Weddings - The good? The bad?

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skntwi
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Weddings - The good? The bad?

Post by skntwi » Tue Nov 05, 2019 1:38 pm

Hey all!

I wanted to get your opinions on what was good, bad, or ugly about weddings you've been to.

I'm a recently engaged boglehead going down the rabbit hole of wedding planning. We've been looking at venues and home based receptions for a month but are running into many concerns. I would hoping to generate a list of everything bad/good that I could make sure to check off. Looking at our home solution, we found that handicap accessibility is non-existent as well as an area for caterers or some sort of staff. Looking at venues, everyone seems to be slightly missing something. A barn we were looking at has no bathrooms, only portapotties and all food must be dished up outside and people line up to bring their own inside up a flight of stairs. As you can imagine, going down a flight of stairs outside when drinking or holding food is quite an inconvenience.

The other surprising issues that I wouldn't have thought about is venues that seem to be far from hotels, lack of parking, no outlets for people to charge their phones, dance floor is where the dinner tables are at and need to be moved eventually by the renting party, and no bar.

Chime in if you've been to a wedding that was awesome and what was great about it, chime in if your own wedding was awesome but something unexpected popped up as an inconvenience. As you can imagine, trying to make our wedding perfect is top priority and figured i'd question the BH community.

KFBR392
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Re: Weddings - The good? The bad?

Post by KFBR392 » Tue Nov 05, 2019 1:54 pm

Every venue is going to have limitations of some sort or another. My advice is to focus on where you want to get married most, hire a planner familiar with the venue, and the details can be sorted out. No parking? Then you'll have to arrange for shuttles. No kitchen on site? Then your caterer will have to work in a mobile kitchen which means you're renting more equipment. I've been to several weddings where portapotties were the only bathrooms available and no one complained.

We got married at a historic celebrity estate and once we saw it we knew it was the only place for us. But it had all sorts of limitations. We had to use shuttles since there was no parking allowed onsite. We had to rent generators because vendors weren't allowed to draw power from the home's outlets. We had to rent kitchen equipment because our food vendor wasn't allowed to use the home's appliances; we weren't even allowed to put dishes on the kitchen countertops. But with the help of our planner, we made it work and nobody felt like we made compromises because the evening went off without a hitch.

psteinx
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Re: Weddings - The good? The bad?

Post by psteinx » Tue Nov 05, 2019 2:00 pm

This thread will likely grow to considerable length, as wedding (tipping/car/watch) threads often do. So a few simple things:

1) First and foremost, the wedding is about forming a lifelong bond with your partner. It's about the MARRIAGE, not the wedding.

2) Still, it's nice to do this in public, and have a nice party afterward (the reception). But that party is about the guests witnessing the marriage, enjoying themselves at the party, and socializing. While a nice party costs something, obviously, the amount you spend on the reception, and the quality of the reception hall/food/band/flowers/etc is probably less important than you think, especially if you get sucked into the "perfect wedding" vortex.

3) Most guests won't really remember your wedding, and that's FINE. It's not a competition. You'll remember it. Your immediate family will remember it. For most others, it'll be a hazy memory at best. Again, don't freak out about perfection, going over the top, etc. Roll with the punches, as things don't necessarily go exactly how you might have envisioned.

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Tamarind
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Re: Weddings - The good? The bad?

Post by Tamarind » Tue Nov 05, 2019 2:18 pm

We choose to have our reception at a restaurant, and it was the most convenient thing in our otherwise very DIY wedding. Would do it again in a heartbeat.

The restaurant space is responsible for ADA compliance, restrooms, etc. They cater and serve and clean up. Ours provided wait staff to help set up and to serve drinks at no additional charge. We did not pay a cent for the venue and or catering costs were reasonable because they didn't need to travel with the food or make anything off-menu. We paid a fee to bring our own desserts, and they stashed them in their fridge and served them.

It made for a lovely informal reception with great food, drink, and ambiance.

campy2010
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Re: Weddings - The good? The bad?

Post by campy2010 » Tue Nov 05, 2019 2:23 pm

Many wedding websites/forums exist and you can narrow the reviews on venues, caterers, photographers, etc to your geographic area. In the end you should make these decisions based on what you value vs how much it costs. What guests think it less important. You can't please everyone. I would throw the aim for perfection out the window because no wedding is ever perfect. Expectations of perfection will only lead to disappointment.

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WoodSpinner
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Re: Weddings - The good? The bad?

Post by WoodSpinner » Tue Nov 05, 2019 2:38 pm

OP,

Here is what I loved about our wedding:
- We didn’t go down the perfect wedding rabbit hole
- Did a destination style wedding at a hotel/restaurant in a place of beauty that meant a lot to both of us
- Had lots of family help and participation.
- Kept costs low (we did our own flower arranging and purchased via Costco etc.). We all bought clothes that we would wear again and again.
- Invited people who really meant something to us — kept guest count low.
- Focused on having fun and lowering stress — ignored perfection.
- Had a Plan-B for venues/activities that were weather related.
- Had fun planning the wedding. — everything from venue selection to catering was a blast.
- Had some wine and champagne but a No Host Bar. We didn’t want people overdoing it.
- Even the parts that didn’t go right turned out to be fun — low stress and focused on the relationships rather than the event


Good luck and Congratulations!

