(Closed) budget considerations

posted 10 years ago in Money
Post # 3
1078 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2009

We made a pact in the early stages of our relationship…if we couldn’t pay cash for it, we couldn’t have it.

We used that same reasoning for the wedding. Funding was a mix of parents, our savings, and expected 2009 tax checks and work bonuses.

I would not recommend taking out a large loan or asking parents to pay more than they can afford. My parents had set aside money long ago, since there are 3 girls in my family (obviously they were expecting this for a while)…and since there are 3 girls, they can’t reasonably fund everything for 3 weddings. So what they gave us was much appreciated.

What kept our costs down the most: Have an offseason wedding! Everyone will offer you discounts. Photogs, Venues, DJs, etc.

You can be a bargain shopper and still have a nice wedding. We are extremely bargain savvy, and I feel that our wedding is not low-key by any means.  

Post # 4
2434 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2008

I was lucky that my folks (and my in-laws) were in a position to give us generous monetary gifts- some of which we used towards out wedding.  When we decided to get married I spoke to my parents about what their gift would be.  With that number in mind, my Fiance and I could decide what kinds of venues we could afford.

My inlaws had the money in the bank.  My parents made a concerted effort to save the money before the wedding.

I didn’t really start out with a set number though- my goal was to get what I wanted for as cheap as possible.  Our splurge (it was a lot to us, but very reasonable compared to what weddings in our area cost) was the venue and was based on what we our parents were giving us.  However, I did have price points in mind for big stuff like photog, DJ, etc.  In the end, we were able to keep a nice chunk of our parents’ gifts to start our nest egg.

I had a friend who had to pay for her wedding on her own.  She wound up taking out educational loans to do it.  I totally didn’t think that was a good idea, but I couldn’t say anything.

Other friends waited to get married until they had saved up enough to pay for the wedding they wanted.

In general, it is up to individual couples to decide how they want to pay for their wedding.  I didn’t want to start my married life in debt (at least wedding debt- I have school loans and my husband has a car loan).

Other people want the day of their dreams and are willing to go into debt to do it.  I don’t think we can say if that’s right or wrong.

Sounds like your friend and her dad are the ones that need to talk about this.  Her dad probably has an amount he is willing to spend.  She will just have to decide if she wants to plan a wedding with that as the budget or if she wants to find another way to pay for the difference.

Post # 6
1048 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2009 - City Hall

OMG, I have your exact feelings. I have been wanting to write this post, but I was afraid of offending anyone who did pay a lot (and I’m sure, had a gorgeous wedding).

A wedding just isn’t that high on either of our priority list. I think it’s because both of us are making our own money, and wouldn’t expect parents to contribute to a wedding. We’re not low-income, but we’re not filthy-stinkin rich either. If we’re going to spend money, even just $5,000 of our money,  we’d like to see it go to something that’s more in tune with our values than a one-day event. Granted, our love is a HUGE value (the biggest one), but love doesn’t cost $5,000. (Or $40,000, in your friend’s case.) What you’re paying for is a party – one that is sure to be a lot of fun for you, but think about how most people feel when the get a wedding invite. I’m sure they’re happy for the couple, but there are also resentments: If it’s out of town, they may have to take vacation time, get a hotel, get transportation, etc. At the very least, your day is ‘stealing’ their saturday, and they feel obligated to spend $25-$100 on you as well. Maybe I’m a cynic, but I really wonder if for everyone except the couple and their immediate friends and family, a wedding is more an acceptable obligation than a super happy fun occasion.

$40,000 could buy a REALLY nice car, no loan required. It could go in to a child’s college fund. A retirement fund. A couple of really awesome vacations. It could be a great downpayment on a home. Even $5000 is a substantial chunk of change, especially in today’s slumping economy. So like you, it’s hard for me to see how people justify spending so much on "one day". Even with all the memories and the photos.

Of course, I don’t want to offend anyone who’s spending big bucks on their wedding. As I think I said a couple of times, it’s all about priorities. If you’re in the financial position to spend the cash you’re spending, no one has a right to tell you you’re spending it "the wrong way". But someone is not doing so well, moneywise, I’d think that they need to really re-think their priorities, or at least the extravagance of their day. I’d hate to start a marriage already saddled with debt.

Post # 7
216 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2009

Caterelle, I think your friend is probably at a stage of her engagement where she hasn’t really come to terms with what her actual budget and wedding are going to look like.  If she hasn’t been actively planning for very long, and they haven’t had some concrete discussions about numbers with her dad or her in-laws, or each other, then she probably just hasn’t yet had to deal with the fact that $40K may not be realistic.  The contributions of family members are really a crapshoot sometimes.  Many couples have no idea how much, if any, money is being gifted toward their wedding when they get engaged, and I know some people who have been overwhelmed and surprised in a good way, and I know some who have had to really adjust their expectations.  West Coast Groom and I planned our wedding according to the total amount our families offered to gift us, combined with what we could afford oursevles. Our budget is $12K, and we have no idea where our families got the money to gift to us (that’s just a personal line we don’t cross in both our families).  There are always upgrades that I am envious of (hello chivari chairs!) but I know the most important part is that we both show up and get hitched, and I don’t want to have prom dress syndrome (where I look back and shake my head at the amount of money I spent!)

