(Closed) The Budget

posted 10 years ago in Money
Post # 3
179 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: August 2008

Since your parents are giving you the money, there is nothing much you can do.  You should figure what you can do – how many guests you can invite with that amount and discuss it with your parents.  If they are disappointed with the results – then is the time to bring up that you are working within their budget…

If you do daytime, no alchohol, few guests, it should go a long way… If they find this version too frugal – then that’s the time to discuss an additional contribution.  If they simply pass on their frugality to you through this budget, that would be a valuable inheritance.

Post # 4
53 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: September 2009

My mom offered me the same amount that she gave my sister. I jokingly asked for a cost of living raise and she gave it to me…all you can do is ask, just be sure they know you are thankful for whatever they are able to contribute.

Post # 5
1276 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2009

Can I ask a few questions?  Do you think that is the same budget they gave your sister so they’re just trying to match it?  Or do you think that is the budget they’ve come up with based on their comfort?  If the latter I don’t really think it makes sense to ask them to reconsider…and I think you can host a lovely event with that budget.  It will just require some creativity and a willingness to forego some of the wedding luxury items.  But you live in a beautiful area so you have a natural and gorgeous backdrop to take advantage of.  If you think that they came up with this figure  b/c that’s what they spent for your sister, maybe you could try to figure out how much having a similar wedding to your sister’s would cost today.  I would expect that it hasn’t actually changed radically (or at least that’s what I’m seeing in comparing costs of my sister’s wedding from 9 years ago to mine as a way of coming up with reasonable budgets for things)…but if it has maybe that’s a basis for a discussion.  No matter what I think it’s tricky to discuss these issues with your parents, but I personally don’t think it’s completely out of line in certain circumstances.  But I think it’s important to recognize that a wedding is a substantial financial outlay for anyone, and I don’t think it’s fair to insist anyone spend beyond their comfort level.  I also think that any conversation should only happen after you’ve looked into what things actually cost, and put together a more thorough plan of what you want.  You might be surprised at how much you can do, and if it’s still tight I think it would be a lot easier if you can say what the extra money would buy.

Post # 7
160 posts
Blushing bee

Here’s an idea: Have them very involved in the planning process. Have them help pick a venue, caterer, florist, etc. Once they are looking themselves and see how much things cost, that budget could likely change.

Have you thought about having a DW? Since you can’t cut your guest list anymore, why not fly to a tropical island with just the two of you and a few close family and friends. This could be done for under $5000.00. 

Post # 9
1276 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2009

I see…yes, it sounds like that cognitive dissonance that can happen when confronted with a large sum of money.  I think the fact that your mom is pushing for an even more elaborate affair than you are suggesting means that things will work out in the end.  I mean, it really sounds like they are dictating the guest list and the food (two major contributors to cost) so it’s not really like you are the one making them go over budget.  Sounds to me also like it’s your father who’s having a hard to reconciling the cost.  I don’t know how your family dynamics work, but in my family it’s best to let my mom handle it.  Assuming that something similar works in your family, I’d just let it play out.  My dad has a really hard time parting with money, but an even harder time seeing my mom really upset.  And I think my mom is not unreasonable or extravagant, so they’ll often negotiate between themselves about costs and usually my Mom finds a way to get what she wants.  This is totally not how we want our marriage to work, but since my parents are largely footing the bill for the wedding (we’re paying for the things we absolutely want) I’m okay with letting them continue with the little dance they’ve been doing for the last 37 years.

As long as you keep your mom involved with the planning process she’ll know that the budget is not realistic for what she really wants, and I deifnitely think that concrete numbers are always the best way to talk about budget issues. 

Post # 10
2204 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2009

I agree with fizicsgirl and Miss Chocolate Chip as far as getting them involved in the planning process as a way of helping them to see the average costs of weddings these days for what your mom is insisting you provide (food, etc)

I would also just sit down with them and tell them that you won’t be able to provide the wedding that your mom expects (and apparently what the Out of Town guests would expect) with the money they’ve offered.  Or ask them to help you split up the budget and see if they are able to make it stretch.  They may either have some more insight, or they will realize how difficult it will be and hopefully be willing to contribute more.

