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

by Thursday Bram · 1,407 comments

wedding finances

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.

expensive wedding

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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{ read the comments below or add one }

  • Sensible says:

    Let me put it this way. Invest that $30000 in an etf for 6% a year and in 30 years it’s worth around $170000. That would be a fairly sizeable chunk of your
    pension. 1 day or the rest of your life. Your choice…

  • mel says:

    I am also keeping my mouth shut about my best friend spending 30k+ on her wedding next summer. I am excited for her and have already started to save to travel to Miami from NYC and be there with her. However, my bf and I are college students in our last year of graduate school. She has to pay out of pocket because she is undocumented and cannot receive financial aid. She struggled to pay for her Spring tuition in our first year and for the upcoming Fall semester. I offered to increase my loan so that I could lend her the remaining balance but her aunt owed her mother money and paid it back but I would have done it if she had accepted. This situation with her wedding and the expense has me very upset. I wish she would think about using the money they are saving for the wedding to pay for her education and save for an emergency fund. Once she graduates she can worry about saving for her wedding. I am not her and no matter how much I know her and love her, I cannot understand how she doesn’t see how illogical this is. I know she is in love and has been with this guy, a great guy who has been a great support, for years but my big concern is her general lack of experience since this is the only guy she has been with so I don’t want her to regret this. Obviously, am not bringing this up either and I will be with her during and after all this but I really feel like shaking her every time I add up her bills which doesn’t even include her hotel and travel expenses and honeymoon expenses. Am just going to breath in and out and drown those tequilas in celebration of her wedding and our graduation.

  • Chris says:

    To the people that spent $1,000 or less on your wedding you have the lowest divorce rates. I think a big reason why is you are not in debt after the wedding or are less in debt than those that spent more. If you have $30,000 in your bank account after the marriage you have much less stress than if you have $1,000 in your bank account after the wedding if you spend $30,000 on your wedding when you only have $31,000 in your bank account you jeopardize your entire future. I think good friends have the courage to speak up and encourage them to tone it down.

    • Lucienne Claudine Jackson-Parenti says:

      We spent a lot of money and had a huge amount of money afterwards.

      • Kim says:

        My kids that are married spent about that much on their weddings and got pretty close to that amount in cash gifts. They enjoyed the parties and had no regrets.

  • Alexander says:

    Me and my wife spent over $ 15,000 for a wedding of 35 people. We are regretting it because we could spend this money to buy a house. I am from Transnistria and I was expecting guest to give us at least $ 500 because in Trabsbistria people usually give at least $ 100 per person while there is $ 300 average monthly salary, however, people were giving us from $ 25 to $ 100 even though some of people are working in IRS. Only my mother with aunt and gave us $ 1000 each even though my mom works as a home attendant and my uncle is a car service driver. So, we spent over $ 15,000 and got back less than $ 4,500 being in dept with over $ 10,000. I understand that it is my fault that I did not research American traditions and expected to get a profit from the wedding like it works in Transnistria were people even able to buy a house after wedding on wedding gift.

  • Katie says:

    What sounds expensive to one person isn’t necessarily expensive to the next. I bring in $230,000+ a year with my fiance so $30,000 (or even $40,000) on a wedding isn’t going to break the bank.
    The six or seven budget weddings I’ve been to were awkward, stiff (because no drinks, dancing or food) and expensive for the guests (pay their own drinks, buy a present, bring their own food dish for buffet style). It’s one thing to get eloped or have serious budget constraints, but it is poor form to be stingy and expect guests to have a good time.
    It’s not rocket science: Average wedding guests get drinks, dancing, photos, food. Cheapo wedding guests get no drinks, no dancing, bad photos, bad food (or bring their own). I think it goes without saying which ones were more memorable, enjoyable (at least for guests) and filled with celebratory feelings.

  • Marc says:

    If while planning your wedding you think that half of the weddings end in divorce so I don’t want to spend too much, then you shouldn’t be getting married.

    Not everyone goes into debt with a big wedding and it isn’t a waste if they get what they want out of it. It is ignorant to label big weddings as being materialistic. I am sure some people are but others are actually
    So excited with their upcoming commitment that they want to scream it from a mountaintop so that everyone can share in their excitement.

    The people that think it is a waste are either bitter or financially restricted. I guess cynics too. I am sorry if you can’t afford to do the same but no one asked you to. If your invited to a big weddings, quit being a bad friend or family member, quit judging and have fun. If you are going to be a snot about it then you become a self fulfilling prophecy as the physical embodiment of a “waste” to have at the wedding.

    There are people they pointed out jealousy and that is often correct as to what is wrong with a lot of you soulless individuals. The souless ones are correct too that it isn’t always jealous when you act like a terrible person and judge people, they don’t want a teen pregnancy or a tattoo, they have some other kind of malfunction and we just don’t know what to call it.
    Everyone has some hypocrisy in them but I am not judging you for your jealousy, cynicism, bitterness or cheapness. I am just making note of it.

    • Cheap Cheap says:

      I’m neither jealous or cheap or bitter about my wedding.I missed a few things that none of you mentioned having that would have cost nothing,absolutely nothing. The lack of them has made me sad over the years.I have been married 41 years and yes, I wish I had had those few things.But they couldn’t be bought. I wish my father could have lived to dance with me at the wedding,and we could have compared the size of his nose to my husband’s. I wish the Indian community had decorated the hotel room for our wedding night. I wish my In-Laws had come for the wedding instead of 3 weeks later,but they were stuck in Iraq with Saddam Hussein and I wasn’t allowed into the country nor was my husband.

  • Bonnie says:

    Whatever one can afford without going into debt should be the rule. I was married in 1968 (still happily so)and my parents spent $6000 dollars, a good amount for that time. When our sons each got married, we hosted the traditional rehearsal dinners and gave the couples $10 grand each to do with as they wished. When our only daughter got married, it was a destination affair so we hosted parties, activities, entertainment, and picked up expenses for her brothers and their wives. It cost a lot and all these years later we don’t regret a dime. Do whatever makes you comfortable.

  • Bostonian in Brooklyn says:

    The big difference that I see in weddings from when I was an eloper is that people come from great distances to attend weddings. Knowing that someone has flown in from Taiwan or maybe just Texas leaves one with a feeling that they should not be served on paper plates. Once you abandon the plastic forks and glasses the cost increases hugely and there does not seem to be anything in between.

    I really want to scream when people refer to “a few close friends”. You can probably make rules about family (first cousins but not second cousins) but distinguishing the close friends from the other friends can cause heartbreak. So you end up with a hundred people who you must feed in some pretty place. That costs.

  • Karialyssa9 says:

    Uhh…yeah it would still be considered NOT POLITE to bring up financials with a friend who has not asked for your opinion, rather just invited you to be a guest at her wedding. Offering your opinion would neither be gracious nor socially acceptable.

    Here’s why:
    1. It’s none of your business
    2. You may think you know what their financial situation is BUT YOU DO NOT.
    3. It’s none of your business

    My parents will likely contribute to my wedding in a way that it brings the budget up past anything I could ever afford on my own. If someone approached me with your attitude, not only would I feel slightly humiliated but offended at the assumptions you made on my behalf (so what if my Dad worked hard/saved hard and wants to contribute $20k to my wedding fund?? Its a drop in the bucket for him). But here you are telling me how materialistic I am and how I am not focusing in on the right things and oh this won’t make my marriage last. I mean excuuuuuuse me?

    BTW $300k in SF is reasonable unfortunately.

    Great – you think 30k is too much for a wedding. It’s a lot – yes. And i’m glad you enjoyed your $300 one. To all those who think $30k is too much or to those who would rather avoid financial strife or would like to redirect the funds elsewhere – do so – nobody is stopping you and more power to you.

  • Christina says:

    Just reading some of these comments… I can’t believe anybody married some of you women. You can’t have a conversation without spitting hate out of your faces.

    • Roxanne says:

      I see that all the time, Christina, on wedding dress tv shows. These women are screeching angry at everyone who doesn’t like their over priced dress. They act like spoiled brats. OMG I can’t imagine marrying these women. What kind of wives will they be when the demands and temper tantrums start so early??? YIKES!!!
      What if the husbands are just as demanding??? What then?