WoodSpinner

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lthenderson
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Re: Weddings - The good? The bad?

Post by lthenderson » Tue Nov 05, 2019 2:43 pm

We had our reception on the family farm. I provided meat to grill and some beverages and anyone who wanted to come was requested to bring a covered dish to share and a lawn chair. All told, spent a whopping $500 and that included tipping the priest, the reception supplies, pictures, cake, wedding dress, etc. For what it was worth, our photographer was a family friend using my camera and we bought a bag full of disposable cameras that we handed out to various people. I loved seeing other's perspective on my wedding. The cake was donated by another friend. Wedding dress was bought at thrift shop. I haven't regretted it for a second. Marriage still going strong all these years later.

KT785
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Re: Weddings - The good? The bad?

Post by KT785 » Tue Nov 05, 2019 2:51 pm

Tamarind wrote:
Tue Nov 05, 2019 2:18 pm
We choose to have our reception at a restaurant, and it was the most convenient thing in our otherwise very DIY wedding. Would do it again in a heartbeat.

The restaurant space is responsible for ADA compliance, restrooms, etc. They cater and serve and clean up. Ours provided wait staff to help set up and to serve drinks at no additional charge. We did not pay a cent for the venue and or catering costs were reasonable because they didn't need to travel with the food or make anything off-menu. We paid a fee to bring our own desserts, and they stashed them in their fridge and served them.

It made for a lovely informal reception with great food, drink, and ambiance.
+1 for restaurant reception. My wife and I were married in our church with a reception a few miles away at a restaurant with a banquet area upstairs (with a small dance floor). Everything was taken care of by the restaurant except for the cake (they served it though) and the DJ.

One thing my wife notes helped reduce the stress of our wedding is that we only had a Maid of Honor and a Best Man, no other attendants except for my niece and nephew who served as flower girl and ring-bearer. My wife's MoH (her cousin) replicated this approach at her wedding with two attendants each (no labeling of MoH or BM)--my wife and her husband's sister stood with her and her two brothers stood with her husband. Both my wife and her cousin have noted how much potential conflict this eliminated, especially for her cousin who kept it to family.

KT785

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Re: Weddings - The good? The bad?

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Tue Nov 05, 2019 2:59 pm

skntwi wrote:
Tue Nov 05, 2019 1:38 pm
Hey all!

I wanted to get your opinions on what was good, bad, or ugly about weddings you've been to.

I'm a recently engaged boglehead going down the rabbit hole of wedding planning. We've been looking at venues and home based receptions for a month but are running into many concerns. I would hoping to generate a list of everything bad/good that I could make sure to check off. Looking at our home solution, we found that handicap accessibility is non-existent as well as an area for caterers or some sort of staff. Looking at venues, everyone seems to be slightly missing something. A barn we were looking at has no bathrooms, only portapotties and all food must be dished up outside and people line up to bring their own inside up a flight of stairs. As you can imagine, going down a flight of stairs outside when drinking or holding food is quite an inconvenience.

The other surprising issues that I wouldn't have thought about is venues that seem to be far from hotels, lack of parking, no outlets for people to charge their phones, dance floor is where the dinner tables are at and need to be moved eventually by the renting party, and no bar.

Chime in if you've been to a wedding that was awesome and what was great about it, chime in if your own wedding was awesome but something unexpected popped up as an inconvenience. As you can imagine, trying to make our wedding perfect is top priority and figured i'd question the BH community.
I can't imagine any of those being actual wedding function places.

Sure, we ran into places that either they didn't like or had rules that kept us out, but all had electricity and dance areas and tables and bathrooms and bar availability and were handicapped accessible and not overly far from hotels and other stuff. We looked at probably 20 places in total....all of which really could have worked. These were all within a 10 mile radius of center city Worcester, MA in 1986. Nobody had cell phones then. Come to think of it.....why would anyone need so badly to charge their phone at a wedding? Are they so important that they must be 24/7 available? Could they not get to the window to see the Bat Signal?
Bogle: Smart Beta is stupid

KyleAAA
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Re: Weddings - The good? The bad?

Post by KyleAAA » Tue Nov 05, 2019 3:05 pm

Best piece of advice I was given is that you should accept that your wedding won't be perfect no matter what you do. It just won't.

The other good advice we got was to pick one or two things you really care about, and concentrate your money there. Let everything else fall by the wayside. Example: If you really care about food and music, spend money on a good band and caterer but skimp on everything else.

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StormShadow
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Re: Weddings - The good? The bad?

Post by StormShadow » Tue Nov 05, 2019 3:13 pm

skntwi wrote:
Tue Nov 05, 2019 1:38 pm
As you can imagine, trying to make our wedding perfect is top priority and figured i'd question the BH community.
My recommendation: keep it traditional, simple and affordable.

