How much would you budget for a typical wedding?

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MarkBarb
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Re: How much would you budget for a typical wedding?

Post by MarkBarb »

$10,000. Presumably their future spouses family would match, resulting in a total budget of $20,000. That should be enough to cover a nice wedding with money left over for the honeymoon. If they want something extravagant, I don't see why I would be expected to pay for it.

$20,000 is a low for a big "traditional" wedding, but I have sons. Tradition says that the brides parents are supposed to pay for the wedding. I wouldn't want to ruin the tradition by having the groom's parents pay.
MikeG62
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Re: How much would you budget for a typical wedding?

Post by MikeG62 »

carloslando wrote: Wed May 12, 2021 6:25 pm
Surfcaster wrote: Wed May 12, 2021 5:53 pm No such thing as a typical wedding.

More info would be required.

Wedding in church with no facility fee or a large
Banquet hall?
Alcohol served? - typically a big adder

Etc.
Assume a private venue and banquet hall. Costs cover wedding+reception. Alcohol served.
This is such a difficult question to answer as one could spend $10K or $100K or more (a lot more) depending on how extravagant they want to go. Location is a BIG determinant of costs.

Our oldest daughter got engaged in July of 2020. Wedding is scheduled for April of 2022. This is still considered low season and they picked a Sunday night (at a considerable savings on the venue cost). Expect just under 200 people and all in cost is in the upper five figures (north of $50K but less than $100K).

We had a conversation with our daughter and her finance the day they got engaged. Told them we intend to give you $X to put toward their wedding. The amount was determined as what "we thought" was sufficient to cover the full cost of a reasonable wedding (such as my DW and I had over 30 years ago) where we live. Told them they can spend less and keep the rest or spend it all. They could elope if they wanted and keep it all. Totally their call.

Sadly, we live in the NE (HCOL area) and the amount we planned to give them is simply not enough to have the kind of wedding we or they envisioned. As a result, my DW and I made the decision to up the amount by 25%. As much as I could, I tried to hold their feet to the fire as vendors were interviewed, so they understood we were not providing a complete open checkbook and some of "their choices" could result in their going out-of-pocket for a portion of the costs of those decisions. It's a balancing act for sure. While we can afford to pay for the full cost of any wedding they want as they will end up inheriting substantial assets when we pass (in a way, we are managing their money), we refused to be "those parents" who went beyond all common sense to one-up everyone else. Astonishingly, they have several friends whose weddings they have attended who did that. :oops:

Bottom line is the cost will depend on the choices you make (and where you live). Personally, I think it's insane what people spend and maddening/infuriating what the vendors have the nerve to charge for their services.
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ponyboy
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Re: How much would you budget for a typical wedding?

Post by ponyboy »

It completely varies by location. We were in east bumble PA, rented out a winery, 120 people...cost around $12k. Try that in napa valley and it would be significantly more.

If you need to borrow or go into debt for your wedding, you're doing it all wrong. Guess the benefit of going into debt and paying it back each month is you get to be reminded how amazingly awesome your wedding day was by the bills that show up for the next couple years, lol.
hnd
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Re: How much would you budget for a typical wedding?

Post by hnd »

in early 2000's we were given 5k to do what we pleased wedding wise the rest was ours to keep for whatever. we spent 3k and had around 200 people, dinner served, no booze. 10 years later when my wifes sister got married she got up to 10k (didn't get to keep what she didn't spend) they did a bit more for about 8k.

I have a gaggle of daughters and shooting for around 15k each. That said my wife and I are doing all we can to downplay the necessity for extravagance at an early age.
HootingSloth
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Re: How much would you budget for a typical wedding?

Post by HootingSloth »

I think this will just vary tremendously.

When we got married, the out of pocket cost was approximately the same as the amount of cash received as gifts from our guests, so netted out to a few thousand dollars at most. This was for about 100 people in a HCOL area with a very nice ceremony venue and a banquet hall reception with way more food and alcohol than we ended up needing. However, it did involve some creative use of connections on getting the venues at a very cheap price, as well as generous guests/culture on one side of the family that encourages relatively large cash gifts for weddings.
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runner540
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Re: How much would you budget for a typical wedding?

Post by runner540 »

Astronaut4 wrote: Wed May 12, 2021 8:22 pm $35k 5 yrs ago
MCOL area
Historic Inn with large ballroom
Buffet dinner Full premium bar
DJ, lighting, photographer, videographer
110 guests
5 yrs ago, similar cost, also MCOL
More guests (~150, but less fancy venue and provided our own alcohol (limited selection).
We even scrimped/DIY’d on several things that are not in that (flowers, attire)
rich126
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Re: How much would you budget for a typical wedding?

Post by rich126 »

I think a lot of weddings are done more for status than usefulness.

We are getting married soon but neither cares about being in the spotlight and will get married at a friends house with some family members around. We also aren't in our 20s getting pressure from families about who to invite. I've seen that happen to couples when I was younger.

What you spend is what you want and what I, or others think, should not matter.

If you really want to know a budget for a wedding just call around various places you might want to hold it. And if price matters either go to the courthouse or do it at a friends house or somewhere else cheap.
stoptothink
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Re: How much would you budget for a typical wedding?

Post by stoptothink »

rich126 wrote: Thu May 13, 2021 10:44 am We also aren't in our 20s getting pressure from families about who to invite. I've seen that happen to couples when I was younger.
My first wedding I was 25 and had recently moved to a city where I knew almost nobody (my fiance was moving back to her home town for dental school and I came with). My mom and brother attended, but otherwise the other ~120 attendees were friends of my in-laws (many of whom my ex-wife didn't even know). I basically was a credit card in the process and had zero input on anything. Even though they contributed $0 to the event, I gave in to the pressure thinking it wouldn't be wise to stir-the-pot with my new in-laws. Horrible mistake; not only did it cost me a ton of money at a time when I didn't have a lot, but it gave my FIL the idea that he could push me around. We never got along and that was a factor in the divorce. 2nd time: my party and my rules - much better outcome.
Topic Author
carloslando
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Re: How much would you budget for a typical wedding?

