Post # 1
Fiance and I are currently in a bit of a spitting match over how much we want to spend (OK, so that’s an exaggeration, but we’re not nose-to-nose on it) for our 65-person wedding. Right now, my budget calculations are coming up in the$ 10-13,000 range for a ceremony + dinner/cocktail reception and a couple hosted drinks, but I’d rather spend somewhere in the $6000-8000 range.
Our financial situation at the moment is not bad, but it’s not great. We have about $9000 saved up for the wedding, and a little more money in some other investments. However, Fiance has a $30,000 student loan that he’s just started paying off in the last year. I don’t have any debt so this is a bit scary to me.
I’ve figured out that I don’t want to sacrifice quality for quantity – I’d rather have less people at a venue I love than more people at a sub-optimal venue. I would be just as happy to pare down our guest list and have a smaller (ie. 40 person) guest list so that we can put a little of our money towards our honeymoon and/our house fund and/or FI’s debt. However, he really thinks that we should go all out and have the wedding that we really want rather than to make cuts because of the money. From his perspective, we have our whole lives together to save up for other things, and he has an 8 year payment plan for his loan, and does not want me paying into it.
SO….all this to say, for those of you who spent the max of your budget, was it worth it? Do you regret not going cheaper? Or those of you who went cheaper, do you regret that? Any other advice based on our situation?
Thanks so much ladies. You guys are awesome.
Post # 4
I would not be okay spending top dollar if either of us had any sort of debt. I would be on the same page as you. And it would bother me if my Darling Husband didn’t feel the same way about debt as I do. For my Darling Husband and I, we both view debt as a bad thing and try to avoid it at all cost.
We spent a lot on our wedding, we both agree it was worth it. But we do not have any debt and we already own our home.
Post # 5
There are definitely some things I wish we had gone cheaper on like flowers, invitations and lighting, but the photographer, videographer and band I have NO regrets about and they were all at the top of our budget!
I was totally ‘that bride’ who went on and on about spending a lot on invitations was stupid, then once I saw how beautiful they could get if you just spent a little more and a little more I caved. Looking back I really wish I had cheaped out on them since everyone just throws them away and the cheap ones are still really nice!
Post # 6
I’ll be honest; we both agreed it was a beautiful day and we are generally happy with everything. However, I’m personally not happy with spending as much as we did because some things I don’t think were worth the money or the guests didn’t take advantage of things as much as I wanted them to or thought that they would. We’re in the process of possibly purchasing a home, and given that our wedding was so recent, I can’t help but think some of the things I didn’t really need could now be new cabinets or fixtures. So my point here is, if you and your guests will really love and enjoy all of it and you can both afford it comfortably, then do it. But if you really think you can do without some things and it won’t be noticed, that’s worth considering then.
Things I would’ve cheaped out on were: unlimited photobooth hours – mostly because people kind of forgot about it as the night wore on; cute escort card display – okay, so everyone I’ve seen in person since then have kept theirs, but in all honesty, I think I would’ve been happy with simple tent cards; overspending on photography because I didn’t do a good job of vetting out photographers to begin with (lost a couple thousand dollars because of a last-minute switch); and trying to go cheap by not booking a nearby hotel and then discovering I needed to after all (and paying pricey last-minute rates).
We also have a lot more student loan debt than you two (grad school for both of us), but that debt doesn’t necessarily scare me as it’s healthy debt (if there’s such a thing) and it can be deferred if something happens (e.g. layoff, illness, etc.). So if this is the only debt that is concerning you, then I wouldn’t worry that much about it.
Post # 7
@lilbluebird: Thanks for your thoughtful comment. We both did grad school as well 🙂 I’m encouraged to hear you referring to student debt as healthy debt.
@lilbluebird and @moderndaisy: You are both right, there are a few things that we could save money on that no one would really notice or that could be even fun. E.G I’ve been thinking about going with a less expensive, cocktail syle wedding dress, and going budget on things like invites (I have no qualms sending out digital invitations and having an online RSVP list – saves paper and $), as well as wedding favors ( I found some really cute personalized chocolates for 40 cents each). I figure no one will really notice that stuff but it could save us hundreds…
Post # 8
@yellowshoe: I hear you. Debt is scary! I have always avoided it and have been fortunate to be able to do so. However, Fiance feels that his student debt was a vital part of gaining the skills and qualifications for the career that he’s now in. So, theoretically, it should pay itself off. I hope he’s right! 😉
Post # 9
@hopestruck: If you truly would be okay with all of those swaps, then do it! I forgot to mention that Darling Husband and I totally thought the way you two think in that it is better to host less people and show everyone a great time than to host 2x or 3x as many people and then to do with less per person (in terms of enjoyment). Your wedding guest list is about the size of ours and it was great. I was able to make do with a lot less of the traditional throwaway things, such as programs and individual menus. Yes, it’s amazing how a hundred here and a hundred there can add up (to your favor or not).
