Advice for how to fund my wedding

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noallusions2
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Advice for how to fund my wedding

Post by noallusions2 » Tue Jul 08, 2014 2:54 pm

Hello!

I am looking for some advice on how to fund my upcoming wedding in 3 months. I estimate my wedding costs will be in the neighborhood of $45,000. I know this isn't a smart financial decision, but decided to do it anyway. If you want a full explanation of why the cost is so high, check out the edit at end of the post.

My retirement accounts are maxed and well-situated and I have no significant debt. I currently have $207,000 in a Vanguard taxable investment account which consists of 90% Total Stock Market Index Admiral (VTSAX) and 10% Total International Stock Market Admiral (VTIAX). I was lucky enough to get into the market during the 2008/2009 downturn so about $50,000 are gains on my investment, most of which qualify as long-term gains.

In addition to my securities, I am sitting on $95,000 in cash and I am saving $1,500 per month.

I anticipate that there is a better than 50/50 chance that I will purchase a home in the next 3-5 years and will require cash for a down-payment.

So I am considering two options for funding the wedding later this year:

Option 1: Leave my investments alone and use the $95,000 cash reserves. This would leave me at $50,000 in cash afterwards which would be about 7 months of emergency fund at current net salary. This option puts me at greater risk of having a smaller down payment for a home in 3-5 years if the market turns down.

Option 2: Sell some of my securities to fund the wedding. This would leave me with a bigger guaranteed house down payment in the future if I need it. My thinking is that I was fortunate to get into the market and just the right moment in 2009 and with the market currently at record highs, future returns over the next 3-5 years may be more modest. Normally I would not attempt to time the market, but right now I have a significant expense in front of me and need to decide if now is the time to take some profits.

I think I lean toward Option 2 but I would like to hear what others think.

Thanks!

EDIT:

If you don't care why I'm spending this much on a wedding, you can skip the rest of this post.

There are many folks here who only want to focus on the stupidity of spending $45K on a wedding so some explanation may help.

Let me first say that I completely agree with everyone that this is not a good use of money from a purely financial perspective. Take a look at my profile and you’ll see that while I don’t post much, I have been a Bogleheads reader and believer for many years. If you had asked me to spend this kind of money years ago, I would have laughed you out of the room. But then i met my future wife and we began planning how we’d get married.

[Personally identifiable situation removed by admin LadyGeek]
Last edited by noallusions2 on Tue Jul 08, 2014 10:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

awval999
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Re: Advice for how to fund my wedding

Post by awval999 » Tue Jul 08, 2014 2:59 pm

Option two. Sell high. Enjoy your gains. Enjoy your wedding.

lululu
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Re: Advice for how to fund my wedding

Post by lululu » Tue Jul 08, 2014 3:02 pm

How is it possible to spend this much on a wedding? Are there not lower cost alternatives that are acceptable?

What happens if you lose your job, will you and your DH be happy then that you whistled $45,000 down the wind?

awval999
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Re: Advice for how to fund my wedding

Post by awval999 » Tue Jul 08, 2014 3:05 pm

lululu wrote:How is it possible to spend this much on a wedding? Are there not lower cost alternatives that are acceptable?

What happens if you lose your job, will you and your DH be happy then that you whistled $45,000 down the wind?
The OP clearly states the amount of this wedding is not up for discussion. And has already stated that it's not the best use of capital.

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Will do good
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Re: Advice for how to fund my wedding

Post by Will do good » Tue Jul 08, 2014 3:10 pm

Never mind. Comment deleted.

Wish you the best of luck.

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mhc
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Re: Advice for how to fund my wedding

Post by mhc » Tue Jul 08, 2014 3:15 pm

Option 1. You can always sell investments if necessary when it comes time to buy the house. This way you avoid paying taxes until you really need to. Plus, your cash is not earning you any money.

Congrats on the wedding. Sounds like it will be really nice.

dguad4
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Re: Advice for how to fund my wedding

Post by dguad4 » Tue Jul 08, 2014 3:20 pm

I would go with option 1.

If you are willing to wait the the 5 years before buying the house and can still put away $1500 a month will be sitting on ~150K of cash again (which in my opinion will be enough to put *20% down on a house and still have a sizable emergency fund).