Post by carloslando »

Thank you all for sharing your experiences and advice.
Based on the responses here I think the best course for us appears to be to gift our kids a lump sum (somewhere between 30K and 50K I think, will decide later) and have them choose how they want to spend it (pay for the whole/part of wedding, invest it, use as a downpayment etc).
Comparison is the killer of all joy.
Grt2bOutdoors
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Re: How much would you budget for a typical wedding?

Post by Grt2bOutdoors »

carloslando wrote: Wed May 12, 2021 6:25 pm
Surfcaster wrote: Wed May 12, 2021 5:53 pm No such thing as a typical wedding.

More info would be required.

Wedding in church with no facility fee or a large
Banquet hall?
Alcohol served? - typically a big adder

Etc.
Assume a private venue and banquet hall. Costs cover wedding+reception. Alcohol served.
How many years until the BIG day? My advice: start planning. It’s the cost of the venue but you can wiggle a bit on the location, it’s the other stuff - photography, music, flowers, gratuities (set percentage not what you like), transportation. Depends if you want to host/pay the engagement party or dress rehearsal dinner too. My spouse and I paid for quite a bit but our parents contributed too as many of the folks on the invite list was from them and spouse had large family. We chose an economical venue considering we live in a HCOL region where the wedding industry is a big deal for some. I had attended a wedding just a few years before my own and the venue cost $100k which I thought was nuts - the ambiance was nice but the food was nothing to write home about.
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IMO
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Re: How much would you budget for a typical wedding?

Post by IMO »

Nothing, I'm already married and I have a male child and it is tradition for the bride and her family to pay for the wedding.
Topic Author
carloslando
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Re: How much would you budget for a typical wedding?

Post by carloslando »

Grt2bOutdoors wrote: Thu May 13, 2021 11:24 am
carloslando wrote: Wed May 12, 2021 6:25 pm
Surfcaster wrote: Wed May 12, 2021 5:53 pm No such thing as a typical wedding.

More info would be required.

Wedding in church with no facility fee or a large
Banquet hall?
Alcohol served? - typically a big adder

Etc.
Assume a private venue and banquet hall. Costs cover wedding+reception. Alcohol served.
How many years until the BIG day? My advice: start planning. It’s the cost of the venue but you can wiggle a bit on the location, it’s the other stuff - photography, music, flowers, gratuities (set percentage not what you like), transportation. Depends if you want to host/pay the engagement party or dress rehearsal dinner too. My spouse and I paid for quite a bit but our parents contributed too as many of the folks on the invite list was from them and spouse had large family. We chose an economical venue considering we live in a HCOL region where the wedding industry is a big deal for some. I had attended a wedding just a few years before my own and the venue cost $100k which I thought was nuts - the ambiance was nice but the food was nothing to write home about.
we have time (>5 years away for the first one), this was more to carve out some large expected expenses from our retirement target. I know paying for the wedding is optional (as Klangfool noted, the kids could/should/might-want-to pay for it), but its something DW wants us to do.

Basically we are working towards a retirement goal (2.5M) and wanted to consider any 100K+ expenses as savings we'll need beyond that goal. College funds are the only thing we had at this point in that category and we realized weddings might be another if they are going to cost 50K each.
Comparison is the killer of all joy.
KFBR392
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Re: How much would you budget for a typical wedding?

Post by KFBR392 »

100 guests in a VHCOL city could get pricey. But as others have said, it really really REALLY depends on the type of wedding you want.

We had 40 guests in October 2015 in Palm Springs and we spent just under $30k. But we were dead-set on the venue and that accounted for something like half our budget. Our DJ was expensive as well but then we cheaped out on food, flowers, and lighting and no one seemed to mind. (Maybe it was the open bar? :wink: )
KlangFool
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Re: How much would you budget for a typical wedding?

Post by KlangFool »

carloslando wrote: Thu May 13, 2021 11:32 am
but its something DW wants us to do.
carloslando,

The question that you and your wife need to answer. Let's take a number: 100K.

A) Would you tell your kid that I give you 100K and you can spend it on your wedding or keep it for something else?

Or,

B) I give you 100K to be spent on your wedding.

A bigger picture question. How does spending 100K on the wedding helps your kids?

I assume that you cannot afford to spend 100K on your kids' wedding plus give them another 100K. Aka, your financial resource is limited. So, the bigger picture question is how best to use your limited financial resources to help your kids. You have to find your own answer and deploy your financial resources accordingly.

KlangFool
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L. H.
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Re: How much would you budget for a typical wedding?

Post by L. H. »

I'm always amazed at how much people pay for weddings. We sent over 150 mailed invitations plus an open invitation to anyone who wanted to attend from our church (could have been another couple hundred if they all came, but they didn't). Ended up with about 150-200 people at the reception. I think our total costs were around $5,000, spread over several months.

Venue:Free. My husband and I were married at my parents' church (free, I think we gave them something for a cleaning fee but it wasn't required). We could have held the reception in the church's fellowship hall if we wanted (also for free) but my parents had an event room and outside pavilion that we used instead (still free).

Flowers: ~$600. We bought flowers from a florist (bouquet for each bridesmaid, boutonniere for each groomsman, things for bride and groom and parents of the bride and groom, a larger altar bouquet spread, and a handful of other flowers for smaller displays here and there) and I know the total for all the flowers was under $800 for sure, probably closer to $500. I had chosen flowers that were easy to obtain and in-season, so the costs were less than they would have been otherwise. I've been to other weddings where they made their own bouquets and boutonnieres, but didn't want the hassle.

Other Decorations: under $100. The church had a room full of decorations for decorating the church, including things left over from other weddings so I just looked through that and chose the ones I liked. (free). Decorations for the reception were a combination of things I picked up on sale from a hobby store and on clearance (for instance, votive candles on clearance after holidays).

Photographer: $1,000. We paid $1,000 for a wedding photographer, which was the going rate in the area. That was the single most expensive thing from the wedding, and the one thing I would do differently (they didn't do a good job, and I wasn't happy with the result). Videos were taken by several people with home video cameras set on tripods in different parts of the auditorium, (free) and the sound capture was recorded on the church's sound system (also free).

