Post # 1
I’m just starting wedding planning & looking for a venue. My parents have offered to pay for my wedding. They are well-off, they are both doctors, so they can afford what they have offered, nobody is going to strain their retirement or go into debt over this. FI’s family is very wealthy. Both put families are fairly large and close-knit. My parents have said they want my wedding to be what FI & I want, but they also want to pay for something nice that “won’t embarrass FI’s parents.” Our parents also get along really well and my folks want to include his in the planning even though they aren’t paying for it.
I never thought of myself as one to have a big, expensive wedding. I always thought I’d have a simple & small backyard BBQ or something like that. Because of FI’s large family, that’s not going to happen. So now we are trying to plan a garden wedding in New York City, and that is expensive!!! The whole thing would probably be about $60,000 with $55,000 or so from my parents. They are happy to spend that on my wedding, but I can’t wrap my brain around it. This venue seems perfect. It’s got a lot of natural beauty, so we wouldn’t have to do much to decorate. For a fancy/expensive wedding, I can’t think of a better place. It is what I want. But I am having trouble accepting that so much money will be spent on my wedding. I am having trouble reconciling myself with it because I don’t NEED a wedding so expensive, I don’t NEED it to be fancy, and I feel like I don’t deserve to spend so much of their money on myself. I am feeling really really guilty about it, even as my parents are really excited about it.
How do I reconcile myself to it? Or do I not? I know this is a very fortunate problem to have, so please don’t attack me for complaining about too much money. I know I’m very fortunate and privileged.
Post # 3
- Wedding: August 2013 - Brookfield Zoo
Nobody NEEDS to have an expensive wedding, just like nobody needs to have a wedding at all! If the financials aren’t going to hurt anyone, do not feel guilty about this. Your parents are excited about this, I’m assuming your fiance is excited, you should be excited too!! Try and look at it this way (which is how I’ve been justifying our wedding which is of course, not something we “need” and more expensive than what it “should” be) – this is one of the biggest events of your life. When else are you going to get a gathering of all the people you love from ALL the corners of your life, get to treat all of these people including yourself to a wonderful day, and celebrate yourself and your new husband?
Nobody needs any of this stuff, but everyone deserves it, including you!
Post # 4
Well, think of it this way. If you accept the money, you get to make them feel good. You get to make FI’s parents proud. You’re providing work for what will probably be a small army, once wait staff, florists and their assistants, etc. are hired. You’re stimulating the economy, and you’re showing your friends and the rest of your family one hell of a good time. I’m certainly not saying you NEED to spend that much for a good time, but let’s face it–usually, it helps.
You’re also saving yourself the insanity of the many months of furious DIY that some of us with … less fortunate financial situations are going to have to undertake in order to have a wedding as pretty. You get to show up and just be the bride, and relax with your guests because you know you hired competent professionals to take care of everything else.
Not trying to minimize your feelings on this, but IMO it’s a win-win. Your parents want to provide this and can afford to comfortably, so why not let them?
Post # 5
@wilfred: Good for you for having a realistic and pretty awesome outlook on the whole situation. It’s not your fault that your parents are capable, willing, and quite frankly, excited about throwing you a dream wedding. I would say to plan the wedding that you want, and as long as it fits into the budget, don’t feel bad. You got wrangled into having a larger wedding than you’d like, and with that comes a larger budget than you’d expect.
Be reasonable, pick things you love, and make this a dream wedding! If you like the idea of picnic/bbq food, why not make it a fun affair with sliders and mini pulled pork sandwiches, a french fry bar, etc.? Or, you could do a late night snack of all the fun foods if you wanted to keep the reception formal.
Post # 6
You’re lucky for being gifted so much; one thing that helps me when I feel overly-spoiled (which has been brought on from things as big as being gifted an all-expenses paid european vacation or as small as me buying myself a (superfluous) new pair of boots) is giving back. whether that’s giving money to someone in the streets, or adopting a local family (or two) for christmas, paying it forward can help you to feel “worthy” of such generosity. i find it’s even better when you get other people involved: go to the soup kitchen with a friend, get people at your work to come together to do christmas shoeboxes for children in third-world countries, or go with your fiance to help renovate houses with the local habitat for humanity.
*just wanted to add that i don’t just give of my time/money when i’m feeling guilty – it’s always an enriching experience, but i do find myself doing a bit extra when i feel like life is exceptionally good. ie. your wedding’s paid for thanks to the time and money of your parents, so now you have the luxury of putting some of the time and money you’d carved out for your wedding towards someone else’s well-being/happiness.
Post # 7
Thanks everyone! Your messages have helped me relax a little about our budget. So far we have worked with independent artisans we wanted to support to make our rings. I’m just going to try to keep in that spirit and find vendors who treat their workers well, leave budget to tip well, and try to keep things in perspective.
Post # 8
@wilfred: I’m having this trouble, and I’m probably only working with 15k. It’s still like 12k more than I feel comfortable spending on one day.. then again it’s my WEDDING. Ugh. I would say, make your families happy, I like the perspective above. Be grateful, and use the funds to make this your style. I know it sounds like it has to be over the top to spend that much, but it doesn’t, sadly. So stick to what’s true to you, and you will have an amazing wedding.
