How much did YOUR Wedding Cost?

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities

How much did YOUR Wedding Cost? (2009 Dollars)

Never married
29
10%
0-100
26
9%
0-100
26
9%
101-1,000
34
12%
101-1,000
34
12%
1,001-10,000
49
17%
1,001-10,000
49
17%
20,001-30,000
14
5%
30,001-50,000
12
4%
50,001-75,000
2
1%
75,001-100,000
2
1%
>100,000
4
1%
 
Total votes: 281

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Boglenaut
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How much did YOUR Wedding Cost?

Post by Boglenaut » Sat Dec 19, 2009 8:29 pm

We all know Bogleheads are cheap, and proud of it.

Weddings cost >20K easily nowadays (just do a quick Google search to verify).

So, how much did YOUR wedding cost? Try to estimate in 2009 dollars as best you can. Also, if you had more than one wedding, use you last one.

Count all wedding costs, no matter who paid for it (except don't count guest expenses like guest paid travel or guest purchased clothes). Do not count honeymoon costs or pre-marraige counseling.

tomd37
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Post by tomd37 » Sat Dec 19, 2009 8:37 pm

It ain't what it cost 43 years ago, it is the cost ever since ! :wink:
Tom D.

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Boglenaut
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Post by Boglenaut » Sat Dec 19, 2009 8:41 pm

tomd37 wrote:It ain't what it cost 43 years ago, it is the cost ever since ! :wink:
Not with my wonderful wife... I married the only woman more frugal than myself.

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Petrocelli
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Post by Petrocelli » Sat Dec 19, 2009 8:48 pm

My guess is $25,000 to $35,000, but that was 23 years ago. I guess that would be about $50,000 to $70,000 in 2009 dollars.
Last edited by Petrocelli on Sat Dec 19, 2009 8:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Quasimodo
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Post by Quasimodo » Sat Dec 19, 2009 8:49 pm

I think we gave a Justice of the Peace $10.00 when we got married in 1964.

John
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tim1999
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Post by tim1999 » Sat Dec 19, 2009 9:14 pm

$0. I don't intend on getting married at any point in my life.

However, in the past 10 years, I have attended weddings with estimated costs everywhere from $3,000 to $75,000. Both extremes were very fun to attend. Although the $75,000 wedding (cost was verified by the groom, who fortunately did not have to fork out a dime for this show) had the most food I have ever seen in one room in my life. Dinner was choice of 14oz. filet mignon with crabmeat or live whole lobster. When everyone finished the wait staff came around and asked if you wanted another one. $20 cigars were being passed out, top shelf open bar with expensive scotch, etc.

I was also invited to a "destination wedding" in Bermuda, but declined as I wasn't close to the person and I would have had to pay all my travel expenses.

In the rare event that I actually got married, I would like the reception to be a catered affair held in the very nice rear yard of my parents' home, where I grew up.

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Post by tim1999 » Sat Dec 19, 2009 9:18 pm

Quasimodo wrote:I think we gave a Justice of the Peace $10.00 when we got married in 1964.

John
That's the way to go, but I don't think many of today's women would go for that. When my parents got married, my dad gave my mom a choice. Either they get married at the courthouse for basically nothing, and my dad would buy them a nice brand new house with a 50% downpayment, or they would have a big wedding but afterwards live in an apartment. My mom chose the courthouse and they've been married for 30+ years since.

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Opponent Process
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Post by Opponent Process » Sat Dec 19, 2009 9:22 pm

Cherokee8215 wrote:
Quasimodo wrote:I think we gave a Justice of the Peace $10.00 when we got married in 1964.

John
That's the way to go, but I don't think many of today's women would go for that.
that's unfair. plenty of progressive women out there.
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Post by LadyGeek » Sat Dec 19, 2009 9:46 pm

Without going into details, I fully concur with Opponent Process. Local judge at the house, $35 cash for the license. Parents sprung for a small catered affair, we didn't ask them to do it.
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Re: How much did YOUR Wedding Cost?

