Poll

Total wedding cost:

< $5,000
44 (55.7%)
$5,000 - $10,000
18 (22.8%)
$10,000- $15,000
9 (11.4%)
$15,000 - $20,000
2 (2.5%)
> $20,000
6 (7.6%)

Total Members Voted: 75

Author Topic: Weddings and their costs  (Read 12949 times)

Donovan

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 185
  • Location: Indiana
Weddings and their costs
« on: May 30, 2012, 05:01:36 PM »
Since it seems like a large portion of the MMM community is older (than me at least) and married, I was wondering what most of you did when it came to wedding costs and planning.

I'm still a student without much income (although I'll make a very happy $15,000 this summer), but I am currently in the middle of planning my wedding for next May.  At the moment, our approximate projected costs after getting some estimates is $12,000 for the whole she-bang, of which my fiance and I will be paying for around 8 - 9 thousand.  We have three categories that make up a large chunk of this: $2550 photography (which will probably be covered by my parents), a beautiful but expensive church at $1650, and food for ~$4,800 for a buffet dinner.  We also have a beautiful, "free" reception venue due to her father's work connections ("free" because they require us to use their caterer, which is why food is so expensive >.<)

I feel like this is a pretty good place to throw these numbers out and see what a community that is extremely sensible with money thinks of them.  I know it's waaaaaaay below the American average but...that's really not so much of a comfort to me :P

One thing that I really hope I can get my fiance to agree to is having the wedding at the reception location.  It's an amazing country club that has a room with a big fireplace that they have already said we can use if we want it...but she is fairly religious and really wants to get married in a church.  Unfortunately, she does not have a "home church," so finding a decent one that will even let us use the grounds has been a obnoxious little hunt.

So, what did you spend, and what do you think of my projected prices for this wedding?

AJ

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 906
  • Age: 36
  • Location: Oregon
Re: Weddings and their costs
« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2012, 05:31:13 PM »
We spent $2500 8 years ago.

Our biggest expense was the photographer at $750. We chose him because he was very good, but let us pay him by the hour (at $110 an hour) so we only kept him for the ceremony and the first part of the reception (when all the photo-op moments happen), and we only bought the prints we *really* liked. I told DH I would rather have 1 really good picture from my wedding that 100 kinda-sorta-ok ones. We ended up with about 10 prints, all excellent.

We got to use a beautiful, if quaint, church sanctuary. It had been my church in high school, and I had always wanted to marry there, but we went out of business and sold the building. The folks who bought it had never hosted a wedding before, and were happy to let us us it for free. We had the reception in the church cafeteria, also free.

A friend baked our cake as a wedding gift. It was not picture-perfect, but it was very nice of her and it gets cut into bitty pieces anyway. We were too young to drink, so it was a dry wedding. My brother in law is a pastor, so he officiated. Our DJ was an iPod. The only flowers were bouquets for me and my bridesmaids. My BFF made them, total cost $60. I spent another $100 on random decorations for the pews (tulle, mostly). My dress was $300, and I made my veil. If I could do it again, I would do what my BF did and buy a used dress. Hers was $11 on ebay. She figured you have to get them tailored anyway, and if she really hated it she could try again. You can buy a lot of $11 ebay dresses for the price of one from the bridal shop.

I know a lot of people want much more fancy affairs, but I was really just more interested in the marriage than the wedding. Plus we were young and poor and everyone knew we were paying for it ourselves, so there wasn't a lot of expectations. I think a lot of wedding expenses are to appease various family members who are expecting things to be a certain way.

Weddings are also a bit like cars and houses. They can be simply functional, or they can be luxurious, but usually they are another way to display social status. If you are middle class, you will expect (and be expected) to have a middle class wedding. Same with poor and rich. Step outside of those social expectations at your own risk.

gooki

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2376
  • Location: NZ
Re: Weddings and their costs
« Reply #2 on: May 30, 2012, 05:55:03 PM »
I got married a little over two years ago. Cost breakdown.