Getaway car: $500. My husband rented a special Shelby convertible, he made the argument that the getaway car for a car guy was as important as a wedding dress to the bride. :)

Wedding dress: $700. We bought my wedding dress ($600) and then had it bustled($75). My mother and I made my wedding veil out of tulle from a hobby store, it was very easy and cost under $20 for a three-layer cathedral style veil.

Wedding party outfits: can't remember, but wasn't much. Under $400. Our siblings were the bridesmaids and groomsmen, and we wanted to eliminate any extra cost for them. The bridesmaids had inexpensive dresses (under $50/each) and the groom and groomsmen wore the black suits and white shirts that they already owned. We bought matching ties for the groomsmen that coordinated with the bridesmaid dresses and also paid for the bridesmaid's dresses.

Invitations and wedding programs: ~$120, mostly postage. Invitations and wedding programs were on fancy paper that I printed on my existing laser printer and got on sale at a hobby store for under $50. The postage for the 150 invitations was the highest cost there.

Cake: Free (would have been ~$800). My grandmother made the wedding cake as her gift to us. Not everyone is so lucky to have a cake decorator in the family, but the cake we had would probably have been $500-$1000 from a caterer. (I would have gone with a less-fancy cake if we'd had to pay for it, honestly).

Other Food & drink: unknown, but my guess is well under $800. The wedding was held in the early afternoon, so reception food was primarily snack stuff (cheese and cracker trays, finger foods) which we could buy cheaply at warehouse stores and just put out on trays. Some family friends helped by keeping those stocked during the reception as needed. Since it wasn't difficult to do, it didn't take up too much of their time. No alcohol was served, and drinks were things like ice tea, lemonade, and fruit punch.

The point of all that is that, depending on what you want, there ARE ways to keep costs down and still invite tons of people. Weddings should fit YOUR budget, not the other way around. :)
TheHiker
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Re: How much would you budget for a typical wedding?

Post by TheHiker »

We spent zero on our wedding so this is how much I would budget.
delamer
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Re: How much would you budget for a typical wedding?

Post by delamer »

MOBugeater wrote: Wed May 12, 2021 5:58 pm
sport wrote: Wed May 12, 2021 5:54 pm I told DD how much I would pay towards her wedding. She could have the money or the wedding. She and her SO chose the wedding. I don't know if they spent more than what I gave them.
That's what we did. Went to bank, opened up joint checking for bride and groom, deposited $10k and said use what you want, keep the rest but don't ask for more. Worked well and I think they ended up with a little extra at the end to keep/save.
Our oldest got married last month.

We told them how much we were willing to contribute toward the wedding when they became engaged. The engaged couple and other set of parents contributed what they were comfortable contributing. The engaged couple made a budget and lived within it.

It was a wonderful day. :happy

But the idea that I grew up with where the bride’s parents paid for the wedding, the groom paid for the engagement ring, and the groom’s parents paid for the rehearsal dinner is passe in my part of the world.

So decide how much you want to contribute and set that aside. Let the couple take it from there. As others have noted, you can get estimates for different types of weddings from lots of sources if you want more specifics.

Oh, yeah — offer what you will money-wise and then stay out of the planning/decision-making. I did some research, at their request, on venues, post-celebration shuttles, and hotels for guests, but only offered opinions on choices when asked.
Last edited by delamer on Thu May 13, 2021 1:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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finfire
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Re: How much would you budget for a typical wedding?

Post by finfire »

$0.

I'll raise, love em and pay for their education. After that, their financial transactions are their own.

I will give a cash present probably...if they are financially prudent individuals.
Tribonian
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Re: How much would you budget for a typical wedding?

Post by Tribonian »

We made a friend get ordained online then had ailing relatives who were too frail to travel be our witnesses. $5 rings from a pawn shop, a tank of gas to get us to a lovely park with panoramic ocean views and dinner out for 6 at a Chinese restaurant (picked up by one of the relatives). All in all, our share was <$100. We did have a destination reception months later that was more of a vacation with friends.

For our sons, we aren’t budgeting anything yet. A lot will depend on where we are in life, where they are and most importantly what their prospective spouses desire. We’ll be willing to contribute but we don’t know what we don’t know.
nigel_ht
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Re: How much would you budget for a typical wedding?

Post by nigel_ht »

KlangFool wrote: Thu May 13, 2021 8:12 am
whomever wrote: Thu May 13, 2021 8:07 am
stan1 wrote: Wed May 12, 2021 9:25 pm We were fortunate, the parking gate at the courthouse was not working so we were waved out at no cost by an employee trying to keep traffic flowing. So it was just the $25 extra charge they added for a brief ceremony to go along with the paperwork.
A man after my own heart.

We spent a few hundred bucks - my wife bought fabric and sewed her dress, we got up early and picked buckets of wild daisies, an aunt baked the cake, etc, so we were high rollers :-).

But I have a retrospective question on the subject of, say, a $100k wedding. Let's say you are getting married at age 25. You can have a $100k wedding, or invest the $100k. 35 years later, at age 60, that would be perhaps $500k (1.05**35=5.5). With a paid off mortgage etc by then, you can have a pretty nice retirement on $100K a year, so that wedding is the difference between retiring at 60 or working another 5 years to age 65.

Here's the question: how many people, at age 60, would look back and say 'Boy, we're glad we had that wedding. It was lots of fun, easily worth another 5 years of working'?
whomever,

<<Let's say you are getting married at age 25. You can have a $100k wedding, or invest the $100k.>>

The problem here is some parent would pay for the 100K wedding but they would not give the 100K to their kids.

KlangFool
That sort of thing is often more for family face than for the kids.

Our plan was to elope in Malta. Instead it was justice of the peace because the doctor told my wife not to fly…

Ah well…I’ll surprise her one day with a trip.

Amusingly in Chinese culture the groom’s parents pay so invariably my son will marry someone Chinese and my daughters won’t…
DesertDiva
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Re: How much would you budget for a typical wedding?

Post by DesertDiva »

TomatoTomahto wrote: Thu May 13, 2021 8:00 am ...
True to my nature, I believe in “telling moments.” One of my kids attended two weddings shortly before COVID. One was a dynastic merger, held in a destination city, and probably cost many hundreds of thousands. The other was a young couple of limited means. While the food and entertainment at the first wedding was better, my son’s takeaway was that the second couple better expressed their love and had a better chance of their marriage lasting.
I like this. Many times I have said that people should put more effort into being married than into getting married.
:sharebeer
stoptothink
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Re: How much would you budget for a typical wedding?