      • Cheap Cheap says:

        Kelly-our wedding was $350 including Venue-$50,Band$150, Dress-$60,
        groom’s silk kurta-$6, gifts declined in lieu of a pot luck wedding.I still wear the” dress” by the way,and have probably 41 or more times. A few more anniversaries,I’ll have it down to $1 a year. The crack about third world countries-beyond insulting.And ignorant. The last wedding I went to was in the $1million range-in SF. It was a 3rd world 5 day wedding-really 2 weeks- since guests were imported from Australia,Scot.,Lon.,India,and S.Am. They paid for it all. We were just relatives. We had to pay our own way. I give it 5 years tops. Jealous? No. They planned this monstrosity so badly that all their vacation time was used up and they had to go straight back to work after the Sunday Brunch-(which was my Favorite meal of all)

        • Kelly says:

          It wasnt a “crack” at third world country. I was simply saying that what the other person was talking about wasnt relevant. That you cant say the money could be used for “better” reasons or given to charity because then none of us should ever enjoy a luxury and we should give it all away. And who cares if your family had a one million dollar wedding and used up all their vacation time…thats what THEY wanted. You may disagree with their choices but they enjoyed it and thats ALL that matters.

          • Cheap Cheap says:

            Kelly-I hardly think the bride and groom planned to have a monstrosity of a wedding 3,000 miles from their N.Y.apt spend a year planning and running around,and have no time left to sit back and luxuriate as a couple after the big day. Even I had better luck.I moved 2,000 miles the next day but we drove cross country in our old Volvo and it was unforgettable. You give people way too much credit. But then,you’re still a kid.I know,I know-30.Big whoop.I have cheese older than you in my freezer. My car could be your daughter.My son could offer you a job,but he’s fairly critical about spelling and punctuation mistakes. I swear maturity has taken a holiday and those born after the 1980’s were dumbed down when cursive was removed from school and replaced with “self-esteem.” I don’t care if you have the Chippendales and buy a house by the lake and one by the ocean. Study a map first. The ocean front has Tsunami warnings now.Lakes may or may not be there 10 years from now.Are you in a wildfire area? Tornado alley? Drought? Flood? Mudslides? Earthquakes? Black mold? Gale winds? High HOAs? And oh yes-if this is your first house,you may not know,the buyer gets a real deal on costs.The seller pays most of them. next time,you’re the seller and it’s not pretty. We just sold our house after 19 year in our 4th dream home.It took 7 years to recover from the financial disaster and make our house worth selling again. We’ll rent a house till we build again. Write down your plans.Put them in a drawer for-35 years.Open it in 2050.Then we’ll talk.My mortgage should be paid off by then. I come from long-lived stock.

          • Kelly says:

            Cheap- . 1. Im at work and dont have time to make sure my punctuation is 100% and 2. I dont need a job, I have a great one but thank you. As far as driving across country the day after my wedding, that sounds terrible, but if you had a good time, good for you. Why do you care that your family didnt take a honeymoon right away? We didnt because we have an 11 day trip Ireland planned for next spring, but that is what we wanted. Why do you assume everyone thinks driving across the country packed into a Volvo is “better luck”? Also, stop judging me because of my age, I am actually very mature and very financially smart. This will actually be our 2nd house we have bought. Our first one we just sold for a PROFIT, it was VERY pretty. We were in it for 4 years and we made a $55,000 profit, we know our stuff! We also made updates to the house with our own 2 hands that made us that profit. We both grew up in middle class hard working families that taught us how to work hard to get what we want. As far as living on a lake, I dont need to look at a map. We live in Michigan, where there are over 10,000 lakes and have quite a few houses to choose from on those lakes. As far as natural disasters, a snow storm is the worst we have to deal with and a possible tornado, but we arent not going to buy a house on a lake because of possible natural disaster in Michigan. Anything could happen tomorrow! I could wake up with Cancer, be pregnant or die, but good thing I have employer paid health care and carry my own AFLAC policy as a back up, have maternity leave and a nice life insurance policy (work and personal). O! I also have a work pension and my own personal Roth IRA. Finally, my husband and I have a savings too hopefully grow old with, but it is also there if shit hits the fan. So, before you go and try to discredit me because of my age and the fact I spent a lot on my wedding, maybe know my personal situation (which was my whole point this whole time, dont judge others). We have our heads on our shoulders and anyone could go on and on about what if, but we have made educated, well thought out decisions so far and we will continue to do so. No ones life goes as they planned, at 30 I do know that by now, but thanks for trying to do the “when I was a kid I walked up hill both ways in a blizzard” talk 😉

            ps. I learned cursive (they never cut it out of Catholic schools). I also didnt receive one participation trophy lol.

  • ann says:

    Well I am from Africa living in Africa and its great to have the views from other people here who have planned their wedding and how they decided to carry it out. I’m planning mine and not sure if I should go for a big extravagant wedding ( not close to the 30,000 usd) or much much less but not $200 either . I guess I don’t want to regret not making this day about me and spoil myself rotten or should I budget and plan and put the money towards something else like a house or something. I work very hard very very hard to save money and at times deprive myself because I am scared of poverty and loosing out on the opportunity to put this money into something useful rather than spending it on a day.

    I have a good job and certainly can afford to spend however I’m not sure if I should spend that much it on this day.

    I would like to hear from those who’ve actually had a wedding what their thoughts are after their wedding day… it worth spending all that money or not….

  • Althea says:

    I hate this thread. Everyone judging everyone else. I’ve been to civil ceremonies that cost next to nothing and were amazing. I’ve been to $100K weddings that were also filled with love and beautiful and amazing. You have to do what’s right for you. I spent money on my wedding because I wanted all the people who’ve touched my life to be there, and I wanted them to feel taken care of since they were making an effort to be a part of something that was important to me. My parents didn’t have money and I worked two jobs for two years to save up for my wedding. If you don’t want to have a big wedding, I get it. But I know that I will never forget what a perfect day my wedding day was, filled with love for the man I was marrying and my family and friends. I bought candles and good food and good wine and flowers, and I have no regrets. In the hurricane of life, where you’re working and living through a sea of unexpected challenges, I still take solace in thinking back on my wedding day because for one day it was blissful, and it was totally worth it.

  • miko says:

    True love don’t cost !!
    Those people are show off !!
    Don’t brainwashed by them!!

    • Kelly says:

      What’s sad is your grammar and spelling. It’s not showing off when you worked hard to get a great education and job that allows you to have the means to celebrate in any way you want. What is sad is that people judge others and the jealously they have. There is no right or wrong. Small wedding, big wedding, expensive, cheap, destination, church….whatever works best for the couple is the right thing 🙂

  • miko says:

    If you really love don’t need show off !!
    Sad coupel !!

  • Zontar says:

    Big weddings are ridiculous. People go way in debt for them, money that could be better spent on more useful things. And it’s sad to hear girls talk about how they don’t really want this or that but “have to” have them. What? You have to have oxygen, food, water, and shelter. Past that it’s options. Reading about the weddings involving hundreds of people made me realize that I’m a typical American man: dozens of acquaintances from work and church, maybe four actual friends (counting two I haven’t seen in over twenty years but keep up with on Facebook). One good thing, though. If an average wedding costs $29 thousand, these conservatives who whine about “threats” to marriage in America are just ignorant. No industry making bucks like that is going to let anything short of a comet headed straight toward Earth interfere with their con game.

    • Kelly says:

      Maybe a big wedding is ridiculous to you but to many it’s not. We have over 150 people that is just immediate family! Aunt, uncles, first cousins, etc. Then, we b0th have a lot of friends (we have 6 each in the wedding party) and we are in our 30’s. The money that we are spending on ours is money that we earned and money that we can afford to spend on the wedding. Sorry if people who are financially responsible and aren’t in debt offend you but everyone is different. If you count a mortgage as debt than that is all we have, but more see it an investment, especially since we live in a nice community. There is absolutely nothing wrong with spending the money WE earned, especially if we can afford it. As far as the whole all we need is oxygen, food, water, etc. sure you are right but that is pretty far fetched, especially for anyone using technology. We all spend, we all buy things we don’t technically need but because we want it. I wanted a car so I bought one. I wanted to go to Las Vegas so I went. I doesnt mean we dont give back or help others, but we still live the lifestyle we want. Everyone has different budgets and that is just the way of life.

