My Friends are Spending $30K on Their Wedding — And I’m Keeping My Mouth Shut

by Thursday Bram · 1,297 comments

Thirty thousand dollars. I heard that figure and my jaw dropped. That’s the amount that a couple of my friends are spending on their upcoming wedding.

Every time I hear about some new detail of the plans for the wedding, there’s a little voice in my head that starts commenting on the bottom line. But here’s the thing — it’s not my wedding. I’m not going to say a word because my friends are adults and seem to be pretty pleased with what they’re getting for their money.

The High Cost of Weddings

The Wedding Report, an industry publication, reports that the average wedding costs $29,000 in the U.S, so my friends aren’t so far off the norm. The number may be hard to wrap your head around if you’re used to thinking about things in terms of budgeting, saving money and all the other little things that go along with thinking hard about your personal finances, but it’s also not so uncommon when you think about the number of cultures in which families bring themselves to the edge of bankruptcy for weddings, dowries and other related expenses.

Personally, I don’t like those numbers but the simple fact of the matter is that I know I’m in the minority. My wedding cost just under $200 and I got exactly what I wanted (down to the perfect cake). While I have a hard time understanding the big numbers some people spend on weddings, many people have just as hard a time understanding how I could spend so little.

Nothing I can say or do will make my friends see things my way — and the reverse is just as true. And since they’re happy, the only result I can see from saying anything at all is putting my friendships in danger. So, I’m keeping my mouth shut.

High-Priced Weddings Aren’t Going Away

But I’m still thinking about the matter.

I’m thinking about why people so clearly prefer big weddings, even with the price tag. For a lot of people, I think it’s a matter of priorities: they’ve thought things through and the idea of a big wedding and all that goes with it (fun times with family, a great party and so on) is worth it. The experience of the perfect wedding is worth more than the alternatives of where they can spend that money.

At the end of the day, it’s a matter of personal choices, as it should be. If your financial priority is your wedding, that’s fine. You should be able to throw the rockingest party you can. The problems creep in when we think about the fact that not everyone manages their finances perfectly. Not everyone saves up money to pay for their wedding ahead of time or budget for what they can afford to spend. Some people choose to go pretty deep into debt in order to have the wedding of their dreams and wind up paying even more in interest, not to mention causing damage to their credit.

The idea of massive debt for one day of fun — charging an amount equivalent to at least a down payment on a house, if not most of the total cost — is what bothers me. I’m lucky enough that my friends aren’t in that boat, but even if they were, it seems like it’s not considered polite to even bring up wedding costs and talk about debts. It’s not a friend’s place to say anything. I can’t help but wonder if costs would be a little lower if friends talked about how they were able to save money on their celebrations or talk candidly about staying out of debt.

The current state of the economy seems to be bringing a few more of those discussions out into the open. But we’ve still got a ways to go. I’m certainly not interested in risking my friendships just to talk about money. I don’t think I’m the only one, either.

So, I wish my friends all the happiness in the world — a beautiful wedding and a wonderful marriage. I will be there for the happy day and I will gladly celebrate with them.

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{ 1297 comments… read them below or add one }

Material Girl June 7, 2014 at 5:29 pm

what is the whole purpose of a wedding? sure its a symbolic event to mark the beginning of a new life together with your partner and in some cases not even because it seems more people are living in defacto relationships today. But you see its not going to change how you feel about your partner and its definitely not going to improve the quality of your marriage. the only thing it will change is the weight of your wallet. all weddings are is a demonstration of consumerist and how materialistic society is.

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Beverly July 8, 2014 at 7:17 am

are you just talking about yourself, or did you talk to everybody in this world ask them this question

next time just say, this is what I think about it.

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Kat August 22, 2014 at 9:33 am

I agree wholeheartedly with you. So many of my friends have gone into deep debt to have the “perfect” wedding…in one case they were separated and divorced before the bills were even paid off (and he told everyone he had met his “soul mate”).

It is so “American,” materialistic, irresponsible, and stupid to try and outshine everyone else with your outrageous wedding…and I’m American and can say this. I witnessed a 19-year-old girl discussing her upcoming wedding with her parents in a restaurant…they were tactfully trying to tell her that they couldn’t afford her 250 guests with full meal service, and she didn’t hear a word they said.