Post by stoptothink »

DesertDiva wrote: Thu May 13, 2021 3:45 pm
TomatoTomahto wrote: Thu May 13, 2021 8:00 am ...
True to my nature, I believe in “telling moments.” One of my kids attended two weddings shortly before COVID. One was a dynastic merger, held in a destination city, and probably cost many hundreds of thousands. The other was a young couple of limited means. While the food and entertainment at the first wedding was better, my son’s takeaway was that the second couple better expressed their love and had a better chance of their marriage lasting.
I like this. Many times I have said that people should put more effort into being married than into getting married.
:sharebeer
There is a pretty (in)famous study published a few years ago in The Journal of Social Science Research (can't find a direct link) that concluded that there is a pretty significant linear relationship between the cost of the wedding and engagement ring, and risk of early divorce. Of course it is a multifaceted issue, but since it matches my anecdotal experience and overall beliefs, I'm going to agree with the conclusion :D .
JackoC
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Re: How much would you budget for a typical wedding?

Post by JackoC »

TomatoTomahto wrote: Thu May 13, 2021 8:00 am I am a very romantic person. But I encourage my kids to get married at Town Hall if they’re going to bother with a formal marriage at all until much later in life (when it becomes advantageous).

My spend on my two marriages is probably under $100.

True to my nature, I believe in “telling moments.” One of my kids attended two weddings shortly before COVID. One was a dynastic merger, held in a destination city, and probably cost many hundreds of thousands. The other was a young couple of limited means. While the food and entertainment at the first wedding was better, my son’s takeaway was that the second couple better expressed their love and had a better chance of their marriage lasting.
As mentioned there might even be 'studies' which say that's generally true (to each his/her own on confidence in social 'science'). But it certainly plays into the general idea that richer people are less likely than a camel to get through a certain needle etc., and poorer people 'the salt of the earth', an idea with deep roots in Western society, though always competing with the fact that most people want to be rich not poor themselves if they have a choice. I'm not saying that influenced your kid who I assume simply witnessed something obvious, and altogether plausible in any given case. But in general if you offer a 'study' saying people spending more on a social occasion are more phony, most people will lap it up.

On the question itself I'm having trouble thinking of something where it's more meaningless to ask 'what would you budget for?' than a wedding, if the idea is to get some kind of closely grouped consensus. What would one budget for a house? :happy
phinanciallyfit
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Re: How much would you budget for a typical wedding?

Post by phinanciallyfit »

I'd aim for about $30k for a 'typical' wedding (i.e. at a venue, not your backyard, but not extravagant), which is the average cost of a wedding per Theknot.com. This is about what ours cost in a low to medium cost of living area with not a ton of options (including all costs, rings and all). Catering at any place that could hold 100 guests (all cousins, aunts/uncles, and siblings) cost about $100/person for a buffet dinner. That does not include alchohol. Photographer starts at about $2k. Dress could be a large range, but let's say about $1000. There are lots of little things that add up that you dont always think of too, invitations, placecards, decor, gifts for officiant, etc. I'd take a look at wedding wire or the knot for list of expenses then think of what type of wedding you are thinking of. Would there be music and dancing or just a simple dinner? Buffet or served? Etc.
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LilyFleur
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Re: How much would you budget for a typical wedding?

Post by LilyFleur »

I've budgeted $10,000 for each wedding (I have a son and a daughter.) They can set their budget and allocate it as they wish (wedding, honeymoon, and/or save some of it). I am single, so presumably the other parents will contribute as well. I've also budgeted $100,000 for a house downpayment for each of them. I live modestly and enjoy helping my children. I won't be staying at really expensive hotels and taking extravagant vacations during retirement, but I will travel and I anticipate at least one more trip to Europe, footing the bill for myself and the two children. These are highly personal decisions, related to a person's family of origin, financial situation, and much more. I also have some wedding rings and dresses (mine and my sister's) that I will offer, but I will let them make decisions without judgment on my part.

My financial planner has run the numbers, and I won't run out of money doing this, but I won't be living in the lap of luxury, either, and I'm completely happy with this approach.
Topic Author
carloslando
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Re: How much would you budget for a typical wedding?

Post by carloslando »

KlangFool wrote: Thu May 13, 2021 11:58 am
carloslando wrote: Thu May 13, 2021 11:32 am
but its something DW wants us to do.
carloslando,

The question that you and your wife need to answer. Let's take a number: 100K.

A) Would you tell your kid that I give you 100K and you can spend it on your wedding or keep it for something else?

Or,

B) I give you 100K to be spent on your wedding.

A bigger picture question. How does spending 100K on the wedding helps your kids?

I assume that you cannot afford to spend 100K on your kids' wedding plus give them another 100K. Aka, your financial resource is limited. So, the bigger picture question is how best to use your limited financial resources to help your kids. You have to find your own answer and deploy your financial resources accordingly.

KlangFool
We are thinking option 'A'. ie. here is a gift to you, as you embark on this new phase of your life. Use it as you feel fit.
Hopefully we are raising good Bogleheads who will make the right choices between using some of it to make a memorable day and the rest to make something useful in life (house downpayment, jumpstart nest-egg etc)
Comparison is the killer of all joy.
KlangFool
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Re: How much would you budget for a typical wedding?

Post by KlangFool »

carloslando wrote: Thu May 13, 2021 5:47 pm
KlangFool wrote: Thu May 13, 2021 11:58 am
carloslando wrote: Thu May 13, 2021 11:32 am
but its something DW wants us to do.
carloslando,

The question that you and your wife need to answer. Let's take a number: 100K.

A) Would you tell your kid that I give you 100K and you can spend it on your wedding or keep it for something else?

Or,

B) I give you 100K to be spent on your wedding.

A bigger picture question. How does spending 100K on the wedding helps your kids?

I assume that you cannot afford to spend 100K on your kids' wedding plus give them another 100K. Aka, your financial resource is limited. So, the bigger picture question is how best to use your limited financial resources to help your kids. You have to find your own answer and deploy your financial resources accordingly.

