Wedding Finances-Today

Non-investing personal finance issues including insurance, credit, real estate, taxes, employment and legal issues such as trusts and wills
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dm200
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Location: Washington DC area

Re: Wedding Finances-Today

Post by dm200 » Fri Oct 04, 2019 11:59 am

dm200 wrote:
Fri Oct 04, 2019 11:48 am
likegarden wrote:
Fri Oct 04, 2019 8:16 am
I wonder if there is data which relates total cost of weddings to number of years staying married. We had little money many years ago, had a low cost and enjoyable wedding and are still married now for 48 years.
DW and I just passed 41 years!
We had a modest cost reception in a church hall (same location as the wedding), hired a band (modest cost, as I recall), bar and bartender, and my late mother-in-law did much/most of the buffet food preparation. I think we had 100+ guests.
Our costs were moderate because: 1. Held in church hall with modest rental fee for parishioners - no increased charges or cost for having more guests; 2. Mother-in-law prepared much of the food ahead of time. We hired 1 or 2 folks to help with the food; 3. Got a good deal on the band (not sure how we did this); 4. We bought the beer and alcohol, and mixers - just hired one bartender. The bar tending place suggested two, but we stuck with one - and it was fine. The line was not long - and we did not want folks to drink too much. Nobody there got drunk!; 5. We had very nice, but modest flowers; 6. We hired one photographer. Videography had not yet become available or popular; 7. Some good friends helped with a potential "last minute" disaster with the wedding cake.
I recall that everyone seemed happy, even though a few things turned out to be a bit of a mess. For some reason, I cannot recall why, the receiving line did not work out all that well. We had a head table for the wedding party - but we ended up not using it much at all. We only had two "attendants" each - no big bridal party!. The bride was 30 minutes late (mother-in-law was still finishing attendants dresses) - but she eventually showed up. We specifically invited and welcomed children to attend. I think having so many children there made the whole thing much less "formal" and much more "casual" - and enjoyable. We were also able to invite everyone that it made sense to invite. We actually could have nicely accommodated more.
In the end, all those who attended the wedding and reception seemed very happy and nobody (as far as we knew) was angry or upset about anything.
I do not remember out total costs, but we did not "finance" anything. Mothe-in-law and father-in-law paid for a few things (such as the food for the reception) by my wife and I (mainly me, since I had a much higher paying job) paid the rest.

I recall that we paid $200 for the church hall use (since we were active there, we could have paid less). $100 to the church and $100 to the priest. Seems small today, but consider inflation for 40+ years.

oldfatguy
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Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2018 1:38 pm

Re: Wedding Finances-Today

Post by oldfatguy » Fri Oct 04, 2019 12:23 pm

Jags4186 wrote:
Fri Oct 04, 2019 11:52 am

This article might be interesting to people comparing what they did 40 years ago to today:

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.buzzf ... st-in-2017

An inflation adjusted $10k wedding in 1974 cost >$42k in 2017. Just a warning there is some profanity.
Entertaining article, but she is comparing the cost of things in a specific location, using national CPI. The cost difference would be much lower if she used San Francisco area CPI and/or SF wage growth for that period of time.

donall
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Re: Wedding Finances-Today

Post by donall » Fri Oct 04, 2019 4:45 pm

We gave dd $35K for her wedding to use however she wanted. We could not afford more, as we also had to pay the same amount for another child’s wedding. Best decision we ever made was not to be involved with the wedding planning as there would have been a clash with the boglehead mentality and dd’s vision.

Dd made some excellent decisions on DJ, dress, and flowers. But costs quickly mounted as son in law has a large family and the guest list exploded. Other costs such as hotel suites and transportation added thousands more. Luckily guests, especially family, were generous.

It was beautiful wedding, with the blending of two cultures, notable that everyone danced and had a wonderful time.

Advice? Set a budget and allow your daughter to plan the wedding. Help only if asked! Settle as many bills ahead of time as possible. Have wedding insurance! Day of wedding coordinator is helpful, as the wedding party is occupied all day with preparations, photos, etc. Instruct young relatives to ask anyone not dancing to dance.

