Are big expensive weddings worth it?

posted 4 months ago in Venue
Post # 16
Member
210 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

What matters is WHO is there on your wedding day, not the venue or the flowers or anything else. The things I stressed about when planning were SO irrelevant that day. Having all my friends and family there was what I cared about. So pick the venue and budget that let you have the people. Let go of the pinterest image.

 

Post # 17
Member
523 posts
Busy bee

Something that I was going through when I first started planning (and even one of my friends who is engaged right now is feeling the same) is the intense guilt you feel about spending so much money on a wedding. Because while I understand the idea of spending $15k+ on a party seems ridiculous, I also want to have a beautiful venue, pictures, food, and have all my friends and family present during this important event. And I’ve started to hate all these posts saying “big parties are a waste!” and “I only spend __ on my wedding!” because it makes me feel like a bad person for wanting all that. 

But the fact of the matter is, I work hard, I pay all my bills, and I’m not putting myself in financial turmoil over it, so why should I feel guilty about how much I spend on my wedding? There’s nothing wrong with giving yourself frivolous things every now and then. I could argue that it’s a waste to spend 100k on a car or a waste to spend 10k on a handbag, but some people do find value in those and if it makes them happy, who am I to judge what they spend their money on? 

And of course, all this to say there’s nothing wrong if you want to spend less on your wedding. It really all comes down to a personal preference, and you need to do what you want to do without worrying about what other people think.

Post # 18
Member
6119 posts
Bee Keeper

View original reply
@tinkywinky88:  The first and most important question is can you actually afford the fancy venue?  I mean really really afford it?  Like if the wedding price doubled (sounds like it might) it would really not effect your budget and not really dip into your savings? 

If so then I would take a walk around that venue and see it.  Then you can get the vibe for the place and see if you really want it.  I was so excited about seeing a restaurant venue and was sure it would be a contender… until I went.  The prices were high and it just didn’t feel worth the extra cost after going there.  So if you can truly afford it then I’d say go take a visit then to at least scratch that itch of what if.

Now if you cannot truly afford it no it is not worth it. We had a moderate sized wedding and after paying all the vendors and bills etc I cannot tell you how glad I am that we didn’t spend double.  And in our HCOL area it would have been easy to do that.  But then I’d be thinking how I could have had a house instead. So we did what we could afford and nothing more and it turned out great. 

Post # 19
Member
600 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2017

I think it depends on your financial situation and if a massive expensive wedding will take funds from something else you value. 

4 years ago our wedding costs us what converted would be 13000 gbp. It was expensive but wasn’t going to hold us back from anything major. We still got two trips in that year etc. It was ABSOLUTELY worth it. It was more of DIY venue in a made for weddings barn.  No staff etc. We hired a bartender and caterers and did our own set up. It was beautiful. Good food, open bar, good music, thoughtful decor – it all contributed to a gorgeous day. We paid people to do the take down and clean up which is also well worth it. We hired buses to take our buses back. Would it have been worth it for double that? Nah. I think a middle ground is the way to go. Make it a good day and a wedding you’d want to attend, but it doesn’t need to be fancy and high end. 

Post # 20
Member
209 posts
Helper bee

Do not take on debt to pay for a wedding and only spend what you can comfortably afford. Money troubles will have a far more negative impact on your marriage than the extravagance of your wedding.

Post # 21
Member
741 posts
Busy bee

We chose the venue we really wanted because the money saved with a less expensive venue wouldn’t have changed our other financial plans at all. We still have all the money we need for a house downpayment with plenty of savings left over.

IMO you shouldn’t incur any debt for a wedding, or put off buying a house or another major purchase for a wedding. But if you have the money and it’s not needed to pay for something else around the same time, then I don’t think there’s anything wrong with paying for the wedding that you want. 

 

Post # 22
Member
3152 posts
Sugar bee

I think it’s a massive waste of money even if you have the money to do it. There are SO many better things you could spend that money on. I also like to prepare for the unexpected and have a ton of money saved up, not just the traditional 6 month’s worth of income. So I’m pretty budget conscious. 

At the same time, if you want to spend that amount, have it, and can still pay your bills and are financially stable, then there’s nothing wrong with that. That’s just not something I would personally do.

Post # 23
Member
535 posts
Busy bee

As others have said, this should be driven by your financial situation. The very FIRST step is to determine your available budget, and then work backwards to confirm venue and guest list. If you can easily afford the more expensive one without debt, and it’s what you both want, then do it!