KlangFool
We are thinking option 'A'. ie. here is a gift to you, as you embark on this new phase of your life. Use it as you feel fit.
Hopefully we are raising good Bogleheads who will make the right choices between using some of it to make a memorable day and the rest to make something useful in life (house downpayment, jumpstart nest-egg etc)
carloslando,

If the goal is to help your kid by giving 100K, why do it before a wedding? It would have a bigger impact by giving and funding your kids' Roth IRA over many years.

KlangFool
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theplayer11
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Re: How much would you budget for a typical wedding?

Post by theplayer11 »

I will pay whatever it takes for my D to have a band, hate DJ weddings with that stupid chicken dance.
Topic Author
carloslando
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Re: How much would you budget for a typical wedding?

Post by carloslando »

KlangFool wrote: Thu May 13, 2021 6:47 pm
carloslando wrote: Thu May 13, 2021 5:47 pm
KlangFool wrote: Thu May 13, 2021 11:58 am
carloslando wrote: Thu May 13, 2021 11:32 am
but its something DW wants us to do.
carloslando,

The question that you and your wife need to answer. Let's take a number: 100K.

A) Would you tell your kid that I give you 100K and you can spend it on your wedding or keep it for something else?

Or,

B) I give you 100K to be spent on your wedding.

A bigger picture question. How does spending 100K on the wedding helps your kids?

I assume that you cannot afford to spend 100K on your kids' wedding plus give them another 100K. Aka, your financial resource is limited. So, the bigger picture question is how best to use your limited financial resources to help your kids. You have to find your own answer and deploy your financial resources accordingly.

KlangFool
We are thinking option 'A'. ie. here is a gift to you, as you embark on this new phase of your life. Use it as you feel fit.
Hopefully we are raising good Bogleheads who will make the right choices between using some of it to make a memorable day and the rest to make something useful in life (house downpayment, jumpstart nest-egg etc)
carloslando,

If the goal is to help your kid by giving 100K, why do it before a wedding? It would have a bigger impact by giving and funding your kids' Roth IRA over many years.

KlangFool
After they have earned income I am hoping they would fund their Roth IRAs on their own. If due to other expenses if some year they are unable to maximize the Roth we can pitch in, but I believe we cannot contribute to their Roths unless they have earned income, correct?

We were going to just earmark part of our retirement savings to give to them (still remains in our taxable, but we would not count it towards our retirement nest-egg).

Giving them a lump sum at their wedding seemed like a good way to help them navigate a potentially expensive milestone early in their life. Gives them more options (invest it, make it part of a downpayment towards a home etc)
Comparison is the killer of all joy.
goblue100
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Re: How much would you budget for a typical wedding?

Post by goblue100 »

John Doe 123 wrote: Wed May 12, 2021 5:52 pm $15,000
My daughter got married in 2018 and was in the 12 to 15k range. I would have thought that to be a ridiculous amount in the abstract, but it's not often that we put on the dog for the whole family. In the end I was happy to do it, as she's never asked for much. Her and her future husband covered some of it, but Mom and I covered most of it.
Financial planners are savers. They want us to be 95 percent confident we can finance a 30-year retirement even though there is an 82 percent probability of being dead by then. - Scott Burns
KlangFool
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Re: How much would you budget for a typical wedding?

Post by KlangFool »

carloslando wrote: Thu May 13, 2021 6:59 pm
KlangFool wrote: Thu May 13, 2021 6:47 pm
carloslando wrote: Thu May 13, 2021 5:47 pm
KlangFool wrote: Thu May 13, 2021 11:58 am
carloslando wrote: Thu May 13, 2021 11:32 am
but its something DW wants us to do.
carloslando,

The question that you and your wife need to answer. Let's take a number: 100K.

A) Would you tell your kid that I give you 100K and you can spend it on your wedding or keep it for something else?

Or,

B) I give you 100K to be spent on your wedding.

A bigger picture question. How does spending 100K on the wedding helps your kids?

I assume that you cannot afford to spend 100K on your kids' wedding plus give them another 100K. Aka, your financial resource is limited. So, the bigger picture question is how best to use your limited financial resources to help your kids. You have to find your own answer and deploy your financial resources accordingly.

KlangFool
We are thinking option 'A'. ie. here is a gift to you, as you embark on this new phase of your life. Use it as you feel fit.
Hopefully we are raising good Bogleheads who will make the right choices between using some of it to make a memorable day and the rest to make something useful in life (house downpayment, jumpstart nest-egg etc)
carloslando,

If the goal is to help your kid by giving 100K, why do it before a wedding? It would have a bigger impact by giving and funding your kids' Roth IRA over many years.

KlangFool
After they have earned income I am hoping they would fund their Roth IRAs on their own. If due to other expenses if some year they are unable to maximize the Roth we can pitch in, but I believe we cannot contribute to their Roths unless they have earned income, correct?

We were going to just earmark part of our retirement savings to give to them (still remains in our taxable, but we would not count it towards our retirement nest-egg).

Giving them a lump sum at their wedding seemed like a good way to help them navigate a potentially expensive milestone early in their life. Gives them more options (invest it, make it part of a downpayment towards a home etc)
carloslando,

<<but I believe we cannot contribute to their Roths unless they have earned income, correct? >>

1) They only need to earn 6K per year for you to max their Roth IRA.

<<We were going to just earmark part of our retirement savings to give to them (still remains in our taxable, >>

2) And, paying tax for the growth. Meanwhile, it can grow tax-fee in their Roth IRA and double as their emergency fund.

<<Giving them a lump sum at their wedding seemed like a good way to help them navigate a potentially expensive milestone early in their life. >>

3) Giving them a lump sum is not as tax efficient and better for them. For most of the kids, they could not max up their tax-advantaged accounts in the early years. Annual gift at that time to max up their tax-advantaged account has a bigger financial impact.

4) My kids have about 20K to 30K worth of investment each after they graduated college. This gives them a significant head start financially. They saved and invested all their CASH gift over the years.

5) I am just giving you an alternate way to help your kids.

KlangFool
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sailaway
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Re: How much would you budget for a typical wedding?