      • Helia says:

        Kelly, I just want to say that I love reading everything you’ve written here. It is so refreshing! I completely agree with every word. My fiancé and I are both 30, both have high degrees from a great university, both have high paying jobs, and have no “debt” except for our mortgage, and have a considerable savings account that we are using to pay for a lavish wedding. (Let’s just say $30,000 to me is a very very bargain price tag on a wedding) and I’m so shocked by the amount of jealousy and judgment I see on these blog posts.
        I mean I had always thought, if you’re not successful (and by extension, not educated, don’t have a good job, living paycheck to paycheck) then you have something to be judged on or shamed on. Why on earth should people be ashamed of being successful and have money to spend on what they wish? I know it’s a very tough pill to swallow but some of us have worked very hard to get to a point in life to have the means to get what we really want and if a lavish wedding is what we want, why should we be apologetic about it?

        • Lucienne Claudine Jackson-Parenti says:

          Helia same. My husband and I are in highly paying work. We met at 26 and got married at 30. We do not have any debts. And our children’s universities can be easily paid. I worked 8 years for a degree from a really good college. And after graduating I was reaping the rewards through the salary I was earning.

  • Douglas says:

    The stats are nonsense. Basically, they mean little more than “the average wedding that costs tens of thousands of dollars costs $29,000”.

  • kay says:

    I think we all agree that how one chooses to spend either money or time is their own business, it was just a topic of conversation and interesting to read the various opinions; however, no one should be accusatory or holier than thou. Right now may we all agree that what we should be spending our efforts on is peace, understanding and tolerance. And please adopt a homeless pet. Merry Christmas!

  • Louise says:

    Why should anyone justify what they spend their money on?
    Ask yourself this question; what is more valuable in life, money or time? Time you can’t get back whereas money you can. People waste a lot of their time in life, and no one will ever notice it. Yet when someone spends some money, everyone wants to give their opinion. If your friends want to spend that money, it’s their choice.

  • BrideToBe says:

    First of all, I don’t get why people are so concerned with other people’s nuptials. Sometimes there are circumstances where you end up spending a lot more on your wedding than you intended. In our case, both of our families are spread out across the country. We are spending around 25K because we simply couldn’t pick a place on the map where EVERY ONE of our family members DIDN’T have to get on a plane to come to our wedding. So we chose a venue where we could have the ceremony, reception, and rehearsal dinner…on the beach about thirty minutes from where we live so it’s closer to the airport. We’re also inviting and paying for everyone to come to the rehearsal dinner and we’re providing shuttle service to and from the airport just to be polite as the poor folks will all have to travel. We sent out a whopping 28 invitations (that I made by hand) and we’re STILL trying to cut costs! So just because someone spends a lot does not mean they’re holding a lavish, self-centered ceremony. We actually haven’t spent a penny that we didn’t earn or save up (nothing in debt) and all of the cost cutting has gone on OUR end so that we can accommodate our families because they want to be at our wedding. Sure, we could just hop on over to the JP and get hitched for $93.50 (the cost of our marriage license in the state we live in), but our families would rather be there.

  • Cynthia says:


    There are 89 posts above mine, not counting “previous comments.” I had to stop reading all this commentary because I felt a serious migraine coming on. For the most part, people seem to agree that weddings and how they are conducted are a *hugely* personal and/or cultural affair, and that what works for 30K for some can work for $200 for others. This point being made, I ask myself: why are there still scores and scores of people writing in with endless detail (read: justification) for how they ran *their* weddings?? The only answer that seems forthcoming is that either (a) everyone thinks that what they did is best, and should therefore be offered as advice or retort (rebuke?) or explanation for why the others weren’t thinking about this whole wedding thing correctly; or (b) they just want to argue about (or justify) what counts as a reasonable amount of money to spend. My migraine was the direct result of reading endless and useless circular comments aimed at those who chose differently. Enough already! The only thing the author gets right is that how her friend orchestrates her 30K wedding *is none of her business.* My own wedding was just perfect, and no, I won’t spill details! Just remember: “None of your business.” *That* should be the principle guiding our comments here — which would have the added benefit (yes, I see the irony) of *many* *fewer* *comments.*

  • kay says:

    Furthering my prior comments – I don’t have time to read everything here but from what I have read everyone seems to automatically give money as a gift. I was brought up, and it used to be proper etiquette, that only family gave money. I always like to spend the time and effort to find what I consider the perfect gift for a specific person and I am touched when I am such a recipient. I still (after 37 years) smile with warm memories when I use a vase or dish that was given to me for my wedding. I can’t say that about the monetary gifts (which please understand we did appreciate too). We invited people we wanted to share our joyful occasion and never gave a thought to a gift’s value vs. cost of their meal. Is it mandatory now to ‘cover your plate’ with monetary gifts? That seems to me as sad as registering a two year old for birthday gifts. Somehow it takes the fun out of celebrating.

  • Judy Harper says:

    I married in 1977. Borrowed a dress. (I get very amused at Say Yes to the Dress.) Didn’t decorate the church – at all. Had a small cake and punch in the church hall. I was married for almost 33 years, until my husband died. My point: I really think that there is an inverse relationship between the grandiloquence of the wedding and the longevity of the marriage. I pity the bride who gushes about her wedding being “the best day” of her life, or the like. The wedding is an occasion to make a series of promises in front of witnesses about how you plan to spend the rest of your life and who you plan to spend it with. Period. No party necessary, especially if you really can’t afford it, and we certainly couldn’t, so we didn’t. Frankly, I couldn’t wait to get out of there and on with our lives.

    • Cheap Cheap says:

      Judy H. That is exactly how I felt on my wedding day. My husband had moved 2,000 miles away 1 year early and I had last seen him over Christmas break.We made all the arrangements over the phone: hall rental,picking a day based on my graduation and the earliest availability, I walked to the nearest florist and ordered a bouquet-and shocked the poor woman when that was all I needed. Men’s boutonnieres don’t go with men’s dhoti Punjabi. Hard to explain that the traditional bride wears red while the groom wears white. (But it was well worth the laugh.) I bought plates and cups and napkins at the 5&10. Ladies brought trays and punch bowls.I added hand made requests for hot and cold dishes in lieu of gifts for my religious community,only.We are very-simple.We don’t believe in ostentation for it’s own sake.No one would be surprised or insulted at the request.I picked up a dozen or so hams,12 dozen kaiser rolls,butter, a few beef roasts,my sister hollowed out several watermelons to look like baskets with handles and filled them with cantaloupe,grapes,etc. My mother had a 3 tier wedding cake delivered and 4 separate cakes made in different flavors. But I really really wanted to get going on the 2,000 mile drive back and see the apartment. And it was a $350 wedding-not $200.Can’t people read? Oh that’s right-no. I forgot. Otherwise,they wouldn’t make such stupid excuses. My mother’s wedding cost nothing. She married my father 3 times in Nazi Germany. She got no ring.He was drafted into the German Army. They got out alive,both of them. It’s called taking the long view.

  • kay says:

    Rest assured, your sarcasm did not go unnoticed. Please keep in mind that I never said people “should”, “must”, or in any way tried to tell people what to do, my remarks were personal to me and responsive to prior postings. I have reread several comments, however, and notice that the most vehement ones seem to be from those who are trying to “defend” their expenditures while the majority of opposing views are expressed in a calmer and more theoretical manner. Discussion is one thing, and I do favor exchanging views, but when people feel personally attacked or maligned it ceases to be enjoyable, don’t you think?

    Now, if you want to talk politics …..