However, something to consider is the added money, stress and to-do list tasks that an a la carte venue needs is likely a lot of work. Even though it is only 4K more for the venue, you need to factor in tables and chairs, linens, food & alcohol, DJ. It may end up being double the cost of the other venue for those same items. Those items add up fast, especially catering and bar. Maybe you can find some quotes to add up and compare Wedding A (11K) with Wedding B (may be more like 20-30K)? Not only is it more expensive, but that’s ~5+ more vendors you need to coordinate with, pay deposits and final payments, tip if needed. More worries and more room for errors. You also have to ususally pay the caterer for vendor meals.. so the more vendors you have to feed is more money (ours were $45 per meal, our guest meals were $120 per meal). 

My wedding venue bill was about 21K (total wedding WITH honeymoon was about 40-45K). But the venue bill included ceremony, reception with full catering, 4 hour open bar, tables and chairs, linens, cake cutting services, a bridal suite for us for 2 nights with complementary champagne. It was enough stress to pull together already, I can’t imagine having to coordinate all of those items separately with separate vendors. But, if you have the money without going into debt, and you have the time/energy to plan it a la carte, I say go for it! 

Post # 24
Member
1154 posts
Bumble bee

I liken a massive wedding expense to a first class airline ticket. 

Both of them cost a lot of money for a short period of time.

For both of them, you get the same basic product whether you opt for the cheaper or the more expensive option (a wedding reception venue and food for your guests, or air transportation from one certain city to another).

Both of them allow for additional luxury, if you have extra money that wouldn’t make a difference in other areas of your life (only the wealthy can make that claim), and both of them allow for luxury you might remember at a later time (but all you will have is the memory or pictures/video, neither is a tangible thing).

I have never flown anything other than economy, with the exception of the flight back from Italy where my family was put there due to a seating mix-up on the part of the airline.  I can honestly say that while it was a much better flight than the one over there, it wouldn’t have been worth thousands of additional dollars when I would still have been jet lagged and dealing with a dry cabin atmosphere either way.  I would make the same decision for a wedding reception.  Have a good venue, good food, but I wouldn’t massively spend for a one day thing when a lot of the memories will be the same regardless.

Post # 25
Member
2881 posts
Sugar bee

View original reply
@tinkywinky88:  My wedding was a few hundred over 10k, and though that’s on the lower end of most weddings I still regret the cost. It’s one day of your life, versus that money going into an account to help with a home, children, or a few trips. I find myself wishing we’d gotten married at our local church to avoid the venue cost, and we could have cut our wedding budget in half.  

I don’t buy into a magical fairy tale. The marriage is more important than the wedding. 

ETA: I feel this way, and I am financially stable. My husband and I already owned a home before we got married (he owned it and I was put on the deed after), we had and have no debt, and we had a good savings. But I still wish we had gone cheaper. 

Post # 26
Member
3525 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: March 2017

I wouldn’t do it. However, I had a very low cost wedding. I had no desire to spend a lot of money on a ceremony. I am extremely happy with the choices that we made. We like taking nice vacations and we’re saving for retirement so those goals are more important to me.

Post # 27
Member
3083 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2017

View original reply
@tinkywinky88:  I think that whether or not a big wedding is worth it depends on the couple. I know so many people that had big weddings and loves every second of it! I had a micro wedding way before Covid and I loved every second of it!! It depends on you, what your values are re: finances, and what ultimately makes you and your spouse happy. As long as you can afford it, there’s nothing wrong with an expensive wedding.

Post # 28
Member
1916 posts
Buzzing bee

To answer your questions: 

1) Does anyone regret not having exactly what they wanted?

I had pretty much exactly what I wanted.

2) Or regret having a big expensive wedding? 

I didn’t have a big expensive wedding. 

You do you, girl. Nobody here can give you the right answer. We all have different priorities and different finances. It sounds like you have the support of those who really matter to do whichever you want. You really just need to sit down and weigh what is the most important aspect of your wedding TO YOU. I’ve been married twice, and each time there was a different priority. My two weddings were very different and had very different aspects that were the “most important” to me. I chose to focus on those make-or-break things, and everything else kind of fell where it may. If for you that make-or-break thing is the venue, then go for it. Most people hope to only get married once. Sure, it’s a lot of money for one day, but like another poster said, some people choose to spend 100K on a car or 10K on a handbag. And to those people it brings them so much joy and is absolutely worth it. 

Post # 28
Member
640 posts
Busy bee

Have the wedding you can comfortably afford.

At 22 I married and we spent $8k of my parents money and $4k of our own, and were flat broke afterwards. It was such a stressor.

Now in my 30s I’m getting remarried and am in such a different place financially. We have $45k set aside for the wedding PLUS no debt and a separate, well funded savings account.

A wedding is a wedding is a wedding, whether you do lavish or diy. 

Post # 30
Member
3089 posts
Sugar bee

We did have the big expensive black tie wedding, but we would not have if we had been younger when we got married.  We were middled aged, advanced in our careers, already owned 2 houses, and budgeting for the wedding was significantly less of a financial hit that it would have been when we were younger.  The wedding didn’t set us back financially.

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