Post # 9
@EffieTrinket: I agree with this!
Post # 10
You’re helping the economy? lol And your memories and pictures will last forever and I’m sure it will make your parents proud. Besides, $60k is marginally over the average wedding in NY, so rallym it’s not that expensive.
Post # 11
I can understand… our wedding budget is quite large since both of our parents have given us very sizable “donations” – my parents (esp MOB) is very active in planning and will have a decent size say in most of the wedding planning (ie she totally vetoed my get married near us in NYC idea bc her friends from Boston would have a hard time getting down her – but we were able to compromise on the berkshires – 2.5 hrs from each of us!. His parents are totally hands off with the only condition being that all of our OOT guests must be invited to the rehersal dinner (which is totally ok w me… we are actually going to do a very small early dinner then a big cocktail reception as everyone arrives at the inn)
my parents really wanted to pay for “all” of the wedding bc it was really important to them to throw me a big wedding (like they did for my sister) – I have a lot of guilt over the fact that its going to be like a YEARS! salary (ughh even saying that makes me gag) but it is absolutely making them so happy – seriously I think my mom and her friends are having more fun with it than I am! They have been takig weekend trips out to visit the venue with all thier friends to show it off! Some people like to travel, some buy expensive cars, some gamble, whatever… my parents like to throw amazing weddings so as long as it isn’t against my vision (ie original plan for fancy hotel in boston which we were dead set against since that is what my sister had)
my advice would be to still be wise with your spending bc while $50K seems like a lot trust me it isn’t (assuming you are also having 150 -200 ish guests like we will be) – dinner along for 200 ppl will be able $40,000 (then you need a band, photog, flowers etc), have fun with the planning, be kind and conscious of other brides who may not have the same budget, use your money for good (like supporting cool indie artists) and make sure to stand up for your wants (ie don’t let mom and dad do all the planning just bc they are paying)
Post # 12
@futuremrsk18: Yeah I think the average in manhattan is like 68,000, and then the whole NY area is lower. But it’s our choice to have it there bc all our friends and a lot of his family are there. But we’ll have moved away by then, so we could easily get married in a cheaper locale. Thus my guilt. Our venue/food/liquor/service is going to be about 80% of the budget so I don’t have that much room for music, flowers, etc. But I still have the $ to hire pros, keeping things simple, so no complaints. Weddings are expensive, New York weddings even more so.
I find the whole wealthy as “job creators” thing bullshit, but I guess we can be very temporary “job creators” for our wedding.
Post # 13
@wilfred: If you had it somewhere cheaper, all you would be doing is distributing the cost (of transportation) to your guests. Everyone will have a much better time if you do it close to them, even if it does cost you more, being that you can afford it. Don’t feel guilty, everyone deserves to indulge themselves every once in a while.
Post # 14
I would definitely have a brief conversation with your parents about this topic, so that they’re aware of your discomfort and can hopefully reassure you that you don’t need to feel bad about this. You obviously have your priorities straight and you sound like a kind, understanding person. It is okay to have a beautiful, costly wedding! (It’s also okay to choose to downscale it in some places if that helps you feel better.) Would it help to consider cutting a few corners and then making a donation to a local homeless shelter or animal shelter or something like that? Assuming your parents would go for it… which I sort of think they would, since they’ve done such a great job raising you, clearly.
Post # 15
I completely understand how you feel. My budget may be smaller (it’s now gone up to 10K GBP, or about 15K USD) but the feelings are the same. I feel horribly guilty about the whole thing. We are paying for it ourselves, but I will have to use some money I inherited to make up the balance… I keep feeling that this money should not have been spent on something so frivolous, and I worry that the person who left it to me would not have approved of this.
The thing is that weddings are about hospitality… good food, good drink, and good company. I think that the receptions are mainly for your guests. As long as nobody is going into debt, you want to make your guests happy, right? Sometimes then things just cost what they cost… there’s no getting around it because that’s just the way it is.
For example, I wanted a really stylish menu… something I couldn’t make myself. And I just can’t get that for under a certain amount where I am, so I just have to suck it up.
Anyway, you’re totally not alone!
Post # 16
@futuremrsk18: that’s a good point!
@Jijitattoo: aw, thank you that is so sweet! I was thinking of making a donation to a marriage equality charity at the time of our wedding, so I think making a larger donation than I otherwise would, or donating to multiple causes given how much money we are saving by not paying for the wedding ourselves is a really good idea. My parents already give a lot to charity, and to me, so I think this is one wedding expense I can pay for myself! FI and I were just talking the other day about how we won’t be registering for many things since we already have too much stuff and most of what we need, so maybe we could put donations to a couple of charities we love on there as an alternative option.
@Rachel631: your post got me thinking, and I’m pretty sure your budget would also make me feel guilty. I think nearly any budget would. It’s funny because good food is our top priority for our reception, too! But you deserve to put money into your wedding! FI and I were drawing up a preliminary guest list and he said the people he chose are the community he wants us to Italy with us into our future. When he said that, I thought, “what an important thing, and what important people! And somehow that helped me with the budget stress, because including those people and honoring them is a worthy thing to spend money on.