*depending on how much you think you are going to spend on the house!

Either way, best of luck, I am also going through wedding process! :moneybag :moneybag :moneybag

Retread
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Re: Advice for how to fund my wedding

Post by Retread » Tue Jul 08, 2014 3:27 pm

I realize the expense of $45,000 is not up for discussion, but I can't help but wonder how you got within 90 days of this coming to fruition without a clear idea as to how you were going to manage this expense. As others have said, good luck to you. Come back in a few years and tell us how the standard you set with your wedding has affected other expenses in your lives.
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TimeRunner
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Re: Advice for how to fund my wedding

Post by TimeRunner » Tue Jul 08, 2014 3:30 pm

Simply: Good luck to you both! :sharebeer
Last edited by TimeRunner on Tue Jul 08, 2014 4:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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prudent
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Re: Advice for how to fund my wedding

Post by prudent » Tue Jul 08, 2014 3:39 pm

I'm with mhc - option 1.

noallusions2
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Re: Advice for how to fund my wedding

Post by noallusions2 » Tue Jul 08, 2014 3:53 pm

Retread wrote:I realize the expense of $45,000 is not up for discussion, but I can't help but wonder how you got within 90 days of this coming to fruition without a clear idea as to how you were going to manage this expense. As others have said, good luck to you. Come back in a few years and tell us how the standard you set with your wedding has affected other expenses in your lives.
Bruce
[OT comment removed by admin LadyGeek] I have two crystal clear ideas of how to pay for this and I'm just deciding which is best.

[Personally identifiable situation removed by admin LadyGeek]
Last edited by noallusions2 on Tue Jul 08, 2014 8:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

ResearchMed
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Re: Advice for how to fund my wedding

Post by ResearchMed » Tue Jul 08, 2014 4:02 pm

noallusions2 wrote:
Retread wrote:I realize the expense of $45,000 is not up for discussion, but I can't help but wonder how you got within 90 days of this coming to fruition without a clear idea as to how you were going to manage this expense. As others have said, good luck to you. Come back in a few years and tell us how the standard you set with your wedding has affected other expenses in your lives.
Bruce
[OT comment removed by admin LadyGeek] I have two crystal clear ideas of how to pay for this and I'm just deciding which is best.

[Personally identifiable situation removed by admin LadyGeek]
Take a deep breath, and please continue to ENJOY THE PLANNING.

It sounds like you have a very special wedding planned, with travel for loved ones to join you.

You stated that the amount you are spending is not the topic here, so just IGNORE any such comments.
(If you were needing to borrow the money on high interest credit card debt, it would probably be harder for many of us to "let it go". But clearly you have been planning both the wedding and future home purchase. We don't get to make those decisions for you, so please don't let this spoil what should be among the happiest occasions of your life. You are fortunate to be able to have everyone gathered with you to share those moments.)

And you don't own any of us any explanations.

RM

nukewerker
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Re: Advice for how to fund my wedding

Post by nukewerker » Tue Jul 08, 2014 4:06 pm

I vote option 1. No need to take a tax hit if you don't have to. Not sure where you live but 50-75k can be a decent down payment on a house around here.

On the wedding deal, of course you can do shotgun weddings cheaper but if you want to have what a lot of people consider normal weddings now-it can easily approach 50k. I naively set a budget of 10k for our wedding 4 years ago. By the time we hired a photographer, rented the 70s dated convention center, and got food for 50 people, that budget was blown haha. Its insane. Shotgun wedding around 10k. Average Wedding 25-50k. Extravagant wedding 50k-100k. Even Dave Ramsey will tell you not to cheap out on your wedding. He won't tell you to put it on a cc but thats not what you are doing. I stopped counting ours. I think it was over 40k by the time it was done. Worked a year and a half of OT to pay for it.

DSInvestor
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Re: Advice for how to fund my wedding

Post by DSInvestor » Tue Jul 08, 2014 4:22 pm

WIth 95K cash and saving 18K/yr, I'd suggest option 1. This brings you to 50K. If you stop reinvesting dividends in the taxable account (~4K on 200K assets), you're accumulating 22K/yr in savings. You'd be back up to 100K cash in 2 years. 160K in 5 yrs. If you need more cash when you buy your house, sell some of your taxable holdings at that time but you may not need to.

