Author Topic: Wedding  (Read 9198 times)

RuntoFIRE

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Wedding
« on: August 24, 2015, 06:56:41 PM »
Hi All,

My fiance and I got engaged about a month ago, and now we're looking into planning a wedding.

I've read all of the wedding posts here and would love to not go into financial suicide for a wedding ceremony and reception (I'm doing pretty well now in controlling my spending, paying off remaining student loans (only $12K left!) and maxing out retirement accounts).

My problems in planning the wedding are family expectations and location. We live in the Bay Area where it is expensive to plan a "traditional" wedding (I was quoted $50K or so). More importantly, my fiance has a big family and it's out of the question for us to not invite them and keep the wedding small (I want to have them there and want to start off married life on the right foot as well). His parents will be helping us out with wedding costs, but how do I keep from ending up spending $40-$50K total on a wedding for 120+ people in one of the most expensive places in the US, when expectations are for a "traditional" wedding, aka catered food, alcohol, etc.?

Would love to hear suggestions and advice. Thank you!

Kiwi Mustache

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Re: Wedding
« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2015, 08:04:09 PM »
I was engaged and had the wedding all planned. 9 months before hand we went our separate ways so I could relate.

We were planning a 20k ish white wedding inviting around 80 guests friends and family.

Now I look back on it. This wasn't really what either of us wanted. We were simply swept up in friends and family all being so excited for us that we just wanted the day to live up to their expectations, because both families were going to be there in their numbers.

However, now looking back it just wasn't us at all. I went to a friends wedding a few weeks ago and they did something very similar, so probably cost around 20-25k. I felt the day just went so quickly and I said to my other friend on the way home, I was going to pay 20k for that!!

It's really just about having the people closest to you there. If it costs 20k in a function centre with all the white wedding things or if it is on a beach and a BBQ back at a family backyard, I would have enjoyed the 2k more now I think about it. Plus I would have had 18k left over to spend on a great honeymoon holiday and then save the rest.

I would just ask yourself, is this what you want or is it what your family expects of you? You are the one paying the bill. Also be quite ruthless with the people you invite. We started with a list of 110 ish people but then cut it down to 70-80 after my uncle said to us that he only keeps in contact with 20 or so people he invited to his wedding 20-30 years ago.

Riff

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Re: Wedding
« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2015, 08:12:08 PM »
Destination wedding in the Caribbean :)

mozar

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Re: Wedding
« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2015, 08:19:57 PM »
Just came back from a wedding. If your fiance's parents are paying for it, it is basically their wedding. I think you should just accept that and let them plan it. Less stress for you. Also the website apracticalwedding.com is a good resource.

lizzzi

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Re: Wedding
« Reply #4 on: August 25, 2015, 06:36:56 AM »
This would be a great time to get your student loans paid off. Maybe ask the parents if, instead of spending however much on the wedding, they would pay off your 12K student loans as a wedding present and then you could have a smaller wedding.

I thought of this because my daughter did something similar. My husband and I offered her a wedding--the whole shebang--but she said if we were going to pay for that (which she didn't care about), would we mind paying for a renovation of their kitchen. So I didn't get to see her in a wedding dress,  (she wore a white suit in the judge's chambers),  but they got a $26,000 kitchen renovation. Hey, it's all good.

ender

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Re: Wedding
« Reply #5 on: August 25, 2015, 06:42:15 AM »
Step 1: Make a budget, and stick to it.
Step 2: see step 1
Step 3: no really, if you stick to the wedding budget it'll be within your budget

If you only have $4k for food at the reception, guess what? You aren't going to go spend $10k because "it's just a bit more." You'll spend $4k.

And yes this isn't easy. But you are asking something that is hard.


Google has a great template for this too, by the way (the all in one wedding planner) - the planner includes a TON of things which are the "gotchas" that people forget about. Those gotchas add lots of money and blow many a budget.



MayDay

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Re: Wedding
« Reply #6 on: August 25, 2015, 07:06:07 AM »
1.  Do YOU (and all you's refer to your fiance as well) want a big family wedding?  If not, don't do it.  Trust me, no one will remember or care in a year or 2.  In fact plenty will be secretly happy they don't have to attend. 

2.  If you don't mind the big thing, decide if you care about the IL's footing the bill.  If you are ok with it, just let them plan the whole thing and show up.  Trust me, this is the lowest stress way to go.  I just wish my mom would have planned my wedding, she made me do it myself!

3.  If you truly want the big wedding, and don't want to accept money, there are plenty of options.  Find a state park with a shelter house a couple hours outside of the city.  Find a church with a hall underneath that you can have a cake and punch reception in.  Etc.  We found that having a plated (less food than a buffet because no waste) lunch reception with a bottle house wine on the tables but not full alcohol to be very reasonable.  So you do have options.  But you may have to battle your MIL every step of the way.  Thus why I said #2 is way easier!

