Author Topic: fancy wedding, or retire several years earlier  (Read 4857 times)

rob in cal

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fancy wedding, or retire several years earlier
« on: August 08, 2017, 10:52:49 AM »
    I wonder how many young couples who are having a top tier wedding in the 30k and upwards category would, upon saner reflection, opt for a much more modest wedding and invest the rest (I realize its often the parents footing the bill for these weddings but for arguments sake lets say in this case the happy couple is doing so).  That money invested over several decades will likely  amount to a huge chunk of cash which would enable the couple to retire a lot earlier, or work less during their career, or other life choice options. I wonder how often those involved in these one day spending extravaganzas have done the long term financial analysis. 
    Btw, I'm not trying to say that everyone should have a courthouse only+ potluck at a relatives house type wedding, but a relatively modest wedding should still provide a meaningful experience without the massive expenditures.

ysette9

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Re: fancy wedding, or retire several years earlier
« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2017, 11:24:45 AM »
Who knows? I think the answer will be different for each couple depending on their risk tolerance, maturity, earning potential, current net worth, societal pressures, etc. I don't actually know how much we spent, but between rings, honeymoon, small county offices wedding + lunch, plus a big banquet for all the friends and family later, we might have spent close to $150-20K. We also got a ton of $ in gifts due to the culture my husband is from, so we ended up cash-flow neutral in the end. Even without the gifts though, we were perfectly capable of affording that while still buying a house with 20% down and keeping a healthy savings rate. I don't regret spending any of that because we had a great time, our guests had a great time, and we got the memories we wanted without any of the fluff that we didn't deem important.
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SweetLife

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Re: fancy wedding, or retire several years earlier
« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2017, 03:18:15 PM »
I was talking to one of my coworkers the other day (early 20's) and he surprised me by saying he and his fiancé had been planning their 30K wedding and in the midst of all the plans and craziness they looked at each other and asked each other what the heck they were doing spending a house down payment on a one day event!
I was shocked ... and so very surprised and happy for them! They are on the same page, and decided to do a very low key very low $$ wedding and use the rest for their down payment!

They are also planning on retiring early and I think they will do it!
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Hargrove

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Re: fancy wedding, or retire several years earlier
« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2017, 05:54:07 PM »
For most newlyweds, the value of the wedding is all they would need to retire at normal retirement age, even if they didn't save another dime.

I hope anyone who spends anything on a wedding enjoys it. I wouldn't want to mortgage "happily ever after" to pay for my own "one"special day."

I find it's far more effective to question the massive-party impulse, though, after you're involved in it. When you find out that asking for flowers for your betrothed quintuples the price of the same flowers (if you had instead asked for them for, say, grandma), it's much easier to jump off the "selflessly expensive big day" bandwagon.

GenXbiker

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Re: fancy wedding, or retire several years earlier
« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2017, 06:11:32 PM »
we might have spent close to $150-20K.

$150 to $20K ??  That's a pretty wide range.

ysette9

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Re: fancy wedding, or retire several years earlier
« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2017, 09:35:11 PM »
Oh jeez, I fat-fingered that one. I meant $15-20k.

Which is plenty of money. I don't remember what we were making st the time, but our household in one was probably in the range of $120-150k and we probably had $300k saved between the two of us.

Looking back, that doesn't seem like much. It is amazing how being married has been a wealth accelerator for us. Marry wisely!
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rob in cal

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Re: fancy wedding, or retire several years earlier
« Reply #6 on: August 08, 2017, 11:50:26 PM »
  Ysette, seems like you two were the right couple to have a fairly elaborate wedding with 300k already saved. I'm thinking more of the new couple with very few assets when they get married (I think we were at a few thousand dollars when we got married, but in our case my in laws paid for our fairly modest wedding).

RobFIRE

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Re: fancy wedding, or retire several years earlier
« Reply #7 on: August 09, 2017, 12:38:44 AM »
I agree that spending so much on a single day seems wasteful. A family member is getting married this year and while not formally of the MMM mindset, has just purchased a family house with partner, so has realized that having stretched to afford the house, spending a year's worth of mortgage payments on a single wedding day doesn't make sense.

Unfortunately a lot of people are not of that mindset, and will have a relatively expensive wedding and put it on credit if necessary.

bhleigh

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Re: fancy wedding, or retire several years earlier
« Reply #8 on: August 09, 2017, 06:09:15 AM »
It does all depend on the couple and what they want to do. We got married in 2012 spending exactly $18,500. That's everything except the rehearsal dinner and photographer. Catholic wedding too...churches, cantor, and organist ain't free! We had 101 guests attend the wedding. We don't regret a moment of it. Everyone had a blast.