Post by White Coat Investor » Sat Dec 19, 2009 10:04 pm

Boglenaut wrote:We all know Bogleheads are cheap, and proud of it.
I don't know that you necessarily have to be cheap, frugal, modest etc to be a Boglehead. Last I heard a Boglehead simply tends to follow Bogle's investing advice. It isn't a religion, a life philosophy, or a way of life. It's just a way to invest your moola to spend it or give it away later.

I'm cheap, don't get me wrong, but it isn't because I'm a Boglehead.
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dkdoy
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Re: How much did YOUR Wedding Cost?

Post by dkdoy » Sat Dec 19, 2009 10:20 pm

EmergDoc wrote:
Boglenaut wrote:We all know Bogleheads are cheap, and proud of it.
I don't know that you necessarily have to be cheap, frugal, modest etc to be a Boglehead. Last I heard a Boglehead simply tends to follow Bogle's investing advice. It isn't a religion, a life philosophy, or a way of life. It's just a way to invest your moola to spend it or give it away later.

I'm cheap, don't get me wrong, but it isn't because I'm a Boglehead.
I would say its living below your means, for some it may require a higher level of being frugal.

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Post by Gekko » Sat Dec 19, 2009 10:36 pm

i'm never married - but i'd like to see a thread - how much did your divorce cost?

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Post by TranceLordSnyder » Sat Dec 19, 2009 10:47 pm

I entered how much mine cost but it isn't happening until January 2nd (less than 2 weeks away!)

We went to the court house to get the paperwork for a self-uniting marriage which cost... 40 bucks? My fiancée and I are going to a nice dinner with our parents and siblings (which they will pay for on their own) and spending some quality time together. That's it. Sign the paperwork, turn it in to the courthouse and we're married! We did get rings, so I included that in the cost of the wedding making the whole thing with food less than a grand. We decided to spend extra money on the honeymoon and really enjoy ourselves. We're leaving the next day for Barbados. We stay there 3 days, then we're off on a cruise through the Caribbean for a week.

Neither of us wanted anything over the top, or even customary. We didn't want to make a big production out of the whole thing, and we just couldn't even imagine spending 20 or 30k on one day. What a waste! Think of all the vacations we can take with that money! Or maybe it will allow us to retire a year earlier, whichever happens is fine with us.

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Post by camper » Sat Dec 19, 2009 10:49 pm

Gekko wrote:i'm never married - but i'd like to see a thread - how much did your divorce cost?
Now that is funny.

Our wedding was fairly cheap about $5k. Almost 7 years ago. Lets hope there is no 7 year itch. :shock:

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Post by Sheepdog » Sat Dec 19, 2009 11:03 pm

We were married in 1960. Next year will be our 50th. We had a nice church wedding. My wife's dress was second hand, but revised with a veil and train by her mother. She was truly beautiful. Cost of the dress was about $50. The reception for about 50 people was in a dairy meeting hall. Total wedding cost was less than $250.
Costs were much less 50 years ago as was the cost of having a baby. The obstetrician's fee for pre-nup, delivery, and post birth checks was a total of $150. He even stayed with her during a difficult 6 hour delivery. Hospital cost for 5 days? $105.
Jim
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Post by yobria » Sat Dec 19, 2009 11:29 pm

Cherokee8215 wrote:
Quasimodo wrote:I think we gave a Justice of the Peace $10.00 when we got married in 1964.

John
That's the way to go, but I don't think many of today's women would go for that.
I'd agree - in my experience, very few of the qualified, professional women I'd consider marrying would go for this.

Nick

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Post by Boglenaut » Sat Dec 19, 2009 11:31 pm

TranceLordSnyder wrote:I entered how much mine cost but it isn't happening until January 2nd (less than 2 weeks away!).
Move it to Dec 31!!!