  • Screaming? says:

    Screaming is usually marked by using all capital letters. The message I posted was more rhetorical with a load of sarcasm. It is good you came to your maturing of values, some people come into them later in life. Living your life one way and then “maturing” and commenting that other people should
    Make different choices can be seen as hypocritical. Like radio personality “dr Laura” that works as a shock jock hanging up on people that need help after bashing them with “black and white morality.” It was easy for her to wait till after she got done having a good time to tell everyone else they shouldn’t. Although I don’t believe you are this kind of hypocrit, I think that you are generally
    Pointing out what issue the people in this forum are having. Unfortunately, many of them have disguised their inability to enjoy the same excesses as judgments that other people are morally repugnant for enjoying the fruit of their own labor. I comment on the maturing of values because my wife and I, like many others, consistently donate time and money to help others and have since we were much younger and even had dates in the old days where we volunteered as a growing opportunity for how we wanted to forge our lives together. At the same time we were able to and greatly enjoyed our wedding with friends and family at the cost of 3 months of food for your “village.” There is little difference asking someone to forgo an expensive wedding under the banner of helping others and asking people to forgo all of the luxuries I pointed out in our last communication. ( cars, vacations, homes with more rooms than people, sporting events, beer, cigarettes, branded clothing and so on)

    There are people that have more than you and less than you, the jealousy is the ugly part!

  • Justify? says:

    Not really hard to justify at all. It was our
    Money and we earned it! Once again, I am sure you are at the public library, but if somehow you aren’t; how can you justify the expense of a computer or smartphone when there are hungry people out there? You don’t have a car do you? You only eat enough food to sustain your existence and have never gone on a vacation? Education? What a waste, you could be fishing and providing food to the hungry?!!! What? You work and earned the right to do those things? Exactly!

    • kay says:

      My, my, think you protest a bit too much? My remarks offered explanation for why people were offended by costly weddings, but I don’t think they were snide or personal at all, yet you scream in response. I do have many comforts for which I have worked very hard, provided for my family (which of course is everyone’s first responsibility), and traveled quite a bit. Everyone does have the right to spend what they’ve earned however they wish, I agree with that. However, as my values matured, my priorities changed and I now spend much of my time and resources trying to be of service to others, which I believe is what we are here to do. Have a blessed day.

      • Lucienne Claudine Jackson-Parenti says:

        So do I, my husband and I regularly save people’s lives during our day to day job. We run marathons for charity. Our kids use a proportion of their pocket money to sponsor a charity which they are passionate about. We do give a lot to charity. And even if you spend a lot on a wedding, you can still travel quite a bit. We volunteer regularly volunteer in soup kitchens etc. Everything which we do not need does not get sold, it goes straight to charity. We spent a large amount of money on our wedding and would do it again!

  • kay says:

    Just came across this and I am amazed at the time and space wasted on arguing about the cost of weddings with no one pointing out the main reason that overdone weddings offend many people – $30,000 for one day of self-indulgence vs. food for a village for a year. Hard to justify, isn’t it?

    • Kelly says:

      Then those spending only $200 a wedding should forgo their wedding and send that to a third world country too. People who have the means to have a 30k wedding without going into debt is the same as someone who can only afford $200 without going into debt. You are comparing apples to oranges with the feeding a village for a year. Maybe we should never spend anything on ourselves again and send every penny we make to a third world country. Does that make sense? No. You are very judgmental and it does not make a you a better person because you think 30k weddings are expensive. It makes you judgmental, that is all.

  • Mark says:

    Weddings are not a unique splurge item and in many cases, the wedding gifts cover a good chunk of the wedding. I spent 32k on my wedding in 1990. Yet we were early 30’s couple well established with good income. And one of us (not this one) was good at managing finances. Rather than isolate weddings with financial wedding gifts and sometimes large parental contributions, why not merely look at the fact that many people are ignorant on how to live within their means. We’re just getting out of a recession largely caused by people making a 50k salary buying 500k homes. Leases allowing those same people to drive 50k cars and god forbid should you not have the latest iphone with unlimited data. How about skip going out to eat 5 nights/week and packing a lunch.

    Weddings are a tiny blip on the radar of foolish financial management.

  • Anyta says:

    We spent approximately $50,000 on our wedding and it was really not fancy at all. Why did we do it? Because we come from ethnic communities where marriage is a HUGE deal and everyone sincerely wants to celebrate with you. We had 300 guests and that was cutting out ALOT of people that were pretty hurt that they weren’t invited. The hall which included a decent food and liquor package but was really not that fancy cost over $27,000. Since my husband and I are from different ethnic communities we needed 2 different bands plus limos, flowers(DIY), dress(off the rack display $600), tuxes, flower girls dresses……BAM 50K!!! Was it worth it? 10 years later it’s still the BEST party we have ever thrown and our friends and family still talk about it fondly. I am super frugal and $50,000 originally made me want to cry but after the day was done, it really was worth it. Added bonus; ethnic communities always give “envelopes”. when we finally got around to opening our gift we were shocked to see checks for thousands of dollars! We made all our money back and then some! Our wedding even paid for our honeymoon!

  • Fun says:

    It has been fun I must say. It is quite possible that you are older but in my 40s with a family and my focus is my daughter and wife. I don’t expect to stop enjoying the finer things, Gid willing the finances never wane.

    The conversation has been about others and not my current place in life or yours I suspect. Just a desire to defend people that have resources as not being a group of
    Mindless irresponsible twits.

    The only group that we should shake our head at is those that
    Live beyond their means at sacrifice of character or potentially relationships in the bigger picture.

    There is nothin wrong with debt and taking some on, as long as that debt is within your means to resolve. Horrible things can and do rear their ugly head and destroy the best laid plans, but people, please at least don’t be your own monster.

  • Gifts says:

    You start out this rant complaining about gift obligations and weddings and then when I reply, you attempt to shift credit for the gift fixation to me? Gifts are given as a custom to try and help a couple start their journey through life with prosperity. I am sure your cheap heart can keep your toaster if any of your friends or family are worthwhile human beings. We invited people we wanted to share our joy with and knowing people give gifts, registered for a charity where people could donate an “anonymous” amount of money in lieu of giving a gift.

    Anyone that didn’t want to attend was welcome not attending, but as none of our invitations were sent with the goal of receiving something, we only invited people that we felt would want to share in the day and would be upset if not thought of as friend or family for the day.

    It seems you have surrounded yourself with greed and selfish people in your life that would tell you what gift to give them and so on. I assure you that any kind of large wedding could never be paid for by the gifts.

    Of course the wedding is about the couple, who else would it be about? Are you so childish that you want to stand and scream “me me me” or maybe give a toast that discusses your job issues instead of the couple. There is nothing wrong with wanting to have a day to celebrate the amazing journey you are starting.

    I wouldn’t take up betting since you apparently aren’t quick on the draw and have figured out that only you in this conversation are consumed with the costs and gifts of a wedding. I am sorry that your life has brought you such little success that yiu begrudge your friends a shower gift or wedding gift. A decent photographer in a major city can easily cost in the range of 10-15k, then flowers, food, clothes, venue and so on and you think your paltry gift makes a dent in that? You are “treating” your friends and family to share in your joy. Sadly, it seems, you are to preoccupied and selfish to relish in someone else’s happiness for a day, sometimes two. ( don’t forget the rehearsal dinner – I have never seen a rehearsal dinner prssent? Which is a mini wedding reception just to make sure you entertain friends and family who have been kind enough to give their time to celebrate with you.

    From what you have said, you obviously aren’t missing out on too much financial opportunity by taking the weekend off, next
    Time try to be a good person and have fun.

    • Kevin says:

      While it has been fun arguing with you, all good things must come to an end.

      I will finish by saying:

      There is a very good chance that I am older than you and when I was your age, I was also (very!) interested in the finer things in life. Then, as I got older, I realized that material goods mean nothing. They don’t make you happy and I was happier when others enjoyed the spotlight. Perhaps you will get there, too.

      Have a nice weekend.

      • Roxanne says:

        I love material things Kevin. I love my bookcase,library, filled with my favorite books to give to friends when they come over. I love my new windows that don’t leak. I love my hard wood floors I paid for with savings, and I absolutely love love my new violin I paid $4,500 dollars for; and would do it all again in a second. No I don’t have a 5 million dollar strad that Joshua Bell has but he has the money to buy it. Great!!!

  • Show off? says:

    Showing off? One princess outdoing another? If spendin 30k is showing off to you then you obviously lack financial resources and your tone is the same nauseating drivel that our Wall Street campers were spewing.

