Contemporary music. Respect to Aretha. Jesus christ superstar. Jesus Christ Superstar. Darbar festival Darbar Festival New releases. New Releases. Diego maradona 12a. Diego Maradona 12A. Late night Late Night Life rewired hub. Life Rewired Hub. Kronos quartet trevor paglen sight machine. Animes human machines. Anime's Human Machines. Life Rewired. Welcome tour. Welcome Tours. Level g. Level G. Members priority booking. Members' Priority Booking. Members events. Members' Events. Life Rewired Shorts. Meet the filmmaker.
Meet the filmmakers. Life Rewired Shorts - The Children of Tomorrow by The Doc Collective How could the potential of technology impact the way we perceive reproduction and ultimately human life? Make the most of your visit. Eat drink. Donate today. Sign up to our newsletters Be the first to hear before events go on sale. The main reason seemed to be add the word wedding to any rental. People immediately decide to crank up the price. You are just expected to pay it. Also something we had never bought before was just outside of the expected values.
But we never strayed from the budget, I think specifically because we were paying it ourselves. Besides the fact that we paid of it ourselves, we were determined not to start off in debt. The most important part of it was she, I, and the pastor. The rest could just rot for all we cared. Interesting… and of course the main part of your article is spot on plan and save for big expenses rather than heedlessly plunging into debt … but as for wedding costs…. Most of my friends got married much younger than that.
I was married at Most of my friends were married around Sometimes the parents let the bride know how much she has available to spend, and if the couple wants to go beyond that, they can pay for things themselves. The honeymoon, however, is usually paid for entirely by the couple, unless some family member surprises them with it as a gift. My wife has been a bridesmaid in at least a half-dozen weddings, and the bridesmaids have always been expected to purchase their own dresses.
And 10 years later, we still like them. Your points about being realistic, saving and prioritizing for a wedding or any other big purchase are all dead on. Weddings are extreme emotions mixed with money, family, and fantasy. Steve had some very good suggestions. This decision sprang in part from our previous decision to schedule in the afternoon. The wedding was outside in a park, and the reception was in a building adjacent to the park.
We also had an inexpensive honeymoon, by travelling to Canada at a time when the exchange rate was favorable! I guess your view is distorted by the dual lenses of culture and geography, but not all weddings are anywhere near as expensive as you say. The best ways to cut costs are to reduce the number of participants. Really all you need are a bride, a groom, and a celebrant. This is the Lake Wobegon effect. Maybe the people who leave a comment have actually done it, but for most people, dramatically simplifying their wedding day is unrealistic.
Its funny. Its definitely much easier said than done. Have a hard end time. It can cost thousands to rent a venue for a few extra hours and many people stay out of expectation rather than entertainment. Saying the wedding "ends" at X time is a relief that you can leave earlier without guilt.
Catering with more regular food BBQ, Mexican, whatever cuisine is often much cheaper and appreciated. How often does anyone ever remembered the food positively at a wedding after a few years that wedding Salmon was the best fish I've ever had, said no one? Then I met the woman I wanted to marry, and I got so excited about her dream wedding.
I don't want to be the guy scaling things back, I want to be the guy making things even more amazing, even more memorable. And how can we trim down the guest list when that means not inviting her aunt, or not inviting her friend? Or telling our friends and family that they can't bring their kids. Some of my best memories are going to weddings as a kid. That's how I got to know my family. Our wedding is a few months away, and it looks like it's going to cost about exactly as much as that American national average even though I'm a Canadian and my wife is Mexican.
And this makes me so, so, so glad that I started setting aside money at Now, 7 years later, I'm able to handle this. My wife and I had a simple and inexpensive wedding. It was accomplished by utilizing the services of friends for almost everything. Most who contributed were very happy to help and considered it a wedding present saving them money and us from opening yet another toaster.