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Post by arthurdawg » Sat Dec 19, 2009 11:31 pm

Ours was about 14k in 1998... we had the whole deal at a local church, the reception was nice, but we didn't serve booze! Both of our parents were determined to deliver pay back for all of the wedding invitations from people over the years, so we had something like 300 people there. Everyone had a good time tho!
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Post by arthurdawg » Sat Dec 19, 2009 11:33 pm

Gekko wrote:i'm never married - but i'd like to see a thread - how much did your divorce cost?
not divorced yet... depends on whether or not i decide to have the affair or she does! :lol:
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Post by Boglenaut » Sat Dec 19, 2009 11:34 pm

Boglenaut wrote:
TranceLordSnyder wrote:I entered how much mine cost but it isn't happening until January 2nd (less than 2 weeks away!).
Move it to Dec 31!!!

My wife just pointed out to me that for some people, it's better to wait, tax-wise.

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Post by MnD » Sun Dec 20, 2009 12:11 am

$2000 in 1985 dollars for everything at age 22. It was all we had and it would have been a hardship for the wife's family to ask for money from them, so we opted to self-finance and manage everything ourselves.

We were married in a gorgeous mountain chapel with about 50 in attendance and had the reception in our back yard for about 80 people. I still remember the night before when we had all the brothers and sisters and both sets of parents drinking way too much wine and making all the food for the reception. Good times!

25th anniversary coming up soon.........

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Post by TranceLordSnyder » Sun Dec 20, 2009 12:44 am

Boglenaut wrote:
Boglenaut wrote:
TranceLordSnyder wrote:I entered how much mine cost but it isn't happening until January 2nd (less than 2 weeks away!).
Move it to Dec 31!!!

My wife just pointed out to me that for some people, it's better to wait, tax-wise.
Yeah, we were waiting for simplicity of taxes, and we wanted to keep with our January 2nd tradition. Started dating on Jan 2nd 2006, I proposed to her Jan 2nd 2009, and now we're getting married on the 2nd a year after my proposal.

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Post by pointyhairedboss » Sun Dec 20, 2009 12:47 am

I just got married in September.

As I discovered later rather than sooner, total cost depends on what you count as a wedding cost. We took the immediate families out to dinner two days before the wedding. We had larger family dinner the day before the wedding (some might call the rehearsal dinner although there was no rehearsal), the actual wedding, and a brunch the day after.

I, being the frugal but naive groom, carefully controlled the day-of-the-wedding costs. But I was surprised to learn that I (or somebody in our families) was supposed to pay for the rehearsal dinner and brunch. Why can't everybody pay their own way at those things?

Day of wedding costs (dress, tux, ceremony/reception facility, dj, photographer, videographer, alcohol, food, cake, celebrant) was probably around $12K for 100 people. I don't think I could have done it any cheaper, save the expense of the videographer (which btw, I am glad I did).

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Post by White Coat Investor » Sun Dec 20, 2009 12:48 am

Destination weddings are cool. I'd push for that if we did it again. That way you only have to pay for those who are really close to you, they usually cover their own travel expenses, and they get an enjoyable vacation only briefly interrupted by your wedding. It's a win-win.

It became pretty obvious at my wedding that weddings aren't for the bride and groom, so whatever the parents want to spend is fine with me. $500? Fine. $75K. Fine. Long as they can afford it.
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Post by neverknow » Sun Dec 20, 2009 8:13 am

..
Last edited by neverknow on Mon Jan 17, 2011 7:50 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by CaptMidnight » Sun Dec 20, 2009 8:19 am

$700 in 2002 dollars. Most of that went for the French champagne, but it was a special occasion, so I feel the splurge was justifiable. All of the guests were close friends and family. Everyone had a great time.
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Re: How much did YOUR Wedding Cost?

Post by VictoriaF » Sun Dec 20, 2009 8:35 am

Boglenaut wrote:Also, if you had more than one wedding, use you last one.
This skews the results down. The first wedding is usually expensive, because the bride or the parents insist on it. Each next wedding gets progressively cheaper because the novelty wears out and the couple pays for it themselves.