If your spouse will be working you may be able to rebuild your cash reserves even faster.

You mentioned "taking profits" in your OP. If your portfolio is currently overweight stocks, I suggest rebalancing in your tax advantaged accounts where there will be no tax consequences to exchange stock funds for bond funds or stable value.
Last edited by DSInvestor on Tue Jul 08, 2014 4:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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noallusions2
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Re: Advice for how to fund my wedding

Post by noallusions2 » Tue Jul 08, 2014 4:33 pm

DSInvestor wrote: Will you spouse be working?
Yes, she will be working at about $45,000 gross annual.

DSInvestor
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Re: Advice for how to fund my wedding

Post by DSInvestor » Tue Jul 08, 2014 4:36 pm

noallusions2 wrote:
DSInvestor wrote: Will you spouse be working?
Yes, she will be working at about $45,000 gross annual.
Good, she could max out a 401k and an IRA and still have take home cash to boost your cash savings.
Last edited by DSInvestor on Tue Jul 08, 2014 4:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Professor Emeritus
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Re: Advice for how to fund my wedding

Post by Professor Emeritus » Tue Jul 08, 2014 4:42 pm

Retread wrote:I realize the expense of $45,000 is not up for discussion, but I can't help but wonder how you got within 90 days of this coming to fruition without a clear idea as to how you were going to manage this expense.

This is not fair . He has the cash so he can clearly "manage" the expense. he wants advice as to whether management method A or b is better

Globalviewer58
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Re: Advice for how to fund my wedding

Post by Globalviewer58 » Tue Jul 08, 2014 4:47 pm

What a generous gift!! Your generosity to include your family will bring years of joy that are priceless.

freddie
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Re: Advice for how to fund my wedding

Post by freddie » Tue Jul 08, 2014 4:53 pm

Clearly you should have everyone Skype in as you get married by the justice of the peace:)

I would vote for spending cash (your investing for 30+ years is my guess) but if your worried about market valuations, split the difference. Sell 30k of the highest cost basis, long term stock and take the rest out of cash.

noallusions2 wrote:
Retread wrote:I realize the expense of $45,000 is not up for discussion, but I can't help but wonder how you got within 90 days of this coming to fruition without a clear idea as to how you were going to manage this expense. As others have said, good luck to you. Come back in a few years and tell us how the standard you set with your wedding has affected other expenses in your lives.
Bruce
[OT comment removed by admin LadyGeek] I have two crystal clear ideas of how to pay for this and I'm just deciding which is best.

[Personally identifiable situation removed by admin LadyGeek].

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SecretAsianMan
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Re: Advice for how to fund my wedding

Post by SecretAsianMan » Tue Jul 08, 2014 5:15 pm

I like the feistiness! Maybe not quite as entertaining as sscritic's Chinese soap operas, but good fun all around.

SAM

lululu
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Re: Advice for how to fund my wedding

Post by lululu » Tue Jul 08, 2014 5:31 pm

Why not get married twice, once here with your family and once there with her family.

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cheese_breath
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Re: Advice for how to fund my wedding

Post by cheese_breath » Tue Jul 08, 2014 5:50 pm

Option 1. Cash is earning next to nothing anyway.
The surest way to know the future is when it becomes the past.

evancox10
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Re: Advice for how to fund my wedding

Post by evancox10 » Tue Jul 08, 2014 5:55 pm

Have you considered kick starter? It works for potato salad apparently
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/32 ... tato-salad

DualIncomeNoDebt
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Re: Advice for how to fund my wedding

Post by DualIncomeNoDebt » Tue Jul 08, 2014 5:56 pm

lululu wrote:Why not get married twice, once here with your family and once there with her family.
^ This.

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Ged
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Re: Advice for how to fund my wedding

Post by Ged » Tue Jul 08, 2014 6:01 pm

lululu wrote:Why not get married twice, once here with your family and once there with her family.
I have a Taiwanese friend who did something like this. She actually did two weddings and three receptions. One wedding and reception here and one wedding and two receptions in Taiwan.

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Raymond
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Re: Advice for how to fund my wedding

Post by Raymond » Tue Jul 08, 2014 6:05 pm

Option 1.

