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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VictoriaF
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Post by VictoriaF » Sun Dec 20, 2009 7:24 pm

pointyhairedboss wrote: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).
A wedding is not unlike a trip to a movie theater. In a theater, snacks frequently cost as much as the ticket, if not more. Likewise, restaurant appetizers are frequently overpriced in comparison to main dishes. (Somebody I know frequently orders an extra main course instead of an appetizer for this reason.)

With a wedding, you have all these extraneous expenses such as a rehearsal dinner, bachelors party, dinner with the family, etc.

It is always best to focus on the substance and refuse bells and whistles. If possible.

Victoria
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)

CAP
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Post by CAP » Mon Dec 21, 2009 4:56 pm

We were married at Cypress Gardens inside Magnolia Mansion. Our guests were family & close friends. We stayed at a Chalet in the area. I don't remember the cost as we did not pay for all of it. Our priority was buying a house rather than spending lots of $$$$$$$ on just the wedding.

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Post by Alex Frakt » Mon Dec 21, 2009 5:23 pm

Which one? My wife and I were married in 1993 in a civil ceremony in Minneapolis in front of a judge. She wore a cream-colored dress bought at Ross for $15. The rings ran up the entire cost of the wedding to $1k.

Seven years later we had a church ceremony at the big cathedral on the main square in Krakow, Poland. Two dozen of my family and our friends paid their own way over from the US with a roughly equal number coming from Poland plus a few from Germany. The dollar was so strong and our local family connections were able to make such good deals that a proper dress, the church, and the reception for 50 (including a string quartet during the meal and a DJ in the catacombs afterward and all the drinks) was under $3000.

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Boglenaut
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Post by Boglenaut » Mon Dec 21, 2009 5:50 pm

Alex Frakt wrote:Which one? My wife and I were married in 1993 in a civil ceremony in Minneapolis in front of a judge. She wore a cream-colored dress bought at Ross for $15. The rings ran up the entire cost of the wedding to $1k.
Use the first one.

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norookie
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Post by norookie » Mon Dec 21, 2009 6:27 pm

dm200 wrote:In my observation and experience, it is my opinion that too many folks place a higher priority on the wedding than on the marriage.
I must agree. These days a relationship has to be a,.. I luv you too and viewed by both as a LT verbal contract/agreement. JMO. I'll say no more because it'll get me in trouble! However, I never saw a "Wedding Grooms" or " Blissfull Grooms " magazine though. :wink: I agree w/AlexF also. A nice immediate family gathering is all thats needed. I'm planning to add a codicil to my will that my death be conducted as a party! invitation only!
Last edited by norookie on Mon Dec 21, 2009 7:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
" Wealth usually leads to excess " Cicero 55 b.c

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cinghiale
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Post by cinghiale » Mon Dec 21, 2009 6:51 pm

I've got to chime in here as we were married on December 25th and our 27th anniversary is just a few short days away.

We were married in the evening of the 25th. In Latin America, all the main Christmas observances take place on the 24th. By the next night, the presents have been opened, the big meal shared, and the holiday is (almost) over. So we had a nice crowd come to our already-decorated church. With a modest reception in the church activity room and a "pre-worn" wedding dress purchsed in Miami, we married for around $150.00 in U.S. dollars. Most of that went for the celebrant and the musicians.

Sheepdog wrote:
We were married in 1960. Next year will be our 50th.
Hey Jim, let us all know when the 50th takes place. I would like to congratulate you when it happens. Our 27 years have been nothing but good. Sounds like it has been the same for you.

I'm amazed at how little the respondents to this thread have spent on weddings. THIS ISN'T TYPICAL... THIS ISN'T "NORMAL." Maybe decisions about wedding costs are a good indicator of Boglehead tendencies. If you do a little reading, the average cost of a wedding these days is obscene. This group has certainly bucked the norm.
"We don't see things as they are; we see them as we are." Anais Nin | | "Sometimes the first duty of intelligent men is the restatement of the obvious." George Orwell

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Petrocelli
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Post by Petrocelli » Mon Dec 21, 2009 7:12 pm

cinghiale wrote:
I'm amazed at how little the respondents to this thread have spent on weddings. THIS ISN'T TYPICAL... THIS ISN'T "NORMAL." Maybe decisions about wedding costs are a good indicator of Boglehead tendencies.
I would agree with this. Virtually everyone I know had wedding which cost in the tens of thousands of dollars. In fact, the most expensive one had a week of events for out of town guests and probably cost a couple hundred thousand dollars.

Maybe I run with a different crowd.
Petrocelli (not the real Rico, but just a fan)

stephanie
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Post by stephanie » Mon Dec 21, 2009 7:32 pm

I've had one traditional and and one at city hall. Both were a blast, but city hall was definitely cheaper.

My first wedding was a little under 10,000 dollars in 2006. We had about 75 people. My wife's parents helped out financially, and my parents helped with labor & logistics.

It was really nice, and just what we wanted. A good party with friends and family by the water. We spent money on the things we cared about, and opted for less expensive alternatives on the rest. Most of the money went to food, location, and photographer w/ digital rights negotiated. We also had a good friend DJ for us.