Looking back on it, we could have opted for a cheaper wedding but it would have been more work for me to accomplish. And by me, I mean actually me. I planned the whole wedding soup to nuts. I'm the groom so a bare boned a lot of choices (centerpieces, linens, invitations) and upgraded the important ones (longer open bar, better food).

When I talk to younger couples or co-workers, I explain to them that every financial decision has a plus side and a minus side. Its all about what you are prepared to handle.
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Re: fancy wedding, or retire several years earlier
« Reply #9 on: August 09, 2017, 06:38:25 AM »
Yeah definitely depends on the couple. In my case, my father-in-law offered to give us the money he would have spent on the wedding (maybe $50k? [SF is expensive]) if we just eloped. Wife didn't want that, as the wedding was a once-in-a-lifetime deal and felt everyone getting together was more important. I preferred the cash. We had the wedding because we weren't paying for it. If WE were paying for it, you bet your ass we would have eloped.

partgypsy

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Re: fancy wedding, or retire several years earlier
« Reply #10 on: August 09, 2017, 01:14:50 PM »
I don't think I am around people throwing excessively expensive weddings, but in the cases I know, it was something that either the couple (older dual earning couple) or the parents paid for, not taking out loans. For example my nephew and his wife had an expensive wedding 100-200 people? (country club, open bar etc). The bride's family is comfortable but modest. But for them the wedding was important. OP, you have to understand that for some parents, the money is earmarked for a wedding. If my new niece in law said something like let's not have a wedding or a very small wedding, and gift us the money, that would have been a big social, family faux pas. I.e. it wasn't going to happen (the money is not fungible).

Myself I was a poor graduate student, so eloping was the way to go. Eta - but I upset both sides of the family, especially my own). A few months later my Dad threw a small reception for the two sides of the family to "save face". In retrospect I should have done a small wedding and involved both sides in the first place to avoid hurt feelings. 
« Last Edit: August 09, 2017, 01:28:24 PM by partgypsy »

prognastat

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Re: fancy wedding, or retire several years earlier
« Reply #11 on: August 09, 2017, 01:16:19 PM »
I mean i would say it all depends on what your goal is, if retiring early is the goal then the answer is simply. Spend less and invest the difference.

Lan Mandragoran

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Re: fancy wedding, or retire several years earlier
« Reply #12 on: August 09, 2017, 01:30:36 PM »
My brother has told me he wishes he had just invited everyone to a park or something and gotten some music + a pastor + some alcohol for this very reason =P (wait... I wonder if he stole that from a MMM post now that I think about it...)

For some people though its a big deal. Which doesn't pants to me(and by pants I mean sense if that makes pants), but whatever makes ya happy I guess.
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marielle

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Re: fancy wedding, or retire several years earlier
« Reply #13 on: August 09, 2017, 01:38:35 PM »
I'm pretty sure we're just gonna go to the courthouse one day. The in-laws can throw us a party if they want to though.

BigHaus89

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Re: fancy wedding, or retire several years earlier
« Reply #14 on: August 09, 2017, 02:46:57 PM »
We got married for ~$100. Everyone had a blast. Our net worth has been growing like crazy since getting married and not having an expensive wedding.

h82goslw

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Re: fancy wedding, or retire several years earlier
« Reply #15 on: August 10, 2017, 04:35:52 AM »
I'm going to be a bit subversive here.....we got married 20 years ago. Had 225 people to our big Irish Catholic wedding.  Reception and Open bar and big fancy dinner at a hotel .....paid for an extra hour of open bar as 175 of those people were still there at 11 o'clock.  At midnight about 100 people went up to the hotel bar to continue the party.  Around 50 of us closed the bar at 4 am and went to our rooms. It was the best wedding I've ever attended and people still talk about it to this day. 
Was it cheap....absolutely not.  But nothing beats families getting together and celebrating one of life's great milestones. Could we have done it cheaper and had the same amount of fun....absolutely but I wasn't mustachian back then.  Still don't regret spending that money.