Post # 10
I’m in a really similar situation to you. My FH has a big student loan debt, and I’m debt free. However, he currently makes more than I do, so he should be able to pay it off without any help from me. We’re having about 60 people at the wedding. I’ve never wanted to spend a lot on a wedding, and I was pushing for a lower budget. He wanted to spend more. We tried to compromise and pick a budget in the middle. However, we underestimated the cost of some things, and our final budget is closer to his. The wedding is next week, so I’m not sure whether I’ll feel like we made the right choice.
My suggestion would be to pick a budget that is not your max so that you have a little room in case you end up paying more than you expected. My other piece of advice is to prioritize what is most important to each of you. We really wanted good food, photography, and a great venue. We didn’t care as much about flowers and decided not to do a cake at all. With your budget, you’ll have to make some compromises. So, think about which things you really care about and consider doing DIY or cheaper options for the rest.
Post # 11
@star_fish: We have our wedding next weekend too and went over budget by nearly $3k. We’re having a 65 person wedding. The big things we spent wisely on. It’s all the little things! They add up! Things you don’of think of initially. Bc we didn’t have a traditional wedding venue , our rental budget was wayunderestimated! Also, we paid for some family/BM/friend’s lodging bc my FI’s KS guests don’t have much. Also, tipping vendors, small decoration details. And I’m not going nuts either! My dress was $800, venue was $1250 (in sf bay area that’s very cheap). My wedding ring was $35 (I’m only going to wear my ering so it’s symbolic), afriend is dj’ing, my friend is doing photography for thousands less than she normally charges, my other friends are bartending, etc. And STILL over budget! I do feel kind of bad. My Fiance is debt free and we’re not technically going into debt over it, but I have significant student loans and we don’t have much in savings! So yes, guilt. This $16k could have been put toward travel or savings and we could have eloped!
Post # 12
Well we got fed up with the increasing costs of the wedding and nixed it. Now we’re doing a destination wedding, which will cost half and having a pot luck reception in my home town on Thanksgiving (a month later). Our budget was at 17K and could have easily gotten up to 20K once the day arrived. Too much for one day!
We couldn’t be happier about our decision because we’ll get a once in a lifetime trip with our families for ~$10K (incl flying our photogs/videogs down). Now mind you not all our family is happy about it, but that’s what the reception is for.
Just remember you can’t please everybody! If you do, the one sure thing is that you and your Fiance will not be … happy.
Post # 13
I might not worry about the student debt thing that much, as long as you and your fiance as comfortable making the monthly payments. EVERYONE I know (including myself has pretty substantial student loans to pay off). I’m an accountant and do some financial planning and often times, it makes more sense to not pay off the student loans up front because the interest rate on those loans are typically really low if you want to put the money to invest in a house or something else instead. Of course, if you already own a house and have extra money laying around, I would by all means pay it off. My fiance and I combined have almost $100k in student debt and the monthly payments compared to our income is negligible.
If those extra 25 people are important to you to have them there, I’d lean toward splurging a little myself. If not, I’d for sure save some money and go cheaper.
Honestly, you sound really financially responsible and look like you in much better shape to get married than most couples. At least you are aware of your budget and will stick to it. A lot of my friends just kept tacking things on and almost died when they got the final bill…
Good luck in whatever you decide!
Post # 14
I think it’s relative to what’s important to you. Meaning – I felt like I maxed my budget but didn’t go crazy. If I went crazy (and got my dream venue) it would have been 2-3x’s what my budget was.
I think it all comes down prioritizing what’s most important for you. If it’s venue – then there is your answer. For me, it was good food and flowing alcohol – so, I made sure I picked a venue that had reasonable food prices with good food… and allowed us to bring in our own alcohol. The venue was fine – certainly not my dream venue, but lovely in it’s own way. The other factors were FAR more important to me and everything else was secondary.
I will say that I under-budgeted on things I didn’t end up compromising on – mostly our attire – because I didn’t figure in alterations cost OR shoes/jewelry costs. DH ended up wanting to buy a tuxedo – and by the time you start adding up, cuff links, tuxedo shirt, shoes, bow tie – it was a GRIP of cash. I didn’t figure in jewelry costs or dress alterations costs…. those pretty much blew my attire budget to smithereens.
Post # 15
Wow, some really awesome advice from each of you ladies. Thank you SO SO much. I really do appreciate all this feedback. Given what you’re saying, and a coversation that Fiance and I had with his parents last night (who aren’t in a position to help us financially but were GREAT to talk to about planning), I think we are now leaning towards a slightly less costly approach (either with fewer guests or a more relaxed reception). I’d be super happy if I could fit in most everything we want for under $8,000, and based on some number-plugging and reconfiguring, I think we can swing it for the whole 65. I worked out that by doing an evening (after dinner time) cocktail reception with hors d’oeuvres & a champagne toast (both hosted by us) and then a cash bar for the rest of it, we should be able to meet our minimum food & beverage amounts and keep our total reception bill under $5,000. 🙂
@Aurora403: Your post made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside! I appreciate the compliment. I agree with you that it does make sense to pay off loans over the longer term as well. I’ve heard this from a few people.