I have been in a long-term relationship for over seven years, and although we present ourselves as a married couple, eventually we’ll get around to tying the knot. Here in Colorado you can do something called a “self-solemnization,” where you get a $30 license, go say your vows or knot, have a witness sign the form, and you’re married. Do this on a mountaintop with a few hummingbirds and a couple of friends in attendance, and you’re golden and debt-free!

Even better, if you don’t want to show up to your own wedding, you can do a “self-solemnization by proxy,” and have someone else stand in for you.

Expensive weddings are just another symptom of what’s wrong with America…there’s a whole industry built around helping you spend the maximum amount possible. Not to mention mosts “traditional” brides are a pain in the butt and make everyone around them wish you’d just elope.

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Leena June 7, 2014 at 6:45 pm

What is the “purpose” of a baptism? What is the “purpose” of a birthday party? Marriage is NOT just like shacking up – it is a commitment worthy of a celebration, a wedding is a celebration. It is no more a “display of materialism” by definition than any celebration.

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David July 7, 2014 at 8:44 pm

I don’t get the logic “a commitment worthy of a(n) (expensive) celebration. The expensive celebration doesn’t improve the quality or sincerity of the commitment. And if one partner (all it takes these days) decides to file for no-fault divorce, all those guests can’t stop it, and they won’t be in the thoughts of the person filing either.

If you want to spend money that way, great. But a lot of people who really can’t afford it are doing it and starting off the marriage in a weakened position.

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Kat August 22, 2014 at 9:39 am

I was a camp counselor one summer at a camp for Jewish children from wealthy families, mostly from New York City. Their parents would drop them off at camp for three months while they took off to Europe and extended world travels.

Not being Jewish, I found it very interesting to listen to twelve-year-old and thirteen-year-old little girls talk about bat mitzvahs and bar mitzvahs…I was shocked.

To them, there was nothing “religious” about it. To them it was about having a party where they could outdo one another, and it WAS a competition to see who could have the coolest party. One kid’s parents chartered a train, others had gotten a celebrity comedian…it was ostentatious and appalling. I’m sure the parents *wanted* it to be about a rite of religious passage, but to the kids it was not.

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Leena, thanks June 7, 2014 at 9:30 pm

Exactly Leena! Thank you.

Have you ever noticed that the people whining about how
Materialistic the world is, seem to be trying to console themselves for what they can’t have by hating what others have. I didn’t have a fancy wedding and so on for any other reason that I wanted my wife to be, to be the star of the day. I didn’t care what anyone else thought but us. I was so excited to make that commitment to one another that we invited everyone that mattered to us and marked the occasion. It’s the people we care about while
At the same time, I wasn’t worried If they liked the flowers or food and so on. Based on our family there should have been 200 more people but we wanted gourmet food and so on because that is what we enjoy, so we cut out list to
Under 300. Never considered the event for its material possessions or comforts above the spiritual. We had a full mass as well as other religious ceremonies going hand and hand with the decadence we felt necessary for the importance of the event.

Grab your marriage license and pick a stranger to witness if it does it for you. We celebrate life differently and your jealousy has no place.

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Kat August 22, 2014 at 9:46 am

If we talk about it being materialistic, it doesn’t mean we’re jealous.

On the flip side, people think there’s something wrong with us if we choose NOT to have a big wedding…”what’s wrong, can’t you afford it?” “Wow, you don’t have a giant rock on your finger…what does your husband do?” You wouldn’t believe the questions someone gets when they consciously choose NOT to spend a lot of money.

I found a wedding dress that I love on a sale rack at Ann Taylor for $29. Someday we’ll use it in a nice quiet ceremony with friends on a beach. But just because I don’t have a large wedding doesn’t mean that I’m JEALOUS of anyone. Watching my friends planning weddings, getting stressed about the most ridiculous details like “where Aunt Edna is going to sit because she hates Uncle Fred,” makes me want to have nothing to do with it.

I chose a tasteful ring with five diamonds that cost a total of $500. My mother hates it because it “doesn’t look like an engagement ring.” To me, it is exactly what I wanted, and I’m sick and tired of people questioning that choice. SOCIETY is imposing expectations on me, and I don’t like it. In Europe women wear a small gold band…unpretentious, affordable…we as Americans are the only ones in the world who seem to have this obsession.