Linda_Norway

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Re: fancy wedding, or retire several years earlier
« Reply #16 on: August 10, 2017, 04:47:42 AM »
We had a modest wedding. I bought a nice dress, but not a standard wedding dress that would be just as nice but cost double, because of the word "wedding" in front of it. I bought a simple and small flower bouquet to carry. I bought very cheap, but nice looking shoes in the colour of my dress. I bought a fake pearl necklace.  We only invited parents, siblings and friends who witnessed. We ate in pub close to the town house, where they serve very good food. We used taxis to get to the town house.  We did not give a party for the whole family. One of the witnessed is professional photographer and he asked one of his colleagues to take pictures that we got from him as a present. In total a very reasonably priced wedding. I would not have liked to spend a fortune on my own wedding.

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Re: fancy wedding, or retire several years earlier
« Reply #17 on: August 10, 2017, 05:48:25 AM »
A colleague of mine who was a big traveller had the brilliant idea to get married abroad. That way he could be in a great location (beach) for cheap and the people who came where only those that really wanted to be there enough to pay for a ticket and hotel. And the honeymoon was very nearby.

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Re: fancy wedding, or retire several years earlier
« Reply #18 on: August 10, 2017, 07:27:53 AM »
I think it really does depend on things like family expectations, your life-long dreams, etc.  In my case, my family could give two-shits about a wedding and had no money to contribute.  My in-laws put an importance on big weddings, but lived 2500 miles away.  I knew if I accepted any money from them, it wouldn't be "our" wedding anyways.  Throw in the logistical distance of the two families and no one was going to be happy.  Plus, I was a bit of an introverted tomboy and never had dreams of being the center of attention in a big poofy dress.  So we eloped 26 years ago!

DH was afraid to tell his parents and so didn't for 1.5 years because his brother was planning their big wedding - so when we went there for the wedding, we told them once they had left for their honeymoon.  Lots of tears from the women, FIL came over and welcomed me to the family (great move!), and Opa refilled everyone's glass and said a toast.  They gave us the same money they spent on the brother ($10k) and we used it for our down payment.

MIL was upset with me, but I also think it helped establish the notion that we make decisions based on what's best for us, not what family is going to push us to do - this was important as we made other unpopular decisions (i.e. didn't have kids, lived far away from family, etc.)

ysette9

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Re: fancy wedding, or retire several years earlier
« Reply #19 on: August 10, 2017, 09:26:55 AM »
Quote
MIL was upset with me, but I also think it helped establish the notion that we make decisions based on what's best for us, not what family is going to push us to do - this was important as we made other unpopular decisions (i.e. didn't have kids, lived far away from family, etc.)

Nicely done! That is a good precedent to set early in your marriage.
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marielle

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Re: fancy wedding, or retire several years earlier
« Reply #20 on: August 10, 2017, 09:34:44 AM »
I think it really does depend on things like family expectations, your life-long dreams, etc.  In my case, my family could give two-shits about a wedding and had no money to contribute.  My in-laws put an importance on big weddings, but lived 2500 miles away.  I knew if I accepted any money from them, it wouldn't be "our" wedding anyways.  Throw in the logistical distance of the two families and no one was going to be happy.  Plus, I was a bit of an introverted tomboy and never had dreams of being the center of attention in a big poofy dress.  So we eloped 26 years ago!

DH was afraid to tell his parents and so didn't for 1.5 years because his brother was planning their big wedding - so when we went there for the wedding, we told them once they had left for their honeymoon.  Lots of tears from the women, FIL came over and welcomed me to the family (great move!), and Opa refilled everyone's glass and said a toast.  They gave us the same money they spent on the brother ($10k) and we used it for our down payment.

MIL was upset with me, but I also think it helped establish the notion that we make decisions based on what's best for us, not what family is going to push us to do - this was important as we made other unpopular decisions (i.e. didn't have kids, lived far away from family, etc.)

Wow, are you me from the future? I could have written this word for word.

I'm really not looking forward to MIL's reactions. She is already judgmental about minor things, such as what car my boyfriend buys. If she tries to influence car-buying, I can only imagine the nightmare when the marriage/kids conversations come up. I already know they expect their son to have a catholic wedding. They've also said that if we moved abroad we would basically be expected to visit multiple times a year. Sorry but no, once a year at best. There are only so many vacation days. Especially since they're nearly retired and could visit us much easier.

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Re: fancy wedding, or retire several years earlier
« Reply #21 on: August 10, 2017, 09:52:42 AM »
We had a moderate 15k-20k wedding and I don't regret it. It is amazing though how quickly expenses accumulate.  We didn't care much about appearances or tradition, so we opted for more cost effective choices when possible, but it's hard to get around some of the expenses. 