Post by sailaway »

What if your kids don't get married until they are in their 30s and already have established careers? Have you considered any other milestone triggers, such as making it a housewarming present? This is one of the joys of Klang Fool's suggestion to fund their Roth IRAs - the money is accessible to them for whatever they prioritize. The downside, of course, may be them prioritizing something you do not approve of. But hey, happens when choosing spouses, as well.
Topic Author
carloslando
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Re: How much would you budget for a typical wedding?

Post by carloslando »

KlangFool wrote: Thu May 13, 2021 7:09 pm
carloslando wrote: Thu May 13, 2021 6:59 pm
KlangFool wrote: Thu May 13, 2021 6:47 pm
carloslando wrote: Thu May 13, 2021 5:47 pm
KlangFool wrote: Thu May 13, 2021 11:58 am

carloslando,

The question that you and your wife need to answer. Let's take a number: 100K.

A) Would you tell your kid that I give you 100K and you can spend it on your wedding or keep it for something else?

Or,

B) I give you 100K to be spent on your wedding.

A bigger picture question. How does spending 100K on the wedding helps your kids?

I assume that you cannot afford to spend 100K on your kids' wedding plus give them another 100K. Aka, your financial resource is limited. So, the bigger picture question is how best to use your limited financial resources to help your kids. You have to find your own answer and deploy your financial resources accordingly.

KlangFool
We are thinking option 'A'. ie. here is a gift to you, as you embark on this new phase of your life. Use it as you feel fit.
Hopefully we are raising good Bogleheads who will make the right choices between using some of it to make a memorable day and the rest to make something useful in life (house downpayment, jumpstart nest-egg etc)
carloslando,

If the goal is to help your kid by giving 100K, why do it before a wedding? It would have a bigger impact by giving and funding your kids' Roth IRA over many years.

KlangFool
After they have earned income I am hoping they would fund their Roth IRAs on their own. If due to other expenses if some year they are unable to maximize the Roth we can pitch in, but I believe we cannot contribute to their Roths unless they have earned income, correct?

We were going to just earmark part of our retirement savings to give to them (still remains in our taxable, but we would not count it towards our retirement nest-egg).

Giving them a lump sum at their wedding seemed like a good way to help them navigate a potentially expensive milestone early in their life. Gives them more options (invest it, make it part of a downpayment towards a home etc)
carloslando,

<<but I believe we cannot contribute to their Roths unless they have earned income, correct? >>

1) They only need to earn 6K per year for you to max their Roth IRA.

<<We were going to just earmark part of our retirement savings to give to them (still remains in our taxable, >>

2) And, paying tax for the growth. Meanwhile, it can grow tax-fee in their Roth IRA and double as their emergency fund.

<<Giving them a lump sum at their wedding seemed like a good way to help them navigate a potentially expensive milestone early in their life. >>

3) Giving them a lump sum is not as tax efficient and better for them. For most of the kids, they could not max up their tax-advantaged accounts in the early years. Annual gift at that time to max up their tax-advantaged account has a bigger financial impact.

4) My kids have about 20K to 30K worth of investment each after they graduated college. This gives them a significant head start financially. They saved and invested all their CASH gift over the years.

5) I am just giving you an alternate way to help your kids.

KlangFool
thanks for bringing up the tax implications here.
We'll be sure to make sure they are contributing max to their Roth's once they have any earned income (& if they cant cover it themselves, then we'll cover it each year to make sure we are not losing the opportunity of tax-free growth for them). Good info, thanks.
Comparison is the killer of all joy.
Topic Author
carloslando
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Re: How much would you budget for a typical wedding?

Post by carloslando »

sailaway wrote: Thu May 13, 2021 7:15 pm What if your kids don't get married until they are in their 30s and already have established careers? Have you considered any other milestone triggers, such as making it a housewarming present? This is one of the joys of Klang Fool's suggestion to fund their Roth IRAs - the money is accessible to them for whatever they prioritize. The downside, of course, may be them prioritizing something you do not approve of. But hey, happens when choosing spouses, as well.
Yes helping them towards buying a house was the other milestone trigger we had in mind where our contribution could help significantly.
Basically we think now we'll plan to set aside $50K each that we'll offer up to them at whichever of those major life's milestones comes up first. They can choose to spend it as they wish at that point.

We'll be sure to fund their Roth IRAs if they are unable to for any reason, once they have earned income. If at that point they are able to self-fund the Roth I would prefer that: want to get them into the habit of saving/investing early. But yes, would'nt want them to miss on tax-free growth once eligible for it.
Comparison is the killer of all joy.
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willthrill81
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Re: How much would you budget for a typical wedding?

Post by willthrill81 »

When my DW and I were married 20 years ago, I believe that the wedding cost about $4k. That would be a little over $6k today. The church was free, the reception venue was one provided for free by our bank to its customers, and my DW only spent about $400 on a wedding gown. The food was good but simple, served buffet style.
“Good and ill have not changed since yesteryear; nor are they one thing among Elves and Dwarves and another among Men.” J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings
JVT
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Re: How much would you budget for a typical wedding?

Post by JVT »

10k now is probably reasonable on the low end if you do a lot your self and spend on what is important to you. On the high end the sky is the limit. We spent 7k in Northern Virginia in 2011 for 100 people including rings, dinner, beer, and wine but we focused on what was important to us and skipped what was not. We catered bbq and rented a community center. We got ~2-3k from family and covered the rest ourselves.
diydocwifejd
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Re: How much would you budget for a typical wedding?

Post by diydocwifejd »

Mine was almost $50k in 2016. My parents and I budgeted $30k. 165 guests. Mid sized city. Nothing too extravagant. So yea, I’d say budget $30k and plan on going over
delamer
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Re: How much would you budget for a typical wedding?

Post by delamer »

stoptothink wrote: Thu May 13, 2021 3:52 pm
DesertDiva wrote: Thu May 13, 2021 3:45 pm
TomatoTomahto wrote: Thu May 13, 2021 8:00 am ...
True to my nature, I believe in “telling moments.” One of my kids attended two weddings shortly before COVID. One was a dynastic merger, held in a destination city, and probably cost many hundreds of thousands. The other was a young couple of limited means. While the food and entertainment at the first wedding was better, my son’s takeaway was that the second couple better expressed their love and had a better chance of their marriage lasting.
I like this. Many times I have said that people should put more effort into being married than into getting married.
:sharebeer
There is a pretty (in)famous study published a few years ago in The Journal of Social Science Research (can't find a direct link) that concluded that there is a pretty significant linear relationship between the cost of the wedding and engagement ring, and risk of early divorce. Of course it is a multifaceted issue, but since it matches my anecdotal experience and overall beliefs, I'm going to agree with the conclusion :D .
I wonder whether level of debt incurred, particularly relative to income or assets — by either the couple or their parents — would be a better predictor than the actual dollar cost?