4.  Have a destination wedding and invite the whole family.  If they all want to show up, cool.  But you aren't paying. 


rae

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Re: Wedding
« Reply #7 on: August 25, 2015, 07:25:31 AM »
If your fiance's parents are paying for it, it is basically their wedding. I think you should just accept that and let them plan it. Less stress for you.

Agreed. For my wedding, my parents and DH's parents paid for it. They got what they wanted. DH and I tried to keep their costs down but certain key decisions were made by the parents (location, food, guest list) that made it very expensive. We ended up married at the end of day (which was our original goal anyway, so it was a win-win situation.)

Dicey

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Re: Wedding
« Reply #8 on: August 25, 2015, 07:49:53 AM »
Elope, Elope, ELOPE!

I did this and am forever glad I did, even though we love to entertain. The day was perfect (two sibs were there, despite only a couple hours notice on a week day) and the rest of my large family got over it, especially when DH started fixing things around my parent's house, lol. Yours will too, especially when they see how happy you are together.

If you can't bring yourself to take my advice, take Mozar's. My brother did a version of this. He lived in Hawaii, so they had a small wedding there. I was the only family member present. Later they had a reception at my parent's house in CA. They let my mom plan everything. Initially she had a budget, but eventually, she turned it into a much bigger thing, including re-landscaping the backyard. It was hilarious! My brother just kept saying, "Sure mom, just tell us when to be there." The guest list kept growing, the cake, food and flowers got fancier, the yard looked fabulous and she even hired a harpist! We all had a ball and my mom was happy to spend her* money exactly the way she wanted (*'cuz of course my dad had no say in any of it). My brother and his wife got to enjoy the day with friends and family with no stress.




Just came back from a wedding. If your fiance's parents are paying for it, it is basically their wedding. I think you should just accept that and let them plan it. Less stress for you. Also the website apracticalwedding.com is a good resource.

RunHappy

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Re: Wedding
« Reply #9 on: August 25, 2015, 08:01:29 AM »
I just came back from a DIY wedding that had at least 150 people if not more.  They held it outdoors at a campground with a beautiful backdrop.  There was an outdoor ceremony, with a covered pavilion.  It did rain during the reception, but we were treated to a double rainbow for the toasts.  I didn't ask how much it cost, but I can't believe they spent more than $5-7k for the entire wedding and everyone had a fabulous time.

lifejoy

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Re: Wedding
« Reply #10 on: August 25, 2015, 08:18:24 AM »
Consider if guests will give money or not. We did not factor that in, and were blown away when our wedding "paid for itself".

DeltaBond

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Re: Wedding
« Reply #11 on: August 25, 2015, 08:35:04 AM »
OP said parents are HELPING with costs, not covering the whole thing.  My husband and I let some people know we were getting married and others learned when they got the marriage "announcement" in the mail.  My mother-in-law was angry at me saying, "The wedding is for the family."... but she's not from the US, and not a very nice person anyway, so I didn't care.  I had the day I wanted, it was my wedding, my marriage.  We did the county clerk thing and took a week off work.

tvan

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Re: Wedding
« Reply #12 on: August 25, 2015, 08:40:11 AM »
I'm not sure about the wine country near your location but in Temecula you could get married at one of the wineries for less than 15k. 

I'm in the process of planning/paying for one now.  One thing that helps is opening bonus credit cards and earning the bonuses since your vendors usually take CC and its easy to meet the minimum spend.  Of course you have to pay it off right away so don't do this for anything you don't have the cash for.  We will basically be getting a honeymoon plus some flights for free.

CommonCents

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Re: Wedding
« Reply #13 on: August 25, 2015, 08:49:30 AM »
What is most important to you?  Pick up to three things, for example: number of guests, good food, open bar, day of week, time of day, flowers, centerpieces, music, attire, attendants, venue, photographer, location, rings...  Spend your budget accordingly on those three things and go cheaply on everything else.  Stick to your budget - if you spend more on one area, then cut something out in another (e.g. no champagne toast, skip the cake and do pies/cupcakes/donuts instead, etc.)   

Your biggest expenses will be the venue and number of guests.  Based on your post, the number of guests is one of your top three priorities so particularly look to save on the venue.  It sounds from your prices that you are looking just at big hotels.  Try looking much harder - check out parks, halls, smaller inns, even golf clubs will be cheaper than a big hotel wedding.  If you overspend in both of these areas, it's exceedingly hard to make it up elsewhere, because it has such a big impact on your budget.