I think the big ones were 5k for the facility, which was a B&B that included rooms for nearly all of our 100-ish guests (they had to pay for their lodging beyond the 5k though). The 5k bought exclusive use, plus the support of their staff (including a full-time wedding 'planner') and the use of all of their wedding stuff, like tables, chairs, candles, decorations, outdoor heaters, etc.  Not necessarily a great bargain, but having a full B&B that all of our guests could stay at together was great.

We went with a buffet style catering from a local restaurant.  I think it was a couple thousand, a bit less than $20 per plate.  Not horrible, but certainly not cheap compared to what you can get if you just bake a whole lot of food yourself.  The price included servers for the dinner which helped.

My wife did end up buying a fancier dress. I would have been fine with anything, but that ended up being important to her.

We hired a photographer for $1k which turned out to be somewhat of a disappointment. We did our own music and made playlists on our iPod. We paid a friend at cost to bake cupcakes for everyone instead of having a fancy cake. I think we even did our own flower arrangements.  Also, each of our parents chipped in a couple thousand as a gift, which was very generous.

Regardless, this was the only time in my life where my extended family on both sides plus all my best friends from high school through grad school all came together in one place.  It was wonderful and I'm glad we did it.

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Re: fancy wedding, or retire several years earlier
« Reply #22 on: August 10, 2017, 10:08:57 AM »
We had a moderate 15k-20k wedding and I don't regret it. It is amazing though how quickly expenses accumulate.  We didn't care much about appearances or tradition, so we opted for more cost effective choices when possible, but it's hard to get around some of the expenses.

This is pretty much how I felt when planning. Neither of us needed a big fancy wedding, but we did want to put on an event 'worth' his family and friends travelling (~3500 miles) for, since they were putting in that effort. We ended up spending right around £10k on our wedding. I could have kept costs lower than that, either by cutting out more stuff or by being willing to take on more work myself, but we weren't exactly splashing out on horse drawn carriages and bejewelled dressed at that price-point either, a lot of fairly 'standard' wedding stuff just seems to cost a lot (and I was picky about venue since venues have to be licensed here so I was picking from a limited selection, and I really wanted somewhere nice, AND I really wanted to get married and have a reception at the same place).

For the reference, we 'splashed out' on : a pretty & historic restaurant venue with ceremony & excellent 3-course meal for about 30 people, plus buffet & open bar for those people and a bunch more friends in the evening, a fancy cake, professional photographer, hair and makeup for me + 1 bridesmaid + MIL, bouquet and buttonhole flowers and flowers for my hair.

And we 'cheaped out' on : both of our outfits (mine was a bridesmaids dress & high street accessories, his an off-the-rack suit which he now uses for interviews and the like), rings (inherited engagement ring, he used his dad's band since his dad doesn't wear it and now neither does he, I bought a band for about £200), transport (walking & standard taxis), decorations (nothing really -- the venue was pretty enough), invitations (no 'save the dates' since I didn't know about them before wedding planning and we were only engaged 9 months -- invitations from vistaprint -- online RSVP). Think that's more or less the lot apart from some incidentals!

marcela

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Re: fancy wedding, or retire several years earlier
« Reply #23 on: August 10, 2017, 10:53:17 AM »
Our wedding in 2013 came out to around 15k. My parents paid for food and beverage/venue which came out to around 7k and the rest I paid for myself. My husband was in school and didn't have much money, he paid for the honeymoon. I was making 18k/year at the time and on paper it looks like we were exactly the people you'd make fun of on this forum.

Would not trade it for the world. Having all 5 of my siblings there with their families, my aunts and uncles who don't live in the US , college friends who moved far away and family friends from my childhood, all mixing together and having a great time was worth every penny. In fact if I could go back, I would have spent more! We trimmed some things in our efforts to keep costs low that looking back I would rather have spent the money. It's just money after all, I can always go make more. I can't go back in time and have video of our vows or my father's expression during our dance or gather everyone back together for a few more hours of laughter and joy.


Valhalla

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Re: fancy wedding, or retire several years earlier
« Reply #24 on: August 10, 2017, 10:57:33 AM »
Yeah definitely depends on the couple. In my case, my father-in-law offered to give us the money he would have spent on the wedding (maybe $50k? [SF is expensive]) if we just eloped. Wife didn't want that, as the wedding was a once-in-a-lifetime deal and felt everyone getting together was more important. I preferred the cash. We had the wedding because we weren't paying for it. If WE were paying for it, you bet your ass we would have eloped.
I love the optimism... wedding as once in a lifetime deal.  :)

Personally, no, I wouldn't splurge on a wedding. But my gal saw it as "once in a lifetime" thing and wanted to. I let her handle it and stayed out of it.  I did write the checks, but hey you gotta do what you gotta do.