    30k is a more than reasonable price for a wedding with a large amount of guests. I am sorry you don’t want to treat your friends and family to a nice event to celebrate your Union. Do they get to give you less of a present because you cheaped out? We have a wedding gift budget for people and it was established without concern for the cost of the wedding. I guess when you don’t have money, you are more focused on the cost of things and sadly project that into situations where those thoughts aren’t appropriate beyond being responsible.

    Quit projecting your issues on other people and being naive enough to believe everyone should live the mediocre lifestyle you are satisfied with.

    • Kevin says:

      I did notice your 2nd paragraph is all about gifts :

      “Do they get to give you less of a present because you cheaped out? We have a wedding gift budget for people and it was established without concern for the cost of the wedding.”

      If you are truly “treat(ing) your friends and family to a nice event to celebrate your Union”, why are there any gifts at all? I thought it was to celebrate your love? I thought you were treating them?

      Also, how many other celebration did you “treat” your friends to? How many wedding showers? How many parties did they have to attend before and after the wedding? Based on the tone of your post, I bet it was endless. I’ll also bet you BELIEVE they wanted to attend each and every one of them.

      At the end of the day, you invite a large number of guests in the hope of getting a large number of gifts, showing off and being the center of attention. Again, just be honest.


      When you invite a large number of people to your wedding, do you honestly believe they all want to be there? How many opened your invite and said, “Oh God, you’ll never guess who invited us to their wedding.”

      But, my guess, that’s the least of your concerns.

      • Kelly says:

        LOL you are truly a cynical person. The amount of guests we invited is because we have large families not because we want gifts. When you throw a 30k wedding its assumed the amount of gifts will never match that, so no it is not about getting gifts. It is honestly about throwing a nice, elegant party to honor your marriage and have your closest family and friends there. We are inviting 250. 175 is all family and the rest are friends (plus their spouses). We have had people MAD they arent invited, so I doubt anyone really doesnt want to be there. If they dont, they dont have to RSVP.

        I think where you come from might be different that us and that is ok, but where I come from, it is normal to spend that much on a wedding and it is normal to have showers and bachelor parties, etc. And we are all normal, middle class people but we do not bat an eye at 30k for a wedding. It has nothing to do with being materialistic at all. You have this notion in your head that because people can afford a nice wedding they are bratty, stuck up people who just want to show off, when that is not the case at all. I dont see how you think a smaller wedding means your a better person. There is no logic in that. It is sad that you are so judgmental.

        • mike mason says:

          Kelly, stop. You are also being judgmental. If you doubt that, read your post again. This guy is striking a nerve and it is obvious that many of you are taking it personal. And don’t say “well, if they don’t want to come, they don’t have to RSVP.” Plenty of people don’t want to come—they feel pressued and they come, anyway. and you defend spending that much because it is to “honor” the marriage? When is showing honor about money?

          • Lucienne Claudine Jackson-Parenti says:

            Actually I also had a 30k wedding (over it) not to show off, just because certain things cost more money. And I too have a large wedding.

            I have 5 siblings, my husband had 6 siblings and they have families so that made up just over 35 guests from siblings and nieces/nephews. My parents have 4 siblings as do my husbands parents. So that too made up an additional 8 people. And about 40 more for mine and husband’s cousins. I had many friends from my old high school glee club and boarding school. My husband and I had friends from our old boarding schools, we invited our current friends. We invited our good and best friends from College (we did medical degrees, so we spent 8 years inn education, so we met lots of people). We also met after college so we do not have mutual friends from college.

            I have 6 grandparents. My parents, and my husbands parents (they divorced and married other people).

            I had my wedding in the Summer in the Plaza Hotel. No, it was not to be extravagant. It was because that place held memories.

            -When I first visited America (4 years of age) , it was the hotel we stayed at. So it was literally my first experience of America before I permanently moved their
            -My great grandmother used to take me there for tea and we used to have a really fun day
            – My parents had their wedding their
            -It was the first venue, where I was a bridesmaid and a flower girl
            -I met my husband at The Plaza
            -It is where my husband’s grandparents got married
            -My husbands parents had their honeymoon their
            -My husband proposed to me whilst we were staying at The Plaza
            -It was the last place my great grandma went before she tragically passed away

            I do not see why people have to justify their expenditures.
            My husband and I work hard and have been very successful in our chosen careers and had no student loan debts. And we had personal reasons to want to have our wedding at The Plaza. We wanted to celebrate our union their, and we wanted a venue where we had a lot of ties with. And, my great grandmother used to call it a magical place. She always said to me “A summer wedding at the plaza is the place to be”.

  • Of course... says:

    I don’t really have to get out more and of course you should cover the cost of your plate. The point was that this horrendously tacky individual verbally commented on it.

    Looking down on someone for their spending on a wedding says a lot more about the person looking down on them than it does about the person having the wedding. We will take these comments slow as it isn’t being defensive but pointing out that inane thought process that tells a person they have a right to determine what others should and shouldn’t do with their money and make judgements. I hope you don’t drink alcohol or soda, smoke, pay for anything nascar or wwf related because it is a complete waste of money and you could have donated it to someone needy.

    In practicing what you preach, are you enjoying the device you are using on this blog because it is a luxury many would look down on you for wasting the money on when people in the world can’t even eat dinner tonight. Wait, you are in the public library, got it!

    • Kevin says:

      If the only reason you’re having a wedding is show your love, then it shouldn’t matter whether the wedding costs $3K or $30K.

      If you think I’m the only one who thinks poorly of people who thro extravagant wedding then you haven’t read the article above and/or you are painfully naïve. Most people see it for what it is. It is one “princess” trying to outdo the last.

      At the end of the day, a wedding is a party you thro for yourself and, if you spend $30,000, it’s to show-off and be the center of attention – just be honest about it. It’s when people try and portray that vanity as something noble that I feel the need to comment.

      • Kelly says:

        I am having a 30k wedding and I am not materialistic at all. I rarely shop for clothes, I dont wear jewelry and dont get my nails done, etc. We are not spending 30k because we want to show off we are spending it because we both have very large catholic families and want them all there on our big day. We are very close with them and it is important to US and them that they are there. I did not want a hall wedding or to get married in the courts, so I went with a nicer venue but it is still not ridiculous. I actually have done a lot of research and comparing prices of vendors, I have not been out there willy nilly just spending.

        All of my friends have at least had 20k wedding and they were not lavish but nice and put together. That is how we like them. My one friend had a 100k wedding and it was amazing, but obviously most people cant afford that. THEY could and none of us judged them for it or were jealous or thought of them as vain. If people want to spend money on their wedding that is their choice. Others dont want to spend that much. That is fine too. But everyone has different reasons for why they do or dont have a big or expensive wedding and just because it is small or inexpensive doesnt mean they are poor or they are “better people” and just because it is 30k doesnt mean they people are materialistic. Everyone should do what is best for them.

        I think those that judge others so easily just because they spend 30k on a wedding are the ones who have the issues. It should not be that easy to judge someone and assume their character because that.

  • Cover the cost? says:

    Wow, someone asked you to cover the cost? Sounds like you need to make better friends. I have been to many lavish weddings and have never heard that and have even been told to make a charitable donation instead of bringing a gift. You guys need to know a better class of people.

    Give the extra to charity? No thanks, I think I will enjoy the benefits of my labor instead. ( not saying I don’t give to charity ), but it is stupid and pretty easy to say when it’s someone else’s money you are bein judgmental about them spending on their wedding.

    • Kevin says:

      It is often referred to as “Cover your plate” and it is common in some cultures…

      ““That really is determined, believe it or not, by culture,” says Mencel. “Different cultures have a certain expectation of wedding gifts.” She says some cultures expect you to cover the cost of your plate — and then some. This can range from $100 to $200.”

      Perhaps you need to get out more.


      Re : “enjoy the benefits of my labor instead”

      We are discussing wedding excesses. I offered a solution. If you choose to spend money on a one day party you throw for yourself over helping others, then yes, that’s your choice. Just don’t be surprised if people think poorly of you for it. Also, don’t be so defensive.


      Re : “but it is stupid”

      It’s not stupid. It’s called being socially responsible and thinking about other people besides myself.

      Re : “…pretty easy to say when it’s someone else’s money…”

      Yes, very easy. Fortunately, I practice what I preach.