My sister’s wedding had 20 guests and cost the same as mine that will have 80 guests.  My best friend and Maid/Matron of Honor is having a $5K wedding, and her fiance makes more money on his own and West Coast Groom and I make combined.  Weddings involve so much personal choice, and so many big compromises and decisions about money and values that the best thing you can do for a friend getting married is to counsel and support them through the process, and to a certain extent, just sit back.  It sounds like your friend will need your help either way!



Post # 8
2007 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2009

We haven’t finalized our budget yet, but are aiming for $5-6,000.  That number came about mostly because while we have a good roof over our head and food on the table, we’re not particularly well off and so couldn’t justify spending more than that on one day.  It’s looking like the majority of it will come from a generous gift from my parents with our savings supplementing our priorities. 

My mom has been planning on giving us a lump sum with which we can do as we choose (wedding, part of a downpayment, etc.) while my dad wants to go more of the "figure out how much you think it will cost and then we’ll see what we can do".  I should add they’re recently divorced.  I’m still not sure how it will all work out.  I’m fairly positive that loans are not involved (they better not be!) but now I’m thinking maybe I should make sure.

The issue I’m currently having difficulties with is his mom wanting to invite 20-30 (so far) of her friends but hasn’t made mention contributing financially other than helping with the milk can (read: economical) rehearsal dinner.  Then again, she also mentioned that "you use the invitation to tell people you’re getting married, but you only count on half of them showing up."  Ack!  We have some communicating to do!  🙂 

And sorry about the rant there.  I didn’t realize I needed to get that off my chest!

Post # 9
225 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2009

Our parents are also not in any situation to help us with the wedding. So we are funding the entire thing ourselves, and decided on a 40K budget. We are both the youngest in our families, so we are not expected to have a HUGE guest list like our older siblings had.

My fiance had decided on the budget. He originally settled on 35K. This was based on his calculations. He calculated the amount of money I had saved up and the amount he saved up, plus all the money we are saving up (we both set up automatic savings plans), plus the potential interest accrued.. He totalled it up and divided it by two – one part for the wedding, the other part for a down payment on a house. 

I also factored in the potential monetary gifts we will receive – since I have two sisters that were already married and was able to give me insight in how much to expect.. so he added half of that amount to the budget. 

BUT – we have also been dating for 8 years and have been saving up for a long time.. We would have had a bigger budget, but in year 5 of us dating, I was tired of saving for a wedding that I didn’t have plans for yet, and bought myself a car instead.. but has since continued saving again. =) 

My fiance is very much into budgeting and into being financially sound and reasonable. Hope this helps!

Post # 10
16 posts
  • Wedding: May 2009

I have a little over 300 guests and the budget we set is under 30K. We were going to pay everything ourselves but our parents wanted to help and will be footing the bill for certain wedding items (e.g flowers, photography). Granted, my parents and future-in-laws are helping out but I’m counting every dime and penny spent as if it was coming out of my own pocket.

My Fiance and I agreed, he mostly just nodded =P, that we would only spend an allocated amount of money for each wedding expense and do our best to stay within budget. He had money already saved and I had to start saving(my savings account was meager because I was doing lots of damage to my car loan by doubling up the payments)  We plan to buy a house in the next year or 2, so I think taht’s what motivates me to spend our money more wisely.

I think the top things you should spend money on is the wedding bands, the photographer and the food. I think your friend just need to have a wedding priority list. Weddings don’t have to be expensive or extragavant. I read the typical wedding costs about $28-$35K (including Los Angeles), so I’m not sure if your friend is overbudgeting or adding too much into the mix. I think if the groom and bride can afford it, then by all means they should have the wedding of their dreams. Personally, I don’t think it’s a good idea to go into debt for your wedding especially in our current economy.

Post # 11
21 posts
  • Wedding: December 1969

The wedding that I’m Maid/Matron of Honor for has started off being entirely off their one-income income. He has casual rates at 42hours a week, and theyre living and planning off that. So far they’ve managed to come in under budget for many things. And then they were looking at travelling a state away to get married!! Weird… Bride and I finally managed to get Groom to consider an in-city wedding and getting everyone to come here instead of us all going there, saving them about 4k of travel costs and accomodation costs, not to mention the headaches of organizing everything from about 800km away! After all of this, her mom (shes Belgian, he’s Aussie, theyre getting married in Aussie-land) has gifted her $2400, mainly for her dress, and then the leftovers for whichever. His grandfather has then given them a ‘housewarming’ gift which will most likely go towards the wedding of $500, and Groom’s father has also offered to foot 1/4 of the reception bill. Bridal party is saving them around 1.3k by buying dresses and jewelery, and hiring suits.