And then consider: iPod music (or at least DJ), non-Saturday wedding, pre-owned dress & suit you can rewear and not a tux rental, not yet fully established photographer, skip flower centerpieces, few attendants (just MOH/BM?), wedding located not right in SF, a limited bar, make your own simple invitations, serve chicken instead of steak (or go ethnic), etc.  Skip things that don't matter to you (favors? fancy things to cut the cake or cake toppers?), negotiate everything, and DIY as much as possible (buy on sale or with coupons).  Accept gifts of friends to help you.

Note: Don't rely on people giving money at the wedding to pay for the wedding.  Not everyone will give a gift, the gifts may be less than what you expect (and less than the cost of the plates), and often it's in the form of registry item so unless you plan to sell the pots or china, not terrifically helpful to pay for the wedding.
« Last Edit: August 25, 2015, 11:24:19 AM by CommonCents »

iamlittlehedgehog

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Re: Wedding
« Reply #14 on: August 25, 2015, 08:50:40 AM »
I second eloping - I wish we had. But the good news is you are being offered financial help! Here is what we did and I think really benefited us.

-Outline exactly what his parent's are willing and want to help with. Essentially what are their priorities for this wedding. It may be a certain officiant, food, flowers, etc. 
-Write it down so everyone is in agreement
-Make they understand the money they are providing you goes toward THEIR priorities, not your own.

Here is why. In 10 months FMIL may stand getting huffy that you want a certain DJ (flowers, etc.) and turn the guilt trip around on you (Well, I gave you this money so I should have a say). At that point you kindly point they money she provided went toward the priorities originally outlined in the discussion at the start of wedding planning.

You may have a totes magoats chill family and this might not be an issue but this saved me multiple migraines when planning ours because my MIL is a narcissistic control freak.

Bob W

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Re: Wedding
« Reply #15 on: August 25, 2015, 09:23:59 AM »
The easiest and thing to do is to drive or fly to Vegas,  just the two of you.   

Then make your announcement on facebook.

If someone in the family wants to spring for a reception just have them pick a place  (park,  bar,  house,  museum etc..)   

Then show up the week after the wedding on a Saturday night and party like rock stars.

Done deal --- memorable --- low stress --- low cost.

I'm sure you've seen all the studies about the cost of the wedding having an inverse relationship to the days to divorce or some shit.  Well it is true.  Spend 60K on that wedding and within 5 years you'll be burning the wedding pictures and hating each other. 

fitfrugalfab

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Re: Wedding
« Reply #16 on: August 25, 2015, 09:34:48 AM »
I'm a newly wed and got married in Las Vegas. Now, before you write it off as an Elvis wedding (because it wasn't) here me out.

I have a HUGE family. I'm half Asian on my mother's side (so I have like a million relatives just there, also from the Bay area), my dad's mom has 12 brothers and sisters, my DH has 4 sisters and both of our parents are divorced and then remarried.

We were going to go to Florida and have a beautiful wedding on the beach then a catered reception. The stress was starting to get to me and so were the amounting cost. We decided to get married at the Tropicana in Las Vegas in October so the weather was beautiful. The wedding planners there are AMAZING. There are very cheap packages to chose from and they can support a tiny wedding or a huge wedding. Another great thing is that it was a 1 stop shop. I got my hair done there, wedding done there, and had the option to do my reception there. I ended up doing a large dinner at Buca di Beppo instead because of the costs. Here was my breakdown.

Ceremony + Officiant (included seating, music, wedding coordinators, photographer, my bouquet, 10 photos, videographer and bottle of champagne): $900
Hair- $100
Dinner (5 course dinner, open bar, small wedding cake for head count of 32 people): $1600. We had so much food left over my DH and I actually boxed all the food up and went around giving food out the homeless the next day.

Let me tell you. BEST decision I have ever done. The wedding was beautiful and when you get married, I promise you, NOTHING else matters but you and your significant other who is waiting for you down the aisle. I've attached a pic of where I got married.

FLBiker

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Re: Wedding
« Reply #17 on: August 25, 2015, 09:59:18 AM »
Third for eloping.  We got married by a pastor in the Great Smoky Mountains for $150.  It was awesome.

A few months later, my in-laws threw a party for us (maybe ~100 people).  Their party, their budget.  Every time we go to a wedding, my wife inevitably says how glad she is we eloped.

RunHappy

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Re: Wedding
« Reply #18 on: August 25, 2015, 10:08:48 AM »
How much money is the family helping you with?  That is an important piece of information.  Once you have that you can adequately plan your wedding budget.  Are they writing you a check or paying a vendor directly?

So I am planning my wedding next year and it is not as MMM as we originally thought it would be.  We changed our minds from hosting it in our backyard after reviewing the septic tank capacity and town codes.