I get the feeling that you initially left out the details about you paying for your family members' travel expenses, just so you could administer a smackdown to us :twisted:

Because if you'd put that in your first post, everyone would have said, "Awww! What a wonderful and generous guy!"

But nooo, you just wanted to fool us into thinking you were spending it all on some Bridezilla-like orgy of over-the-top wedding cakes, a three-day open bar and one-time-only designer bridesmaid dresses :P

Well played, sir!
"Ritter, Tod und Teufel"

Rob Bertram
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Re: Advice for how to fund my wedding

Post by Rob Bertram » Tue Jul 08, 2014 6:33 pm

I was in a similar situation when I married in 2012. My wedding was somewhere around $45 - 50k, and I insisted on paying for as much as I could. Half of my family couldn't afford to come if I didn't. It's a fine use of your money. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. It sounds like you know how to save, so you will be fine in retirement. What's the point of money if you can't spend it on the people you love?

I vote for option 1. In 3-5 years when you're ready to buy a house, your savings rate will have replenished that money already.

Calm Man
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Re: Advice for how to fund my wedding

Post by Calm Man » Tue Jul 08, 2014 6:34 pm

Raymond wrote:Option 1.

I get the feeling that you initially left out the details about you paying for your family members' travel expenses, just so you could administer a smackdown to us :twisted:

Because if you'd put that in your first post, everyone would have said, "Awww! What a wonderful and generous guy!"

But nooo, you just wanted to fool us into thinking you were spending it all on some Bridezilla-like orgy of over-the-top wedding cakes, a three-day open bar and one-time-only designer bridesmaid dresses :P

Well played, sir!
Yes, I am glad you said it. I "played" as well and shouldn't have. Oh well, this doesn't happen often here.

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Kosmo
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Re: Advice for how to fund my wedding

Post by Kosmo » Tue Jul 08, 2014 6:46 pm

If filing your taxes as married filing jointly for this year will drop you down a tax bracket (or possibly not bump you up), then do option 2 and take the capital gains. Otherwise option 1.

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weltschmerz
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Re: Advice for how to fund my wedding

Post by weltschmerz » Tue Jul 08, 2014 7:06 pm

What an entertaining thread so far!

This is right up there with the threads about "which type of Porsche should I get" or "which $5000 wristwatch should I buy"?

Note to future posters:
If you're looking for financial advice, you've come to the right place, but just say that you're spending the money on something noble like long-term care for a parent or building a new pet shelter for your town. If you start right out talking about spending a ridiculous amount on a wedding, you are going to get LIT UP around here, and rightfully so.

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Toons
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Re: Advice for how to fund my wedding

Post by Toons » Tue Jul 08, 2014 7:08 pm

Option 2,,,Party On :happy
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Boglemama
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Re: Advice for how to fund my wedding

Post by Boglemama » Tue Jul 08, 2014 7:26 pm

Raymond wrote:Option 1.

I get the feeling that you initially left out the details about you paying for your family members' travel expenses, just so you could administer a smackdown to us :twisted:

Because if you'd put that in your first post, everyone would have said, "Awww! What a wonderful and generous guy!"

But nooo, you just wanted to fool us into thinking you were spending it all on some Bridezilla-like orgy of over-the-top wedding cakes, a three-day open bar and one-time-only designer bridesmaid dresses :P

Well played, sir!
+1

To come to the Bogelheads forum and say what your OP said without clarification is setting yourself up for feedback about ridiculous wedding costs. If you come to a forum where people follow a conservative/frugal mindset about money then don't get angry then you say that you are spending what some people make in a year for a wedding.

sambb
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Re: Advice for how to fund my wedding

Post by sambb » Tue Jul 08, 2014 7:36 pm

Do a little of option 1 and a little of option 2 - its called hedging your bets. Cant be all the way right or wrong, and it is a compromise.

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cheese_breath
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Re: Advice for how to fund my wedding

Post by cheese_breath » Tue Jul 08, 2014 7:48 pm

The Dan wrote:What an entertaining thread so far!

This is right up there with the threads about "which type of Porsche should I get" or "which $5000 wristwatch should I buy"?

