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

by Thursday Bram · 1,406 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 }

  • David says:

    My wedding cost $700 just over 10 years ago. I got married just after graduating college at the age of 21, had our reception in a local restaurant sans alcohol (my wife wasn’t even 21 yet), and we didn’t go on a honeymoon. Our families were thrilled that we went cheap over expensive. Instead of the fancier wedding, they gave us the gift of a great start: my parents paid off half of my student loans; her parents gave us $5,000 to purchase a used car.

    (First) Wedding presents are intended to establish the couple’s household, and should not be in exchange for an awesome reception.

  • LB says:

    I hope that your wedding day turns out to be what you—the happy couple–want for your day. Do it to please yourself……be kind to all guests…..respect their needs and expectations tooo. Create your own family traditions…….

    Stop broadcasting how much was spent on the day; I’d have people focus on something other than monies,,, there is more to a wedding than what was spent……

  • Marc says:


    You could have just got a pretty and reusable dress for under a 100 at a department store but for some reason you got a wedding gown at 700. The ring, you could have gotten a fake diamond or something else for much less money that would still symbolize love and marriage.

    I don’t think anyone has said that it can’t be done cheap. I wouldn’t and didn’t want the wedding you described at all. I had an amazing honeymoon and wedding that I loved and it is my goal to save for my daughter to have whatever she wants, I’m thinking at this point about a 100k for a wedding 20+ years from now. If she wants to get married on a beach in a sarong, awesome, her
    Mom and I will take an extra vacation.

  • Rae says:

    I only really think it’s bad taste if the people constantly bring up how much hey spent. Like it’s some sort of status symbol to spend exorbitant amounts of money on a wedding. I think a lot of peoples comments come from the fact that bridezillas tend to make spending money on a single day sound like a bad thing. Especially when the divorce rate is so high.

    Do what makes you happy but don’t brag about it.

  • Caw?!?! says:


    Obviously 30k means more to you than it does to others. Just had the most amazing chefs tasting menu for two for my 40th birthday. A thousand bucks was a little steep but the evening was perfect. Don’t worry, hired a limo so no drunk driving!

    I would be leery of any man that believes 1500 is actually a suitable budget for a wedding and recommends it.

    Spend the 30k and have a great wedding. Not a penny wasted, make sure your photographer is set to go and see if they have decent secondary camera man options.

    • Cheap Cheap says:

      $1,000 for your 40th and you’re bragging? Oh dear? Couldn’t do better and had to settle right? Well,that happens when you’ve been left on the shelf too long.
      Einstein was right you know. It’s all about relativity. If you see an elderly man with 6 hairs left on his head,you think to yourself, “Goodness,that’s really not a lot of hair.” But if you find those same 6 hairs floating in you bowl of matzo ball soup you would think to yourself, ” Goodness, that’s a lot of hair!”
      Sweety, when you mention actual dollar amounts,it is crass and crude. Bill Clinton took tax deductions on his used underwear of $4.75 per item as per the tax table. We don’t need or want to know this. It’s an example of crass and crude. I blame the press for over-sharing. However I liked knowing how little the FLOTUS spent as well as Katherine Middleton. But maybe they couldn’t afford better. Or they were actually sensible??? I married a man who bought me a jade engagement ring marked 14K that floated in water. He had advanced degrees in Solid State Physics Biomedical engineering,and Electrical engineering. So -with 3 MS degrees by the time he was 24,he knew nothing about gems or gold. That’s alright.His mother ,his grandmother,and his great grandmother did.He came from a family that had a Family jeweler.He comes from a caste and a part of India where the ladies literally drip in gold and the jewelers make house calls so no one has to bother to step outside in the heat. And every single occasion,birthday,holiday, wedding,engagement, brother-sister day, Bijoya, Saraswati Puja, Lakshmi Puja, Karva,Chauth, Independence Day, gifts are given.Women’s gifts fall into 2 categories;gold or saris. Gold is easy.If it’s new-you can exchange it.if it’s old, they have while you wait jewelers who assay it,weigh it,and give you equal value in their store all in under an hour.The charge? 100 rupees. Less than $2.
      Yes “Caw?!!?” you would be very leery of the man I chose to marry. 3 Masters Degrees by the time he was 24 and no idea that gold shouldn’t float.We returned the ring.He bought it on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. The owner was a liar and a cheat.She must have done very well.My husband is also so simple minded he didn’t know what size clothes to buy.That’s because all his clothes up till that point were custom-made. When I asked him how much he thought a diamond cost he said around $100. Gee I’m glad he had a better idea about what real estate cost.