I wonder what the distribution curve for the price of weddings looks like. But in case I ever get over that, I plan on coordinating the shit out of my wedding. Starting with a estimated total cost and an estimated monthly savings at least years before the wedding. I plan on being engaged for at least 2 years before I actually tie the knot.
And the only kind of flowers I like are white daises. Besides, the only way to truly get what you want is to do it yourself. But a wedding for me is a long LONG way off. I just got married this month. The ceremony was on a pier on one of the Finger lakes, the pier was free but we did need permission.
But lets break it down some 1st time ive done this since we did the deed :. Sunday was key for this. Luckily the officiant and the singer are a couple. My main concerns were going cheap on the photographers and the DJ. Not huge fears, as the photographers were professional and excellent amateur respectively. Try to get that with a normal wedding photographer. The music went off without a hitch, the people that helped with that are tech geeks like me.
No worries. Weddings can be really expensive for the guests as well. I know they have been expensive for me with travel expenses such as flights, hotels, eating out, wedding gift, etc. I have 50 first cousins and about 25 of them are at that marriage age. But we can't because all of our best friends and cousins are getting married this year too, and they all live in different parts of the world. So my fiance and I saved the money and picked out some very nice rings that we were able to pay off immediately. Where does this way of thinking come from?
Why do so many people have a hard time planning for the long-term? Nice feature. And great article on planning ahead. So many things to save for! Home, emergency, retirement, future children, wedding, but I will be so happy I did when the day comes where I need that money. Rehearsal Dinner — rented out a private University dinner club.
Was very nice. Only had to pay by the plate. Everything else was taken care of and it was honestly way cheaper than I could have imagined such a nice evening. Cost only a few hundred dollars and was awesome. Food was catered by family, including the cake, and we kept it to simple foods that people actually like. It was an evening wedding so it was dinner. It was perfect. I preferred ours. And the only thing anyone talked about on his was what it must have costs.
Its all in the planning. When I was getting married, I tried to keep it simple, and recommended inexpensive but guaranteed-to-be-fun options. I got lots of dismissive hand waving from my fiance and her mother. No, this was a going to be a wedding like all the rest. Fancy entertainment, fancy setting, fancy party favors for all to take home with them. Must impress the guests. And lots of stress leading up to the magical day. Thirteen years later she was still interfering and suggesting the way things had to be for her daughter.
Spend, spend, spend. More things is the key to happiness. After years of marriage, it broke down. M-I-L came to my house to read me the riot act and suggest that it was time we got divorced.
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The fact that I wanted to save my money, quit my job and start up my dream business with my savings was too much for them to bear. And have her support the whole family on her income alone for a year? I think people have it all wrong about weddings. When you make it 25 years, throw another party. Celebrate the accomplishments that mean something. I make quite a bit of money. As someone who has happily lived with her beloved partner for 15 years, I feel obligated to ask this question. And this is direct family, not distant. So either you make it immediate family only, or you are picking and choosing who gets invited, and feelings will get hurt.
We got married in the Caribbean St. Thomas in a villa on the top of a mountain, overlooking the island and ocean. For us it did not make sense to get married locally and spend 10 — 15 thousand dollars. Ugh, this is why I hate wedding posts on finance blogs. Sorry, rant over. After that I am for more economy. Conde Nast Bridal Group who have an interest in driving up spending on weddings. Anybody can throw money at the bridal industry and have a fairy-tale party.
Are you actually a fairy princess? Do you wear a tiara to work to show how glamorous you are? Then why do you think you should even enjoy a wedding straight out of a Disney movie. Grow up and express your own tastes. We found a hall that had just been remodeled and needed the bookings. Our caterer was a non-profit that trained women from shelters in restaurant job skills. We had a sleek, modern look which kept cost down on decorations. Tasteful calla lily accents are cheaper than throwing roses everywhere. We made our own centerpieces, favors, and invitations. I even took an art class before hand just for this purpose, and it was money well spent.