Instead we are having it a local greenhouse (ceremony) then reception at a local inn.

What is important to us other than family and friends, is food and open bar.  Yes there will be kids there too the parents are aware of them open bar and we trust our guests to not be inappropriate.

The greenhouse was chosen because it is already decorated with gorgeous flowers, so other than bouquet nothing is required.

The room in the inn is already gorgeous, so other than some DIY centerpieces and wedding favors (activity kits for the kits and hangover kits for the adults), we aren't doing much for decorations.

I'm planning to rent my dress and the "Best Woman" dress from www.renttherunway.com this should total about $200.  However this is next year and the RTR inventory can change by then.

For the grooms, I'm not sure how much it is going to cost.  It is going to be summer so I think a full on suit will be overkill.

We each are only going to have 1 attendant. I'm considering a flower girl and ring bearer only because little kids are cute and ovaries would burst as they walk down the asile hand in hand, but it might be over the top for me.

I saw some DIY invitation kits at Walmart (clearance) for $5 for 25 invites (invitation/envelopes, rsvp cards/envelopes, driving direction cards and reception cards).  For 3 boxes that is less than $20.  They don't all match but who is going to know other than us?

The bulk of the costs will be food, booze, and photography (I want nice lifetime photos).  I'm guessing we will spend about $10k for everything.  Which to me a lot of money, but my SO was happy with how "little" it is costing. 

Shinplaster

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Re: Wedding
« Reply #19 on: August 25, 2015, 10:29:44 AM »
If family is only paying for a portion of the wedding, decide exactly what that amount will cover.  Then tell them that is what THEY are paying for.   Anything else, they have no say about, because they aren't the ones paying.

Our son just got married in June, and this worked really well for dealing with the in-laws.  When it was settled what their gift was buying, the bride and groom were free to cut costs, do-it-yourself on anything else.   They managed to have a lovely wedding in a local bistro, with a justice of the peace for the ceremony.  After the ceremony, everyone went out to the park next door, did photos, etc., while the staff reset the tables for a sit-down dinner with an open bar.   My son and daughter-in-law did their own flowers, music, favors, invitations, cake topper, etc., and the total came in under $8000Can. for about 80 people.  My daughter-in-law is very mustachian - she found her dress on ModCloth for $150.  She looked beautiful!   A family friend baked their cake, as her gift. Friends who are photographers took photos as their gift.   Do you have friends with these types of skills that could donate them as their wedding gift to you?  It makes everything so much more personal, and saves a ton of money.

merlin7676

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Re: Wedding
« Reply #20 on: August 25, 2015, 10:31:15 AM »
We have been planning ours as well and once we sat down and starting adding up what everything would cost for a wedding we just couldn't justify spending all that money for what ends up being a couple hours on one day of your entire life.

So we decided that since we were already going to be in Maui for a long weekend (fiance has a work conference and I was flying out later in the week to join him) it would be cheaper and romantic to fly out each of our best friends and put them up in a condo for 3 days.

So we'll have a great small sunset wedding with the two closest people in our lives and it will be just fine (even if that is pricey too).

Then come next June (when we were originally have it) we'll have all the friends and family come over and throw a huge BBQ type thing. Plus no pressure on that day for the wedding but rather get to enjoy having everybody there

Britan

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Re: Wedding
« Reply #21 on: August 25, 2015, 11:14:58 AM »
Hi All,

My fiance and I got engaged about a month ago, and now we're looking into planning a wedding.

I've read all of the wedding posts here and would love to not go into financial suicide for a wedding ceremony and reception (I'm doing pretty well now in controlling my spending, paying off remaining student loans (only $12K left!) and maxing out retirement accounts).

My problems in planning the wedding are family expectations and location. We live in the Bay Area where it is expensive to plan a "traditional" wedding (I was quoted $50K or so). More importantly, my fiance has a big family and it's out of the question for us to not invite them and keep the wedding small (I want to have them there and want to start off married life on the right foot as well). His parents will be helping us out with wedding costs, but how do I keep from ending up spending $40-$50K total on a wedding for 120+ people in one of the most expensive places in the US, when expectations are for a "traditional" wedding, aka catered food, alcohol, etc.?

