42 pm
MasCowbell wrote: Mon Oct 28, 2019 11:10 am
There are Asian cultures where it is expected that you throw a wedding celebration for the entire community. On a PPP absis these events would probably cost six-figures. These are the same Asian cultures that are lauded for sacrifice, high savings rates, diligent work, and emphasis on education.
MasCowbell,

For some of the Asian cultures, the guests give enough cash for the wedding banquet that the wedding did not cost six-figures for the bride and groom families.

KlangFool
This is true of the US as well.

My wedding with 240 guests cost $70k. We did not have a registry and did not make any indication that gifts were expected.

...By the time we finished counting the checks, the wedding only cost us $20k.

Pretty standard for upper middle class couples with similarly situated friends and family.
Looks like the market rate had gone up to $500 per guest.

KlangFool
renue74
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Re: How much do you plan to spend on your children's weddings?

Post by renue74 »

I have 2 sons.

So...how much would Taco Bell cost for 20ish people at their rehearsal dinner? That’s my number.
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