Everything about the day came from our hearts, not our wallets. Our wedding had beautiful surroundings, great food, dancing, music, and the love of our friends and family. In my mind the actual day is such a blur that I hardly remember it, but people still tell us it was the best wedding they ever attended. I agree that planning for a wedding is more realistic than cutting it down. And on the evening before my wedding day I have other things to do besides playing with flowers. We did cut back where we could and preferred simple and elegant.
For example, we paid a little more for our reception hall but it was the lobby of a concert hall with a rich Italian Rococo architecture. Yes, you read that right. I can honestly say that it was the most fun night I ever had in my life.
What a complete waste of money to spend 28k on one day! What about saving that money for the rest of your life? We took what we would have spent on the wedding and put it in the bank. Guess what- we paid off our mortgage last December. I'm all about the minister getting paid for his time, but don't say it's the same level. She did the same kind of things to a lot of her friends and family ie: asking all the wedding party who was coming from far away to pay for individual hotel rooms at the inn it was held at to make sure all the really expensive rooms were taken, as required by her contract.
Now every time I hear her brag about how she had the most awesome wedding ever on a super-low budget, all I can think about is how she did it by taking advantage of people she knows. We had an early wedding with reception brunch to save cost on food. Was it the perfect wedding? In a word, NO. I screwed up my vows and the maid of honor screwed up her toast. Some of the food was too dry. It was by no means perfect. Why does the government need to be involved in my relationship?
Marriage is a government contract that says I will lose half my net worth if she decides to shack up with her personal trainer instead. Wow what a deal! Except that in some jurisdictions the same property settlement rules apply whether you were married or living together. I like that you wrote a sample savings guide for weddings. It is a relevant point that a lot of the big spenders are getting some parental help. You do not need one to get married. You WANT one. I have been to black-tie, all-out, red-rose petals-on-the-floor insanity weddings.
You know what? And they will stay with you hopefully for the rest of your life. What more does one need? Fine, that makes perfect reasonable sense. However, I think […]. Not everyone is a hypocrite. We did go the simple route- we had one attendant each, and one flower girl. While we had a harpist for the ceremony, a friend offered to dj for the reception. We also put together our favors.
So, not only is it possible to have an inexpensive wedding, people really do have them, perhaps more often than you think. So, I cosign KM. They planned their wedding at our alma mater and the cost was puny. The total cost will be below Bridesmaids-thrift stores! Little bro already had a suit, dad has a suit. Nice, paper and plastic ones. Pretty, but affordable. Cake-a friend is giving one to us as a gift. If they had not, I would have opted to make one myself.
Not that hard. We might spend more. I HATE it when people spend too much on their weddings and then complain about it or go into debt because of it :-O. Your post is very insightful. There are many people who want to have their dream wedding and go broke, and then there are those who actually plan for their dream wedding accordingly — they do the math and plan it well. Dude, this post totally freaked me out. Almost as scary as having a wedding dress waiting in the closet. I think this is one thing that can wait a little while longer for me.
But thanks for bringing it to my attention, Ramit! Ramit is totally correct in this instance. The truth is you either save and pay or elope. There are no simple weddings. With the online wedding map you can avoid paying a designer to create a map for your wedding or you can use the online wedding map to get a discount from our design partner on a custom design for invitations.
The online wedding map can be included in a wedding website, printed for invitations, or linked to from an email, website, or invitation. If you find them annoying, stop reading them. Not only that, but the size of a wedding is frankly not always in your control. Your family might want a bigger one. Or whatever. The realities of life intrude on our ideas of having a simple wedding. This happens every year with increasingly expensive weddings, despite young people protesting that their wedding will be simple.
Just look at the gigantic wedding expenses I illustrate in my simulation. The point of the article is this: Saving is more realistic than having a simple wedding. The only people that get to decide how big a wedding is are the people that are paying. If the bride's or groom's parents want a big wedding, they can pay for it. They knew that's what they wanted, so they've had decades to save. If you the couple are paying, figure out what you can afford and work from there. Yes, I accept there are some cultures where weddings make a profit, but I suspect that doesn't apply to most readers here.