Some ways we chose to save money:
- Plain, inexpensive wedding rings
- Nice, but not traditionally formal attire
- Small wedding party (2 best men)
- Beer and wine only at the bar.
- Forgoing the sit-down dinner for heavy hors d'oeuvres and a night-time reception. (Less expensive, and it got everybody mingling and dancing.)

My second wedding in 2008 (to the same person) was a $50 trip to city hall to make it official with the State. Plus, we had a $400 night on the town afterwards with two of our best friends (the witness and his girlfriend).

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Opponent Process
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Post by Opponent Process » Mon Dec 21, 2009 7:46 pm

cinghiale wrote:If you do a little reading, the average cost of a wedding these days is obscene.
If you do a little reading, the average debt after a wedding these days is obscene.
30/30/20/20 | US/International/Bonds/TIPS | Average Age=37

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Boglenaut
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Post by Boglenaut » Mon Dec 21, 2009 8:31 pm

stephanie wrote:
My second wedding in 2008 (to the same person) was a $50 trip to city hall to make it official with the State.
Which do you use for tax and other legal purposes?

stephanie
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Post by stephanie » Mon Dec 21, 2009 9:26 pm

Boglenaut wrote:
stephanie wrote:
My second wedding in 2008 (to the same person) was a $50 trip to city hall to make it official with the State.
Which do you use for tax and other legal purposes?
Funny story. Only one, sometimes.

The 2008 wedding was the only legally recognized marriage ceremony. It is recognized by California for tax/legal purposes. We were grandfathered in after proposition 8 passed. The federal government does not recognize our marriage because we are a same sex couple, so we are considered single for federal legal/tax purposes.

We file Single for Federal, and Married filing jointly for CA

But 2006 is when our families, friends, and ourselves consider us married. We chose to re-marry in CA on our anniversary so we would only have to remember one date. :)

gvernon
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Post by gvernon » Mon Dec 21, 2009 11:51 pm

pointyhairedboss wrote: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).
^This

I got married ~2 yrs ago and the total cost was about $30-$40k for 275 people - close to scalable with the above example.

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Boglenaut
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Post by Boglenaut » Mon Dec 21, 2009 11:56 pm

stephanie wrote:
Boglenaut wrote:
stephanie wrote:
My second wedding in 2008 (to the same person) was a $50 trip to city hall to make it official with the State.
Which do you use for tax and other legal purposes?
Funny story. Only one, sometimes.

The 2008 wedding was the only legally recognized marriage ceremony. It is recognized by California for tax/legal purposes. We were grandfathered in after proposition 8 passed. The federal government does not recognize our marriage because we are a same sex couple, so we are considered single for federal legal/tax purposes.

We file Single for Federal, and Married filing jointly for CA

But 2006 is when our families, friends, and ourselves consider us married. We chose to re-marry in CA on our anniversary so we would only have to remember one date. :)
That's got to get complicated. :wink:

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Ducks
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Post by Ducks » Tue Dec 22, 2009 12:04 am

I'm guessing our wedding was around $35,000; 140 in attendance. It was a blast. :D

My parents paid. I am their only daughter, and it's the only "Big Bash" my parents will ever throw. My dad said he was thrilled to write the check. What a guy. :)
Getting our Ducks in a row since 2008.

bnw2001
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Post by bnw2001 » Tue Dec 22, 2009 12:39 am

Opponent Process wrote:
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.
Wow people are certainly harsh on the internet. When you don't have to say something face-to-face I guess it makes it a lot easier to say rude things.

I've been to about 20 weddings in the past 3 years. Almost everyone agrees that they had to make significant concessions to family in order to keep the peace. The bride and groom cannot just forge ahead and make choices in a vacuum, usually the opportunity cost is too high.

stephanie
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Post by stephanie » Tue Dec 22, 2009 1:25 am

Boglenaut wrote:That's got to get complicated. :wink:
Let's just say my tax advisor earns her money.

tfbandie
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Post by tfbandie » Tue Dec 22, 2009 7:36 am

With everything included, from dress to rehearsal dinner, about 12,000 2.5 years ago. We had some help from both sets of parents, and a healthy attendance. Of all the things we got, the extra $100 for a chocolate fountain and 15 different dippers was the biggest hit. It was a great day and been an even better 2 years.

WorkToLive
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Post by WorkToLive » Tue Dec 22, 2009 12:05 pm

My husband and I married in 2002. I think the total cost of the wedding was about $30k. We had 100 guests and everyone had a really great time. I am the only daughter of my Bogleheaded parents, who are still married after 44 years, and the youngest cousin & granddaughter on all sides. So, my parents had the money and wanted to throw a nice party--and they did! It was the last time all my uncles and aunts got together as two of them died suddenly in the following year. We are so grateful to have the beautiful memories and pictures from that day. Both of my brothers were married out of town so mine was really the family wedding they wanted.