      • Marc says:


        I guess you lack reading comprehension skills as well as many other things.
        I wasn’t bragging about dinner for a $1000, I was pointing out that a
        wedding at $1500 wasn’t very much and most likely offered very little,
        unless the person is ignorant enough not to include actual costs, i.e.: the
        food other people bought, other people’s time and so on. It would be sad
        to have someone spend a couple thousand on flying their family in to attend
        your wedding and give them cake and punch and then send them on their way.
        If you are Indian (or your husband is), it is also doubtful that you had
        that inexpensive of a wedding and if your from a caste in India, you are
        either in the same as my family or a lower one. Gold doesn’t drip unless
        the day was so hot (1550 degrees F) that humans were expiring left and
        right, or you couldn’t “literally drip in gold.” There are betters words
        to emphasize your point than literally. This whole blog goes back to your
        psychological issue. You are a bitter woman that went to the web to vent
        and insult a friends choices, and we can leave it at that. I was
        “bragging” according to you when I made a reference to the cost of a nice
        meal to celebrate a 40th birthday when I was actually pointing out the
        value of a dollar and how far or not so far that would have gone towards a
        wedding of any size, but then you felt it necessary to try and support your
        argument with a ridiculous reference to educational degrees, jewels, caste
        systems, personal tailors and so on. Any tourist for less than cost of a
        human being in India can have a suit tailored. I am definitely sure that
        “Rodeo drive” jewelers also sell cheap fake rings! Cute story though!

        I WOULD BE very leery of an Indian man that disgraced you with such a
        nominal wedding since I know the customs. Was he disowned for marrying
        you or something? Does the family speak to you? Treat your children well?
        Keep bragging about your silliness while standing by the $1500.00

  • suzie q says:

    My husband told our closest friends and family that they were invited to a surprise party for my birthday. I was in on the “surprise”. Folks showed up for the outdoor summer BBQ, some with gifts, all dressed casually. At dusk, my husband took a microphone, announced that they were not, in fact, there for a birthday party, but were there *flip the switch to backyard Christmas lights* for a wedding.
    The priest came out, we got married, had some BBQ and drinks, and partied until dawn. No wedding showers, invitations, flowers, bridesmaids, etc… and all for less than 2000.00. Six years later, everyone still says it was the best wedding that they have ever attended.

  • caw says:

    Put the money into buying a home and have the wedding in the backyard. $30K on a wedding is a waste. My wife and I spent less than $1500.

    Personally, I would have serious concerns about marrying a woman who wants that much for her wedding.

    • britney says:

      Oh please 30,000 is the average spent on a wedding. Foodd and drinks alone can cost you 10,000 to 30,000 you obviously know nothing about the cost of a wedding. Oh and quite frankly everyone has a different budget and not everyone is poor. Some people can spend 60,000 on a wedding, and have a 30,000 to put down on a house. You just sound cheap. Pt

  • Melissa says:

    Ok, good for you. You’re keeping your mouth shut. And? That doesn’t change the fact that the high cost of a wedding is robbery by these vendors.

  • Jade says:

    Spend what you want on your wedding. Lol. But it has to look like it came out of a catalogue or a Pinterest page, so either shell out the money or spend hundreds of hours recreating it by hand. And it has to provide state of the art food and entertainment. But, it’s totally ok to spend less- you can deal with being judged.

    All of this fuss to recreate a wedding that looks exactly the same as 1000 other weddings that were done this year. That is what happens when the focus becomes the wedding and not the marriage. Getting married is always timeless and beautiful, and requires asolutely none of the above.

  • Beverly says:

    Hello everyone, I think we could put this puppy to bed. Not everybody is on the same page, i guess that’s the point.

  • Dontelle says:

    This article and all the comments make me laugh. Spend $50 or $100,000 on your wedding…who gives a F? The point of a wedding is that you are uniting with your beotch and happy about it.

    We spent $70K on our wedding and have never looked back. Was a fun party.

