Post # 1
My SO and I would really like to get married in 2014. However, we just bought a house, have 50k in student loans, and another 30k in car loans. He makes really good money, but I am having trouble launching a stable and good-paying career (I just finished my degree over the summer… and the job market doesn’t seem to favor new and inexperienced grads).
We want to be young parents, and can afford to have a baby within the next year or two (we are both around 25 right now). However, we can’t afford (or don’t want to pay) $20k for ONE day! We would rather put that money towards our house, loans, and/or having a child together. However, we both come from really big families (European descent on both sides), and we have several really close group of friends. The problem is that if you invite one friend/family member… you have to invite EVERYONE! And the single people want to bring dates. For us, that would mean approx 150-200 guests… MINIMUM.
I would like nothing more than to have a simple ceremony outdoors or on a beach, and to just have our immediate family there. No reception either. However, this would cause a lot of hurt feelings (especially in families where 300 parties is the norm). We don’t want to wait longer to get married, because that would interfere with our goal of being young parents. SO’s family has even agreed to prepare the food for our reception… but we really don’t want their memories of our wedding to involve washing dishes and slaving over a stove. We would rather pay a caterer… even though we can’t afford it.
For the engaged bees…how are you dealing with guest list and budget dilemmas? Have you decided that you simply cannot live without inviting a large amount of people, and spent more than you would like to? Or have you decided to keep it small? How did you deal with hurt feelings? Are you considering a destination wedding?
For those of you who are married, did you have a big or small wedding? Did your guests subsidize the costs of your big wedding with cash gifts, or were you in the hole/over budget? Are you happy with your choice of your big/small wedding? What would you do differently? Did you deal with hurt feelings… and how did you manage it?
Post # 3
You set a budget and you plan from there. Anyone who does otherwise likely isn’t concerned with the overall budget….its as simple as that.
If you are paying for your wedding then family and friends really have no standing when it comes to making decisions.
Post # 4
I had a small wedding – 38 guests. Only our closest friends and family were invited. I did feel bad leaving some people out, but honestly I think most people (actually all of them) were very understanding. To be honest with you I got so many comments from people saying that they wished they had done it like we did – have an intimate wedding and use so much of that saved money for a house, honeymoon, baby etc.
You have to think about what works and what is practical for you. Is it worth $20k to spare feelings? I would just assure people that you are having a small wedding for practical purposes, not to intentionally snub anyone.
Post # 5
Vote small wedding. If it’s going to make people mad, then they really don’t have your best interests at heart – weddings ARE expensive but not worth putting your life on hold for!
Post # 6
I agree, if you are paying for it, they shouldn’t get offended if you can’t afford to have a huge wedding. Just do your own thing and do what makes YOU happy, not your entire family.
Post # 7
@Love4Keeps: obviously, definition of “small” and “large” weddings vary by person. FI thinks our wedding of 150-180 (200 invited, mostly OOT) is huge, but to me it’s mediumish.
Post # 8
We eloped because too many people were trying to make our wedding about them. My husband and I do not like being the centre of attention and we don’t like huge parties. My family was VERY upset after my elopement, but at least it helped us assert ourselves as autonomous adults. Discussions did not work with either of our mothers. My husband and I had deep resentment for the way our mothers were acting like it was their wedding. I knew that if I let my parents plan and pay for my wedding, my mother would hold it over my head forever. Better to live on our feet than to die on our knees.
Many things went wrong on our wedding day and the aftermath was shocking. My husband and I have been through many trials in the short time we have been married. This is why we are having a vow renewal for our fifth anniversary. It will have wedding elements and give my husband and I happier memories, as well as some better memories for my parents.
At the end of the day, all of those people you invite aren’t going to be able to buy you a home or shoulder the cost of raising a child. It is lovely that you want to include all of your family, but I am a firm believer in being practical with money.
I know that it is traditional for European families to give money as wedding gifts but you shouldn’t expect monetary gifts to cover the cost of your wedding. It is best not to have too many expectations for the gifts you will receive.
Most people spend way too much on their weddings. Women are generally indoctrinated by the wedding industry. Weddings bring out the crazy in everyone, particularly parents and brides. If you decide to have a big wedding, you can expect to spend a lot and then some.
Post # 9
- Wedding: September 2014 - Banff, Alberta
@Love4Keeps: We are having a Sunday wedding with more of a brunch menu to afford the 90+ guests. I am DIY everything. Like EVERYTHING. Our budget is $5000. You have to choose what is important and sacrifice what isn’t, make comprimises. How many out of town guests would you have? This can decrease how many people actually come. Invite who you actually want to be there and try not to worry about insulting the people you don’t talk to or aren’t close to.