      • Roxanne says:

        All these comments: “We’ve all done it, been to an extravagant wedding and the couple gets divorced a few years later….”
        I’ve never been to an extravagant wedding. Where are they? I’m jealous. I want to go to one. All my relatives were married by a relative pastor with the church ‘ladies’ making the sandwhiches. It was nice. Whatever the couple wants.

  • Kevin says:

    Interesting article for all you big wedding spenders…

    One Study Says Spending More on Your Engagement Ring or Wedding Could Lead to Divorce

  • Kevin says:


    We have all done it. Gone to the sweet thoughtful small wedding of a couple completely in love that couldn’t afford the extravagances in life but wanted to do something small with their closest loved ones and friends.

    Then a couple years later, the stress of work and bills kills the relationship and the divorce happens leaving a single mom and a holiday only father.

    It is such a shame!

    Not everyone with a big wedding is materialistic. There are people who can just afford it either from family money or hopefully earned money that don’t think of it as an extravagance, just a celebration of their love.

    • Kevin says:

      That’s fair but we have all been to weddings where people spent thru the roof and then ask/expect their guests to cover the cost of the wedding. The last wedding I went to, the groom kept reminding me that, “The wedding is expensive so make sure you cover the cost of coming in your gift”.

      I thought, “You invited me and I don’t even want to go!”

      Most times those big weddings also expect a wedding shower, bachelor/bachelorette/stag/stag and doe party (nothing worse than having those tickets pushed down your throat), baby showers after the bride gets pregnant, etc. It is all a self indulgent begging for gifts. It is people showing off and trying to be the center of attention. It is gluttony.

      Re : “Not everyone with a big wedding is materialistic.”

      Maybe you are right but the many, many are. All someone has to do is sit thru an episode of “Say Yes To The Dress” (as painful as it is) to see these brides/bridezillas are just spoiled princesses trying to outdo their friends.

      Take that $30K, have a small, quiet wedding and keep the money for your future. If money comes easy to you, give the excess to charity – celebrate the love of giving to people who are less fortunate and could use a hot meal. I promise you, it will mean more than having 300 people click their glass while you kiss to their applause.

  • Kevin says:

    We have all been there. We go to a extravagant wedding, write a big cheque, listen to the bride and groom swear their undying love to each other and then, a few years later, they are divorced. And, it’s not just about what the weddings cost. It is about materialism and how we live in an empty, shallow society. Weddings are just the perfect example.

    The world would be a better place if we stopped idolizing the Kim Kardashians of the world, started living within our means and stopped being so superficial. Unfortunately, the world is moving in the opposite direction.

  • 30k debt.. says:

    Yes 30k debt can be stressful and can cause stress. There is actually nothing wrong with debt as long as it is in your budget to manage it and pay it down. There are people fortunate enough to do the big wedding, dream honeymoon and it even go into debt. I think it has been established that there is at least on miserable jealous troll on here that wants to hate people for not having the same life restrictions as her. The truth is that no one should judge your wedding whether big or small. It is you and your spouses day and these peoplr actually care about you and are happy for you no matter what, or you need better people in your life!

    • kay says:

      who is the troll?? Hope it’s not me?

    • mike mason says:

      I don’t know why you would call someone a troll for having an opinion. Is that just a way to try and invalidate her? And your opinion or whether she is jeaous—you don’t know her. She doesnt agree with something and that makes her jealous? I don’t agree with tattoos—I don’t want one.

  • anne says:

    my husband and I spent little on our rings and we got married by a Judge in under a weeks notice speeding up the date of our wedding by a year to save money on school costs and we are the happiest couple we know. Spending money on a big wedding is not the formula for a good marriage and adding 3ok debt only adds additional strain in the future. If I could blow that much on a wedding I probably would spend no more than $1500 on reception expenses and put the rest towards a carefree dream honeymoon.

  • frugal Fannie says:

    It all depends on their wealth. While many American live above their means and have massive debt, some have substantial assets and no debt so $30,000 is not that much. Many people pay for private education out of pocket and are thrilled to do it. I am not sure it is your business or that you have full information about their finances. I will say the couple in question are a little tacky if they tell people what they are spending.

  • joy2b says:

    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.

  • Sarah White says:

    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?

    • Judy Harper says:

      Sounds like the UK is trying to discourage marriage! It has been a long time since I married (1977 in the US), but I am sure that the cost of the license was negligible. It must have been, because neither me nor my intended had much money at the time. It was probably something like 10 or 20 dollars.

      • Louise says:

        No its just that everything in the UK is expensive. For a tiny 2 bed terraced house in a bad area with a 35ft by 15ft garden, cost me £210,000. That’s the UK for you.

  • Kat? says:

    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.

  • Kat? says:

    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.

  • Kat? says:


    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.

    • Kat says:

      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.

      • Kat says:

        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.

    • mike mason says:

      How do you equate criticism with jealousy?? I was critical of my friend’s kid for getting pregnant so young. You think I want to trade places with her???

  • says:

    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!

  • Roxanne Gordon says:

    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.

  • Dena K says:

    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.

  • Jp says:

    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?

  • Moderate says:

    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 –
    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.

    • Peace says:

      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.

    • JD Jackson says:

      It seems like you’re a little upset about the money you spent, because you’re projecting that upset onto the author of the article where it doesn’t exist. If you did a thing you wanted to do in a way you wanted, then that should be enough – there’s no need to defend it. The author has not criticized you at all; you are criticizing yourself.

      • kay says:

        Thank you for saying what is obvious to any sensible person. “Moderate” is likely screaming in overeaction caused by guilt – some comments apparently struck home – but that is his business, not mine. Just amusing to see radicals of any sort rant at the world.

    • mike mason says:

      Moderate—nobody is coming into your home or calling you on the phone. They are leaving comments on a page. So it’s not accurate to say they are “telling” you what to do. Money is a topic worth discussing—and that’s what we’re all doing.

  • Pam says:

    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.

    • Kelly says:

      Mine will be 30k and I agree. I used to think that was nuts until I started planning. I have a whole new perspective of wedding planning and the over priced cost of everything. But is it worth it? You bet ya!

  • David says:

    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.

    • Andrew Patterson says:

      Work before play. Accomplish something,then celebrate.

      So I guess training just over 10 years to become a cardiac surgeon is not an accomplishment. Or becoming a pediatrician.

      Me and my wife did that and planned our wedding 1 year after we graduated. Our starting salaries were 400k and 120k, so we could have a big-ish wedding.

      We’ve already invested enough money for our kid’s education. We have saved enough for 3 kids if they do an average of 6 years at Yale/Harvard/Cambridge/Stanford.

  • Teelo says:

    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.

    • Tim says:

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

    • Kelly says:

      My wedding will be about 30k and we are not uber-rich. My friends wedding cost 100k and that is uber rich. Weddings arent cheap unless you plan to go to the court house or rent a simple hall. Everyone should do what is best for them and not judge others for how much they spend. I want a HUGE celebration with all my family and friends there with me. They mean everything to me and couldn’t imagine not having a big wedding. Not because I am materialistic but because my fiance and I both have very big families and that is just how it is. To each their own!!!

  • TorLicious says:

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

  • MorrisCoveMom says:

    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?

  • Caleb says:

    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.

    • David says:

      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.

  • PghMike2 says:

    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.

  • Jason says:

    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.

    • Beverly says:

      now that’s what I’m am talking about

    • David says:

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

      • Diane says:

        I had a $200 wedding, it was great. Yes, we’re still married. What’s interesting is the amount of money my stepson wanted us to contribute to his upcoming wedding. Sorry, we’re not taking it out of our retirement funds. If you want to have a $30,000 wedding, fine but really it should be the wedding couple’s own money. They can do what they want with it.

    • mike mason says:

      Maybe her purpose was to address a real problem—people blowing too much money on things they don’t need to.

  • Lila says:

    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.

    • MorrisCoveMom says:

      $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.

      • Beverly says:

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

      • Kelly says:

        Morricovemom, I guarantee that if you had the money you would spend that much. Mine is going to be around 30k and honestly, for my group of friends and social circle, that is cheap. My best friend had a 100k wedding. Its all in perspective. It doesnt make anyone better to have a bigger wedding or a smaller wedding, it is what works for THEM.