I imagine that most BH rec's are going to be similar.

adamthesmythe
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Re: Weddings - The good? The bad?

Post by adamthesmythe » Tue Nov 05, 2019 3:14 pm

People around here mutter about the fact that cars and houses are nothing but consumption items.

But a wedding is the biggest consumption item most ordinary people ever spend on. And you can't live in it or drive it. And it's much more for the guests than the participants.

I've been married (twice, one didn't take) and had small to very small weddings each time. But then I was a highly educated person with a good income, and didn't see the need to impress anyone.

Consider whether anything bigger than a chapel and nice dinners for both immediate families makes any sense to you.

Mr. Rumples
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Re: Weddings - The good? The bad?

Post by Mr. Rumples » Tue Nov 05, 2019 3:24 pm

The worst was at a museum, outdoors. They forgot to turn off the sprinkler timer. You can imagine how bad it was with everyone including the bride soaked. So be sure the sprinklers are off if you go that route!

I've been to some weddings which have simply been too much. Two bands, 200+ guests, meal after meal. The best wedding - other than mine - was my niece's. Friday night was at a pool bar. That let the two families interact; the two sides had never met each other. The wedding was on Sat. afternoon, maybe 75 guests, followed by a casual sit down dinner and then dancing. They had a DJ. It was also at a museum, so tours were provided for free all evening to guests who wanted to get away. It also provided a quiet setting for people to talk and get to know each other. Sunday was a breakfast and that was it. Simple and fun.
Last edited by Mr. Rumples on Tue Nov 05, 2019 3:36 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Thegame14
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Re: Weddings - The good? The bad?

Post by Thegame14 » Tue Nov 05, 2019 3:29 pm

the biggest issue is always budget. Worst wedding no alcohol and the dinner was inedible, so no alcohol and bad/inedible food.

stoptothink
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Re: Weddings - The good? The bad?

Post by stoptothink » Tue Nov 05, 2019 4:18 pm

The best was mine: ~50 of our closest friends, my stepfather smoking a whole bunch of meat, just hanging out in a local church chapel. Cost us ~$600 for everything and no drama.

I go to A LOT of weddings, because we're that age and the wife is a huge social butterfly; the best part is always going home.

oldfatguy
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Re: Weddings - The good? The bad?

Post by oldfatguy » Tue Nov 05, 2019 4:22 pm

The worst weddings I've been to are all the ones that are outside. It's always too hot. All other weddings I've attended were also terrible, but at least climate controlled.

MathWizard
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Re: Weddings - The good? The bad?

Post by MathWizard » Tue Nov 05, 2019 4:40 pm

The best place is a church with an attached fellowship hall. Clearly the sanctuary is set up for the wedding, and
there is usually and organ and/or a sound system.

The fellowship hall is set up with a large kitchen ready for serving lots of people. An area can be set up
for dancing, or the tables can be pushed together to make room. You may not be able to have alcohol depending
on the denomination.

If you are not a member, the church will likely rent for a fee if it does not interfere with their main functions.
(Catholic churches did not used to allow this.)

It is a rare wedding that I have attended that was not in a church.

The worst was in a lovely park. It had flooded in the early spring, which produced huge numbers of mosquitoes for the
June wedding. They were feasting in the guests as well as the wedding party. I barely remember anything except for the bugs.

3504PIR
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Re: Weddings - The good? The bad?

Post by 3504PIR » Tue Nov 05, 2019 4:51 pm

I would recommend looking for value generally with an eye on the fact that this is a once in a lifetime event (for most).

First rule of thumb is allow the bride to have the day she wants, it is her day.

Our wedding reception was essentially a great party. We limited the guest list to close friends, family and work friends. We served a decent meal with moderate options and had an open bar. We chose a DJ and that worked out really well. The open bar was well worth it as that prompted everyone to dance, cut loose and have a great time.

WanderingPothos
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Re: Weddings - The good? The bad?

Post by WanderingPothos » Tue Nov 05, 2019 7:09 pm

Congrats! Pick a handful of things that are important to you and partner and don't get hung up on details, unless one of you loves details, otherwise, it just adds stress and increases expenses. As soon as vendors hear the word wedding, :moneybag

Not that this is really horrific or anything, but sometimes hours long wait between ceremony and reception can be annoying unless you expect/pay for people to drink for 4 hours before dinner while the couple disappears take pictures. Sometimes you are not allowed to enter the dining hall until couple arrives so then you also have to stand around...outside. No offense, but if I went to a wedding that only had porta-potties, I would not drink anything and leave early. Maybe I'm spoiled :wink: although I did leave my wedding ceremony in a rental minivan.

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joe8d
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Re: Weddings - The good? The bad?

Post by joe8d » Tue Nov 05, 2019 8:48 pm

The best weddings I've been to, have been the Fire Hall/Buffet kind.
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Watty
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Re: Weddings - The good? The bad?

Post by Watty » Tue Nov 05, 2019 9:26 pm

Here is a post I did about some of my wedding experiences with my son's wedding and our wedding.