Wedding
$0 - Venue (my wife's parents live on a lifestlye block (4 achres).
$0 - Photography - I've worked in the wedding photography business and it's one area you can easily cut. Although I could have called in a favour and got discount pricing I instead borrowed the camera from work, and let a fried run wild taking snaps. No regrets.
$2000 - Marque hire, tables, chairs, plates, cutlery etc
$2500 - Food and wedding cake for 46 guests
$250 - Suit hire
$1000 - Wedding dress
$400 - Celebrant
$500 - For both wedding bands
$300 - Decorations: vases, flowers (go direct to the wholesaler - that's who most florists use anyway)
$50 - Hair and makeup for my wife (she just bought some nice foundation)
$500 - Drinks

Wedding total $7480, so let's round that up to $8000 as I'm bound to have forgotten something

Honey moon
$3000 - Flights to Rarotonga and accommodation for 8 nights
$1200 - Holiday expenses (food, activities)

Honey moon total $4200

Running total $12200

Less cash gift from my parents $8000

Running total $4200

Less cash gift from my wife's $5000

Grand total $800 extra cash in the bank, enough left over booze to last us a whole year, and some great memories.

gooki

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2376
  • Location: NZ
Re: Weddings and their costs
« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2012, 05:57:10 PM »
As I alluded to I've worked in the wedding business, and the $45,000 weddings are not better than the $3000 wedding where the bride and groom did all the catering. It's the people that make the event special.

zinnie

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 602
  • Location: California
Re: Weddings and their costs
« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2012, 06:12:52 PM »
Mine was in the > $20,000 category. I think it was about $25,000. I did not pay for any of it. Because of family expectations, my dad saw it as his responsibility to pay. I wouldn't have let him do it if it would have made even the slightest dent in his finances/ retirement. And if he wasn’t paying, I probably could have cut that number in half and still had an awesome party!

It was small-ish (65 people), and we did keep costs down pretty well given the location (San Diego). We did the ceremony in a public park, I made pretty much everything you can DIY in a wedding, including all paper goods, favors, and I even sowed the tablecloths.

Our biggest expenses were the food/ alcohol + reception location, and hotel rooms. Because San Diego is not where I'm from, 90% of the people who came to our wedding were from out of town, and we paid for all the hotel rooms. We also paid for all bridesmaid dresses, suits, hairdressers etc. because most of our friends at that point were still in graduate school. I guess we saw that as our responsibility to do for people who traveled cross-country for our event (people in my family do this a lot; my uncle had laid aside money to pay for all of the hotel rooms for his funeral!). It is undoubtedly, however, the only expensive party I will ever have in my life! :)

I guess I see weddings costs as a balance between not spending money extravagantly, but also keeping in mind that the party is also for your guests, who may have certain expectations and may be spending money to travel/ buy presents/ take off work, etc. I don't think I would go uber frugal unless everyone lived in town and no one bought gifts. Yes, societal expectations are lame. But they still effected people I really care about like my family.

Donovan, your costs look pretty good to me. Of course it all depends on where you are! My photographer was $2500 and that was low-end here for an editorial photographer with experience. A photographer idea: one of my cousins interviewed amateur photographers from a local college and used one of them—his pictures turned out AMAZING and he paid only printing costs because the student was just looking for a resume builder.

Other ways to cut costs:
•   DIY invitations, programs, menus, tablecloths, favors, dress alterations
•   Buffet dinner instead of plated
•   Ceremony in public park
•   iPod for music
•   String quartet from orchestra at local college for ceremony

Donovan

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 185
  • Location: Indiana
Re: Weddings and their costs
« Reply #5 on: May 30, 2012, 07:37:09 PM »
Less cash gift from my parents $8000


Less cash gift from my wife's $5000

Unfortunately, the small financial help from either of our families is already calculated in.  Mine is doing a bit, but hers are in fairly dire straights right now.

Some notes are that we are mostly inviting only in-town guest, so no need for hotels.  The total count right now is around 80.
Oh, and we have decided that the outdoors are entirely out as an actual venue, because as much as we both love the outdoors, we know how much it can rain around here and would like to avoid last minute problems with the most wonderful day of our lives :)
We are planning on DIYing all of the paperwork (invitations and announcements).  And luckily, linens/cutlery/service/cleanup is all included in the catering cost at the venue that her dad has connections with, so we don't have too many hidden fees rearing their angry little heads.