      • Cheap Cheap says:

        And it’s not about jealousy. Helia said -again,that at 30,with both of them having advanced degrees and only a mortgage as a debt,they don’t see why to deny themselves. When we married,my husband made $312 a month.Our expenses were $350. Even today I can tell you where every penny went. $100 went for Gas.It was L.A. in 1974.We had lots of periods of unemployment. I had a baby after he got his first real job. We moved a lot and my back was damaged packing and unpacking.I had scoliosis. A few years later,fibromyalgia stopped my plans for working and ate up the budget unexpectedly. Suprise. When my husband works (chuckle) he’s the CEO,CTO,in start-ups and while that pays a lot and is exciting ,if the economy collapses,they do too. We were fine in a house I’d just remodeled with a reasonable mortgage payment,etc, when -surprise, funding failed,and we moved to California. Life has been unreasonable ever since.
        My daughter is thirty,has an MS, had 5 or 6 promotions in the job she got 6 mo.s after moving to La. Her husband is finishing his Phd. They own a home. So what if a sink hole opens up under it? What if the non-existent climate change decides to mess with Louisiana again? Kids don’t think of this stuff,but house values could go down suddenly. I remember 29 cent gas- And free plates as an incentive. So I remember a lot of things. When we were married ,friends told us home interest rates hadn’t changed in 40 years, so not to worry about it. The rate was 6% That was in 1977. In 1981 we bought our first house in Redmond ,Wash. at 18.99% .Had we stayed put in the next house,we’d be paid off now. Damn. Retirement? I’m sure I can come up with a better combo than the Texas board of Executions.

        Brides and Grooms-the majority of us are not jealous of your riches by any means. ( It takes as long to digest a Rib eye and Lobster and sushi prawns as it does to have Reuben grills and Kosher pickles.)
        We urge caution. Do you care what people think? By all means. Sheeple be praised. But you may move-often ,and the new people won’t be impressed by your big wedding or shamed by your small one. We moved the day after the wedding. Surprise. I loved where I was. Young people,make all the plans you like. Write them down on a piece of paper and stick it in a drawer. (Not computer.) Check after 30 or 40 years if anything worked out. Anything?

        • Kelly says:

          Kids? I am a 30 year old woman thank you. My fiance and I have good jobs, good retirement, good health care and dont have a burden of debt. There is always something that can happen, but unless you know our financial situation than you really cant judge. We could pay for a big wedding without any issues. It was this past weekend actually. It was absolutely beautiful and I wouldnt change a thing. Where I am from, spending 30k on a wedding is about average. However, no one would judge one thats not. My friend is doing a destination wedding on the beach next summer and I know its going to be absolutely perfect. As far as things working out, they have so far, we are currently writing an offer on our dream lake house and planned our first anniversary trip to Ireland. If something unforeseen happens (which life is always throwing curve balls) we will deal with it as it comes. We are very responsible people who have worked hard for what we have and are going to enjoy life to the fullest. I hope everyone else does too.

          • aceiota says:

            “If something unforeseen happens (which life is always throwing curve balls) we will deal with it as it comes.”

            That’s how the USA government deals with it’s problems…
            Remember the financial crises, which was predicted years in advanced. But with that same mindset you have, instead of deterring it, the government allowed banks to carry on with fraudulent grading of the packages…

            You always prepare in advanced when it comes to potential dire financial situations … Even if you cannot see it. Don’t wait until it comes around.

    • Kat says:

      That’s a great idea!

    • Roxanne says:

      Family cruise? I’m glad it worked out for you, Lila, but I would have to forego that offer. I went on a criuse and spent the whole time in the bathroom, or ralphing over the railing. Not too romantic. eeww!!

  • Patrick says:

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

  • Beverly says:

    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

    • Jason says:

      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….

  • Beverly says:

    you are funny

  • mrsammler says:

    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.

  • Calipartygurl says:

    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.”

    • David says:

      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.

      • Kat says:

        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!”

        • Kelly says:

          Kat you say beware of women who want a huge wedding? Why is this? What in your mind makes you think that women who want big weddings are shallow and materialistic and cant make a marriage work.

          Well let me put it to you this way. My fiance and I have zero debt other than our house (which really isn’t debt) plus my parents are paying for the majority of it because they want to and because they can afford it. Please tell me why you are so judgmental towards people who can afford a large wedding? Why does that make us less likely to succeed? To me it sounds like the people who are spending less are the ones with the attitude problems. I have never looked down on anyone’s wedding..big or small, lavish or understated. I focus on what I am there for. Some of my friends have had $100,000 weddings and some have had $5,000 weddings. In actuality, the ones who spent the least or had a “small destination” wedding are the ones who are having issues. I firmly believe in the big wedding with all your family around you. My fiance and I are inviting 250 people, and over 100 are JUST immediate family.

          There are so many things to take into account when judging others weddings. You have no idea their financial situation, family situation, inheritance, savings, etc etc etc.

          All I know, my fiance have been together for 3 years, happily. And we both have had the same vision for our wedding. HUGE with all our family surrounding us. So according to you it sounds like we should beware of one another. LOL. You sound jealous and judgement. Not very becoming. Why not worry about how much others spend and just enjoy being invited.

          • mike mason says:

            You sure took this personal. Just being glad you were invited is hard: it’s hard to not say anything when you care about your friends. I have personally seen people I knon end up late on their house payment because they spent that money on a child’s birthday. We do have a problem with people blowing money they don’t have in this country. And when two people are first starting out, I would not want them to have that burden hanging over their heads. My nephew’s wife wanted a big wedding and she ran that thing like the groom wasn’t even part of the marriage. So, yes, when a woman has her heart set on a big weding, I do tend to question her motives. This day is NOT just for her to be the star of the show. 10 months after they got married, she was pregnant, so she trapped him good and proper.

        • Andrew Patterson says:

          Or some people have money they saved up, my wife and I saved 70% of our salary each per year easily. I work as a cardiac surgeon and she is a pediatrician. We did not get anything from our parents (except my wife was given my late grandmothers engagement ring and we were given photo albums of our relationship and our parents made a video full of pictures and video’s of us).

          We worked so hard throgh over 10 years of higher education at Harvard and Yale, and we pay heavy rates on our earnings.
          We worked hard to live comfortably and have a big wedding (my wife and I have huge families).

          She has 6 siblings and I have 4. We have 30 nieces and nephews from our siblings. I have 4 parents (my parents got divorced and married other people), and before you ask they had a simple wedding! And my wife has 2. This is 46 people and we haven’t even gone into my uncles and aunts (I have 10) and not including my cousins and grandparents. Not including my best friends from high school and Harvard/Yale/UPenn. This does not include my wife’s: uncles, aunts, cousins, grandparents, friends from school, friends from Yale etc.

    • MJ42 says:

      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.

      • Kelly says:

        Mike…..well your nephew willingly married her right? Seems to me thats his issue lol. And I dont think getting pregnant AFTER getting married is considered trapping someone but to each their own lol. I think the issue here is that she wasnt a moral person with values. I had a FULL Catholic mass ceremony. I deeply routed in my faith. Then after the beautiful sacrament we went and threw a fun, big celebration. It was PERFECT and everyone had a great time. O and my husband was by my side planning every part of it, he wanted it to be a nice as I wanted it to be too. Everyone is different and has different situations. I am happy for anyone’s wedding as long as its what they wanted. $3000 or $30000, as long as the couple is satisfied good for them!

  • Cut the numbers down says:

    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.

  • Material Girl says:

    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?

    • Ivory says:

      Its so very true! I have a co-worker who got married this summer. He and his lovely wife took a friend who had become ordained, and their respective parents up to a lake, and they got married there.

      6 weeks later, they held a large celebration on the bride’s family farm for everyone they loved (maybe 100 people). Because they were able to have a “party” and not a “wedding”, they spent a fraction of what they would have on food, etc (not to mention, they brought in caterers to serve, but were able to buy booze, etc at costco, etc to save money).

      They ended up having a beautiful event, and had enough left over after paying for it to take a 2 week honeymoon to Europe

    • Roxanne says:

      Baptism industry??? First I’ve heard of being baptised an industry. Where have I been all these years. My goodness.

  • Leena, thanks says:

    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.