Would love to hear suggestions and advice. Thank you!
I just sent a PM with some Bay Area specific recommendations. Don't want all of the details all over the open interwebs, but I've been facing a similar problem too. :)

r3dt4rget

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Re: Wedding
« Reply #22 on: August 25, 2015, 11:47:44 AM »
Be brave, stand up to traditions you don't believe in. If you want a cheap wedding, invite less people. There isn't one person that will tell you eloping or having a tiny wedding ruined their relationship with family or friends. Maybe it's awkward for a week after, but it's not worth spending a down payment on a house to have a big party for 120 people. It's not that big of a deal to people unless they are just crazy and unreasonable.

neo von retorch

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Re: Wedding
« Reply #23 on: August 25, 2015, 12:00:50 PM »
Just like @Shinplaster's posts - we relied on gifts for food and photography. We rented a park pavilion overlooking a lake - it was gorgeous (and cost $125)! Our officiant was one of the most expensive things for our wedding, which had about 80 guests. We paid for decorations, the rings and dress ($99 + alterations) and drinks. (We did not have drinks at the wedding/reception but held an after party at my in-laws place, another generous donation! We paid for the food/alcohol there.) We were told it was a perfect, beautiful wedding. Maybe people are polite... but I know the people I care about were very happy for us and enjoyed the beautiful setting. I think, most importantly, my wife and I talked about what was important to us - having nieces and nephews there, our closest friends, being outdoors, and not compromising on who we are when it comes to being smart with our money. Yes, it is an important experience, but it goes by in the blink of an eye, so spending lots of money on it just doesn't make sense. Even if we had paid for food and photography, this would have easily been under $5k total, and that's if we wanted really fancy food and some sort of serious photography package. Instead, we had delicious, somewhat exotic food, mouth-watering desserts and some mind-blowing custom cookies with our names and other themed things on them, and a photographer who took great candid photos for us instead of dictating when and where we should be. We spent the vast majority of our wedding socializing with each of the friends and family members who took time out of their week to travel to join in our celebration (which was on a Thursday.) If we had any regrets, it's that we didn't have more "good old home-style" food out for my "countrified" family members :)

Bob W

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Re: Wedding
« Reply #24 on: August 25, 2015, 12:30:05 PM »
I'm a newly wed and got married in Las Vegas. Now, before you write it off as an Elvis wedding (because it wasn't) here me out.

I have a HUGE family. I'm half Asian on my mother's side (so I have like a million relatives just there, also from the Bay area), my dad's mom has 12 brothers and sisters, my DH has 4 sisters and both of our parents are divorced and then remarried.

We were going to go to Florida and have a beautiful wedding on the beach then a catered reception. The stress was starting to get to me and so were the amounting cost. We decided to get married at the Tropicana in Las Vegas in October so the weather was beautiful. The wedding planners there are AMAZING. There are very cheap packages to chose from and they can support a tiny wedding or a huge wedding. Another great thing is that it was a 1 stop shop. I got my hair done there, wedding done there, and had the option to do my reception there. I ended up doing a large dinner at Buca di Beppo instead because of the costs. Here was my breakdown.

Ceremony + Officiant (included seating, music, wedding coordinators, photographer, my bouquet, 10 photos, videographer and bottle of champagne): $900
Hair- $100
Dinner (5 course dinner, open bar, small wedding cake for head count of 32 people): $1600. We had so much food left over my DH and I actually boxed all the food up and went around giving food out the homeless the next day.

Let me tell you. BEST decision I have ever done. The wedding was beautiful and when you get married, I promise you, NOTHING else matters but you and your significant other who is waiting for you down the aisle. I've attached a pic of where I got married.
That sounds low stress and relatively cheap!   Good for you.  Plus there is lots to do in Vegas for you and any family that attends. 

snarkstache

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Re: Wedding
« Reply #25 on: August 25, 2015, 05:08:30 PM »
I'm in the Bay Area and got married last summer at a picnic area at one of the East Bay parks. Our specific location would be tough to turn "traditional" but the park system has a lot of building venues with services (like, say, chairs) that are relatively cheap. Because of this, I think the more popular ones get booked up well in advance, but they are definitely worth checking out if you are looking at next summer, and there are also similar venues in other nearby park systems. Renting a large house somewhere beautiful nearby is another potential option. In general, venues that will let you bring in outside catering and booze (if you have it) will be cheaper overall, plus that will let you have food and drinks that you actually love!
I definitely second the recommendation upthread about apracticalwedding.com, and offbeatbride.com also has some great suggestions even for relatively traditional folks.

Also, we thought about eloping a lot of times, starting almost immediately after getting engaged, but I loved our wedding and am really glad that we didn't!

Also, congratulations and have fun!

wordnerd

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Re: Wedding
« Reply #26 on: August 25, 2015, 05:21:56 PM »
I got married just south of San Franscisco on the coast at the Montara Lighthouse. Outdoor ceremony there for $300ish. We used a free venue for the reception (hall at a church that my DH's family runs). We go BBQ catered and got the weekday price since we got married on the Monday of a holiday weekend. We skipped flowers. We DJed with an iPod. We got pies instead of cake. Everything (including our travel from Atlanta) came in under $5k, so it can be done. Our biggest expense (by far) was our photographer, but it was worth it to us.

Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize. Wedding rules were meant to be broken.


iamlindoro

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Re: Wedding
« Reply #27 on: August 25, 2015, 06:00:34 PM »
Hi All,

My fiance and I got engaged about a month ago, and now we're looking into planning a wedding.

I've read all of the wedding posts here and would love to not go into financial suicide for a wedding ceremony and reception (I'm doing pretty well now in controlling my spending, paying off remaining student loans (only $12K left!) and maxing out retirement accounts).

My problems in planning the wedding are family expectations and location. We live in the Bay Area where it is expensive to plan a "traditional" wedding (I was quoted $50K or so). More importantly, my fiance has a big family and it's out of the question for us to not invite them and keep the wedding small (I want to have them there and want to start off married life on the right foot as well). His parents will be helping us out with wedding costs, but how do I keep from ending up spending $40-$50K total on a wedding for 120+ people in one of the most expensive places in the US, when expectations are for a "traditional" wedding, aka catered food, alcohol, etc.?

Would love to hear suggestions and advice. Thank you!
I just sent a PM with some Bay Area specific recommendations. Don't want all of the details all over the open interwebs, but I've been facing a similar problem too. :)

Please feel free to share over this way, too.  Also Bay Area, also just engaged, also on a tight budget, paying for it ourselves. :)

Jakejake

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Re: Wedding
« Reply #28 on: August 25, 2015, 06:29:15 PM »
My daughter did a DIY wedding last year that was actually my favorite wedding. They used an urban farm where they have a CSA share. It was a quaker wedding, even though they aren't quaker. That added to the DIY vibe, because a big part of the ceremony is just guests randomly standing up to say something - sort of like a groom's toast, except everyone was invited to just say a few words, about the bride or groom, about marriage, whatever. Then there was the entertainment. On the wedding invite it was made clear that there was a talent show component, and everyone was expected to "donate" a talent. Some people sang or played guitar. One guy was very proud that he could do 5 (FIVE!!!) pushups and he did them for us and everyone cheered. Another guy was good at drinking, so he chugged (water, not booze) as his talent. (Okay, that was my ex.) One couple did their own rendition of the theme song from the Fresh Prince of Bel Air with lots of attitude.

The food was a combination of my daughter and her friends making things for a day or two ahead of time, she had out of towners and friends at her house the previous day and it was all hands on deck. That might sound weird, but for out of towners, it's actually nice to have something to do the day before, and a chance to get to know the other people. Some people contributed potluck dishes. She also wanted desserts from a local mideast bakery, and our financial contribution was we let her order what she wanted from there, and we went and picked the stuff up that morning and brought it to the site. That ran about $200-$400, I forget how much exactly. They had a friend who was homeless, and he was a guest but they also paid him $300 for the day to manage the buffet line, finding spots for potluck dishes, removing empty platters, acting like someone was in charge. And they felt good about giving him that money!

They're big into cycling, as are many of their friends, so the fence around the reception was filled with bikes chained up, and they arrived in a bicycle rickshaw. Almost all the food was biked in - it was cool to see people arriving with 4 foot long bike trailers bringing in ice chests.

Furniture was just cheap folding chairs, and during the ceremony, they sat on hay bales. Everyone was warned it was casual, and to wear clothes/shoes that would work at a farm setting. Close friends and family were probably more apt to give more money in envelopes too because they didn't force anyone to shell out a hundred or more bucks for tuxes or bridesmaid dresses. I thought I did well - I found a dress I loved that runs $300 at nordstroms, but it was $15 at the thrift shop.

My ex (her dad) and his brother offered to run an open bar, their financial part was providing the booze. And her cousins who are quiet and didn't know anyone served wine at the "bar" (a folding table), which gave them a way to interact with a bunch of strangers.

mtn

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Re: Wedding
« Reply #29 on: August 26, 2015, 10:26:25 AM »
I'm getting married in less than a month. Wedding took about a year to plan, but that is obviously taking our time. If you talk to my fiance or my MIL, you'd think it was the worst thing ever. I agree, but only because of their attitudes towards it.

If I was doing this again, I'd tell them at the outset that either
* They can pay for all of it, and I would stay out of it completely (seriously, that means that other than my 4 demands, you make every decision for me), OR 
* I pay for all of it and plan all of it, and whatever you give us as a gift is appreciated.

FWIW, my "demands" are that (1) I get an equal amount of invites as your side, (2) it is in a Catholic church (since we're both Catholic), (3) it is in Chicagoland (since we're both from Chicagoland, and all 4 parents live in Chicagoland, and at the time we were planning it we were actively looking for work in Chicagoland, and since then we moved to Chicagoland), and (4) there is free alcohol for the guests.