Have you considered asking your fiance’s family to contribute?  Talk to your fiance and see if he would comfortable asking his family to help out.

Lastly, could you consider branching out to other cities in the area to see what you can find as far as venues for a reception?  What about doing it at your family’s or you fiance’s family’s backyard? (or a family member or close friend?)  One of my best friends is having her wedding and reception in her fiance’s backyard and her budget is about $6K.

Don’t stress out just yet!  You’ve got some time to get this worked out, and I’m sure you’ll find a place in the middle and have a wedding you’ll love and can afford.  Good luck!

Post # 11
2000 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2009

Mandalynn, I totally sympathize. My mother gave me the same figure, and at every step of the way she’s saying that things cost too much. She doesn’t understand that this is just the way it is now. ("Mom, EVERY chair company charges at least $1.25 per chair for rentals! That’s how much they cost!") I’m doing OK working inside that budget and using my own spending money on some extras.

It sounds like your difficulty is in #1, the guest list and #2, your family’s expectations. If they gave you this budget, emphasize to them that you’re working with what they gave you and they need to be understanding if it doesn’t turn out the way they hoped. 

We both have large families, too and are inviting everyone. But we’re banking that with the economy the way it is, many of them won’t come. We have a B-list (no matter how "tacky" people say it is, it’s just practical for us) and will start mailing out those invites as soon as we get the official "no"s from our family.

We’re also doing a heavy hors d’ouevres reception. I’m hoping that it will turn out to be enough food for a full meal even though we aren’t serving one.

I know your family is worried about spending time in the kitchen, like they did at your sister’s wedding. The only food we are doing ourselves is the cookie bar, and we are baking the cookies ahead of time and freezing them until the day of. Extra food with no kitchen fuss!

It might be different in Oregon, but check around on venues. Some city parks might cost that much to rent, but others may be less expensive. Or, as some have suggested, do you have any friends, family or friends of friends who might have a place you could "borrow" for the day? I’ve found that people are always asking about the wedding and are more than happy to help in any way they can, especially if it’s just a referral to someone they know.

Anyway, I hope that helps, even just a little! 

Post # 12
133 posts
Blushing bee

Why don’t you put together a spreadsheet listing all of the research you have done so far and laying it out for them? This might get them on the same page as you in terms of realizing that you can’t have a fancy, sit-down meal for the entire guest list if you only have $5000 to spend.

Sometimes people only think about the venue and catering/ alcohol costs and forget about the dress, officiant fees, rings, flowers, photography, cake, limos which add up A LOT! Hopefully your spreadsheet can give them a realistic picture of what all of these items cost. You could put together several spreadsheets with Option A (Backyard BBQ with everyone they want to invite), Option B (renting out a restaurant in your city) or Option C (Sit-down dinner with a reduced guest list).

And I strongly recommend checking out Bridal Bargains from the library. They can help you understand the pricing behind these items and little tricks the wedding industry plays. They also have some great ideas for cutting the budget and having a nice but fun, lower-cost wedding.

Post # 14
32 posts
  • Wedding: May 2011

I think you should keep in mind that while your parents may appear to be living at the same standard of living they were prior to the economy tanking, they may not be.  Many people lost a LARGE portion of their retirement funds and they may just have less expendable money right now.

Post # 16
1962 posts
Buzzing bee

I do feel badly that you cannot have the wedding that you would ideally like to have with that budget.   I am not, however, overjoyed by your statement "The fact of the matter is, that my parents love to spend money on themselves, but not so much for other things that aren’t for THEIR enjoyment. " and the implication that you are frustrated that they will not give you more money because the wedding isn’t specifically for their enjoyment.  Why are you frustrated that they would rather spend THEIR hard earned money on themselves rather than you? 

My suggestion: If you want to have a more expensive wedding, get a PT job in the interim and save like crazy or hold off on the wedding so that you can work full time to have the wedding you want.

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