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Cheap Cheap September 8, 2014 at 7:21 pm

I completely agree. I have a one carat diamond now that my husband bought me on our 25th anniversary but my engagement ring was a $39 garnet and I managed all those years with a simple wedding band. My mother never even had that.She was one of those spoiled Jewish brides during the second world war in German-you the kind-escaped with her life,but no money? They didn’t send my family to the East Coast.They sent us to Iowa. If you grow up with a realistic world view,then you are not expecting to be the center of the world,even on your wedding day.My parents never lived in luxury.They had a difficult life. I had a $60 wedding dress.At 23,it was still the most expensive item of clothing I owned. I looked pretty. My husband approved.Who cares if you didn’t like it? My mother wasn’t burned.he was a widow by the time I was 16.My older brother and sister didn’t even consider offering a penny.I was surprised they stepped out of their self involved lives to show up.The one time I saw my sister after the funeral was when she took the family car. The 2nd time was when I took less than full time credits in college.I hadn’t realize my mother would lose my SS payment.My mother was over 60 and still going to work by bus every day. I had 2 part time jobs and college. Yup.$30,000 wedding.Are you crazy? $2,500 would have been extravagant.
I’ve had people tell me “you can’t do a wedding for $350″. You can.I did. You obviously weren’t alive at the time and /or aren’t as smart as I am.I wore Kanjeevaram silk. My hair was dressed in pearls. My veil was a white Benarasi silk shawl.
I had someone say my husband and his family must have rejected me since he is East Indian and ALL East Indian have grand and glorious Bollywood blowouts.If I had a simple wedding paid for by the 2 of us,he must have been disowned. I’m sorry. I don’t know how hard it is bringing money in from a foreign country other than India. It was really difficult as a foreign student. His parents would have had similar restrictions. When they visited after our marriage ,we paid for their air fare,health insurance for the stay,gifts,gifts for people in India,etc. It took 3 years to save up for each visit.I married into the poor side of the family. Look at a picture of the 1 billion people of India. See any poor people? How about regular folks with great grades? I married that one. After 40 years, they’re used to me. I gift good saris. But you don’t save up a lot of money working part time in college,paying for books,your phone bill, clothes,tuition, tithing, food, helping your mother out ,bus fare, & gifts (I love giving ). My mother was a giver.It’s the most fun you can have.It’s even more fun than an expensive wedding.
And yes,I’ve heard I must,must,must be jealous. One of my friends got married in the same venue the day before I did. I was grateful because a 3rd friend gave me the idea to rent the grounds for our own vows. How do I explain to you that,of the 3 of us,mine was the most elaborate,”spendy” wedding?Lol. I had a band . I had 100+ guests. I had my religious community,all my friends from college and the Indian community.I think I had the prettiest gown,although I didn’t see the 3rd. But I’m sure they liked theirs the best as well. That’s just fine. I wanted my family and friends and the handsomest man in the world for a husband. It cost us $350. But they just had coffee and cake and the rental of the hall plus wedding outfits. Happily we all got exactly what we wanted (in our eyes.) No one back then talked about who had a better wedding. My best friend went a year later to the court house.She skipped maternity pants and wore her jeans unzipped with a pair of grandpa’s suspenders and an oversized shirt. It was the tail end of the hippy era in the mid west. So if you want to -ever argue again on any finer points about a $250 or $350 or a $105 wedding- been there,seen it done,done it,could have done it cheaper.Some people are ashamed to buy an item on sale.And others are ashamed Not to. I’ve always kept double books,what I spent and what it would have cost (whoopee)!It’s a sport. So what do you play,fantasy football?

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Material Girl June 8, 2014 at 2:24 am

Yes but it is not like the ‘baptism industry’ has transformed an important rite of passage into a corporate revenue stream.
Place the word ‘wedding’ in front of any products title and instantly double the price. The price becomes justifiable purely in the name of ‘sensible splurging’.

So instead of sharing an important day of your life with people you love, you cut numbers down because you value gourmet food more than the pleasure of their company?

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Cut the numbers down June 8, 2014 at 8:02 am

We went with gourmet food and didn’t invite the people that most couples wonder why they invited xyz. No dad, you don’t need to invite the entire men’s group out of obligation. We made our wedding about us and then kept costs down by inviting actual friends and family and avoiding generic invites. The parents wanted to invite everyone anyway and they were paying and we would have received tons more gifts, but we thought we would keep it more intimate. We also saved a lot of people from having to go to a wedding of a coworkers daughter etc.