When all is said and done, it is going to cost us about $35,000 for the whole thing. If I were planning it, we could have dropped that down to about $15,000 to $20,000--and we wouldn't have given up much at all.  Note, even the $35k isn't that expensive with the 200+ guests that we'll have. Which is just astoundingly stupid.




MrsCoolCat

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Re: Wedding
« Reply #30 on: August 26, 2015, 07:48:28 PM »
I was engaged and had the wedding all planned. 9 months before hand we went our separate ways so I could relate.

We were planning a 20k ish white wedding inviting around 80 guests friends and family.

Now I look back on it. This wasn't really what either of us wanted. We were simply swept up in friends and family all being so excited for us that we just wanted the day to live up to their expectations, because both families were going to be there in their numbers.

However, now looking back it just wasn't us at all. I went to a friends wedding a few weeks ago and they did something very similar, so probably cost around 20-25k. I felt the day just went so quickly and I said to my other friend on the way home, I was going to pay 20k for that!!

It's really just about having the people closest to you there. If it costs 20k in a function centre with all the white wedding things or if it is on a beach and a BBQ back at a family backyard, I would have enjoyed the 2k more now I think about it. Plus I would have had 18k left over to spend on a great honeymoon holiday and then save the rest.

I would just ask yourself, is this what you want or is it what your family expects of you? You are the one paying the bill. Also be quite ruthless with the people you invite. We started with a list of 110 ish people but then cut it down to 70-80 after my uncle said to us that he only keeps in contact with 20 or so people he invited to his wedding 20-30 years ago.

+1. It's going to be hard but talk to your parents and his parents and try to get your point across. This may take multiple attempts and lots of stress... Try to know what you want and that it's not entirely influenced by what everyone else wants. It's not going to be easy. Wedding planning is TOUGH.

ahoy

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Re: Wedding
« Reply #31 on: August 27, 2015, 03:33:24 AM »
Spend as little of your own money as possible.   Seriously, who ever came up with the idea that spending thousands and thousands of dollars for one day is OK.

Very soon you will not even THINK of your wedding day.  Real life takes over and you don't sit around thinking about that one day and your guests won't be thinking about it afterwards as well.

If I had to do it again, it would be a destination wedding.  For those who wanted to come, please do.  If not, we'll see you when we get home.

mpcharles

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Re: Wedding
« Reply #32 on: August 27, 2015, 04:42:48 AM »
We had a small romantic wedding of close family and friends. Cost $6000.

Remember every loser wants a free lunch on you. My advice be ruthless.

Remember this.. your wedding is the most selfish and important event you are entitled too. Only you and your partners happiness matters. Keep it small and cheap.

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kpd905

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Re: Wedding
« Reply #33 on: August 27, 2015, 06:45:23 AM »
We just got married a month ago.  It was around $11,000 for about 200 people.  I was pretty stressed out about spending that much, but then the gifts were almost all cash and added up to right around the cost of the wedding.  So free wedding I guess.  I wouldn't count on that happening, but you will get some gifts.  If you don't register anywhere, you'll get a good chunk of cash.


ender

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Re: Wedding
« Reply #34 on: August 27, 2015, 06:52:39 AM »
Very soon you will not even THINK of your wedding day.  Real life takes over and you don't sit around thinking about that one day and your guests won't be thinking about it afterwards as well.

Our wedding was something we reflect fondly on. It was pretty much perfect and cost about $10k for everything.

We have had a lot of people talk about how awesome our wedding was, too. Realistically it was pretty basic but it also perfectly reflected our values/interests.

There are a lot more things than just glamour that make a wedding meaningful (or not). Everyone needs to find what makes their wedding meaningful, and if you can't find anything or think of anything, well then... don't spend much on one.

Britan

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Re: Wedding
« Reply #35 on: August 27, 2015, 10:58:14 AM »
My daughter did a DIY wedding last year that was actually my favorite wedding. They used an urban farm where they have a CSA share. It was a quaker wedding, even though they aren't quaker. That added to the DIY vibe, because a big part of the ceremony is just guests randomly standing up to say something - sort of like a groom's toast, except everyone was invited to just say a few words, about the bride or groom, about marriage, whatever. Then there was the entertainment. On the wedding invite it was made clear that there was a talent show component, and everyone was expected to "donate" a talent. Some people sang or played guitar. One guy was very proud that he could do 5 (FIVE!!!) pushups and he did them for us and everyone cheered. Another guy was good at drinking, so he chugged (water, not booze) as his talent. (Okay, that was my ex.) One couple did their own rendition of the theme song from the Fresh Prince of Bel Air with lots of attitude.