BUT just to prove that I've been reading Ramit for years it's all about priorities. If a big wedding really is something you want to spend your hard-earned on, that's your choice. Just like skipping one coffee a day so you can buy that fancy cocktail after work on Friday. Not frugality, just deliberate spending. And maybe wanting a big wedding is your spur to getting that dream job or starting a side business! If only i would have started reading your articles couple of years back.
But i was lucky to have support from my family. My parents came from India and i had about 20 friends who flew in from various parts of US. I maxed out all my cards…. Poor planning leads to poor performance, so please plan. Guess who the less stressed out and annoying guests were? These people are often amazing seamstresses, very accurate, and very cheap. Thoughts in the comments. That means we have to rent a place big enough to handle our family, our friends, and their kids minimum 60 people. We have to hire a caterer or alternatively buy out a restaurant for the night.
And we hate contributing to this industry — the process of planning this thing is basically designed to suck the joy out of the day. I am currently engaged, 5 weeks, and my fiance and I quickly came to the conclusion that the list of people we had invited was going to cost quite a bit. Our solution was to have a destination wedding on the same Mexican island where we got engaged. We are able to save a lot of money, can invite everyone on our list, and are looking forward to a really fun time. As we were trying to figure out what to do, my fiancees mother gave her a great bit of advice.
With a destination wedding, not everyone will be able to attend. My buddy said it best when he told me that people can back out of not going and no one is hurt because they got invited. The people who really love you will do what it takes to get there. Also, you have to remember that most people will have to travel to a wedding anyway, unless everyone you know still lives in the same town. For my fiancee and me, once we agreed to have a destination wedding, everything fell into place. It takes a lot of stress off because you have a wedding coordinator and you relax because you make some basic choices, but ultimately, you just have to show up.
The money you will save is great. Also, we were in our 40s, so the societal pressure is less. Loved the article and the rss plugs huge fan. Never thought at 21 I would need to start saving for a wedding, but the logic is undeniable. Thanks for the referral, I need to starting saving that Break the cycle. Go to the justice of the peace. Get married. Sign the registry. Enjoy a pleasant vacation away from jobs and worries. Merge two already overstuffed households. As I have begun the process of planning my wedding, the first step was establishing a proposed budget and working from there. Why not take that extra money that you could have spent and put it towards a down payment on the next big step in your lives together, buying a house.
My wife and her mother made all the decorations for the hall, and bought most of them through iParty a party store change. It was a fall wedding, so we did everything up in fall themes. We decorated the hall on Thursday for our Saturday wedding and people that worked at the place, were taking pictures of it on Friday saying hands down it was the most beautiful decorations the place ever had.
You just need to know where to shop and be willing to put some sweat equity in to your wedding. Say it is for a family reunion, an anniversary party — all they honestly need to know is how many people are coming and what you want. I learned this 10 years ago when a friend decided to get married spontaneously, and we called around. Charles: Wow. You need to consider that not everyone can get married in an affordable location.
That is the absolute least expensive option from any vendor in the area. Ramit, Thanks for a great post. It is so important that people realize that saving and planning for a wedding is the most sensible way to go forward. I knew going into mine that I wanted things a certain way, prioritized those things and went from there. Until one actually starts shopping for vendors there is no way to anticipate just how much things start to add up. You should also plan to spend slightly more than you budget for, because there is always one little expense that manages to sneak its way in there at the end ours was chair covers that were supposed to be included.
And we did. And you know what? If I had it to do over again…. Lots of guests, lots of attendants, a fabulous dress, flowers like those huge cabbage roses in Four Weddings and a Funeral, and a great reception. Oh, and a REAL honeymoon. This is one of the benefits of a long engagement: it gives you plenty of time to start putting your money away.