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Calipartygurl June 9, 2014 at 3:38 pm

Having been a caterer and seen over 200 weddings with over half “ending” in divorce I’d be more for a small civil ceremony and then a blow out bash at the 20 year anniversary? My grandmothers and great aunts were married during the Great Depression. They each bought “nice suits”(skirt and jacket) in either navy or black-that they went on to wear as church clothes for another ten years? Their friends and family met them at the church, their family pastor presided over the affair. Everyone went back to my grandmother’s parents for a “nice meal.” These were midwestern values. For all of them it was a “death do us part” marriage. “Over the top” weddings have only been “vogue” since the 1950′s?It was a way to boost the economy with consumerism post world war two…Watching my dad and stepmom shell out $30 K for my younger sister is funny considering that the brides husband hasn’t landed a “real job” yet, she gives piano lessons and I’m constantly hearing how “broke” they are. My gift to them was their hotel in Hawaii for 7 days. I spent $140 on a pastor, $50 on a license and my two sons were in attendance 12 years ago.(They were 5 months and 3 at the time) We had a “nice lunch” in Reno before driving home to the Bay Area. Ten days later we drove “kid free” to Monterey for a weekend away. We own 3 homes, have retirement savings and college funds for both boys. We drive old cars and live in a small house, in a good school district so we could avoid paying private school fees. It’s a choice, however if you can’t afford a fancy wedding, why do it? Why try and keep up appearances? These are your friends and family? Don’t you think they’d understand if you said, “we are saving for a house” so this is our wedding, please join us for a ceremony followed by cake and champagne at 2pm on Saturday in our parent’s back yard? The bride can still wear white, Target has cute wedding dresses for $150? Everyone knows someone who can take photos? Online invites and a few phone calls to older relatives? Weddings are an industry, love is a four letter word and often sadly not part of the “industry.”

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David July 7, 2014 at 8:38 pm

This, 100%. It’s like a test. You CAN jeopardize your marriage’s future by spending your nest egg before you even get started. Or, you can quietly decide not to do that and live the values of sincerity and frugality on the wedding day too, the values that will help you all the rest of the way.

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Kat August 22, 2014 at 9:55 am

David, well said. I’ve also noticed that friends who seem to have the expectation of a giant wedding continue that “entitled” attitude in their marriage as well.

I think women have an obligation to take the needs of others into consideration when planning a wedding…if your parents are paying for it, then you need to understand that they are taking money away from THEIR RETIREMENT or nest egg for your big party. Understanding that your future husband may not want to spend that much, but he might be afraid to say anything. Most women I know didn’t pay for their own wedding, so it’s easy to spend $1,000 on a wedding cake when you’re not paying for it.

And guys, if you end up with a girl who is dreaming of a huge wedding…I’d say “beware!”

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MJ42 July 16, 2014 at 5:12 pm

One of my friends got married this summer and they classified the event as a party with a small 5 minute wedding ceremony instead of a wedding. They had a tent, got some catered finger food, my friend was in a wedding dress, and everyone else was in casual dress. They are saving for a house and didn’t want to spend their savings on a wedding. When I get married I want to do a bit more than that, but not too much. I want mine to be a backyard bbq style that is very family friendly.

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mrsammler June 10, 2014 at 10:38 am

My daughter’s wedding was just two weeks ago. It was a dream wedding: beautiful venue, great reception (food, band, venue, open bar, waitstaff–all excellent), band and photographer were excellent, etc. Everyone had a wonderful, deeply resonant and memorable time–and it cost me (as the bride’s father, I paid for everything) about $11K. I don’t understand these bloated wedding cost figures you see all the time–it doesn’t have to be the Taj Mahal, the Rolling Stones, limousine service, the top chef in the city, and/or Annie Liebovitz.

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MorrisCoveMom July 1, 2014 at 12:50 pm

$11k? That’s bloated and/or rich. $11k is what my husband makes every 5-6 months. Perspective is the issue.

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Beverly July 1, 2014 at 1:14 pm

this issue is not about either of you

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Beverly June 10, 2014 at 1:39 pm

you are funny

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Beverly June 10, 2014 at 1:41 pm

by chance have you had a chance toread what this is all about. It started out as someone else wedding not theirs.
ok my ten secound is up

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Jason June 12, 2014 at 2:08 pm

Yeah Beverly, I did – the question is this – why question someone else’s choice in weddings (it is the author’s friend’s not his) and why write about it. See, now I wasted more brain cycles than this article was worth….

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Beverly June 13, 2014 at 6:38 am

I like you Jason

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Patrick June 10, 2014 at 4:18 pm

Yes bookmaking this site was not an awful decision since it is an excellent article!