I don't think it's worth it at all. The wedding industry is so scammy and markets up the hype and charges a premium for weddings (as compared to birthday parties, etc).   So long as women fall prey to this type of marketing and thinking, the wedding industry will thank you.

Same thing as with diamond rings, etc.  All scams as far as I'm concerned but as they say, happy wife happy life.  I'll say to the lot of you (myself included) - we stupidly fall for the scams perpetuated by marketing emotions to people. 

Pro tip:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YxEa_SpL_Fs   Video about the wedding markup.  Ridiculous.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2017, 11:16:01 AM by Valhalla »
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prognastat

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Re: fancy wedding, or retire several years earlier
« Reply #25 on: August 10, 2017, 11:07:08 AM »
I think it really does depend on things like family expectations, your life-long dreams, etc.  In my case, my family could give two-shits about a wedding and had no money to contribute.  My in-laws put an importance on big weddings, but lived 2500 miles away.  I knew if I accepted any money from them, it wouldn't be "our" wedding anyways.  Throw in the logistical distance of the two families and no one was going to be happy.  Plus, I was a bit of an introverted tomboy and never had dreams of being the center of attention in a big poofy dress.  So we eloped 26 years ago!

DH was afraid to tell his parents and so didn't for 1.5 years because his brother was planning their big wedding - so when we went there for the wedding, we told them once they had left for their honeymoon.  Lots of tears from the women, FIL came over and welcomed me to the family (great move!), and Opa refilled everyone's glass and said a toast.  They gave us the same money they spent on the brother ($10k) and we used it for our down payment.

MIL was upset with me, but I also think it helped establish the notion that we make decisions based on what's best for us, not what family is going to push us to do - this was important as we made other unpopular decisions (i.e. didn't have kids, lived far away from family, etc.)

Wow, are you me from the future? I could have written this word for word.

I'm really not looking forward to MIL's reactions. She is already judgmental about minor things, such as what car my boyfriend buys. If she tries to influence car-buying, I can only imagine the nightmare when the marriage/kids conversations come up. I already know they expect their son to have a catholic wedding. They've also said that if we moved abroad we would basically be expected to visit multiple times a year. Sorry but no, once a year at best. There are only so many vacation days. Especially since they're nearly retired and could visit us much easier.

Wow that is some arrogance thinking she can dictate or have influence on so many things. Like visits abroad, they could visit themselves if they wanted, but to expect you to be the one to put in that effort.

afuera

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Re: fancy wedding, or retire several years earlier
« Reply #26 on: August 10, 2017, 12:05:47 PM »
We had a moderate 15k-20k wedding and I don't regret it. It is amazing though how quickly expenses accumulate.  We didn't care much about appearances or tradition, so we opted for more cost effective choices when possible, but it's hard to get around some of the expenses. 

I think the big ones were 5k for the facility, which was a B&B that included rooms for nearly all of our 100-ish guests (they had to pay for their lodging beyond the 5k though). The 5k bought exclusive use, plus the support of their staff (including a full-time wedding 'planner') and the use of all of their wedding stuff, like tables, chairs, candles, decorations, outdoor heaters, etc.  Not necessarily a great bargain, but having a full B&B that all of our guests could stay at together was great.

We went with a buffet style catering from a local restaurant.  I think it was a couple thousand, a bit less than $20 per plate.  Not horrible, but certainly not cheap compared to what you can get if you just bake a whole lot of food yourself.  The price included servers for the dinner which helped.

My wife did end up buying a fancier dress. I would have been fine with anything, but that ended up being important to her.

We hired a photographer for $1k which turned out to be somewhat of a disappointment. We did our own music and made playlists on our iPod. We paid a friend at cost to bake cupcakes for everyone instead of having a fancy cake. I think we even did our own flower arrangements.  Also, each of our parents chipped in a couple thousand as a gift, which was very generous.

Regardless, this was the only time in my life where my extended family on both sides plus all my best friends from high school through grad school all came together in one place.  It was wonderful and I'm glad we did it.