Then I did the calcs myself figuring in a conservative interest rate that I receive from ING and then increased the interest rate a bit more for my optimistic self. The monthly contributions do go down a bit but not significantly. I always considered myself fairly good with planning and budgeting but your post definitely pushed me to actually figure out definite numbers for my goals rather than ballpark estimates. Great post! My husband and I paid in full for our entire wedding. Do you know where these are now 5 years later? In my closet.
It just goes to show how much the industry has grown. To have a great wedding follow etiquette real etiquette, not wedding industry etiquette and be considerate of your guests. Those two small things ensure a great day for you and your guests. Oh man. But since she might be contributing something, she wants veto power of every decision I try to make.
When we got married in I left my wife do all the planning. She was balanced as she chose things that she wanted to splurge on and other she wanted to conserve on. We made a profit on the wedding and used the money for the downpayment on our house that we moved into the following year. I remember one episode of Friends where Monica tells Ross that that British girl he married has been thinking of that day her whole life. So there needed to be some balance between practical and extravagant. I agree completely with you about the difference between budgeting and planning for a major event. No debt, tons of fun, and rave reviews from friends and family.
Or worst of all, what we could put ona charge card or get out a loan to cover. Those people are spending Fool Money. In some families, budget discussions are always painful. And how can you have you special, perfect day if all the preparations for it hurt? So the lid comes off the budget. There is, in fact, a link between overspending at weddings and the incidence of divorce. Money problems are the single biggest source of stress for young couples.
Taking on a heavy load of wedding debt may not break every marriage, but it makes things a lot harder than they need to be. They nourish the soul. But you have to learn to manage them in non-destructive ways. Loading yourself down with years of debt in order to film an advertisement for the life you wish you were having is not a good plan for happiness.
Well, so what? Why should this little-girl fantasy about the perfect wedding day be so overwhelmingly important that it makes you throw reason and prudence out the window? Learn some new stories! Fantasize about something else! Besides, the perfect wedding day makes a lousy fantasy. Is that it? Will the rest of your life be an anticlimax? Is getting married the only adventure you can imagine having? The other reason the perfect wedding day makes a lousy fantasy is that weddings take place in the real world, and they involve other people.
All it takes is a freak thunderstorm, case of food poisoning, scheduling mixup, regional blackout, heart attack, decamped caterer, bad fall on a polished floor, et cetera, to bust you back down into the thoroughly imperfect everyday world. And those are just physical mishaps. The extra money went toward saving up to buy a house, a goal that was much more important to both of us than having an expensive wedding—and last month, we celebrated our third anniversary in our new home. My point is simply this: of course, you want your wedding day to be beautiful.
But my experience, and that of many other readers of this column, has been that how beautiful it is has little or no correlation to how much money you spend on it. You can have a beautiful, expensive wedding or a beautiful, simple wedding. In this day and age with divorce rates soaring, some women and men get to spend that childhood fantasy over 2nd marriage and over 3rd marriage again.
Since, as the WSJ points out, the average […]. His third fiancee was finally the one with whom he actually walked down the aisle. And she had one hell of a nice diamond on her finger. She broke off the engagement and was kind enough to give him back the ring but nothing else. But then he was stuck with a ring. Fortunately, he had the common sense to end that one. Fiancee 3 was the keeper.
So he upgraded yet again. Her rock is the size of a dwarf planet. Kudos to you for saving money on something. You deserve a pat on the back. If you made your own, awesome. Plan and save. Is a wedding as important to some people as a house is to others? Dare I say…yes? Hate me. Let people spend what they want to spend.
Otherwise, they are robbing their children and their grandchildren of a financially sound future. My husband and I laughed. And guess what? I tallied up what a young lady could spend on important things, all generally occurring before age 30 give or take a couple years : 1 Graduate school 2 Condo down payment 3 Replace a car 4 Wedding. Thanks, Ramit, for bringing a fresh perspective to the topic and sticking to it. If eloping or getting married at the courthouse is right for you, hurrah. Certainly not worth a savings of a few thousand dollars in those cases….