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Lila June 11, 2014 at 7:02 pm

My boyfriend of 12 years started planning our wedding. Between a 10k wedding for 18 people in San Francisco and a lavish vacation planned later in the year, we were looking at 18k to $20k after it was all said and done. It seems so hard to grasp $10k for one day. More than a whole week vacation. We decided to elope in a very romantic day in sf. And use the $18k to take our entire immediate family on a week cruise. We got the most basic rooms for everyone and our family had option of buying up at their cost. We got so much more for our $18k.

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MorrisCoveMom July 1, 2014 at 12:52 pm

$18k is almost 9-10 months of salary for my husband. That’s why people have issue. Even if we were rich, we wouldn’t have spent that. It’s confusing to me to have such an expensive party to celebrate something we all do every day.

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Beverly July 1, 2014 at 1:16 pm

that’s why it is not your wedding day, it theirs

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Kat August 22, 2014 at 9:57 am

That’s a great idea!

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Jason June 12, 2014 at 2:05 pm

Wow – self righteous much? What was your purpose in writing this article anyway? To justify your $200 wedding? To feel better in your choices? As a member of a group of people for whom wedding = pagentry and party to the extreme, your thoughts here are about as petty as your subject matter.

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Beverly June 13, 2014 at 6:39 am

now that’s what I’m am talking about

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David July 7, 2014 at 8:30 pm

What’s wrong with a $200 wedding? It makes you just as married as a 20,000 one.

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PghMike2 June 20, 2014 at 6:14 am

Obviously you shouldn’t have a bigger wedding than you can afford, but we had a modest wedding (about 100 people) in a nice venue for about $10K about 20 years ago. That’s about $16K today, and is affordable for a lot of couples — we certainly didn’t go into debt for it.

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Caleb June 20, 2014 at 12:12 pm

Weddings are ever so expensive. You set a budget and in no time you are going right over it with no complications. We thought we were setting a realistic budget and boy did we get a wake up call.

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David July 7, 2014 at 8:28 pm

There is an alternative. You can go to the courthouse and get married for a very modest fee, then have your friends over for a party to celebrate.

Or be really clever when planning the wedding as my wife was. Our university owned a forest. So we arranged to have an outdoor wedding there. Simple, rustic, beautiful. Not so many friends because we’re not so social and to keep the budget down.

Remember, the wedding is for you. It’s not for the guests. I don’t see the point of throwing a big party for guests, they should be throwing it for you if anything. You’re the ones that need the financial help at that moment as well as all the good wishes.

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MorrisCoveMom July 1, 2014 at 12:53 pm

Why not put that away for retirement, down payment on a house, emergency fund? People put these huge weddings on credit cards, and for what? An extravagant party celebrating something we all do every day?

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Beverly July 1, 2014 at 1:18 pm

why are you so worried about what others people do with their money.

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Kat August 22, 2014 at 9:59 am

I’m with you, MCM. It’s gotten out of hand. Like someone else said, slap the word “wedding” on something and double the price.

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TorLicious July 1, 2014 at 1:24 pm

200!? LOL! that’s the cost of hmmm…both my husband’s and mine’s bow ties!

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Teelo July 7, 2014 at 10:10 am

Stop confusing the “average” wedding cost with the “median” wedding cost. The median (half the population pays more than that number, half pays less than that number) more closely represents what most people pay (~$18K). The $30K number is skewed by the over-the-top “event” weddings of the uber-rich.

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Tim July 17, 2014 at 12:12 pm

That comment should be added to every article about wedding planning posted on the Internet.

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David July 7, 2014 at 8:22 pm

Some marriages probably fail because of the debt or lack of funds resulting from the big wedding.

It makes a hell of a lot more sense to have a very modest wedding, then a big party when the kids are done with college, or some other event marking the real end of your financial servitude. Then you really have the money to spend if that’s what you want.

Besides, work before play. Accomplish something, then celebrate, rather than blowing all the money before you’ve even had your marriage yet.