Victoria
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Post by mfen » Sun Dec 20, 2009 8:38 am

Cherokee8215 wrote:
Quasimodo wrote:
I think we gave a Justice of the Peace $10.00 when we got married in 1964.

John


That's the way to go, but I don't think many of today's women would go for that.


I'd agree - in my experience, very few of the qualified, professional women I'd consider marrying would go for this.
I went for the cheap wedding. I certainly did not want to spend 6 months of my life planning some elaborate affair. It wasn't frugality as the parents offered to pay in full, we just did not want to go through the hassle. Dated 6 months, engaged 2 weeks, happily married 30 years.

If there were a divorce the cost would not be measured in dollars. :wink:
Maryanne

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Post by DaveS » Sun Dec 20, 2009 8:50 am

Last time around it was the drive in window in Vegas and the Super 8 Motel. I would say it cost about $200. Two years later when we agreed it had not worked out, the uncontested divorce cost $700. Dave

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Post by yobria » Sun Dec 20, 2009 12:16 pm

neverknow wrote:
yobria wrote:
Cherokee8215 wrote:
Quasimodo wrote:I think we gave a Justice of the Peace $10.00 when we got married in 1964.

John
That's the way to go, but I don't think many of today's women would go for that.
I'd agree - in my experience, very few of the qualified, professional women I'd consider marrying would go for this.

Nick
Retired professional woman speaking here. Married in 1999 for the cost of a nice dinner out. In my state, you can marry yourselves - so we did. Made it a formal little ceremony and then went out to dinner. It must have cost something for the paper work, but I don't recall. I wore my grand mothers diamond from her engagement ring, which had long ago been re mounted as a necklace for me.
neverknow
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Boglenaut
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Re: How much did YOUR Wedding Cost?

Post by Boglenaut » Sun Dec 20, 2009 12:48 pm

VictoriaF wrote:
Boglenaut wrote:Also, if you had more than one wedding, use you last one.
This skews the results down. The first wedding is usually expensive, because the bride or the parents insist on it. Each next wedding gets progressively cheaper because the novelty wears out and the couple pays for it themselves.

Victoria
Yes, I agree and thought of that.

But if I said to use the first one, then the reslts would need more adjusting for inflation. Plus, people want to live more in the present. So I figured if I was going to have bias, at least we defined it consistently.

Asking someone to estimate an average or two or more inflation-adjusted events would just get too confusing.

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Post by Boglenaut » Sun Dec 20, 2009 12:50 pm

Would the respondant who said >100K like to give any details!? We would love to hear more about that one!

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VictoriaF
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Re: How much did YOUR Wedding Cost?

Post by VictoriaF » Sun Dec 20, 2009 12:52 pm

Boglenaut wrote:
VictoriaF wrote:
Boglenaut wrote:Also, if you had more than one wedding, use you last one.
This skews the results down. The first wedding is usually expensive, because the bride or the parents insist on it. Each next wedding gets progressively cheaper because the novelty wears out and the couple pays for it themselves.

Victoria
Yes, I agree and thought of that.

But if I said to use the first one, then the reslts would need more adjusting for inflation. Plus, people want to live more in the present. So I figured if I was going to have bias, at least we defined it consistently.

Asking someone to estimate an average or two or more inflation-adjusted events would just get too confusing.
Come on! We are not confused by calculating standard deviations of the Guinea Bissau equity returns for the past 150 years. How many marriages to you think we have had?!
:lol:

Victoria
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Re: How much did YOUR Wedding Cost?

Post by Boglenaut » Sun Dec 20, 2009 1:07 pm

VictoriaF wrote:
Boglenaut wrote:
VictoriaF wrote:
Boglenaut wrote:Also, if you had more than one wedding, use you last one.
This skews the results down. The first wedding is usually expensive, because the bride or the parents insist on it. Each next wedding gets progressively cheaper because the novelty wears out and the couple pays for it themselves.