There just seems to be something so wrong about moving so much closer into debt the day of your wedding… Like the diamond industry, the wedding industry has found a way to make expensive weddings the norm now…. I have been a private jeweler for more than 20 years and I could tell you some stories!
One that comes to mind: a young couple came to purchase wedding bands with the father of the bride to be. They declined such an offer. Totally correct about the saving, I bought a house and drained all of my ready cash then found the man I married. We then bought a house together while renting out my little one and basically turned to our credit cards to pay for our CHEAP by necessity wedding for guests, but only because we live in a cheapish part of the country.
Our wedding was fine, and I feel good about how I spent the money, but it would have been really nice to have had money set aside to spend on a honeymoon, nicer decorations or helped out with my bridesmaids costs. I had to wait 2 months before I could pay off the balance of my photographers bill.
Ramit, you got suckered on this one like the rest of us. However, this DOES mean that your quick spreadsheet is terribly flawed.
I see weddings as sort of like government expenditure. Since you are invariably locked into a date, and it cannot be cancelled if the price is not competitive, it gives contractors carte blanche to charge over the odds. I just had my wedding, and I was shocked at all the things I never thought of that were all of a sudden burning huge holes in our wallet. But the main thing that will get you is the numbers. We did things like have some photography students whose work we loved 3 take our pictures.
They actually all did it as a wedding gift or to add to their portfolios though we offered to pay a decent student price. And since they were our friends, we were so calm and happy during the shoot. Things like that. We have good friends who volunteered things they were good at as wedding gifts.
I think that probably made our wedding easier for their budgets. The fabric was also a gift. As you said, one has to prioritize—we cut down on things—and one has to be intentional about spending. And when you take up friends offers, you have to also be intentional about not exploiting their goodwill.
It has a lot of good advice on how […]. When the guest pay for a present of that list, his name will be recorded so that you can know who paid for it and how much. The guest can make a call before going to the mall to check if the have a list for that marrying couple usually everybody create a Wedding List here. So people can pay for their Honey Moon trip or even buy groceries which is not the ideal present but it helps! These days, the average present is Euros about USD per person. Other countries like Japan or China pay in cash the same day money in an envelope buy you should take care of not losing all that money in your wedding day!
Not in 1 month but at least years ahead. BUT I was setting money aside for that. Is this correct? These are great AND thorough tips. It flabbergasts me to think of all the people who choose to start their new life together buy throwing away good money. The marriage is more important than the wedding, after all.
My wife and I got married 4 years ago in a small family affair at my parents house, then we had a larger gathering that was catered, but very informal. We did the whole thing for. It is interesting to see how many people have saddled up their high horse on here. We are cutting corners where we can and are pleased with the results so far. My wedding will be small, local, and simple. The majority of the money should go to the honeymoon since most the time the honeymoon lasts longer than the wedding.
My point is, count your blessings. At least you are ABLE to spend that kind of money. I paid nothing for my wedding. Went to City Hall. After the marriage, the in-laws suddenly insisted on having a proper wedding. Unless you have the money to show off, throwing a lot of money at a wedding is stupid.
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Yes, we spent more than the average — it was a conscious decision, because we were asking our friends to travel pretty far to the area where my family lived, so we wanted to host a few events over the weekend. I tried reading through all the comments, but I got annoyed after reading the same thing about twenty times I stopped around where you agreed with KM that not everyone knows a pro quality photographer. What frustrates me about all the commenters all the ones I read, at least is that everyone thinks that people who spend any more than they did on a wedding is stupid.
You want your mother to make your wedding cake? But trust me, when the planning is going on and the decisions are being made, expenses add up extremely fast. We are having people and we are being very cost conscious. It sounds awful but it is what it is. The wedding machine is something that, once it sucks you in, is very hard to fight. I was scared silly of all those people looking at me. I came from a very poor family, and have earned everything I have and all I can say is get over it.