They’re being very sensible, only getting things for their wedding IF there is enough money left after the bills are paid each fortnight. Handy that his fortnightly income is rather large 🙂


Like many of the others, I think its just wrong to expect that things will be gifted to you, to assume that your parents are well off. Luckily for me, my parents are very open about their financial state, and its usually me that helps them out, not the other way around. I understand that parents want to help out, especially the brides parents. 

It may be worth bringing it up with the bride, but also, if you and her father get on, it may be worth talking to him about it, see what he says and does. Hope things go okay 🙂

Post # 12
34 posts
  • Wedding: September 2014

Since we only planned on having close firends and family, we started out with a small budget…This is my first marriage and his second, but niether one of us really wanted A HUGE wedding…..MY mom stays right downt the street and she has really helped with taking the planning costs of my shoulders, whenver we go visit a site or vendor she pays or drives…..BUT as far as expecting anything MY Fiance and I dont really…Majority of my BM’s are in grad school or just now graduating so i know that this an expense for them.. I have a daughter and he has a son both under 2 so we also have expenses that more traditional couples do not…..

Since I am from the SOUTH..i.e. Louisiana I have seen some very posh weddings for under 20K but i also know that htey required for strict planning. Your friend sounds like she just hasnt done the legwork towards her wedding. I figure that unless she’s having a grand 300 to 400 guestlist she can get a very NICE/ POSH wedding for under 25K and thats with hiring the BEST in major categories….


Post # 13
796 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: April 2009

Our budget was based mostly on the prices in our area (D.C.). When you consider that the cheapest catering company quoted us $13,000 for 120 people, and that’s supposed to be 50% of the budget, we just added from there. Also, I remember looking at a budget worksheet early in my planning and seeing that based on a $30,000 budget you can spend $150 on wedding day hair and make-up. That is totally unrealistic for D.C. unless you know someone who can do it! Luckily, my mother is able to pay for the wedding, or else we’d be getting married in the courthouse! I’m also her only daughter, and she is looking forward to throwing this party too.

Post # 14
131 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2009

Our budget was something that we decided on our own; we knew that neither one of our moms would be able to foot the bill. We came up with how much we thought we could save durring the course of our engagement and that we would not go into debt just for the wedding. My favorite past time is bargin shopping so we have been able to get a lot of the small details for next to nothing. The best deal so far was my hot pink garter for 1.00 add a little feather and bling and you get one kick a** garter for next to nothing! We did however splurge on photography, that was super important to us.

My mom surprised us with a gift of 1/3 our wedding budget and his mom is generously taking care of the rehersal dinner and our wedding night suite. All in all with 4 months to go we are right on track and right on budget. If you look at it as one day it really puts things in perspective. Don’t get me wrong if I had the money I would most likely spend it!

Post # 15
72 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: April 2009

I’m a somewhat frugal person and I depise waste.  To me, spending 40K on one day is a bit of a waste regardless of who pays for it.  We are having a 120 person and our budget started at $5,000 (which we thought was reasonable for a small wedding) the only thing this didn’t include was my ring, because I’m getting a family ring (which is lovely) and our honeymoon because we can’t take one right now.  We had to increase our budget by $500 because he wanted to buy a suit instead of renting it (extra $200), I couldn’t find a used dress I liked and ended up buy one off the internet for $230 (a little more than I wanted to wanted to spend) and the church we are using won’t let us use CDs, we have to use their piano player at $200 or so.  We may not be spending that much, but we are being flexible. 

As for you friend, I think it might be best not to say anything right now.  Wait until she comes to you complaining about her dad not paying.  Let her know there are brides that have very lovely weddings for 5-10k.  Honestly, I’m getting an very nice reception place for around $2200(plus tax and 20%) and that includes all our food for 120, beverages (nothing hard), dessert, set-up, tear-down, centerpieces, hotel room for us, two bottle of champagne for us, and many other things.  I’m getting this price because I’m doing it on a friday night and we have five-six people who are getting rooms there. Will it be "perfect" no, but I’m more worried about going into the marriage with unneccesary debt than I am a "perfect" wedding.

Post # 16
80 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: August 2009

I think your friend might not have *quite* gotten the part about life after the wedding. I keep this in mind all the time. I have frantic worries about the budget (see my other post!) and my wedding comes in (nearly finished) right now at $17K…in NYC!! So, I don’t know how she came up with that budget, but what I do know is that she will truly have a hard time justifying her wants with the reality of her situation.

To answer your other question, we came up with our budget based on assessing our plans for 5 years from now (house & baby) as well as our current finances (student loans, CC debt and car loan). We put our heads together and were honest about what we wanted to spend a lot of our money on and it really wasn’t a wedding. Also we never even thought about loans–nothing on credit either–only what we knew we could earn in cash, so both of us do a lot of freelancing and tutoring in our off time to offset the costs. 

Also, why should anyone in this day and age, feel like their parents should foot the bill? I think it’s rather insesnsitive of her to assume that especially if her family isn’t well-off.  She should think about it from this perspective: how would she feel if she was expected to do this alone on her salary? Would she still be able to feel guiltless and enjoy spending that much money on her wedding? 

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