This is pretty much exactly what we did, the venue was the most expensive thing so even trying to pick cheaper options for flowers, music, and attire still left us with a $20K bill.  5K+ of that was just for our honeymoon (flights, all-inclusive, ~5 different excursions, etc.).  If I knew about MMM back then we probably would have made better decisions and spent less but I don't regret any of the money we spent.  It was a perfect day and the week afterwards wasn't bad either ;).
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Inaya

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Re: fancy wedding, or retire several years earlier
« Reply #27 on: August 10, 2017, 12:09:47 PM »
When I was very young, my dad made a deal with me: If I got a degree before I got married he would pay for the wedding. This later evolved into wedding OR down payment on a house. My choice was ultimately the down payment (and this was long before I ever heard of ER).

But things didn't exactly work out that way in practice. When hubs and I got married, I didn't have a great job, but I was determined to pay for it myself, so it was fairly inexpensive, especially when counting mothers' contributions and the checks that magically started arriving afterward despite saying no gifts were needed (oh well not going to say no). Probably around $8k cash out of my own pocket. But then my dad more than tripled my guest list for a post-wedding event, and I said fine, but you're paying for it because I didn't budget for that--and I still get my down payment. He was fine with that, so he pitched in a few extra thousand for that event.

However, now I'm interested in FIRE and not home ownership, so he's just giving me large annual monetary gifts since he knows I won't spend it frivolously.

I'm glad it worked out the way it did, because everyone was happy in the end. And if I had known about FIRE back then, I probably would have done everything exactly the same. Sure, I gave away 8000 little interest-earning workers, but it was worth it (and most of those workers went towards things that last longer than a day, like rings, clothes, and photos).
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Re: fancy wedding, or retire several years earlier
« Reply #28 on: August 10, 2017, 01:16:52 PM »
from my own wedding, the gifts (40K) pretty much matched the total cost of our wedding (40K).

in my experience and talks with people, the size of the gifts will largely correlate with the place of your wedding.   it certainly is a variable in the decision process.   if you have a more expensive place, you will tend to get larger gifts from your guests.  if you go low budget sunday afternoon wedding, you will prob see a corresponding down tick in the size of gifts as well.

i know its a hard/cold way of looking at it, but that's just the #'s behind it.   




MrsPete

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Re: fancy wedding, or retire several years earlier
« Reply #29 on: August 10, 2017, 01:19:29 PM »
You're considering a wedding that would set you back SEVERAL YEARS for retirement? 

I suggest you find a happy medium between these two concepts.  You can have a very nice wedding for 5-10K -- a lovely celebration of a milestone in your life -- and that won't set you seriously back. 

Hargrove

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Re: fancy wedding, or retire several years earlier
« Reply #30 on: August 10, 2017, 02:27:18 PM »
You're considering a wedding that would set you back SEVERAL YEARS for retirement? 

I suggest you find a happy medium between these two concepts.  You can have a very nice wedding for 5-10K -- a lovely celebration of a milestone in your life -- and that won't set you seriously back.

It's hard to respond to that without any qualifier on "a very nice wedding." You would need to reinvent the wheel in some places, according to some, to nail it at that price. I know someone spending 4k minimum AFTER donated photography, food, and DJ. The word "venue" automagically breaks 10k for most options in my area.

If you literally know every service provider and keep guest lists under 50 and dress and rings under 3 digits and BYOB and no venue and no DJ... sure it's easy.

prognastat

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Re: fancy wedding, or retire several years earlier
« Reply #31 on: August 10, 2017, 02:33:31 PM »
You're considering a wedding that would set you back SEVERAL YEARS for retirement? 

I suggest you find a happy medium between these two concepts.  You can have a very nice wedding for 5-10K -- a lovely celebration of a milestone in your life -- and that won't set you seriously back.

It's hard to respond to that without any qualifier on "a very nice wedding." You would need to reinvent the wheel in some places, according to some, to nail it at that price. I know someone spending 4k minimum AFTER donated photography, food, and DJ. The word "venue" automagically breaks 10k for most options in my area.

If you literally know every service provider and keep guest lists under 50 and dress and rings under 3 digits and BYOB and no venue and no DJ... sure it's easy.

When we got married it was under 1k for the venue, dress, suit and rings. A friend of ours played DJ. There were maybe 20 guests and we have great memories of it. I'm sure it would have been godawful to someone who though it was important how nice the flowers were.

marty998

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Re: fancy wedding, or retire several years earlier
« Reply #32 on: August 10, 2017, 03:32:07 PM »
LOL at the idea of top tier wedding being listed as $30k by the OP.

Average couple down here apparently spends $90k according to the bridal mags (not that they have a conflict of interest or anything).