Put your priorities into order. Because of my work, I think about these issues every day. I share your incredulity over the big, big numbers vs. I mean, college is nice, too, but the wedding could pretty easily beat out college in terms of a long-term crippling debt load. After all, everyone else manages, right? Some people have unfortunately lost cushy jobs from economic downturns right after the rice was thrown.
And their stories are kind of sad. I agree that budgeting ahead of time based on your priorities for your own wedding is key to not going into debt, whether you and your significant other will be paying the tab, or whether family is helping out. I am in the midst of wedding planning myself and have realized first hand how quickly prices escalate. With the help of low budget bride planning guides, we have managed to stay below the national average even though it is a huge expense.
We figure that this will not cover expenses like the honeymoon but saving up for and paying for that is much more reasonable than the entire amount. Yes, most weddings cost too much. At end of the day, people will remember good times and good friends.
It has never occurred to me to start saving for a wedding, but this post has inspired me to do just that. There is another advantage to being able to pay for your wedding yourself: control. How do you explain that one? Being a parent, I feel parents have a lot to do with the wedding budget.
When our first daughter was engaged we told her we had a budget for her. We all bowled in our wedding clothes and bowling shoes. They had one friend do their video, three friends do their music, and two friends do a dance. They are planning a party for 80 later in the year to celebrate at a restaurant that only charges for the food not space.
They have the rest of their money saved for a better house as they already own a home. Basically, we hoped both couples would put more work into making a good marriage than a year planning for one day. I got married in a civil ceremony before my husband left on deployment and we are paying off the credit cards we have now AND saving for the wedding. My budget is 10k. I hope to be under but I doubt it. We are having approx 20 guests I think..
I am trying to find a restaurant that will give us a private room for my tiny wedding dinner and then I want to have a very nice honeymoon to one of the resorts on the neighboring islands.. There other activities such as rehearsal dinner, afterparty, etc. Think back to all of the weddings you have attended, what do you really remember about them — you remember how young and good looking the members of the party were, the conversations you might have had with distant friends and relatives, but hardly do you remeber what food they served or how long the open bar was or how fancy the joint was.
Keep your cash for a house. I always wanted a nice wedding dress so I could pass it on to my daughter…. And an open bar…. I plan to spend anything that my in-laws will throw at me for the ceremony. They will more than likely invite all their business associates anyway. I think the high cost of a formal wedding is quite worth saving your virginity for 27 years…. My future-husband, though, had never been married before and strongly wanted a wedding that his — extended family members could attend.
We had a similar conversation over an engagement ring because he wanted to buy something far more expensive than I thought was reasonable for our incomes. Once I pointed out how much money we would have to save every month to pay cash for the event and how that would impact house and car purchases down the road…we started meeting somewhere in the middle.
We spent waaaaaay more than I ever wanted to, but we compromised on a number and committed to paying cash for it. We both saved like crazy and paid for the big event in case with some help from parents who were absolutely insistent on pitching in. It was a great event that neither one of us would have changed…but the key was getting on the same page really early in the process and having some hard discussions. If you can come to terms with how to handle a 30K price tag and the impact it has on house choices, car choices, etc.
Being a waspish gal from the East Coast, I figured I was on easy street once the engagement became official. Can fit around one long table small. Play a board game after the cake gets cut small. Then my beloved hunk announced that he too wished for a small reception…no more than a hundred people.
I blanched. My elegant small wedding suddenly exploded into a potentially crippling fiduciary black hole. I ditched my pretty wedding magazines. I threw out pamphlets on reception locations. I laughed at people that asked about my ideas for flowers and invitations. I have nothing to say on the subject of the girls that never outgrew the princess syndrome, but I will say this for the poor clueless gals holed up with a copy of Martha Stewart Weddings and a pocket full of dreams. Here are my top ten suggestions for brides that, like me, have no desire to go to the poor house or Vegas to take care of their marital needs.