Two specific questions that could save up to $1,000 each if we went for them:

We really love the current photographer, and have agreed to splurge on him in lieu of other things because she knows him (he did her senior pictures and they really are some of the most badass photographs I have ever seen). Since wedding photos are what you get to keep and look at forever, we would really like to have his work.  However, the $2550 price if for the "unlimited finished photos" package (along with some prints).  He does offer a $1550 package that is basically the same deal, but you only get 100 finished, hi-res photos on the DVD that he gives you afterwards.  So, for those of you with wedding photos, do you think 100 is more than enough to capture the prettiest/best portions of the day and save a quick $1000?

Now, for food.  We have the option of a plated dinner (stupid expensive), a buffet dinner (also stupid expensive, but less so), and buying plates of hor d'oeuvre's at varying prices per 50 units.  If we make it clear that this is all the food that will be provided ahead of time to guests, do you think it will generally accepted by the guests?  I'm thinking we could just grab 3 plates each of 5-8 or so different options (meaning there would be more than 1 unit per option per person even if we expanded the guest list)  and come in closer to $2000-$25000 for the food, which would be a great price cut.  But, she is concerned about the guests not being happy with this, as it may be a fairly late wedding/reception that would go into or through a normal dinner time for most people.

Honestly, if it were down to just simple economics we would just elope, but her family is in the wedding business and she would at least like to have some of the traditional aspects.

arebelspy

  • Administrator
  • Senior Mustachian
  • *****
  • Posts: 27760
  • Age: -999
  • Location: Traveling the World
Re: Weddings and their costs
« Reply #6 on: May 30, 2012, 07:37:46 PM »

Wedding total $7480

...

Honey moon total $4200

Less cash gift from my parents $8000

Less cash gift from my wife's $5000

Grand total $800 extra cash in the bank, enough left over booze to last us a whole year, and some great memories.

So you put between 5 and 10k, right?  Cause poll was asking what the wedding cost, not what you spent net after wedding plus honeymoon minus gifts... that's conflating quite a bit that won't be applicable to others.  Seems like your wedding cost $7480.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with two kids.
If you want to know more about me, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

Lars

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 105
Re: Weddings and their costs
« Reply #7 on: May 30, 2012, 08:15:01 PM »
We spend around 5000 on our wedding including what both our parents likely spent.

I think you'll be fine with a 100 photos. We probably had ~100 we used in our album from the photographer and I think we got at least 600 extra photos from family and friends as we had a couple people who may have thought we hired them to take photos with how many they took. :) And there were some good ones in that group too.

Sunflower

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 188
  • Location: US
Re: Weddings and their costs
« Reply #8 on: May 30, 2012, 08:16:19 PM »
I wish there was a way to see the results without voting....as I have never been married and am not currently planning a wedding, I can't vote and wouldn't want to skew the results by picking a random number. However, I am curious to see the breakdown!

gooki

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2376
  • Location: NZ
Re: Weddings and their costs
« Reply #9 on: May 30, 2012, 08:39:56 PM »
He does offer a $1550 package that is basically the same deal, but you only get 100 finished, hi-res photos on the DVD that he gives you afterwards.  So, for those of you with wedding photos, do you think 100 is more than enough to capture the prettiest/best portions of the day and save a quick $1000?

Yes absolutely. 100 photos is heaps. And you can use online services like Snapfish (although I'm sure there are berter ones) to make albums/photobooks/nice big canvas prints without spending much more.

Now, for food.  We have the option of a plated dinner (stupid expensive), a buffet dinner (also stupid expensive, but less so), and buying plates of hor d'oeuvre's at varying prices per 50 units.  If we make it clear that this is all the food that will be provided ahead of time to guests, do you think it will generally accepted by the guests?  I'm thinking we could just grab 3 plates each of 5-8 or so different options (meaning there would be more than 1 unit per option per person even if we expanded the guest list)  and come in closer to $2000-$25000 for the food, which would be a great price cut.  But, she is concerned about the guests not being happy with this, as it may be a fairly late wedding/reception that would go into or through a normal dinner time for most people.

What time will your wedding start/finish? If your hosting the weeding over dinner time then I'd serve dinner. Especially if you started and 3pm, so they probably haven;t eaten since 1pm. People also need a bit of food in them to help adsorb some of that alcohol. For lunch you could get away with finger food without offending.