Note to future posters:
If you're looking for financial advice, you've come to the right place, but just say that you're spending the money on something noble like long-term care for a parent or building a new pet shelter for your town. If you start right out talking about spending a ridiculous amount on a wedding, you are going to get LIT UP around here, and rightfully so.
Aw come on Dan. Lighten up. If OP was spending $45K on the reception alone I would agree with you. But good portion is going to enable his parents to attend the wedding and possibly experience a once in a lifetime experience in the bride's county.
The surest way to know the future is when it becomes the past.

fareastwarriors
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Re: Advice for how to fund my wedding

Post by fareastwarriors » Tue Jul 08, 2014 8:00 pm

Option 1. It's fine. This is one small bump in the long road of saving and investing.
Anyways congrats on the wedding. :beer

noallusions2
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Re: Advice for how to fund my wedding

Post by noallusions2 » Tue Jul 08, 2014 8:16 pm

Boglemama wrote:
Raymond wrote:Option 1.

I get the feeling that you initially left out the details about you paying for your family members' travel expenses, just so you could administer a smackdown to us :twisted:

Because if you'd put that in your first post, everyone would have said, "Awww! What a wonderful and generous guy!"

But nooo, you just wanted to fool us into thinking you were spending it all on some Bridezilla-like orgy of over-the-top wedding cakes, a three-day open bar and one-time-only designer bridesmaid dresses :P

Well played, sir!
+1

To come to the Bogelheads forum and say what your OP said without clarification is setting yourself up for feedback about ridiculous wedding costs. If you come to a forum where people follow a conservative/frugal mindset about money then don't get angry then you say that you are spending what some people make in a year for a wedding.
Ah, but I did offer a clarification of sorts. Right there in the second sentence of my post I acknowledged my agreement that this was not the best financial decision and I was not seeking advice on that choice. In fact, I wouldn't have offered any background at all if Retread's condescending reply hadn't so provoked me. Perhaps the lesson here is that you shouldn't make value judgements on decisions when you don't have all of the information and you weren't asked for your opinion on it in the first place. If the prospect of this expense so offends your sensibilities that you can't offer any constructive feedback on the actual question being asked, then perhaps the most respectful course of action is to abstain from the conversation altogether.

Anyway, my thanks to everyone who has offered constructive advice.
Last edited by noallusions2 on Tue Jul 08, 2014 8:41 pm, edited 3 times in total.

wesef
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Re: Advice for how to fund my wedding

Post by wesef » Tue Jul 08, 2014 8:36 pm

Raymond wrote: But nooo, you just wanted to fool us into thinking you were spending it all on some Bridezilla-like orgy of over-the-top wedding cakes, a three-day open bar and one-time-only designer bridesmaid dresses :P
You are drastically overestimating what kind of wedding $45k will buy you these days.

OP, because you're not providing an understanding of how the taxable account figures into your long-term financial planning, this is really just a market timing question. If it goes down, you will wish you had sold, because you don't seem committed to staying the course. If it goes up, you will have more for the downpayment. Either way, this board really isn't the place to ask those questions. If you've considered the tax implications, don't need the money long term, and think the market is headed down, then sell.

sambb
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Re: Advice for how to fund my wedding

Post by sambb » Tue Jul 08, 2014 8:37 pm

45k is cheap for the right spouse - i would spend twice that to wed the RIGHT spouse and family. That person will save you a heck of a lot more than 45k. It is an investment, not an expenditure. So, either option is probably ok, and thats why i favor a mix of option 1 and 2.

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TimeRunner
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Re: Advice for how to fund my wedding

Post by TimeRunner » Tue Jul 08, 2014 8:43 pm

I like how Kim Kardashian funded her wedding. "The New York Post estimated the couple may have pulled in up to $17.9 million by selling rights to a TV special and exclusives, including the engagement announcement and wedding photos, and accepting comped items such as the bride's three Wang dresses -- she changed twice after the ceremony -- the wedding invitations, the cake and Champagne."
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Re: Advice for how to fund my wedding

Post by joe8d » Tue Jul 08, 2014 8:45 pm

Clearly you should have everyone Skype in as you get married by the justice of the peace:)
Actually, my church broadcasts, on it's website, all masses,weddings and funerals for those that cannot physically attend,
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noallusions2
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Re: Advice for how to fund my wedding

Post by noallusions2 » Tue Jul 08, 2014 8:46 pm

TimeRunner wrote:I like how Kim Kardashian funded her wedding. "The New York Post estimated the couple may have pulled in up to $17.9 million by selling rights to a TV special and exclusives, including the engagement announcement and wedding photos, and accepting comped items such as the bride's three Wang dresses -- she changed twice after the ceremony -- the wedding invitations, the cake and Champagne."
I have made inquiries, but, to date, have not yet received any offers.