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=291722&p=4775965#p4775965

It would be good to read the rest of that thread too.

In my experience most catered wedding food has been mediocre at best which is understandable since it was cooked many hours before and then hauled in a van to the wedding venue.

There is a lot to be said for just having an afternoon wedding with just cake and light refreshments in the hall next to the wedding chapel. That is what we did, then just a subgroup of family and people in the wedding party went out to a restaurant for diner later on.

Also consider having a weekday evening wedding. That will not work for everyone but you might have a lot more options and you could go out to a restaurant/bar for a late diner and dancing later on.

I think I have been to two weekday evening weddings and they worked out well since that still left me the weekend to do other things.

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TexasPE
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Re: Weddings - The good? The bad?

Post by TexasPE » Tue Nov 05, 2019 9:27 pm

WanderingPothos wrote:
Tue Nov 05, 2019 7:09 pm
Sometimes you are not allowed to enter the dining hall until couple arrives so then you also have to stand around...outside.
+1 Waited 90 minutes in the dining hall - no food or drinks allowed until the bridal party arrived. I left - heard later it was two hours before the happy couple made it

Another issue; destination weddings when it seems that every casual acquaintance is invited to fly 1000 miles or more, pay for hotel rooms, etc. Common sense says that most will not attend.

IMHO, if you must have a destination wedding, invite your close friends who can afford to/ want to make the trip, and send me an announcement after the fact.
At 20: I cared what everyone thought about me | At 40: I didn't give a damn what anyone thought of me | Now that I'm 60: I realize that no one was really thinking about me at all | Winston Churchill (?)

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Brianmcg321
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Re: Weddings - The good? The bad?

Post by Brianmcg321 » Tue Nov 05, 2019 10:01 pm

My wife and I have decided we are done with weddings.

We used to go to a lot out of obligation, but then realized we always hated it. (Travel, hotels, burning vacation days for an awkward party). So we are done. We have skipped a few weddings this past year and its been great. I think its the repetitiveness of it that's getting really old. We are in our mid 40s.

We have had some family members ask, "Why weren't you at the wedding" Answer:"Because we didn't want to go" :sharebeer
Rules to investing: | 1. Don't lose money. | 2. Don't forget rule number 1.

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Watty
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Re: Weddings - The good? The bad?

Post by Watty » Wed Nov 06, 2019 12:37 am

TexasPE wrote:
Tue Nov 05, 2019 9:27 pm
Another issue; destination weddings when it seems that every casual acquaintance is invited to fly 1000 miles or more, pay for hotel rooms, etc. Common sense says that most will not attend.
Drastically thinning out the guest list is one of the main reasons that people use a destination wedding.

People are invited so that they will not be insulted that they were not invited but they are not really expected to attend.

mrtiger
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Re: Weddings - The good? The bad?

Post by mrtiger » Wed Nov 06, 2019 8:54 am

First of all congratulations and good luck

We just got married this year and after going back and forth between venues we have decided on destination wedding.
First of all there is no such a thing as "perfect wedding" there is always something that will go wrong therefore you should hire wedding coordinator.
Second of all there will always be people who will complain about something... ignore them, this is your day.
Third of of all how big is your party? That will determine and slim down your options.
I'm from Chicago and typical boring wedding is minimum 60K for 150 people .. price usually goes up form here.

So why we decided on destination wedding?
1. You automatically slim down your group of people to the most important individuals in your life.. in our case it was 60
2. We have found amazing hacienda right on the ocean scarp in Huatulco Mexico. Place had 8 hacienda each with a pool and small kitchen. We have stayed there 6 days. Wedding was organized by local vendor and we didn't had to do a thing. Everyone had great time and was able to relax at the same time if they wanted to. The only ting that I would suggest to watch for is photographer and Cinematographer, these people will record your memories so be picky.
3. Pricing wise it was pretty much the same U.S. wedding. However, it was unique everyone had great time and it was more than one hectic day.

ddurrett896
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Re: Weddings - The good? The bad?

Post by ddurrett896 » Wed Nov 06, 2019 9:01 am

Great weddings have an open bar (even if it's just beer and wine).
Bad weddings have a cash bar.
Horrible weddings have no alcohol.
skntwi wrote:
Tue Nov 05, 2019 1:38 pm
A barn we were looking at has no bathrooms, only portapotties and all food must be dished up outside and people line up to bring their own inside up a flight of stairs. As you can imagine, going down a flight of stairs outside when drinking or holding food is quite an inconvenience.
Have you seen those portapotties on a trailer? See if that’s an option – most are nicer than an average bathroom.

Stairs isn’t that big of a deal. Is there room to move the food upstairs or just have them serve plates? I mean…it’s in a barn not the four seasons!

skntwi wrote:
Tue Nov 05, 2019 1:38 pm
venues that seem to be far from hotels, lack of parking, no outlets for people to charge their phones, dance floor is where the dinner tables are at and need to be moved eventually by the renting party, and no bar.
I attended a plantation wedding that was a 45 minute drive from the nearest hotel. They couple scheduled two Greyhound type busses to drive everyone to the wedding, then had two smaller handicap type vans schedule people back and forth.