So you put between 5 and 10k, right?  Cause poll was asking what the wedding cost, not what you spent net after wedding plus honeymoon minus gifts... that's conflating quite a bit that won't be applicable to others.  Seems like your wedding cost $7480.

Yes I selected between 5000 and 8000, as that was the cost of the wedding :) I though the insight into cost break down and other sources of funding might be useful.

fruplicity

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 69
Re: Weddings and their costs
« Reply #10 on: May 30, 2012, 08:43:57 PM »
Got married in 2006 in a semi-rural northeast area. Wedding was "destination" for everyone (us included), it was in our college town. We purposely did this to make it more "fair" to all families to have to pay to travel (as opposed to one side not having to pay and the other facing high travel costs). This also meant that less people chose to attend, which was good for our wallets but sad that they couldn't make it. 80 people came, it all came to a little over 10k.

My dress & accessories: 700
All-inclusive reception w/ buffet @ country club: 7000
Church costs: 400
Invites& postage (DIY): 120
flowers/decor/favors: 600
rings: 260
gifts for wedding party: 200
Travel expenses: 400
Honeymoon: 500 (we won free airline tix to anywhere in Europe and chose Croatia!)
Music (DIY playlist w/ friend's DJ equipment): 0
photos (friend provided): 0

Parents paid a bit more than us, split maybe 40/60. My biggest regret is that I wish I bought my bridesmaid dresses and/or didn't make them buy a dress at all. We could have spent less on the little "extras" but I'm happy that we spent the money on a nice reception site. If it were my choice only we would have skipped the church and I was surprised at how many fees were involved in doing so. 

My wedding was the absolute best day of my life and although I think 10k is a lot for one day, it's still worth it to me. As someone mentioned above the idea of marriage was (and remains!) more important to me than my wedding day, but to have all of the most important people in your life together in one room having a great time is priceless and unforgettable. I kind of wish we could throw a wedding every year. :)

FI@2022Jem

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 107
Re: Weddings and their costs
« Reply #11 on: May 30, 2012, 09:43:11 PM »
We got married about a year and a half ago.  Semi-elopement.  It was planned and close family and friends were informed (I talked on the phone to my mother right before the ceremony) and we were married at the courthouse.  We then had a big casual party several months later.  If I had it to do all over again I would do it the exact same way. 

dress: 300 (to be resold)
suit: 500 (kept)
courthouse/license: 150ish
Photographer: gift/done for trade

Food: 1700
bluegrass band: 500
alcohol: 800
venue: free (mother-in-law lives in the country:barn, horses, chickens, etc.)
accommodations: free (everyone was encouraged to stay on the property and camp.  most younger people did, some older relatives stayed in hotels in town)
decor: 150 (basically a bunch of white Christmas lights bought on sale)

Total: $4100ish

I know planning can be very stressful, best of luck planning your special day.
and Congratulations!

KMMK

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1472
  • Age: 42
  • Location: Edmonton, AB, Canada
    • Meena Kestirke Insurance
Re: Weddings and their costs
« Reply #12 on: May 30, 2012, 09:54:09 PM »
Around $2000-3000 for an awesome backyard wedding.
That included flying my sister out as she didn't have much money at the time and I really wanted her to be there, $70 dress, $90ish clothing "accessories", $1000 for 2 rings (no engagement ring), DH's clothes - under $100.
No photographer - his brother took pictures as a gift. Lunch at his mother's house was provided by her. Ceremony done for free by his step-father. We only had about 10 guests - only immediate family, and not even all of them. Ideally I'd have had nobody there, but to be legal you need witnesses and officiant person, so had to include a few extra people.
When you add in the cash gifts from our parents, we made money on our wedding, and even after buying a new big screen TV and XBOX, we had some money left over.
Wouldn't have wanted to do it any other way.


adam

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 421
  • Age: 39
  • Location: SC
Re: Weddings and their costs
« Reply #13 on: May 31, 2012, 06:52:18 AM »
I think our wedding cost about $6k, most of which was covered by her parents (for 200 people).  The rehearsal dinner was about $2k, covered by my parents.  The honeymoon was about $4k, covered by me.