The food was a combination of my daughter and her friends making things for a day or two ahead of time, she had out of towners and friends at her house the previous day and it was all hands on deck. That might sound weird, but for out of towners, it's actually nice to have something to do the day before, and a chance to get to know the other people. Some people contributed potluck dishes. She also wanted desserts from a local mideast bakery, and our financial contribution was we let her order what she wanted from there, and we went and picked the stuff up that morning and brought it to the site. That ran about $200-$400, I forget how much exactly. They had a friend who was homeless, and he was a guest but they also paid him $300 for the day to manage the buffet line, finding spots for potluck dishes, removing empty platters, acting like someone was in charge. And they felt good about giving him that money!

They're big into cycling, as are many of their friends, so the fence around the reception was filled with bikes chained up, and they arrived in a bicycle rickshaw. Almost all the food was biked in - it was cool to see people arriving with 4 foot long bike trailers bringing in ice chests.

Furniture was just cheap folding chairs, and during the ceremony, they sat on hay bales. Everyone was warned it was casual, and to wear clothes/shoes that would work at a farm setting. Close friends and family were probably more apt to give more money in envelopes too because they didn't force anyone to shell out a hundred or more bucks for tuxes or bridesmaid dresses. I thought I did well - I found a dress I loved that runs $300 at nordstroms, but it was $15 at the thrift shop.

My ex (her dad) and his brother offered to run an open bar, their financial part was providing the booze. And her cousins who are quiet and didn't know anyone served wine at the "bar" (a folding table), which gave them a way to interact with a bunch of strangers.
WOW! Thanks jakejake, this is my DREAM! I'm going to have to borrow elements from this. I really like the talent show idea! Especially as a non-dancer!

Telecaster

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Re: Wedding
« Reply #36 on: August 27, 2015, 11:29:44 AM »
One of the best weddings I attended was a potluck.   The bride and groom simply asked people to bring a dish to share instead of a gift.   The food was over the top great with an endless variety of interesting and tasty things to try. 

charis

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Re: Wedding
« Reply #37 on: August 27, 2015, 12:11:39 PM »
Are you paying for any portion of the wedding?  If your in-laws have expectations of a wedding beyond your budget, if they want it that badly, they will have to pay for it.  It's pretty simple.  Tell them what you as a couple can afford to do.  If they are not satisfied, then they can offer to pay.  I hated wedding planning and couldn't care less about the details.  So after suggesting a modestly-priced location, bakery, DJ, and photographer, I bought the dress that I wanted and let my parents handle the rest as they wished.  They were thrilled and we had a no-stress wedding.

iamlittlehedgehog

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Re: Wedding
« Reply #38 on: August 27, 2015, 02:01:38 PM »
One of the best weddings I attended was a potluck.   The bride and groom simply asked people to bring a dish to share instead of a gift.   The food was over the top great with an endless variety of interesting and tasty things to try.

We did a potluck much to the dismay of my MIL - we didn't need or want gifts so we asked everyone to bring a dish. Evidently account to The Knot it is "tacky" to have a potluck wedding.

In the end the only complaint was her's and we saved 1k on catering.

neo von retorch

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Re: Wedding
« Reply #39 on: August 27, 2015, 02:25:11 PM »
We suggested a potluck, and my MIL strongly recommended against it. Then she offered to pay for food, and her neighbor, a proper chef, took on the task of preparing the food. So we were OK with skipping the potluck idea :)

Pavilion $125
Officiant $375
After Party $200
Food & Drink (gift)
Photographer (volunteer / chef's husband, plus MIL gifted us a photo book)
Apparel $300 (dress, alterations, some decent clothes for me including new dress shoes)
Flowers $50
Decorations $100

I'd estimate our total expense (not including MIL's gifts) was in the $1150 range. Cash gifts were easily three times that...

Jakejake

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Re: Wedding
« Reply #40 on: August 27, 2015, 02:46:34 PM »
WOW! Thanks jakejake, this is my DREAM! I'm going to have to borrow elements from this. I really like the talent show idea! Especially as a non-dancer!
If you're inspired by it, maybe photos will help (or turn you off the whole idea! Ha!)
For your viewing pleasure, I have:
* The parking lot, with all the guests' bikes plus the rickshaw they arrived in
* My daughter and her husband (bride and groom) listening to the speeches during the ceremony. The woman in green next to them is the Quaker pastor.
* The rousing rendition of the theme from Fresh Prince, performed by guests
* My daughter doing her portion of the talent show, hula hooping while someone played a banjo or ukelele or something in the background

I forgot they referred to the talent show as the "No Talent Show" - phrasing she picked up when she was living at Dancing Rabbit. http://www.memphisdemocrat.com/no-talent-shows/