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Re: Advice for how to fund my wedding

Post by LadyGeek » Tue Jul 08, 2014 9:01 pm

I removed an off-topic comment and post. Let's tone down the "spirited discussion" and stay on-topic. As a reminder, see: Forum Policy
We expect this forum to be a place where people can feel comfortable asking questions and where debates and discussions are conducted in civil tones.
OP - Consider updating Post #1 to include the background as you describe. It might help put things in perspective from the start. Use the "Edit" button in the top right corner of the post.
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peppers
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Re: Advice for how to fund my wedding

Post by peppers » Tue Jul 08, 2014 9:25 pm

Option 1 Congratulations and Good Luck to you.

P.S. My daughter is getting married in a few weeks and the stacks of benjamins are flowing. It's only money, right? :)
"..the cavalry ain't comin' kid, you're on your own..."

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Watty
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Re: Advice for how to fund my wedding

Post by Watty » Tue Jul 08, 2014 9:42 pm

Is there any chance you will be in the 15% federal tax bracket after you are married and filing a joint return?

If so then you might qualify for the 0% capital gains tax rate so it would be less expensive to sell the stocks then.

island
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Re: Advice for how to fund my wedding

Post by island » Tue Jul 08, 2014 9:46 pm

mhc wrote:Option 1. You can always sell investments if necessary when it comes time to buy the house. This way you avoid paying taxes until you really need to. Plus, your cash is not earning you any money.

Congrats on the wedding. Sounds like it will be really nice.
That's what I was thinking.

Ignore the miser posts. [OT comment removed by admin LadyGeek]

Best wishes on your wedding.
Last edited by island on Tue Jul 08, 2014 9:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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JonnyDVM
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Re: Advice for how to fund my wedding

Post by JonnyDVM » Tue Jul 08, 2014 9:46 pm

I'd lean towards option one. It seems like you've been squirreling away the cash for this sort of expenditure and you won't take a tax hit like you would for selling off a big chunk of equities. Don't worry about what people think in regards to your wedding costs. It's your wedding, not anyone else's.
Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple. -Dr. Seuss

noallusions2
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Re: Advice for how to fund my wedding

Post by noallusions2 » Tue Jul 08, 2014 10:09 pm

Watty wrote:Is there any chance you will be in the 15% federal tax bracket after you are married and filing a joint return?

If so then you might qualify for the 0% capital gains tax rate so it would be less expensive to sell the stocks then.
No, I will remain in the 28% bracket when filing jointly.

noallusions2
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Re: Advice for how to fund my wedding

Post by noallusions2 » Tue Jul 08, 2014 10:46 pm

LadyGeek wrote: OP - Consider updating Post #1 to include the background as you describe. It might help put things in perspective from the start. Use the "Edit" button in the top right corner of the post.
I have edited my original post as suggested.

lululu
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Re: Advice for how to fund my wedding

Post by lululu » Wed Jul 09, 2014 5:45 am

TimeRunner wrote:I like how Kim Kardashian funded her wedding. "The New York Post estimated the couple may have pulled in up to $17.9 million by selling rights to a TV special and exclusives, including the engagement announcement and wedding photos, and accepting comped items such as the bride's three Wang dresses -- she changed twice after the ceremony -- the wedding invitations, the cake and Champagne."
How many times will this work for the same bride? :P

lululu
Posts: 1378
Joined: Thu Apr 10, 2014 4:23 pm

Re: Advice for how to fund my wedding

Post by lululu » Wed Jul 09, 2014 5:47 am

sambb wrote:45k is cheap for the right spouse - i would spend twice that to wed the RIGHT spouse and family. That person will save you a heck of a lot more than 45k. It is an investment, not an expenditure. So, either option is probably ok, and thats why i favor a mix of option 1 and 2.
I don't think the 45K is for the spouse, it's for the wedding.

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