A lot of the wedding costs were saved due to small town 'who you know' type stuff, and having the reception in her parent's back yard.  We splurged on a live band, but it was totally worth it, and we got a really good deal.  Cake and photography were done by people in town, flowers were done by a roommate who worked at a floral shop, venues were free.... Food was cooked by parents/friends of parents... I'm sure I'm missing some stuff, but it could have easily cost $15k+ if it wasn't for all that help.
« Last Edit: May 31, 2012, 08:40:02 AM by adam »

Masha

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 31
Re: Weddings and their costs
« Reply #14 on: May 31, 2012, 07:58:37 AM »
We had a beautiful fall wedding in my in-laws backyard with about 80 people in 2006. I don't recall the exact numbers, but total was about $3000.

Dress~$100(this was my profession, so I made it)
Music~$250(rented equipment, brother played guitar, friend dj'd reception)
Photos~$0 (friends and family took photos, also small group of "formal" portraits by a former wedding photographer)
Food~$1700(we cooked, but hired servers/clean-up crew)
Venue~free(backyard and church hall across the street as rain plan)

For photos, we wanted a few nice ones of us, and the rest of everyone relaxed and having fun. Five years later, I have never wanted more. 100 photos is plenty--my best friend had a ~3k photo package with a wonderful photographer but found choosing ~300 photos totally overwhelming. She later wished for a smaller package--enough for one really nice album and a few to frame/give away.

I have never seen any correlation between cost and fun/meaningful/beautiful events, and I've probably attended/worked >150 weddings.

One last comment-- as a catering server/bartender for 5 years, I observed that fewer drink choices made for a much smoother event. With 5/6+ beer and numerous wine options,  the "best" stuff always went first, and we always ran out of it. With just 1 or 2 beer options and a red and a white wine(in addition to a couple non-alcoholic options), everybody was totally happy with what was offered, and there was plenty to go around. Even if you're not serving alcohol, I think the same holds true--more choices for guests do not make a better event.

Good luck and best wishes!

Norman Johnson

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 174
  • Location: Moving around, currently in Florida!
Re: Weddings and their costs
« Reply #15 on: May 31, 2012, 08:29:38 AM »
My wedding was about $12K for 115 or so people. It was a small wedding from where I come from... my mother was heartbroken I didn't have a 400+ person hoopla. My dad was upset we didn't elope. ;) We paid for the whole thing using our savings and wedding gifts. I will say that if we were students like you, I would not spend half my income for the year or the cost of a whole semester's tuition on one day. Starting your married life off in debt is no way to go.

My advice would be to decide on the budget and stick to your guns. Then decide what the most important things about your wedding are, and allocate the money accordingly. You can't have everything the wedding industry tells you that you "need" but you can probably have your top few wants.

sol

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8492
  • Age: 42
  • Location: Pacific Northwest
Re: Weddings and their costs
« Reply #16 on: May 31, 2012, 09:00:15 AM »
We spent less than $1000 for a wedding with about 50 people.

Location was free, at our house.  Food was about $250, mostly for bbq supplies which I turned over the best man, who spent much of his time in front of the grill.  Wife's sister is amateur photographer with a fancy camera and did a fine job for free.  Someone else made a multi-tiered cake, also free.  We spent about $150 on renting chairs, maybe another $100 on flowers, about that much for a dress, and then a bit on the paperwork.  Probably $300 on drinks.

We asked our guests not to bring gifts, as we already had two full households full of stuff and were trying to consolidate down to one and didn't want any more blenders.  We told people they weren't allowed to bring anything that couldn't be consumed by the crowd that day.

Mrs MM

  • Administrator
  • Bristles
  • *****
  • Posts: 367
Re: Weddings and their costs
« Reply #17 on: May 31, 2012, 10:13:10 AM »
Very interesting replies!

We got married in Colorado by hiking up a mountain together.  We had been together 10 years by then, so it was more of a "let's get married before we plunge into the whole having kids thing" kind of step.  In Colorado, you can marry yourselves, which is convenient.  The license cost $10.  We just wore our usual hiking clothes.  It was a random Wednesday afternoon.  :) 

On our wedding anniversary every year, we hike up that mountain together (and now bring our son with us).  It's a wonderful way to remember and celebrate.