Buying things you can’t afford causes lots of marital stress. If that’s your habit or the example your parents set...
One thing that humbles me deeply is to see that human genius has its limits while human stupidity does not. | | Alexandre Dumas, fils
MrCheapo
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Re: How much would you budget for a typical wedding?

Post by MrCheapo »

Sorry to hijack your thread but I didn't want to start a new one on such a related question.

Is it the standard case in this country that the BRIDE's father picks up the tab for the entire wedding but the GROOM's father picks up the bar tab. Seems very sexist to me but I've heard this a few times now.

carloslando wrote: Wed May 12, 2021 5:35 pm Assuming you have decided to pay the whole cost of your kids wedding, how much would you budget for that? This is obviously a personal preference and there are many many factors (#guests, type of wedding, location, etc) but just from a budget perspective is there anything 'typical' or a 'rule of thumb' we could use for say 100 guests in HCOL large city, typical wedding?

Just browsing older threads on this I see wedding costs ranging anywhere from 3K (viewtopic.php?p=4776033#p4776033) to ~15K (viewtopic.php?p=4775922#p4775922, viewtopic.php?p=4776106#p4776106) to 65K (viewtopic.php?p=4776183#p4776183).
A poll from back in 2009 had most responses in the <10K range (viewtopic.php?t=47304)

Asking because as we calculate our target retirement savings number, we are taking out things like college education and in this case the weddings as 'known large expenditures' we'll cover, and want to make sure our savings for retirement are separate from these expenses. At 10K each we'd just cash-flow it. If its 50K or 100K each we'd want to plan and budget for it early on.
rightdecisions
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Re: How much would you budget for a typical wedding?

Post by rightdecisions »

It is normal to have both families chip in? In today's world everyone wants equality...This is a great opportunity to split the cost, right?
delamer
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Re: How much would you budget for a typical wedding?

Post by delamer »

MrCheapo wrote: Thu May 13, 2021 9:43 pm Sorry to hijack your thread but I didn't want to start a new one on such a related question.

Is it the standard case in this country that the BRIDE's father picks up the tab for the entire wedding but the GROOM's father picks up the bar tab. Seems very sexist to me but I've heard this a few times now.
Seems very sexist to assume that either father picks up the tab for anything, without regard to the mothers’ contributions.
One thing that humbles me deeply is to see that human genius has its limits while human stupidity does not. | | Alexandre Dumas, fils
delamer
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Re: How much would you budget for a typical wedding?

Post by delamer »

rightdecisions wrote: Thu May 13, 2021 9:49 pm It is normal to have both families chip in? In today's world everyone wants equality...This is a great opportunity to split the cost, right?
In my area and socio-economic circle, it’s typical for each family and the engaged couple to cover some of the costs based on their ability and desire to do so.

My golden rule is that I never tell other people how to spend their money (except maybe on Bogkeheads :wink:) and expect the same courtesy from them.

We gave our adult child an amount that we were comfortable chipping in, and that was that. I have a general idea how much the engaged couple and the other parents spent, but our contribution was arrived at independently and early on.
One thing that humbles me deeply is to see that human genius has its limits while human stupidity does not. | | Alexandre Dumas, fils
RetiredCSProf
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Re: How much would you budget for a typical wedding?

Post by RetiredCSProf »

techiegirl wrote: Wed May 12, 2021 9:02 pm
A former coworker, about 25 years ago, paid $40k for her daughter’s wedding. I was about his daughter’s age back then. I told him if I were his daughter, I would rather take the money and use it as a deposit for a house. I’m amazed back then and now how much people spend for weddings.
Watch the Netflix series, "Marriage or Mortgage." In each episode, the bride and groom have about $30K to spend on either their dream wedding or a downpayment on a home. This is in Atlanta, GA. A wedding planner and a real estate agent compete to win "Team Wedding" or "Team House." Spoiler alert: Did you know that a ranch-dressing fountain is a thing at a wedding celebration?
Jablean
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Re: How much would you budget for a typical wedding?

Post by Jablean »

Impatience wrote: Wed May 12, 2021 6:21 pm
supalong52 wrote: Wed May 12, 2021 5:59 pm
Impatience wrote: Wed May 12, 2021 5:57 pm My plan is to use an Airbnb to save significantly on venue fees and ignore a lot of traditional “wedding stuff”. Especially anything marketed to weddings specifically. As long as there’s good food, decent booze, and lots of music, that’s enough for us.
Most Airbnbs that I have seen prohibit parties. Have you found one that will accommodate a wedding?
I figure I’ll just message the owners of a few likely ones and offer a hefty deposit and/or extra cleaning fees. There’s a ton of mansions up for rent in Arizona that have 8+ bedrooms, it’s hard to imagine they aren’t open to holding some kind of event as long as we’re vetted ahead of time and make it worth their while. It should still be cheaper than a formal venue.
Please don't do that to the airBNB neighbors. It's not the house owner that is inconvenienced, they don't live there or next door. There's a reason that reception halls etc were created and zoned for.
Grt2bOutdoors
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Re: How much would you budget for a typical wedding?

Post by Grt2bOutdoors »

MrCheapo wrote: Thu May 13, 2021 9:43 pm Sorry to hijack your thread but I didn't want to start a new one on such a related question.