No doubt bumped up by the plethora of Indian weddings as the latest generation of immigrant children grow up. Had a young colleague, families spent $300k on the big day. Professional video crew, venue was fit for royalty, everything over the top.



gluskap

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Re: fancy wedding, or retire several years earlier
« Reply #33 on: August 10, 2017, 04:16:45 PM »
We spent about $25k for the wedding and about $5k for the honeymoon.  And that was trying to make it cost effective...we live in a very HCOL area.  I don't regret the money spent but I did wish there was a way we could've done it cheaper.  I really liked the idea of a destination wedding and that would definitely have cut costs a lot by cutting down the guest list.  Unfortunately my parents and family are not travelers so if we had done that it would've meant not having them at the wedding so it wasn't an option for us.

Linda_Norway

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Re: fancy wedding, or retire several years earlier
« Reply #34 on: August 11, 2017, 01:10:24 AM »
I think it really does depend on things like family expectations, your life-long dreams, etc.  In my case, my family could give two-shits about a wedding and had no money to contribute.  My in-laws put an importance on big weddings, but lived 2500 miles away.  I knew if I accepted any money from them, it wouldn't be "our" wedding anyways.  Throw in the logistical distance of the two families and no one was going to be happy.  Plus, I was a bit of an introverted tomboy and never had dreams of being the center of attention in a big poofy dress.  So we eloped 26 years ago!

DH was afraid to tell his parents and so didn't for 1.5 years because his brother was planning their big wedding - so when we went there for the wedding, we told them once they had left for their honeymoon.  Lots of tears from the women, FIL came over and welcomed me to the family (great move!), and Opa refilled everyone's glass and said a toast.  They gave us the same money they spent on the brother ($10k) and we used it for our down payment.

MIL was upset with me, but I also think it helped establish the notion that we make decisions based on what's best for us, not what family is going to push us to do - this was important as we made other unpopular decisions (i.e. didn't have kids, lived far away from family, etc.)

Wow, are you me from the future? I could have written this word for word.

I'm really not looking forward to MIL's reactions. She is already judgmental about minor things, such as what car my boyfriend buys. If she tries to influence car-buying, I can only imagine the nightmare when the marriage/kids conversations come up. I already know they expect their son to have a catholic wedding. They've also said that if we moved abroad we would basically be expected to visit multiple times a year. Sorry but no, once a year at best. There are only so many vacation days. Especially since they're nearly retired and could visit us much easier.

Wow that is some arrogance thinking she can dictate or have influence on so many things. Like visits abroad, they could visit themselves if they wanted, but to expect you to be the one to put in that effort.

We didn't tell my mother about the wedding before hand, just because she is the kind of person who would have interfered heavily in the planning and I can't stand that. We had invited her to an event to celebrate that we knew each other for 10 years. When she arrived, we told her we were going to get married. The parents in law weren't told either. Their reactions were totally different. MIL thought is was very funny and was very enthusiastic. My mother was insulted the whole day and also for a long time afterwards. She also expressed this all the time. My mother and I have a strained relationship in general. But if I would have let her, she would have taken over the whole event and invited all kinds other other people to my wedding.

prognastat

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Re: fancy wedding, or retire several years earlier
« Reply #35 on: August 11, 2017, 07:55:59 AM »
I think it really does depend on things like family expectations, your life-long dreams, etc.  In my case, my family could give two-shits about a wedding and had no money to contribute.  My in-laws put an importance on big weddings, but lived 2500 miles away.  I knew if I accepted any money from them, it wouldn't be "our" wedding anyways.  Throw in the logistical distance of the two families and no one was going to be happy.  Plus, I was a bit of an introverted tomboy and never had dreams of being the center of attention in a big poofy dress.  So we eloped 26 years ago!

DH was afraid to tell his parents and so didn't for 1.5 years because his brother was planning their big wedding - so when we went there for the wedding, we told them once they had left for their honeymoon.  Lots of tears from the women, FIL came over and welcomed me to the family (great move!), and Opa refilled everyone's glass and said a toast.  They gave us the same money they spent on the brother ($10k) and we used it for our down payment.

MIL was upset with me, but I also think it helped establish the notion that we make decisions based on what's best for us, not what family is going to push us to do - this was important as we made other unpopular decisions (i.e. didn't have kids, lived far away from family, etc.)

Wow, are you me from the future? I could have written this word for word.

I'm really not looking forward to MIL's reactions. She is already judgmental about minor things, such as what car my boyfriend buys. If she tries to influence car-buying, I can only imagine the nightmare when the marriage/kids conversations come up. I already know they expect their son to have a catholic wedding. They've also said that if we moved abroad we would basically be expected to visit multiple times a year. Sorry but no, once a year at best. There are only so many vacation days. Especially since they're nearly retired and could visit us much easier.