Later that year, we went to Canada to celebrate with friends and family.  We had 35 people at the party, which we held at my parent's house.  We recited some vows we had written to each other in the garden and played a funny slideshow that we had put together.  We did rent tables and chairs and had it catered (my parent's insisted, so they chose to pay).  We would have done it differently (no catering and no tables and chairs - ha!).  I think the total for everything that day was about $1500.

Good luck!!  Your idea of skipping the church to save money is a good one, but sometimes getting married requires a lot of compromise.  :)

kolorado

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 368
Re: Weddings and their costs
« Reply #18 on: May 31, 2012, 10:33:47 AM »
Less than $1000 was spent in 2000. Officiant and use of the meeting house was $100. My dress was made by my Aunt-to-be as a gift. I did my hair and nails. I borrowed shoes. My specialty undergarments cost $40. Hubs rented his suit for $80 and bought shoes for $40. Hubby's ring was $200. I don't wear a ring. MIL bought the bouquets and corsages for $200. My brother bought a mess of potted mums at $3 each(it was Autumn) and some outdoor carpeting to create a runner down the aisle. The officiant's wife(a personal friend)helped my mom and sister decorate the venue with garden archways, lights and tulle from the venue's decoration supply. All free to borrow. I made cinnamon buns and stacked them instead of a cake. My mom, FIL, MIL, sister and cousins made various other sweet treats for a dessert reception. My mom bought tablecloths, cloth napkins, matching serving dishes and lots of candles for the serving tables at a cost of about $300. Invitations were about $100 plus $40 for stamps. The kits to make them now are incredibly cheap at craft stores and they look great. I would have done that then if it was an option. I invited 80 and about 50 came, not counting kids. My uncle and the officiant's wife took pictures. I paid for film and developing at less than $100(digital now would be even cheaper). Another brother ran the stereo with cd's I provided. A cousin borrowed a drink fountain from a caterer friend and provided the bubbly as well. My dad drove me to the location in his restored woody.
So it had a lot of style and was very different from what is usually done and that was the point. I didn't want to spend all my parents' money on a one-day thing. I sure didn't want to spend my own money on it either. :P Getting a good financial start out in married life was worth much more to me than any party could be. With money issues being a huge factor in marital problems I "sacrificed" a dream day for years of smoother sailing. No regrets here. ;)

SpendyMcSpend

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 320
Re: Weddings and their costs
« Reply #19 on: May 31, 2012, 11:00:54 AM »
I probably wouldn't skimp on food. 

sol

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8492
  • Age: 42
  • Location: Pacific Northwest
Re: Weddings and their costs
« Reply #20 on: May 31, 2012, 01:45:17 PM »
I forgot to include the cost of our rings, raising the cost of our wedding to about $1500. 

Together we make what seems to me like an obscene amount of money, but we just couldn't see how spending much more would have improved the experience.  I think weddings should be about food and family and togetherness, and none of those cost much.  Certainly not the 27k average that Americans are reported to spend.

iamsoners

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 178
Re: Weddings and their costs
« Reply #21 on: May 31, 2012, 01:47:44 PM »
Our wedding probably ended up around 9k and truly was the best party of my life.  The big cost that, looking back on it, I wish we wouldn't have paid as much for, was the photographer.  Trust me, you do not need more than 100 prints of the wedding--you will glaze over after looking at 50.  Just be sure to be specific with the photographer about which type you want him to focus on (ceremony, posed, etc.).  You could also ask a few friends to make sure to take lots of photos and upload them to some shared site--that would be cool.

As to your situation, I would say hor's duerves can be ok depending on the time of the wedding and what you want the party to be like.  If you want people to stay and dance all night, you really can't just serve hor's duerves.

Looking at your list of things, the other thing I would try to cut costs on is ceremony location.  There's got to be a cheaper place around.  Look for unitarian, episcopalian or ucc churches--they're usually old and beautiful and pretty welcoming on who can get married there.

One last note is that all the little things add up and you will get so stressed out that you make bad financial decisions leading up to it.  Try and work out a game plan for other big ticket items (clothes, alcohol, music)--you can have them all but still make smart decisions (try the dress on in person but order online, get a friend to dj, etc.)