Our daughter was born in 2006 and, while some people say the birth of their child was the greatest day of their life, for us, it was still the wedding. I loved my gigantic white dress and the Japanese lanterns hanging from the ceiling. Our photographer was wonderful and we don't look nervous or anxious at all. When the doors opened to the reception hall, the crowd gasped because it was so beautiful. Totally worth it, IMO, although it was not my money, :D

zaga21
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Post by zaga21 » Tue Dec 22, 2009 1:41 pm

We got married in 2007 for under $3,000. We rented a boy scout camp for the weekend during the off season and used the little chapel in the woods for the ceremony and the dining hall for the reception. We had games and activities for all the guests for while we were getting pictures taken.

I also wanted to add my 2 cents about families. As far as my husband and I were concerned it was OUR wedding, not theirs. We paid for it so they had no say at all. In fact we didn't invite any more than immediate family. Mostly it was friends which made all the difference in the world to having a fun day!
Zaga

bnw2001
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Post by bnw2001 » Tue Dec 22, 2009 5:11 pm

zaga21 wrote:I also wanted to add my 2 cents about families. As far as my husband and I were concerned it was OUR wedding, not theirs. We paid for it so they had no say at all. In fact we didn't invite any more than immediate family. Mostly it was friends which made all the difference in the world to having a fun day!
In principle, I agree. I paid for my own wedding as well. But whether parents are helping to pay or not, you don't want them to feel sad or insulted about certain aspects. These aspects could be as diverse as religious elements of the ceremony, inviting guests that one doesn't care for, etc.

At the end of the day, in my experience, it's difficult to say "it's my wedding and therefore I can make all the choices". Even if one is paying for the whole thing. I went into the planning stages with that attitude, and quickly discovered that for reasons of limiting stress, it was much better to involve other people in the planning decisions.

chaz
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Post by chaz » Tue Dec 22, 2009 6:18 pm

I don't know. My parents and my wife's parents paid for it all.
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zaga21
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Post by zaga21 » Tue Dec 22, 2009 7:09 pm

bnw2001 wrote:
In principle, I agree. I paid for my own wedding as well. But whether parents are helping to pay or not, you don't want them to feel sad or insulted about certain aspects. These aspects could be as diverse as religious elements of the ceremony, inviting guests that one doesn't care for, etc.

At the end of the day, in my experience, it's difficult to say "it's my wedding and therefore I can make all the choices". Even if one is paying for the whole thing. I went into the planning stages with that attitude, and quickly discovered that for reasons of limiting stress, it was much better to involve other people in the planning decisions.
I suppose it depends on your family and your personality. Age probably played a part as well, we were 27 and 38 at the time. We didn't even consult our families about anything beforehand.
Zaga

sscritic
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Post by sscritic » Tue Dec 22, 2009 8:22 pm

Gekko wrote:i'm never married - but i'd like to see a thread - how much did your divorce cost?
More than the marriage. I paid my lawyers about $11,000; she paid hers about $23,000. The wedding cost about one-tenth of the $34,000 spent on divorce lawyers.

(I don't view a division of property as a cost; all the property stayed within the now-divided family.)

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VictoriaF
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Post by VictoriaF » Wed Dec 23, 2009 6:30 pm

I think people here do not understand the good life. :shock:

Today's Washington Post has one in the series of articles about the Salahies. Here is a relevant piece:
Washington Post wrote:At least three couples who held their weddings at the Salahi family's Oasis vineyard sued, saying large, unexplained charges showed up on their wedding bills.

"It was devastating at the time," said Marybeth Wootton, who said she ended up paying $20,000 in legal fees on top of a $55,000 wedding. She said her 2006 wedding turned out to be a $600-a-person event -- three times as much as expected. She was billed for so much wine that every guest -- including the children -- would have had to drink two bottles each, she said.


The Salahis and their customers should be offered to vote in this poll to bring the results to normal levels. ;)

Victoria
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)

brxn
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Post by brxn » Wed Dec 23, 2009 8:41 pm

Mine in 2009, somewhere in the $60k - $70k range, paid by wife's family (around 120-140 guests). They could easily afford this, and were excited to plan a big party for their only daughter. I would have preferred a quick courthouse trip and a barbecue with friends, but I still enjoyed the wedding experience overall.

To echo some others in this thread, I feel weddings in general are hugely wasteful but in our society many people will treat you like a huge jerk if you express a desire to go cheap on a wedding.

RandomGuy101
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Post by RandomGuy101 » Wed Dec 23, 2009 9:28 pm

my wedding cost about 71K this summer, mostly paid by bride's parents, some by my parents

was worth every penny

MnD
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Post by MnD » Wed Dec 23, 2009 10:42 pm

The ~$30K average cost of wedding figures are baloney. The median is half the average, yet the median is not what is reported. And the median is badly flawed. The population of respondents are limited to people that get engraved weding invitations and/or subscribe to Conde Nast Bridezilla Quarterly.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB118790518546107112.html
Newlyweds and to-be-weds who respond to the surveys generally are those contacted by the traditional, and traditionally expensive, matrimonial industry. They're more likely to include dozens of elements in their wedding price tags. A couple having a civil ceremony and a no-frills reception is less likely to be found by a big wedding Web site, a bridal-magazine publisher or the maker of wedding invitations -- the groups sponsoring the surveys.

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