Wow that is some arrogance thinking she can dictate or have influence on so many things. Like visits abroad, they could visit themselves if they wanted, but to expect you to be the one to put in that effort.

We didn't tell my mother about the wedding before hand, just because she is the kind of person who would have interfered heavily in the planning and I can't stand that. We had invited her to an event to celebrate that we knew each other for 10 years. When she arrived, we told her we were going to get married. The parents in law weren't told either. Their reactions were totally different. MIL thought is was very funny and was very enthusiastic. My mother was insulted the whole day and also for a long time afterwards. She also expressed this all the time. My mother and I have a strained relationship in general. But if I would have let her, she would have taken over the whole event and invited all kinds other other people to my wedding.

Yeah I would have a lot of trouble putting up with that, if it happened too frequently there is no doubt it would lead to me reducing such a parents amount of involvement in my life period.

nara

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Re: fancy wedding, or retire several years earlier
« Reply #36 on: August 11, 2017, 08:42:00 AM »
We spent about $10k on our wedding. It was small and intimate, but still very fancy. We had it at a historic B&B. My parents paid for about half and we paid the rest. We didn't know about FIRE then, but I still wouldn't have done anything differently. I do regret not hiring a quality videographer as in the 10 years since we were married, several friends and family members who were at our wedding are no longer with us and I think it would have been invaluable to have them all together on video.  Our rings were under $500, my dress was $200, and we did a budget honeymoon locally.

taguscove

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Re: fancy wedding, or retire several years earlier
« Reply #37 on: August 11, 2017, 01:05:02 PM »
Recovering from the Godzilla wedding we had last month. Our wedding with 160 guests cost $95,000*

Family expectations matter as much as individual input. I wanted a low key one, but both sides of parents wanted a much larger event. Parents decided to pay, parents got their way.

Lessons learned:
-> It's much easier to talk and judge others when you're not in their shoes. Two years ago, I could not conceive of spending $30k, let alone more.
-> The series of financial choices is really dependent on choice of venue and number of guests. The band, photographer, flowers, etc. had to be over the top once we chose a fancy venue. About the only choice I felt like I had was rings; We purchased $20 tungsten carbide wedding rings and they look great : )

* cost breakdown:
35 venue
12 band
10 photographers
10 flowers
15 rehearsal dinner
10 Other (wedding planner, invitations, dresswear)
3   breakfast day after

« Last Edit: August 11, 2017, 01:07:43 PM by taguscove »

prognastat

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Re: fancy wedding, or retire several years earlier
« Reply #38 on: August 11, 2017, 01:18:13 PM »
Recovering from the Godzilla wedding we had last month. Our wedding with 160 guests cost $95,000*

Family expectations matter as much as individual input. I wanted a low key one, but both sides of parents wanted a much larger event. Parents decided to pay, parents got their way.

Lessons learned:
-> It's much easier to talk and judge others when you're not in their shoes. Two years ago, I could not conceive of spending $30k, let alone more.
-> The series of financial choices is really dependent on choice of venue and number of guests. The band, photographer, flowers, etc. had to be over the top once we chose a fancy venue. About the only choice I felt like I had was rings; We purchased $20 tungsten carbide wedding rings and they look great : )

* cost breakdown:
35 venue
12 band
10 photographers
10 flowers
15 rehearsal dinner
10 Other (wedding planner, invitations, dresswear)
3   breakfast day after

For me it wouldn't only be the money, but to me something so huge sounds absolutely awful(as I'm quite introverted).

Inaya

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Re: fancy wedding, or retire several years earlier
« Reply #39 on: August 11, 2017, 01:39:47 PM »
Family expectations matter as much as individual input. I wanted a low key one, but both sides of parents wanted a much larger event. Parents decided to pay, parents got their way.

(Let me preface this by saying I'm speaking generally here, not responding to taguscove's specific situation.)

I get this, I really do. But I can't help but thinking about what happens if your parents want you to have (and pay for) a big wedding expensive, but then you end up supporting them in their later years because they can't afford to support themselves. This could greatly impact FIRE. You could potentially have to delay or even give up on FIRE all for a huge affair you don't even want. Seems like a bum deal in the long run.

Obviously, some parents earmark these savings and make sound financial decisions and don't end up relying on their children. But I would have to guess (based on the fact that most people are bad at financial planning) that this is not the case most of the time in these huge wedding situations.
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