AJ

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 906
  • Age: 36
  • Location: Oregon
Re: Weddings and their costs
« Reply #22 on: May 31, 2012, 02:16:28 PM »
The wedding itself cost $7500 in Hawaii.

I have some friends that, upon adding up how much their wedding was going to cost and realizing they could elope to Hawaii for the same price, did! She came into work on Monday after her "vacation" and surprised us with pics of the beautiful (if simple) ceremony. They threw a lovely luau-themed reception a couple months later, all DIY'd but she is very crafty. I was completely jealous and wish I would have thought of it!

Donovan

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 185
  • Location: Indiana
Re: Weddings and their costs
« Reply #23 on: June 01, 2012, 06:06:51 AM »
So much great advice!  Thank you for all of the responses.  We have a lot to think about. I am definitely hoping to get her down to the 100 photo package (I've discovered that neither or our parents have even close to that and are perfectly fine.  Digital cameras have just made everyone go photo-crazy it seems.) However, she is staunchly against having a friend do pictures due to a terrible experience her parents had.  Compromising shall ensue.

I will press on and look for other, hopefully cheaper churches.  It's just been a pain because we find a lot of nice ones that we love, only to find out that you have to a member of that church in order to get married there >.< Considering neither of us regularly attends any church, this doesn't work in our favor.

We may be able to find someone willing to make our wedding cake as a present (at least a $300 expense otherwise), and we have long ago decided on no alcohol whatsoever, both to save on cost and because we don't need some drunken college friend giving annoying speeches.  As for music, her dad is actually a part time DJ with an awesome sound system that we will be using for free (but with someone else at the controls so he can enjoy his daughter's wedding).  And I'm still working on convincing a local florist that I know to do the wedding (he doesn't like to because he's a three-man shop and weddings can get large, but I'm trying to convince him that we don't need much anyway due to tiny wedding party size (3 on each side) and naturally beautiful reception hall that doesn't need much decoration).

Finally, we just got some hand-me-down, DIY centerpieces for the reception tables for dirt cheap yesterday! It's a tiny expense either way compared to some, but it still excites me :P

I don't think we'll be able to reach the complete savings of the Money Mustache wedding (although that sounds amazing), but I'm sure that we will pull it down a bit further in the next few months!

$_gone_amok

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 149
Re: Weddings and their costs
« Reply #24 on: June 01, 2012, 10:48:21 PM »
I think the total cost for us was about 30K. The wedding ceremony and reception was on a yacht in the San Francisco Bay. It is before long before my mustachian days. ><

Ipodius

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 88
  • Location: Johannesburg, South Africa
Re: Weddings and their costs
« Reply #25 on: June 02, 2012, 09:25:46 AM »
Currently planning our December wedding, it's going to come in between $10k and $15k.

Personally, I think it's a bit ridiculous how much we are spending, and my Fiancé would also be happy to spend less (although not as low as I would go).

But, we've realised that the wedding is in many ways as much for her parents (who are paying) as it is for us. Because they are in a solid financial situation, I'm happy to let them pay what they want to pay, but sometimes I do wish for a "bring and braai" wedding. (Braai = barbecue)

stashette

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 18
  • Location: Indiana, USA
Re: Weddings and their costs
« Reply #26 on: June 11, 2012, 12:17:11 PM »
My goal was for my wedding to cost $10k in 2004 (250-300 guests).  My parents paid for the entire thing, though, so I really don't know what the final cost was.  The trickiest thing about weddings is that whoever pays gets the final say.  There are LOTS of compromises because everyone involved has their own idea of their (or their child's) wedding.  It's tough to cut costs on things when it's really your parents' party, especially when it comes to the guest list.

Photography: Definitely pay for someone with a good reputation and who gives you your digital copies of prints.  I had to pay for each individual photo I wanted, which was annoying, and they won't give me digital copies.  That being said, 100 prints should be more than enough.  A lot of your friends and wedding party will have digital cameras and have pictures to share, too.

Venue:  We got married in a church, which was important to me, but it cost less than $500 including the officiant and organist fees.  We also got free use of candles, flower stands, etc, AND we could have used the cafeteria area for the reception for free as well (which we didn't).  For you guys, it seems that it could save some significant money to have the ceremony and reception at the same location, but this might be an area for compromise. 