Is it the standard case in this country that the BRIDE's father picks up the tab for the entire wedding but the GROOM's father picks up the bar tab. Seems very sexist to me but I've heard this a few times now.
This is an old tradition but moving on with the times and pushing into the modern era - it's usually split down the middle or not (depending on who has the deeper pockets) and if the bride/groom to be want something extra then they pay for it. There are always outliers where the father of the bride insists on paying for the wedding and the extras and I would not call it "luck" for the groom as that might set a precedence for carrying on the tradition down the road. That wedding I attended, the $100K event complete with band and a jazz ensemble and piano player at the cigar bar/after dinner drinks room? That was paid for by the father of the bride, the groom paid for his tux, limo, honeymoon trip and the engagement ring. :) The couple is still together so published research and surveys don't mean much.
"One should invest based on their need, ability and willingness to take risk - Larry Swedroe" Asking Portfolio Questions
Grt2bOutdoors
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Re: How much would you budget for a typical wedding?

Post by Grt2bOutdoors »

RetiredCSProf wrote: Thu May 13, 2021 10:12 pm
techiegirl wrote: Wed May 12, 2021 9:02 pm
A former coworker, about 25 years ago, paid $40k for her daughter’s wedding. I was about his daughter’s age back then. I told him if I were his daughter, I would rather take the money and use it as a deposit for a house. I’m amazed back then and now how much people spend for weddings.
Spoiler alert: Did you know that a ranch-dressing fountain is a thing at a wedding celebration?
There are many "things" at wedding celebrations, here are a few from the ones I've attended over the years:
1) Venetian hour - at the end of the night but not really because it's literally an hour long of a smorgaboard of every kind of imaginable dessert and sugary candy and chocolate treats, pastry, cookies, cotton candy machine, crepes freshly made complete with cut strawberries and fudge sauce, hot pretzel machine, fresh made waffles, apertifs, world coffee selection and wedding cake. Bonus: you get to take home doggie-bags of breakfast because the party ends early in the morning the next day!
2) Ice sculpture that pours out flavored vodkas of your choice - because the bar doesn't have a big enough selection? - this was tossed in gratis by the venue I used for my own wedding so who was I to argue? :wink:
3) sushi bars
4) Freshly made cigars by expert cigar makers - in person at the venue. Complete with the fresh tobacco leaf. I didn't know you could hire this out, but yes, there is a service for anything you might want so long as you can pay for it.
5) Mariachi band - that was at the last wedding I attended recently. The DJ wasn't enough.
"One should invest based on their need, ability and willingness to take risk - Larry Swedroe" Asking Portfolio Questions
vested1
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Re: How much would you budget for a typical wedding?

Post by vested1 »

My first wedding was on us, although her father wanted it to be extravagant but wouldn't pay for anything. We spent next to nothing, which is approximately what we had left after paying the bills. That marriage lasted 3 years because my wife was just marking time until she graduated college before moving away. Easy come easy go.

My second wedding was over the top with a live band, a full bar, 300 guests, a nice hall, a full sit down dinner for all guests with rib eyes, chicken, or fish. No idea what that cost, but the liquor was delivered in a packed panel truck. Father-in-law paid for it all. Easily 100k in today's dollars. That marriage lasted 10 years, which was a miracle. My wife's brother came up to me at the reception and told me I had just made the biggest mistake of my life. He was right.

My third marriage was on us. We refused to accept any money from her parents. My sisters prepared the buffet and I paid for the ingredients. We hired a DJ for about $300. We got married in a beautiful city park that we reserved with the use of an historic city owned building, all at no cost. Total expense, maybe $1,000. Still married after 29 years and couldn't be happier.

Our oldest daughter from my wife's first marriage was married in a county park in a very natural setting. They refused to accept any money. That marriage lasted 10 years. Cost, < $1,000. Her 2nd marriage is a good one of 1 year so far and they refused to accept any money, so we paid for a honeymoon trip to Hawaii. We also gave them the down payment for their house. They got married by a Justice of the Peace. Cost, less than $500.

Our second daughter from my 2nd marriage was married in Vegas and my 3rd wife and I paid all the modest expenses, about $4,000. That marriage to an abusive spouse lasted 5 years. Her 2nd marriage to a different abusive spouse was extravagant. My 3rd wife and I were keeping our heads above water while still working and trying vainly to save for retirement, relying mainly on my wife's future pension and a future lump sum retirement for me. We threw in $6,000, which was more than we could afford. The grooms father paid for the flowers and the photography. My new son-in-law exhausted his 30k savings for the reception at an exclusive hotel, even though they had already been married at home. The father ridiculed me regularly for being cheap during the entire time they were married, which I ignored. He was worth about 10 million. That marriage lasted 10 years.

We have supported all three of our daughters with unsolicited financial gifts which were all a complete surprise throughout the years when we could afford it, not because those gifts were expected or given from a sense of guilt, but to instill the meaning of a gift in them. None of the gifts came with strings attached.

The moral of the story is that a marriage ceremony and reception take place in a single day, but a good marriage lasts a lifetime. The money spent on the ceremony and reception means very little in the long run, and has no bearing on the serious commitment it takes to maintain a successful marriage.
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TomatoTomahto
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Re: How much would you budget for a typical wedding?

Post by TomatoTomahto »

rightdecisions wrote: Thu May 13, 2021 9:49 pm It is normal to have both families chip in? In today's world everyone wants equality...This is a great opportunity to split the cost, right?
And to further the equality, it’s also an opportunity not to make financial contributions dependent on lifestyle choices. We are perhaps obsessive about giving equally and gift the same amount annually to my 4 kids (of which only 2 are my wife’s biological children). In the US, it is now easier to live life as you choose, but there are still obstacles (legal, financial, reputational, etc) to some lifestyles. As to “everyone wants equality;” I can only wish for a world where that is true.
I get the FI part but not the RE part of FIRE.
rascott
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Re: How much would you budget for a typical wedding?

Post by rascott »

carloslando wrote: Wed May 12, 2021 6:25 pm
Surfcaster wrote: Wed May 12, 2021 5:53 pm No such thing as a typical wedding.

More info would be required.

Wedding in church with no facility fee or a large
Banquet hall?
Alcohol served? - typically a big adder

Etc.
Assume a private venue and banquet hall. Costs cover wedding+reception. Alcohol served.
How many guests? Around here figure $100/person for a mid range type facility with open bar.

$25-$30k seems in the ballpark of what you're looking at (all- in) ... but so much of this depends upon the venues chosen, flowers, entertainment (DJ or live band), dress, etc.... all add up.
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Re: How much would you budget for a typical wedding?

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