My suggestions are designed specifically for someone that wishes to stay below 5 grand in their wedding budget 5 grand, that is, on shit you will never see again after your special day…see number 5 for the exception. You will meet a hell of a lot of young hopeful fashion designers that know how to work a sewing machine.
Buy good fabric. Stalk them for a few months, you might strike gold. Let your wedding party choose their own flowers for goodness sake. Or simply make your flowers out of paper. Do you care if your name is engraved or written in ink? I got fancy envelopes and simple stamped card stock to go in them. Do you know how much cheaper it is to buy fancy envelopes?
Yet you get just as many compliments! Get a dress that will fit into a normal automobile. Who are you, Princess Di? Invest in a Bose portable sound system for your own entertainment purposes and hook in your iPod you can send home mix cds in lieu of crappy favors too. Want the illusion of a live band? Learn to use an editing system ie Media and put together a loop of clips from old big band movies ie Fred Astaire features and rent a projector.
Classy and creative. Be wary of Myspace syndrome though. No one needs another power point presentation set to Coldplay with pictures of you and your beloved bouncing on and off the screen. And for the ladies, estate jewels are the way to go. A lot. I hate those damned portraits of posing brides and wedding parties. The bride caught in a moment of natural beauty. The groom dropping the first piece of cake on the floor. Good stuff. Rehearsal dinners are for chumps. Barbecue on the night of the rehearsal. Pick a place to exchange vows that you find naturally beautiful, then let it just be beautiful.
Why adorn what is already so wonderful? Be very, very selective about the decor you choose, lest you get carried away with the airy promises of florists or wedding planners. I hate to admit it, but I will mock tacky weddings. I hate those damned excuses for luaus with Jimmy Buffet lyrics written on everything and crepe paper decorations. I recently went to one with tables decorated with salt shakers and little slips of paper on them that said Adam and Sarah The Last Shaker of Salt …seriously?
What does that even mean? I also hate the overdone wastes of flowers and lights and music. Best wedding I ever went to was in a roller disco. I can understand the intense pressure on young women with good taste but better fiscal sense. This comment is much later than the earliest ones, but it looks like people are still coming to this post at this time. I have also been to various fancy corporate events that were not nearly as nice and fun as the expense would suggest.
However, I will be getting married at a point in my life when I will have assuming the career is going well a decent amount of money saved up, some of which I will be earmarking for a wedding. At this point in my life, I have spent a lot of time in buildings that have very nice decor, whether they are cathedrals or university buildings with ornate gothic decor. So, as Ramit has intelligently pointed out, I will be saving accordingly.
And doing that on a budget will be difficult in my area, and for me. Finally, having traveled to weddings on a tight budge, I can guarantee you that if a guest makes an effort to pay high travel costs to get to your wedding, that guest is going to notice if your only consideration was cutting costs. And my wedding will cost less than 5k. My bride to be understands the importance of sacrifice now reward later. I started my first company at 21 years old and will continue to build new businesses. Ramit, I love reading your blogs. You have inspired me to get escape and start my own blog documenting my plot.
I hope you will visit and give me some pointers. Keep up the good work man. We cut costs in several ways. Most of the ways we cut costs had to do with exploiting resources we had already. For example, I do bonsai, so we used my bonsai collection as a decoration at the wedding. My wife dabbles in calligraphy, so she did the invitations.
West Usk Lighthouse | Accommodation & Wedding Venue | Newport
Most of the time, when I see pictures of a 30k, 40k, or k wedding, I cant help but think they all look practically the same. The cake was made by a small vegetarian restaurant we frequented. The cake s was a custom flavor they worked with us to develop spicy ancho chocolate cake, with different spicy levels, including super hot for me. Biodegradable bamboo plates were cheaper than renting plates and look much nicer than chinette. Dinner was an Indian food buffet, with wait service provided by the restaurant. Cost was much less than trying to make individual stakes or such, and the restaurant wait staff was very professional and amused that we wanted them to cater our wedding.