Food: I think that guests like buffets so that is an easy cost savings.  Not serving a main course is trickier if the wedding is at dinner.  Could you change the time to a little earlier or later in the day?  A lunch/brunch meal could be lighter, or a very late after-dinner reception could have just snacks, desserts, and drinks.  $4500 for dinner seems REALLY high to me for only 80 guests.  Does this include an open bar?  My dinner buffet was only $18/head at a country club, but it was a larger wedding, so maybe there is a minimum cost?

steggy81

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 13
  • Age: 38
Re: Weddings and their costs
« Reply #27 on: June 14, 2012, 08:22:05 AM »
Weddings and parties are expensive.  You could always spend less, but I don't think your wedding budget is over the top.  It just depends on who you are asking and what their cultural and family expectations are.  In the end we had a nice wedding, but looking back I wish we wouldn't have paid for flowers and decor for the reception site.  We really didn't need it.  No one regrets purchasing food and drinks, but the other stuff doesn't make your party more fun.

I was married in January in Houston, TX.  Our budget broke out like this:
- Church ($200 for organist which was mandatory, $50 donation to the church).  We are members otherwise it would have been much higher.
- Reception $3400 (rented a small restaurant for the evening to accomodate 90 guests that included dinner served buffet style)
- Photos $450
- Dress $1000 (my parents bought as a gift)
- Invitations ($150)
- Stamps ($80)
- Flowers & Reception Decorations including set up ($500)
- Cakes ($400)
- Beer & Wine ($300 - We bought everything from a local liquor store and dropped it off the day before since the restaurant is BYOB)
- DJ $500

We did a ton of research to "save" money and paid for it ourselves since we are older.  It didn't make sense to let our parents pay when we have full time jobs too.  Good luck, you seem to be on track.
« Last Edit: June 14, 2012, 08:27:38 AM by steggy81 »

fruplicity

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 69
Re: Weddings and their costs
« Reply #28 on: June 15, 2012, 02:29:04 PM »
Anyone see the wedding post at GRS today? As usual the comments are more entertaining than the post! Basically it's a person who is "at the beginning of her debt journey" describing in great detail how she compromised with her high expectations fiance to whittle down the cost of their wedding & honeymoon to a little over 11k, but still ended up with credit card debt. (sounds like hubby had unrealistic expectations and they were unwilling/unable as a couple to agree on a debt-free wedding).

Uncephalized

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 136
  • Age: 31
  • Location: Phoenix, AZ
Re: Weddings and their costs
« Reply #29 on: June 15, 2012, 04:16:15 PM »
We spent too much on our wedding, about $16k. The main reason was that it was out of state and we got it catered.

But on the other hand, neither of us wanted to get married in Phoenix, and her parents chipped in about $12k. So we ended up about $4k out of pocket, and didn't have to finance anything.

Yeah, we would have more money in the bank right now if we had done a garden wedding, but it was a killer party and I'm glad we did it where and how we did. It was right before I discovered MMM and ERE (just a few months ago), so I wasn't quite as concerned about spending at that point. We're still young and I have a good-paying engineering job at a fast-growing company and good prospects for promotion in coming years, so I'm not too worried that it set our FI goals back too much. :-)

HeidiO

  • Guest
Re: Weddings and their costs
« Reply #30 on: June 25, 2012, 01:01:50 AM »
   I don't remember exactly what we paid for our wedding, but I'll give estimates.  We got married in 2004.  We had to go to Canada to get married, so we flew to Vancouver.  We were by ourselves, so it was similar to eloping. We had our flights (around $1300) $100 for a night at a B&B (not including our honeymoon -6 days in Vancouver & Whistler.) $60 for 2 bouquets, $700 for rings, $20 for a pre-wedding lunch at A&W, Maybe $100 for the paperwork and officiant.  And $15 for a cake we bought after the wedding at a supermarket.  So around $2300.  Not bad considering we had to go to another country to get married!
   When gay marriage becomes legal on a federal level in the US, we will have some kind of party.  I don't know about a full on second wedding, but maybe a vow renewal with a party.  We'll probably have a budget around $3000, but we will wait until we can pay cash.
Heidi