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Pam July 19, 2014 at 8:01 am

A year ago, my husband and I (and our daughter) spent approx. 30K on her wedding. We are not rich people, but we’ve all worked since we were teenagers, and by world standards we live a comfortable life in a middle-class suburb. The 30K paid for a weekend wedding party — from Saturday through Monday — at an old inn. There were about 60 people at the actual ceremony, and about 20 people (family & wedding party) stayed at the inn for the weekend. My own wedding, 30+ years ago, cost more like $300 so it’s not as if our family is known for its lavish weddings. Before last year’s wedding, I would have agreed fully with the idea that spending that much money on a wedding is foolish. But now I have a different perspective. The gathering of family and friends for a weekend of good food, hand-made decorations for the wedding tent, hand-made floral arrangements, and general hanging out and laughing was worth every penny. Some people pay 30K for a car. My 30K produced wonderful memories for a bunch of people I love.

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Moderate July 21, 2014 at 1:09 pm

I’m going to preface this by saying that my wife and I did both things. We had a small JOP wedding in a beautiful park with a very small number of friends, some of whom did the photography for us) and we went out for sushi after. It was wonderful and only cost us a few hundred dollars. About a year later (recently) we did the whole big wedding celebration. It was beautiful and so much fun. The venue was terrific and the food phenomenal. It cost around $30K. Well within our means as we saved up specifically for this event and did not have to put anything on credit.
Having said that –
WHO ARE ANY OF YOU TO SAY HOW ANYONE ELSE SHOULD SPEND THEIR MONEY!?
So long as I’m not putting anyone else in debt or doing something illegal, no one has any right to tell me how I spend what I earn. Your way of saving or spending money may be fine for you but it doesn’t work for everyone. I have my views, which in this case fall pretty much smack dab in the middle. I’m not going to go out and buy a Porsche because a) I don’t want to put that much strain on my budget and b) I don’t need that much car. On the other hand I’m not going to own a used 1997 Toyota either because a) I want something nicer (like power windows) and b) I can afford something with more of the features I want.
However I understand that there are many folks who will drive a car into the ground before even considering something else and I have known other folks who buy a new luxury car every 2 years (not lease, buy).

The sooner you stop worrying about what everyone else does with their money, the happier you’ll be.

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Peace September 4, 2014 at 6:07 am

With respect, I didn’t get the sense that this piece is telling people how to spend their money; the author makes it a point not to raise the issue with friends or even to say that expensive weddings are bad. If the article casts any judgments, it’s about going into debt, which seems a fair criticism. What intrigues me is the author’s reflections on how sensitive this kind of discussion is–why should that be? Why is it verboten to discuss the cost of a wedding–it used to be we couldn’t talk about religion or politics. Now money is sacrosanct.

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Jp July 23, 2014 at 5:02 am

1. It’s someone else’s money, not yours.
2. A wedding is a special day and if there’s one reason to spend a little extra, this would be the day. Who wants to overspend on a funeral?
3. A lot of people are doing very well these past few years so why not reap the profits sell a few stocks and enjoy your new life as one?

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Dena K July 28, 2014 at 5:59 pm

I’m with the author on the $200 wedding. My SO and I, when we marry, are thinking of having his oldest son officiate (in our state, anyone can get a temporary license to marry someone) and his youngest son as best man. We would marry at either our house or his parents’ with a reception to follow. Guests would be extremely limited, and we don’t need or want presents. I think we could pull it off for $200 or so.

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Roxanne Gordon July 31, 2014 at 4:46 am

I get a kick out of reading these comments. I love watching wedding dress shows like Say Yes to The Dress where women supposedly……spend thousands and thousands of dollars for a dress. I would LOVE to be one of those dress designers earning 10K-30K per dress, but it’s probably a very tough market to get into. Do I think spending $5,300 dollars for a dress is practical or smart?? Heck no, but hey if you are going to do it, who am I to complain? It’s your money. I wouldn’t spend $10 on a lobster dinner either. I don’t like it, but if you do, go for it. I just want to make gorgeous dresses, and get paid a gazillion dollars for it. Better than typing my fingers off in an office like I do now.

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Lynn.net August 18, 2014 at 3:25 pm

The best wedding I ever went to was to go to my friends’ apartment for a small ceremony with about 20 people, then the happy couple took the wedding guests out to the Hilton for a champagne brunch. It was fun and cheap!

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Kat? August 22, 2014 at 9:43 am

Kat,

The little girl needs to grow up, you are definitely right about that. Getting married at 19 to begin with and her financial irresponsibility sounds like a long standing parenting issue possibly.

There is nothing wrong with large and extravagant weddings, there is a problem with rampant jealousy and envy. Some people have things others don’t, it’s part of life. Get over it. If you are happy with your marriage by proxy, more power to you. There is nothing wrong if you want to have a huge celebration either.