I was impressed and enjoyed being able to meet strangers and pre game on the way to the wedding.
Last edited by ddurrett896 on Wed Nov 06, 2019 9:56 am, edited 3 times in total.

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lthenderson
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Re: Weddings - The good? The bad?

Post by lthenderson » Wed Nov 06, 2019 9:31 am

Brianmcg321 wrote:
Tue Nov 05, 2019 10:01 pm
My wife and I have decided we are done with weddings.
+1

Although in our case, we never started going to weddings to begin with. In four decades, I've been to four weddings. Two were relatives and two were close friends. All the rest just get a card and a gift sent through the mail.

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TexasPE
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Re: Weddings - The good? The bad?

Post by TexasPE » Wed Nov 06, 2019 9:37 am

Watty wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 12:37 am
TexasPE wrote:
Tue Nov 05, 2019 9:27 pm
Another issue; destination weddings when it seems that every casual acquaintance is invited to fly 1000 miles or more, pay for hotel rooms, etc. Common sense says that most will not attend.
Drastically thinning out the guest list is one of the main reasons that people use a destination wedding.

People are invited so that they will not be insulted that they were not invited but they are not really expected to attend.
...but ARE expected to send a gift! :mrgreen:

Seriously, I'd prefer an announcement after the event with new address and phone.
At 20: I cared what everyone thought about me | At 40: I didn't give a damn what anyone thought of me | Now that I'm 60: I realize that no one was really thinking about me at all | Winston Churchill (?)

3feetpete
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Re: Weddings - The good? The bad?

Post by 3feetpete » Wed Nov 06, 2019 6:06 pm

We just had a wedding for our daughter and it went almost perfectly. Daughter found the venue, the caterer, and the DJ online based on based on online reviews which there are plenty of. But then she had to interview everyone and do tastings with the caterer and meetings with the venue people so it was very time consuming. We bought the champagne, wine, beer and alcohol and had an open bar. We bought all the alcohol to save money and had the caterer supply a bartender and helper. We ended up with a lot left over which we kept. Limited the alcoholic drinks to a signature drink which the bride and groom chose. This reduces the complexity of the alcohol purchases. Total cost was 25k including dress, and bridal suite at hotel. There were 75 people at the reception. About ten people cancelled with excuses that ranged from very good to ridiculous. The annoying thing about that is that there were others that we would have liked to invite but the venue size was limited.

Start early. The toughest part we ran into was finding dates that the church, the venue, the caterer and the DJ were all available. A couple of the guests had commitments that we worked around as well. June gets booked up about a year in advance. Wedding dresses take a lot of time as well. Allow at least 8 months for that process. There are multiple appointments with bridal shops to select a dress, then about 6 months for the dress to be made, then 2-3 fitting appointments at the bridal shop.

Bride and groom both say it was better than they had even dreamed of. So success!

Balance1969
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Re: Weddings - The good? The bad?

Post by Balance1969 » Wed Nov 06, 2019 8:13 pm

Lots of good points and fun opinions so far.

Four of my friends and I all got married (not to each other) at different dates over the past two years. One major good factor sticks out from all five weddings:

Use establishments that are experienced with weddings/events and have good reputations. They know what to expect and everything will got much more smoothly.

The good:

All of the weddings were great. Different types of venues were used for each of the receptions: One was a restaurant area of a place that was more of a bar, one was an event area of a restaurant, one was an event area of a hotel, one was a dedicated event venue, and one was an event hall of a university. All were experienced in hosting events. Most were inclusive in including not only the venue, but also catering, tables/chairs, and alcohol, along with a coordinator who helped with venue-related aspects of planning. This helped everything go more smoothly.

The bad:

The most complex one was the dedicated event venue that provided the venue, but everything else, including the catering, the bartending, the decorating, etc. was outsourced. That was the only one that had a couple of hiccups. One hiccup was the DJ played the wrong song for the first dance, which was interesting because the bride was a dance instructor and they had a whole choreographed routine. Fortunately, they still pulled it off nicely. The worst hiccup (the bad) was that they used a videographer who had some experience, but was not an established business. It's been two years, they have not received the video, and there is no indication they will ever receive the video. They would have been better off choosing an established business with a good reputation.

One more minor hiccup was at our wedding where the limo service called us the night before and indicated they had a problem with their limo and would send a van instead. I attribute this to choosing a cheaper service with less of a reputation, despite the fact that they did have a few good Yelp reviews. Fortunately, my spouse is tenacious and got them to not only provide a limo, but they also comped perks like champagne, red carpet, in-limo beer, and a free trip to the airport, which I feel we deserved after having to deal with their shenanigans the night before the wedding.

Point being: Use establishments and businesses with wedding experience and good reputations. There still may be hiccups, so also have a good attitude to go with the flow regardless of what happens that day, because the most important thing is the person you are marrying.