Victoria
Yes, I agree and thought of that.

But if I said to use the first one, then the reslts would need more adjusting for inflation. Plus, people want to live more in the present. So I figured if I was going to have bias, at least we defined it consistently.

Asking someone to estimate an average or two or more inflation-adjusted events would just get too confusing.
Come on! We are not confused by calculating standard deviations of the Guinea Bissau equity returns for the past 150 years. How many marriages to you think we have had?!
:lol:

Victoria
Well, as I hinted above, the other image in my mind was having the second spouse watching over the respondant's laptop and saying "I don't care about that mistake...it's our wedding that matters!".

I just didn't want to get any Bogleheads in trouble.

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Post by Puakinekine » Sun Dec 20, 2009 1:09 pm

Destination weddings are cool. I'd push for that if we did it again. That way you only have to pay for those who are really close to you, they usually cover their own travel expenses, and they get an enjoyable vacation only briefly interrupted by your wedding. It's a win-win.
Destination weddings are not cool if you don't necessarily want to have a vacation at the destination chosen by the bride and groom. These destinations are often relatively expensive resort locations as well, add the wedding gift to that and it gets insanely expensive for the increasingly resentful "guests".

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Post by flowerbuyer » Sun Dec 20, 2009 1:23 pm

$1,000 including airfare, nice hotel for two nights, flowers, photos, music, limo to pick up license, minister, and rental of a small but lovely chapel at the hotel......in Las Vegas in 1995. (Second marriage.....no stress, and very nice service).

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dm200
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Post by dm200 » Sun Dec 20, 2009 1:29 pm

About 30 years ago. In those dollars (lat 70's) about $2500 - $4,000. Wedding in church, reception in church hall, band, bar.

Maybe today that would be about $10,000?

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Post by BigFoot48 » Sun Dec 20, 2009 1:42 pm

Wedding license - $3
College chapel - Free
Flowers for later event in chapel - Free
Minister fee - $20
Gifts to frat brother photographer - $4
Reception at fraternity house - Free
Sheet wedding cake - $10
Bowl of punch - $5
Life after 40 years of marriage - Priceless!
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Post by p14175 » Sun Dec 20, 2009 1:46 pm

I don't know! My husband paid for everything! :D

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Post by deerhunter » Sun Dec 20, 2009 2:28 pm

We had 200 guests, open bar and a live dance band. Cost was around $1000. Of course that was 45 years ago. Our three daughters wedding was probably 10 times that. For instance my wife's wedding dress cost including veil was $65 for a really nice dress. Thirty years later our daughters dresses were $500 or more each.
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Post by bnw2001 » Sun Dec 20, 2009 2:32 pm

I'm very surprised that nobody has asked about the precise definition of "wedding". There is one particular event that typically contains a ceremony and a reception, and there are many other ancillary events and costs that surround it. Those costs include the wedding dress, rehearsal dinner, extra events for out-of-town guests, design and printing of invitations, etc. I would say that those ancillary costs doubled the overall cost of my wedding.

Just the wedding night itself (venue, caterer, florist, photographer) cost about $20.

Honestly I respect that many Bogleheads have been very frugal about their wedding, but in many cases it's just not possible. Weddings are not about you, they're about your extended family who expect certain things. If it was only about my wife and i, we might not have had a wedding at all.

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Post by HornedToad » Sun Dec 20, 2009 3:17 pm

25k-30k depending on what/how you count. And we were trying to be cheap(ish) also, everything is just crazy.

But well worth it as everyone had a phenomenal time.

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Post by HornedToad » Sun Dec 20, 2009 3:19 pm

dm200 wrote:About 30 years ago. In those dollars (lat 70's) about $2500 - $4,000. Wedding in church, reception in church hall, band, bar.

Maybe today that would be about $10,000?
My guess is ~15k+ (assuming you had a photographer). Wedding costs have tended to go up much faster than inflation.... especially photography, DJ/Bank, etc.