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Kat August 22, 2014 at 10:07 am

I’m not jealous at all…I’m just saying that I’ve watched a lot of friends do a lot of damage to their pocketbook, marriage, parents, and others people around them when they insist on overspending.

Parents want to see their little girl happy, and I’ve seen too many brides take advantage of that. One of my favorite quotes was from a former boyfriend’s sister, who decided to get married in San Miguel de Allende in Mexico. Her father was trying to tell her that “three bands for her big day was an extravagance.” She had to correct him…it was FOUR. She was so proud that they had saved “so much money” by having the wedding in Mexico, and it was “only $16,000.” But she didn’t even stop to consider that her parents had rented a house there for $9,000 for the week, everyone had to purchase plane tickets and pay for hotels. She just shifted the cost to everyone else. And as the bride’s psuedo sister-in-law, I was expected to bring a gift to all FIVE of her showers. There was a shower for the bride’s parent’s friends, a shower for the groom’s parent’s friends, a shower for her girl friends, etc. I was a college student at the time and simply couldn’t afford to purchase that many gifts, and when I finally said something to my boyfriend, he acted like I was a complete witch for not wanting to participate in something I couldn’t afford.

So forgive me if I have a materialistic view of the whole thing. I’ve seen some pretty stupid stuff.

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Kat August 22, 2014 at 10:08 am

Oh, and as we…the “rich Americans” went into the church, we had to step over the very poor beggars in front of the church. It was an embarrassment.

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Kat? August 22, 2014 at 9:55 am

Oh… And a mitzvah is just like a wedding, a couple minutes of religious rite and then a huge party. Also like a lot of weddings, it is for the parents and not the children.

I could care less if your event is big or small, it just needs to be what makes you happy. Judging people for wanting or “wasting” is where the jealousy and envy steps in. It shouldn’t bother you at all, “their excesses”. It isn’t yours and you don’t have to live their life. Divorce and financial ruin as well as happiness and long marriage happen for both the frugal and the extravagant.

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Kat? August 22, 2014 at 12:10 pm

Sounds like the people you were around, not really a “characteristic” of anyone that chooses to do something in a “extravagant” way. Should be embarrassed for the beggars that chose to lay in the way, not for the fact that you were able to go to something nice. Does sound like you really know how to pick your friends though, wow, selfish.

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Sarah White August 27, 2014 at 8:41 am

If you’re shocked by $29,000 you’d fall over if you heard UK prices! The average wedding in the UK for 100 guests costs around £25,000 POUNDS – that’s around $41,000 US Dollars!

And unfortunately if you want to have all the guests you want that’s the kind of price you are looking at. That includes all the basics – wedding license, venue, food, cake but also covers extras such as suits for groomsmen and bridesmaids, gifts for the people in your wedding party and the whole schebang.

A lot of people (like myself) didn’t want a wedding with 100 people, but didn’t want to disappoint friends and family, so they physically can’t spend less than a certain amount. We had a wedding with 100, so had to spend a lot, but did find ways to make savings in other areas that still allowed us the guests we wanted there, but not at the highest price tag.

I’m intrigued as to how your wedding cost under $200 including the perfect cake??? Here is the UK just the cost of the wedding license is £380 pounds (around $630 USD). Are wedding licenses free in the US?

In my experience most people don’t want to pay that amount of money on a wedding, but can’t see a way around it. If you found a way to keep the costs to under $200 maybe you could share that wisdom with your friends? Whilst they may not spend as little as you it might help them come up with some cost saving ideas that will help them reduce the amount they spend whilst still getting the perfect day?

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joy2b September 18, 2014 at 1:13 pm

Weddings don’t have to be big or expensive, but they do provide an opportunity for a couple to do something challenging together, become a team, and form a strong support network out of family and friends. Ideally, they’re good practice for buying a house, throwing a moving party, and learning to turn to each other’s families for companionship. Weddings are also good reasons to pull a family together. Often, weddings and funerals are the only big events that can get three or four generations in one room, let cousins catch up, and revitalize relationships that would otherwise fade.

None of this requires a terribly expensive party. A well organized potluck party can certainly be unforgettable (as can a badly organized one). However,if you’re planning to get together your family, it’s reasonable to offer them a couple of good meals, a fun party, and some good pictures of the get together.

For sensible brides, being a good host is the main place you spend serious money. Guests typically return the favor. If you estimate the value of the household goods and cash received, it’ll often be very similar to the amount spent on the party.

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