Just remembered... In premarital counseling, the pastor asked me about what would make the wedding day a success, and I responded that all I need is for my spouse to show up. The pastor liked that.

Keep in mind that having your spouse show up is the only thing needed for a successful wedding, and you will have a grand time.

renue74
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Re: Weddings - The good? The bad?

Post by renue74 » Wed Nov 06, 2019 8:26 pm

We eloped to Hawaii 20 years ago. I think our all in price for our wedding for $7,000....which included the honeymoon.

We rented a Bed & Breakfast on the north shore of Oahu. Had a ceremony in the garden, had a tux and real wedding dress (no t-shirt wedding).

A few hours before the ceremony, we actually went snorkeling down the road from our B&B.

The owner handled everything. Photographer, chaplin, dinner, and we had the estate to ourselves all week we were there.

The day before we flew to Hawaii, we sent out "wedding announcements," and our friends/family got the announcements in the mail the day of our wedding.

It was by far the best decision we ever made. I still recall almost every day of that trip and we've gone back to Hawaii a few other times since then.

After coming back home, our family/friends had smaller get togethers for us.

fasteddie911
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Re: Weddings - The good? The bad?

Post by fasteddie911 » Thu Nov 07, 2019 9:58 am

The notably negative I've recalled from other weddings is not even talking to the bride/groom, especially if we traveled for their wedding. Also no thank you notes bother me. Other than that, every wedding is different with some quirks or hiccups here and there but I doubt guests remember it (even though the bride/groom probably dwell on it). We kept our wedding relatively small and simple. We talked with everyone, it felt intimate and that's what we got most compliments on. We did it at a fancy hotel that pretty much took care of everything: food, service, parking, etc. We kept everything else pretty simple and low key to keep costs down but also simplify the wedding day so there's less room for hiccups. The issues you mentioned aren't too big a deal to me (except the porta-potty, that's a no go) and I can recall going to weddings with similar quirks but really didn't think much of it.

brianH
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Re: Weddings - The good? The bad?

Post by brianH » Thu Nov 07, 2019 11:59 am

Having attended at least two dozen weddings and my own, my biggest factor for determining if I enjoy myself is how the venue handles the 'cocktail hour' before the main hall opens up. I've been to a few weddings where the cocktail area is far too small for the number of guests, and everyone is crowded, waiting in line for the bar/bathrooms/appetizers.

I agree with a previous poster that it's good to find a venue that is used frequently/primarily for weddings. These typically include a planner that will make sure everything goes smoothly, and all the staff knows how to avoid problems. These 'all-inclusive' venues can seem expensive per-head, but it's important to see what's included for that price. Ours included things like the cake and the flowers (from high-quality vendors), that made the package deal likely a bit cheaper than we could've pulled everything together for on our own.

The biggest determinant of your cost is going to be your head count. Do whatever you can to keep that smaller (IMO no more than around 100).

GT99
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Re: Weddings - The good? The bad?

Post by GT99 » Thu Nov 07, 2019 12:33 pm

The different perspectives are interesting. I couldn't guess the number of weddings I've been to (I specifically remember one year in my late 20s where I was went to 13 weddings, and missed 2 because they were on the same day as others). The large majority of weddings I've been to have been a blast.

The worst wedding I've been to had to alcohol and were in cramped spaces...I'm struggling on other specific attributes.

When DW and I got married, our love of throwing parties and my bogleheadness were certainly at odds. Some thoughts:
  • We saved a lot of money by NOT using an all inclusive venue so we could control the bar and catering. My sister had ~25% fewer people at her all inclusive event location wedding, but spent twice as much. Probably important to note that our venue was regularly used for weddings, just not all inclusive.
  • If you're wedding is in a large city, you can likely save money by targeting vendors outside the city. We used a caterer from smallish town about 40 minutes outside of Atlanta, and she did a great job and was about half the price of "city" caterers.
  • I was initially opposed to paying for a wedding planner, but ours absolutely paid for herself (in part because she found the caterer and other less expensive vendors).
  • One thing we did that worked great was having a kids room at the venue - we paid a couple of teachers to babysit the younger kids - the kids were happier in a room with a bunch of games, etc, and the parents didn't have to worry about them running around the reception.
  • Definitely try to limit the number of folks you aren't close with, as they take time away from spending time with the folks you want to spend time with. Yeah, I get that my Mom wanted some of her friends at my wedding, but I would have rather spent the time I spent meeting them with family and my friends.

michaelingp
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Re: Weddings - The good? The bad?

Post by michaelingp » Thu Nov 07, 2019 8:38 pm

When my son was married, the venue rule was that if you have more than 80 guests, you had to have a professional wedding planner. They didn't so they didn't and it worked out fine. But I think the venue's rule was sound. A great professional wedding planner (not one of your friends who goes to a lot of weddings) can be a godsend and well worth the cost.

rj342
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Re: Weddings - The good? The bad?

Post by rj342 » Fri Nov 08, 2019 12:18 am

Going to a family members wedding this weekend. Some "don'ts"..