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Opponent Process
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Post by Opponent Process » Sun Dec 20, 2009 3:28 pm

bnw2001 wrote:Weddings are not about you, they're about your extended family who expect certain things.
you might be due for a psychiatrist visit to discuss boundaries. our wedding was about me and my wife.
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Post by LynnC » Sun Dec 20, 2009 4:58 pm

yobria wrote:
Cherokee8215 wrote:
Quasimodo wrote:I think we gave a Justice of the Peace $10.00 when we got married in 1964.

John
That's the way to go, but I don't think many of today's women would go for that.
I'd agree - in my experience, very few of the qualified, professional women I'd consider marrying would go for this.

Nick
As a professional woman with a master's degree, it was about the man I was marrying, not the process. I think you misjudge many women with that remark.

We married at the local courthouse and then took our group of friends out for a very nice lunch.

LynnC

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dm200
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Post by dm200 » Sun Dec 20, 2009 6:09 pm

HornedToad wrote:
dm200 wrote:About 30 years ago. In those dollars (lat 70's) about $2500 - $4,000. Wedding in church, reception in church hall, band, bar.

Maybe today that would be about $10,000?
My guess is ~15k+ (assuming you had a photographer). Wedding costs have tended to go up much faster than inflation.... especially photography, DJ/Bank, etc.
Yes, we had a professional wedding photographer.

What I remember is that, when looking for a place for a rehearsal dinner, at most places the cost for something wedding-related (like a rehearsal dinner) was generally 10-50% higher than if it was just a dinner. Why? makes no sense. We finally found a nearby Chinese restaurant that had the most wonderful group dinner (separate room) with more food than we could eat at a very, very reasonable price. The service was outstanding as well.

Why would wedding related costs go up more than general inflation? Or, have wedding related fuctions "upgraded" in the nature of the things (fancier dinners, higher type places for the reception, etc.?

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Post by Tortoise » Sun Dec 20, 2009 6:33 pm

Wedding plus 1-week honeymoon in Hawaii, including airfare, was $3200.

My wife's wedding dress cost $80 at an outlet and looked great. Largest expense was photographer at $1600. Ceremony and reception were at a county park in the mountains that we rented for the day, $250. Had more than 100 people in attendance. We rented a truck-load of folding chairs for $50. Food was Costco and pot luck. Decorations and flower arrangements were done by us, friends, and family.

Father-in-law is Presbyterian pastor, so we got that for free.

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Post by dm200 » Sun Dec 20, 2009 6:37 pm

In my observation and experience, it is my opinion that too many folks place a higher priority on the wedding than on the marriage.

Rodc
Posts: 13601
Joined: Tue Jun 26, 2007 9:46 am

Post by Rodc » Sun Dec 20, 2009 6:44 pm

Ballpark of $1000 a bit over 10 years ago. 13 adults, 13 kids, 200+ year old inn, very pleasant. Not counting dw wanted me to buy a new suit (My sister made and gifted the wedding dress.)

One of the moms took it upon herself to show up with a whole bunch of art supplies and the kids did art in the corner for much of the reception.

Open bar and the kids ran up a three or four hundred dollar bar bill for kiddie cocktails! The bar guys thought that was pretty funny. We did to. What ya going to do?

:)
We live a world with knowledge of the future markets has less than one significant figure. And people will still and always demand answers to three significant digits.

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Padlin
Posts: 677
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 7:46 pm
Location: MA

Post by Padlin » Sun Dec 20, 2009 7:12 pm

Quasimodo wrote:I think we gave a Justice of the Peace $10.00 when we got married in 1964.

John
The JP cost me $15 in 77, bought a $20 wedding ring from an actual jewelry shop in downtown Biloxi. Some friends from base won our wedding cake at a cake walk at a local school fair. We had a ball.
This was not because we were frugal.

I have long since replaced her ring, at least several times.
Regards | Bob

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