    • Kat says:

      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.

      • Cheap Cheap says:

        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?

      • Nicky says:

        I think part of that is in your need for others to approve of and validate your choices. Be clear, *society* isn’t imposing anything on you, if you give in to other voices that in and of itself is *your* choice.

  • Leena says:

    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.

    • David says:

      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.

    • Kat says:

      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.

      • Wishitweretrue says:

        Yeah Kat…I know exactly what you are talking about. I have witnessed it too. But to correct one thing…the parents are all about outdoing the next family…it’s really not about the rite of passage at all. It’s sad but for most celebrations these days, people just want to show off…have you seen some baby’s first birthday parties lately? And social media has not helped the situation…it’s all about bragging for some. Unfortunately these people do not develop true friends or true happiness. The stress to outdo…steals happiness.

      • Anna says:

        Kat, I’m not sure what you expected 12 year old girls to talk about at summer camp but this is an article about weddings, which I doubt were a major topic of conversation among the campers.

        Bar mitzvahs and bat mitzvahs, which you say were a topic of conversation, are nothing like weddings except that they are rites of passage which may be celebrated with a party.

        You do not understand the customs of the people whose children you say you watched for three months. FYI, a bar or bat mitzvah is not a pledge that one takes and is not a graduation or “moving up” ceremony. It is a commemoration of the fact that a child has reached the age of majority according to Jewish custom and ritual. At 13 for boys and 12 or 13 for girls a child becomes an adult and is old enough to lead a prayer service and be called to read from the Torah as a full member of the community. Many families choose to hold a party to celebrate this coming of age.

        A boy is a “Bar Mitzvah” at age 13 even if he does not lead a prayer service then or ever; he is still an adult for purposes of Jewish ritual. This is completely unlike a wedding. If a couple throwing a wedding does not take wedding vows, does not get a marriage license and does not follow the steps necessary to wed (witness, officiant, legal signatures), that couple is not married even if they have an elaborate party to celebrate their union. The ceremony is necessary even if a party to celebrate gets most of the time and attention.

        Back to you, Kat, and your three months working as a camp counselor in a part of the US where most camps run for no more than 10 weeks.
        You say that you were “shocked” by what you remember hearing: kids talking about parties that to your ears were “ostentatious and appalling.”

        Of course, you personally witnessed exactly zero of these extravagazas, though they are burned in your memory as though the stories you’ve repeated were more than rumors and gossip that you happened to overhear. You say that you’re sure the parents *wanted* it to be about a rite of religious passage, but in this I am sure that you discussed the topic with none of the globe trotters whose children you judged.

        When it comes to other people’s finances and other people’s customs, until and unless you are asked to contribute or participate you’d be better off minding your own business. Your $29 Ann Taylor dress sounds lovely and I hope you do get to wear it someday (maybe you have worn it by now, the original post is not new) but if you’re not married yet please keep in mind that 1) there’s no prize for who spent the least on a wedding and 2) your fiance may want to have some say as well, especially since it sounds like you chose your own engagement ring. Good luck.

    • Dana says:

      Leena, you are correct. You cant put a dollar value on a memorable celebration to mark a momentous occasion in ones life. Jewish people celebrate for 9 days (traditional)

      You people are all selfish, self absorbed cry babies. The woman who write the article spent $200… reducing the whole idea down to a monetary instrument… instead, think of all the people a $30,000 wedding will bless. The servers, the musicians, the owners of the venue, the cooks, the planners, the clothing providers or tuxedo rental store, the limo driver, the airlines, the hotels… you see, if we thought the way the writer thinks on all this, then NONE of you should buy clothing over $5.00, a car over $500, a house over $30,000… all these things can be obtained cheaply… never go out to dinner, opt instead for a $0.50 peanut butter sandwich, never travel, never go on vacation, all of it is UNNECESSARY. So lets all be communists. No one has the right to even comment on what someone else wants to spend on anything… we all have the freedom and right to do as we want with the money we earned, or inherited, or received as a gift. Everyone here should shut their mouths lest they leave others alone who spend their own money as they please.

      • Dana says:

        Furthermore, if we all felt the way the writer and commenters felt about EVERYTHING, we would live in a very sad society… and many people would not have work, because there would be nothing to produce, no reason to serve, and no reason to create, grow, learn…

      • Kelly says:

        Well said! Everyone has different lifestyles and no one should be shamed for it. For me, the more money I make the more I give back! I know not everyone is like that, but I know that having an expensive wedding doesn’t make me a bad person. I am 30, my fiance and I both have jobs and are having the wedding we as adults want to have.

    • mike mason says:

      “It is no more a “display of materialism” by definition than any celebration.”
      Really? Because the average person doesn’t lay down 30,000 for a birthday party.

  • Material Girl says:

    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.

    • Beverly says:

      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.

    • Kat says:

      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.

      • Derick says:

        I’m sorry, I don’t mean to “troll”, but perhaps you shouldn’t criticize other people’s weddings when you yourself can’t seem to bring yourself to marry your partner.
        “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. ”
        You present yourselves as a married couple. You’re NOT married. Period. I can’t stand people who say that they’re practically married already and so on and so forth. You’re not. And, if you think it’s no big deal…. then DO IT. You even said that it just costs $30. So clearly it’s not a matter of money. So what is it? Are you afraid of commitment and just don’t want to admit it? It is easier to go around preaching to women on a subject that you yourself have little to no experience with. I would much rather have heard from you if you had said that you only spent $30 or $100 on your wedding and if you could have lent some insight into your experience with that. But you didn’t. It seems as though, instead, you are content on criticizing others for doing something that you have not yet (or perhaps never will) do/done yourself. Have fun playing house.

        • guest says:

          Okay. I’m married and I agree with her. A big ceremony is no guarantee of a happy future together.

        • mike mason says:

          She doesn’t need to be married for her opinion to be valid. She’s right: people in our society are terrible about blowing their money because they feel pressured into doing just that. When I told a co-worker about my sister’s $3000 wedding, she was appalled. “That’s all they’re spending?” Half of marriages end in divorce—and you think it’s a wise idea to invest all that money in a DAY. A DAY? This is all for the woman, anyway—guys don’t care about that crap. Weddings are for getting attention. It is not wise to start your marriage off with this huge cloud of debt over your head.

        • Dottie says:

          I’ve been very happily married 15 years and we have a wonderful happy child together. We spent a bit more than $200 (more like $2K as we wanted to have an open bar and had 75 guests)—but I happen to agree with the author when it came to funding our wedding. We kept things very simple. I bought a gorgeous refurbished gown off Ebay. The only alteration I needed was the hemming and it cost more than the dress which made it run about $150 all together. We used silk flowers for decor. I designed my own invites and thank you cards (helps I’m a designer). One of my friends (also an artist) did my makeup and hair. My only regret is we didn’t have live music or a DJ, but it really didn’t matter. We ended up with a beautiful and very expensive-looking wedding. If I did it over? I’d simplify it even more—pretty much eloping on the beach with the closest people in our lives.

          Other people seem to really like to do the expensive weddings, and it seems like they are not a stable way to start a marriage. Studies show weddings that run over $10K usually end in divorce, and I’ve seen a lot of real-life examples that back this up. This includes a friend who’s engagement lasted longer than her actual marriage, and 10 years later she’s still paying it all off even after she remarried. Such a shame, but it was her choice. We *all* make mistakes in life.

          That said, I’m really not sure what the purpose of this article is. Is it to gripe about friends or discourage people from making a mistake? Many folks who are hell-bent on big expensive weddings won’t listen. And while the author has good pointsit seems like she is spending a bit too much time harshly judging her friends’ lives. That’s not a thing good friends should do.

      • mp says:

        How is it “so american” – do you know anything about any other culture?

      • Erin says:

        “It is so “American,” materialistic, irresponsible, and stupid to try and outshine everyone else with your outrageous wedding” – I’m sorry, this is absolute B.S. Do you have any experience with other cultures. Greek, Russian, Italian, Middle Eastern, this is far from an American trait. I’ve been shocked at how the Russian’s do birthday parties for cripes sakes! Talk about ethnocentric, you clearly have no idea how weddings (or parties/celebrations) are treated in other cultures if you can make the above statement.

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