Don't plan it in New Orleans on a weekend with a Saints home game when they are having a good season (crowds, hotel rates, etc).
Don't go through all that expense, then save some money by having the wedding at a nearby plantation on SUNDAY...
which pushes travel home to Monday, Veterans Day... which if you don't have a job linked to the government you're guests are burning a vacation day.
And finally don't get mad if people choose not to come, given the extra obstacles you created.


One more, from my wifes experience in the 80s when younger and in a bunch of weddings -- unless you run in monied circles, don't make your bridesmaids buy dresses that are only good for a one time use, if possible. When we got married, she picked a versatile yet elegant design that a couple of the girls modified by shortening the floor length skirt a couple feet to make it a nice cocktail dress.
And for the love of god try to avoid designs that will make your one chubbier cousin or friend look utterly terrible in.

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Watty
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Re: Weddings - The good? The bad?

Post by Watty » Fri Nov 08, 2019 8:32 am

fasteddie911 wrote:
Thu Nov 07, 2019 9:58 am
The notably negative I've recalled from other weddings is not even talking to the bride/groom, especially if we traveled for their wedding.
Bingo!

You hit the nail on the head on the problem with big weddings.

milo minderbinder
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Re: Weddings - The good? The bad?

Post by milo minderbinder » Fri Nov 08, 2019 2:40 pm

I went to a wedding that had no alcohol and only served vegan food. Don't do that.

theplayer11
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Re: Weddings - The good? The bad?

Post by theplayer11 » Fri Nov 08, 2019 2:50 pm

outdoor receptions are always preferable, imo

Broken Man 1999
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Re: Weddings - The good? The bad?

Post by Broken Man 1999 » Fri Nov 08, 2019 6:52 pm

rj342 wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 12:18 am
Going to a family members wedding this weekend. Some "don'ts"..

Don't plan it in New Orleans on a weekend with a Saints home game when they are having a good season (crowds, hotel rates, etc).
Don't go through all that expense, then save some money by having the wedding at a nearby plantation on SUNDAY...
which pushes travel home to Monday, Veterans Day... which if you don't have a job linked to the government you're guests are burning a vacation day.
And finally don't get mad if people choose not to come, given the extra obstacles you created.


One more, from my wifes experience in the 80s when younger and in a bunch of weddings -- unless you run in monied circles, don't make your bridesmaids buy dresses that are only good for a one time use, if possible. When we got married, she picked a versatile yet elegant design that a couple of the girls modified by shortening the floor length skirt a couple feet to make it a nice cocktail dress.
And for the love of god try to avoid designs that will make your one chubbier cousin or friend look utterly terrible in.
One DD's maid of honor was heavy with child. No worries, it all worked out fine. Most likely her maid of honor didn't wear her maternity gown again.

Broken Man 1999
“If I cannot drink Bourbon and smoke cigars in Heaven than I shall not go. " -Mark Twain

Broken Man 1999
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Re: Weddings - The good? The bad?

Post by Broken Man 1999 » Fri Nov 08, 2019 7:03 pm

theplayer11 wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 2:50 pm
outdoor receptions are always preferable, imo
Oldest DD had a beautiful outdoor wedding. The venue overlooked Tampa Bay, grounds were gorgeous. Weather was great. DD had contacted a local weatherperson and asked about the weather on the day of the wedding, he assured her weather would be awesome, and it was.

As the wedding vows were taking place, a raucous bird was fussing away in a nearby tree. That bird was really loud. Every time we view the video of DD's wedding, we hear that bird raising heck. :D

DW just did some crafty stuff for a friend whose daughter was getting married at an venue that handled everything. And, everything was great, except the wedding cake was missing. How can that even happen?


Broken Man 1999
“If I cannot drink Bourbon and smoke cigars in Heaven than I shall not go. " -Mark Twain

Wenonah
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Re: Weddings - The good? The bad?

Post by Wenonah » Fri Nov 08, 2019 10:40 pm

We just went to a fun wedding that didn't cost much. The couple is super frugal and they got a venue for a reduced price because their uncle was a member of the yacht club. The best thing there was a photo booth. The photos were immediately printed and then we glued them into a page of an album and wrote a message to the couple! It was adorable. They had great food and we ate and visited and no one danced. My friend's daughter was not interested in dancing, so we just mingled and then went home. There was also a video of pictures of the families of the bride and groom and the couple together during the reception. It was simple, cheap, and fun. So instead of spending 10 or 20,000.00, I'll bet they spent 3 or 4! No loans!

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Brianmcg321
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Re: Weddings - The good? The bad?

Post by Brianmcg321 » Fri Nov 08, 2019 10:52 pm

milo minderbinder wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 2:40 pm
I went to a wedding that had no alcohol and only served vegan food. Don't do that.

I really hope you punched someone right in the mouth for that.
Rules to investing: | 1. Don't lose money. | 2. Don't forget rule number 1.

runner540
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Re: Weddings - The good? The bad?