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pennywise
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Re: Wedding Finances-Today

Post by pennywise » Mon Oct 07, 2019 1:09 pm

donall wrote:
Fri Oct 04, 2019 4:45 pm
We gave dd $35K for her wedding to use however she wanted. We could not afford more, as we also had to pay the same amount for another child’s wedding. Best decision we ever made was not to be involved with the wedding planning as there would have been a clash with the boglehead mentality and dd’s vision.

Dd made some excellent decisions on DJ, dress, and flowers. But costs quickly mounted as son in law has a large family and the guest list exploded. Other costs such as hotel suites and transportation added thousands more. Luckily guests, especially family, were generous.

Advice? Set a budget and allow your daughter to plan the wedding. Help only if asked! Settle as many bills ahead of time as possible. Have wedding insurance! Day of wedding coordinator is helpful, as the wedding party is occupied all day with preparations, photos, etc. Instruct young relatives to ask anyone not dancing to dance.
Thank you for sharing your experience and advice. As we've started crunching numbers and having conversations about options, I think we are moving quickly toward the excellent suggestion you and others have made: tell them what we will cover then let them handle the wedding planning.

At this point, what we are comfortable doing is committing to fund the cost of the wedding and reception 'package' because a resort wedding seems the likeliest option. And resorts of course have all the things needed for weddings like staff, tables, chairs, food and decor. All done with one payment to one vendor.

My original budget is rising for precisely the same reason as listed above; larger than originally estimated group of family and friends. I think we will still be at a number that's not crazy expensive compared to our original guesstimate so everything seems to be moving along well. Then too since this is 1.5 years out and contracts feature a series of payments, we may well underwrite other things as and if they come up.

However the basic suggestion of funding without micro managing is a very good one and I am very appreciative of the many experienced folks in this topic who reiterated that sound advice. It is good to hear it now at the beginning instead of risking hurt feelings and misunderstandings during what should be a happy time for them and us!

getthatmarshmallow
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Re: Wedding Finances-Today

Post by getthatmarshmallow » Mon Oct 07, 2019 6:09 pm

Twelve years ago we spent around $8000. 75 guests, reception with an open bar. My parents paid for the reception and I did the rest, including a $90 floor sample eBay find for the wedding gown and the invitations, pre-Cana classes and so forth. Spendy, but cashflowed it as a grad student and no regrets. And my sister just rewore her bridesmaid's gown to a gala in DC so everything looked good too.

The advice is offer is to keep the bridal magazines to a minimum as I think they work by making you think everyone is spending $40K so your $25K looks frugal.

wcinnn
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Re: Wedding Finances-Today

Post by wcinnn » Mon Oct 07, 2019 7:37 pm

Our 3 daughters were married in the last 10 years. For each I opened a new checking account, deposited 20K and handed the check book to the daughter. Kept one pad of checks for myself but never used any of them. Fancy weddings are not part of our value system. Education and travel we funded happily. We explained that the choice was theirs, take the money and run or have the kind of wedding they wanted. They all had weddings and spent the amount we gave them and more of their own or in laws ‘money. Daughters all felt that this was a good way of doing it. The conflicts over wedding choices can be intense. We had none. I regarded it as the ‘price’ paid to get grandkids, which is the very best.

softwaregeek
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Re: Wedding Finances-Today

Post by softwaregeek » Tue Oct 08, 2019 12:44 pm

In 5 years nobody will remember what they are or how the flowers were.

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dm200
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Location: Washington DC area

Re: Wedding Finances-Today

Post by dm200 » Wed Oct 09, 2019 9:00 am

softwaregeek wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 12:44 pm
In 5 years nobody will remember what they are or how the flowers were.
Probably true!

What is more likely that others will remember (and perhaps hold a grudge for decades) is being slighted for something related to the wedding - perhaps not being invited, or any one of many kinds of things that happen at the wedding or reception.

It has always been amazing to me, over the years, the various kinds of things folks hold a grudge over - or various kinds of family feuds.

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