Post # 10
You should add another option or two to your poll for people who aren’t paying for their wedding themselves, though I understand if you want to focus on people who are. 🙂
For the most part FI and I aren’t paying for our wedding ourselves, so we’re having a big, fancy to-do with about 160 guests. But we thought about having a small ceremony instead, about 30 people, and that’s absolutely what we’d do if we were paying for it ourselves. I think going into a marriage with wedding debt sets a poor precedent.
Post # 11
- Wedding: October 2013 - Tybee Island, GA
For those of you who are married, did you have a big or small wedding? Small 30 guest DW wedding
Did your guests subsidize the costs of your big wedding with cash gifts, or were you in the hole/over budget? The only “cash” i got was $300 and then like $200 in Bed, Bath, and Beyond gift cards…
We however stayed within our 5k budget
Are you happy with your choice of your big/small wedding? I wouldnt trade it for the world. If i would have had a bigger money my DH and I would not have any money left over in the bank. So we are very satisfied with our choice. I love not being in debt over one day.
What would you do differently? Nothing, really. Our goal was to use 5k on wedding/honeymoon and we did (with no help finacially at all) and to still have money left over to live
Did you deal with hurt feelings… and how did you manage it? Yes, oh boy did we! We only invited our families that we see regualarly and that lives around here. We have a huge family and it was particularly hard to cut the guest list. But my mom has 5 sisters 3 in state and PLUS all her sisters kids and their kids! Its difficult. And my aunts from Illinois and Alabama’s feelings were hurt; but I figured we were all adults… and they should understand. I called them both personally and told them the situation and they said they understood. Come to find out my aunt in Alabama’s feelings were hurt more than i thought. (I see her maybe once ever 3 years….) But the way i see it is i made my choice and she should be adult enough to understand
Post # 12
I have a huge family, my guest list with just my family is over 90 people, and that’s only aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents and my immediate family. I see these people all the time, and I could never imagine only inviting some of them. So for me it was invite all and have a big wedding (we’re looking at close to 250) or nothing and just elope (which neither of us really wanted). We set a budget of $15,000 but we ended up being extremley lucky, my parents are paying for half, and my FI’s parents are paying for almost the other half, so we really don’t have to worry about money. I still refuse to go over the $15,000 budget, because I don’t want an extravagant over the top wedding, and I don’t want to take advantage of our parents.
It’s ultimatley up to you though. If you want to have a small wedding and you’re okay with some hurt feelings then have the small wedding. If you don’t want to hurt feelings consider eloping or going to the courthouse. If you choose that option you could always have a reception style party a few years down the road.
Post # 13
Oh, and I would never go into debt for a wedding, I think that’s crazy! If my FI and I weren’t getting money from our parents we would not have struggled to save up the money for our wedding ourselves. My FI could pay for our whole wedding tomorrow and still have money left over. We set a budget that was reasonable for us, which is what I think anybody planning a wedding should do whether it’s big or small.
Post # 14
We only had 42 guests– Parents/siblings/grandparents/my Godmother and VERY select friends.
Between both our families with aunts/uncles/cousins not invited (which ended up totalling out to 12 aunts, 13 uncles, and almost 40 cousins) ONE aunt and TWO cousins were upset they weren’t invited!
Everyone else sent gifts and good wishes!
So it was TOTALLY worth it!
Post # 15
I am having a “small” destination wedding of approximately 30-40 people. Otherwise our wedding would have been about 200 people here.
We did encounter hurt feelings from some family, but at the same time those people didn’t want to take the trip to see us get married (they had the money, they just didn’t want to go), so I didn’t feel so bad about it.
It was only those people who couldn’t afford to go to our wedding that I felt guilty, but not enough for me to change my plans.
I am happy that I stuck to what I wanted. I just went to a big wedding of over 250 people and it affirmed my deepset desire NOT to have a big wedding. It was too many people and more like a high school prom. Not my style.
Post # 16
@luluvohn: I completely agree with you! My parents got married in a backyard with 30 people… They would’ve rather married privately in a courthouse or a beach if there wasn’t such a huge uproar about it in the family. However, on my SO’s side, a wedding with 300 people is average. Hell, they’ll get together at New Year’s or a christening and there’s usually 300-400 people in attendance. Perceptions are very different when it comes to wedding size.