Post by runner540 » Sat Nov 09, 2019 7:49 am

3feetpete wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 6:06 pm
We just had a wedding for our daughter and it went almost perfectly. Daughter found the venue, the caterer, and the DJ online based on based on online reviews which there are plenty of. But then she had to interview everyone and do tastings with the caterer and meetings with the venue people so it was very time consuming. We bought the champagne, wine, beer and alcohol and had an open bar. We bought all the alcohol to save money and had the caterer supply a bartender and helper. We ended up with a lot left over which we kept. Limited the alcoholic drinks to a signature drink which the bride and groom chose. This reduces the complexity of the alcohol purchases. Total cost was 25k including dress, and bridal suite at hotel. There were 75 people at the reception. About ten people cancelled with excuses that ranged from very good to ridiculous. The annoying thing about that is that there were others that we would have liked to invite but the venue size was limited.

Start early. The toughest part we ran into was finding dates that the church, the venue, the caterer and the DJ were all available. A couple of the guests had commitments that we worked around as well. June gets booked up about a year in advance. Wedding dresses take a lot of time as well. Allow at least 8 months for that process. There are multiple appointments with bridal shops to select a dress, then about 6 months for the dress to be made, then 2-3 fitting appointments at the bridal shop.

Bride and groom both say it was better than they had even dreamed of. So success!
+1 on a venue that allows various vendors (gives you a lot more leverage), buying your own alcohol but having the caterers serve it (state law, etc.), limiting the menu. The triangle of venue/budget/number of guests and date need to be locked down asap but you do NOT need 8 months to obtain a beautiful dress. I got mine off the rack, ordered it (shipped to my home) and had minor alterations done all within 1-2 months and for ~$1k (recent).

The website apracticalwedding.com has a lot of useful tips for any budget. The site's founder wrote an article about wedding cost inflation (warning, some profanity) that shows how costs have exploded far more than regular CPI:
https://www.buzzfeed.com/megkeene/heres ... st-in-2017

bluebolt
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Re: Weddings - The good? The bad?

Post by bluebolt » Sat Nov 09, 2019 9:38 am

If you have a band or DJ, add songs that are annoying to you to a do-not-play list. E.g. Electric slide, chicken dance, etc.

cellcyclist2
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Re: Weddings - The good? The bad?

Post by cellcyclist2 » Sat Nov 09, 2019 2:23 pm

We got married about a month ago and second to everyone who said pick one or two important things to spend money on and skimp on the rest, no one will remember all the little details. Save your planning time and sanity picking napkin colors let the venue do whatever. We prioritized good food buffet and alcohol (married at a brewery), super casual no assigned seating, 80ish people who all loved the food and beer. Also, do a first look before the wedding, take pictures before the guests arrive and then no one has to wait around hours after the ceremony for things to start.

Don't try to plan the perfect wedding, something will always come up that you will laugh about later. We got married on a mostly covered rooftop, ceremony outside uncovered, everything else inside and the only time it rained was during the middle of the ceremony. It was funny looking back and we got great pictures of us holding umbrellas during the ceremony while our poor priest was soaking wet.

Also we had a cheaper wedding planner that only worked for us 1 month before the wedding. So we arranged everything then turned it over to the planner a month before. She ran around town telling when the florist, dj etc to get to venue, making sure things got set up on time, transporting decorations etc etc and ran the thing the day of. Saved us a ton of money over a long term planner.

apracticalwedding.com is a great website (and there is a great book to go along with it)

rj342
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Re: Weddings - The good? The bad?

Post by rj342 » Wed Nov 13, 2019 12:20 am

Brianmcg321 wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 10:52 pm
milo minderbinder wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 2:40 pm
I went to a wedding that had no alcohol and only served vegan food. Don't do that.
I really hope you punched someone right in the mouth for that.
Sometimes the people just really don't have much money, but it is annoying when you actually travel, even if just a few hours by car, or pay for a hotel room, etc to come, and all they have is cake and punch. Seriously? Forget heavy hors d'oeuvres, how about at least some darned finger sandwiches?

Sandi_k
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Re: Weddings - The good? The bad?

Post by Sandi_k » Wed Nov 13, 2019 12:28 am

We approached our wedding planning as a memory experiment: what did we remember of the weddings which we had attended? Most obvious for us was a stressed-out couple, followed by poor food, bad weather, no alcohol at the reception, and intrusive photographers.

So we decided that our guiding principles were:

1) A wedding and reception that were as stress-free as possible.

2) As elegant a wedding as we could do on a small budget.

3) A sense of FUN for the reception.

Those principles and memories really helped.

- When my FIL suggested we shouldn't pay for a hall, we nixed him, as we'd be stressed over the weather in November, outdoors.
- When my mom wanted my sister to be an attendant (my sister didn't want to be, for several reasons), we declined as it would be stressful.
- When some suggested that family could do the food for the reception, we said no thanks.
- When some thought we could save money by not having dancing, we said we wanted the FUN, so no thanks.
- When some suggested we could save money re: alcohol, we agreed to a limited, champagne-only bar. But it was hosted, not a cash bar.
- We hired a pro photographer, who was unobtrusive and GOOD.

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