    And for you Bros who think a wedding is just going through the motions…don’t go. We don’t want ya there.

  • Ed says:

    How exactly is writing and publishing an article keeping one’s mouth shut?

    • Beverly says:

      Hello Ed
      It’s called, I am all- up- in your business!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      I wish we could have something good to post about, this is so old now.

  • katie ann says:

    My first thought when I saw the headline was “wow, $30,000 is cheap for a wedding, I wonder how they managed to do that!” and I thought it was going to be about how to save money when wedding planning…. then I read that the author thought it was exorbitant.

    We had a modest wedding, we shopped around and haggled with our vendors, and I handmade the invitations, programs, favors, and decorations. Our grand total was just under $42,000. Granted, we live in an expensive part of the country.

  • CeCe says:

    I spent $50 on my wedding and that was with the gas money included, lol. I think it’s ok to spend as much as you want on your wedding, if you got it, do it! I’ve seen people spend upwards $30K on their second and third weddings, to each their own. After my husband passed away and I re-married I spent a total of $75 on that wedding. We had to travel a longer distance to the JOP. One thing I did splurge on was the honeymoon, we went all out so we could bring my kids. I couldn’t bear to spend my honeymoon without them. All in all, both were very memorable and I don’t regret a thing. As long as the bride and groom are happy, what does it matter. The memories are worth the money. The nice thing is I got a 4ct princess cut on a traditional Tiffany’s setting. That’s were the money went, lol.

  • Susan Lipp says:

    You may not be aware, but many of the wholesale flower markets require that you have a Resale License (sometimes in a business that is flower oriented) in order to purchase flowers from them.

    LA and some others have some public hours, but be aware they are generally limited to certain hours and certain days. Also, many of the vendors are trying to get rid of their oldest flowers, those which are in full bloom and therefore will not be in good shape very long.

    Many blooms need special handling and refrigeration to hold them.

    Just do your homework and be very careful. It’s more than just stuffing some flowers in a container.

    Many florists will work with you to give you beautiful floral arrangements within your budget if you are flexible with them. And being nice goes a long, long way!

  • denise says:

    I guess I need to retract the Taj Mahal imagery. Please feel free to substitute here any venue that you believe to be over the top.

    Yes, some people do make regular contributions to charity. I’m pretty sure that even with that, there are still a number of worthy causes that are desperate for funds.

    A wedding planner isn’t always going to be a panacea. A planner must always consult with the bride about any number of her personal preferences, right down to the flavor of the wedding cake. I wouldn’t be very happy if my planner was carrying out her own wishes in regard to music, clothing, colors, food, hairstyle, venue, etc. There are some issues that the bride herself has to make the decision on.

    I want to respond to you about Bridezillas. Yes, they are an example- OF WHAT NOT TO DO! However, it’s my experience that what is on tv is a fairly good representation of what sometimes happens in real-life situations. Unfortunately.

    I think there are brides who stress too much over an event that’s supposed to be an enjoyable one. I know I stress too much over things like Christmas. Because of that, Christmas doesn’t hold much enjoyment for me any more. I’m always glad when it’s over. If I had had a big wedding many years back, I think it would have turned into a major hassle & headache for me. But that’s just me. I’m sure there are lots of brides who ARE up for the challenge of throwing an event that accomplishes all the objectives they have in mind for their special day.

    Yes, there are a number of brides in weddings, large & small, who’ve been able to focus on the marriage. I don’t think it’s necessary to carry a sign.

    I suppose that there are different kinds of people & they have different ideas about what makes them happy. I think we have to agree to disagree here. Some want a big wedding, others want a small one. It ultimately comes down to this:
    To each his own.

    • Happy says:

      My husband and I got married three years ago in Colorado. We spent $3200 on everything including the dress. We got married at a country club and picked a day in March since it was less expensive. Food was great. We didn’t have dancing but had only 25 guest. We also had an open bar. The most expensive part of the wedding was the church which charged $1000.

      With all that said, I realized after reading your comments why I found planning for a wedding so stressful. I worried about pleasing everybody. My husband and I decided we will never get divorced because planning one wedding was enough! LOL!

      • britney says:

        You only had 25 guest, even at a nice venue a open bar and dinner would only be around 2600 for 25 people. Your wedding was cheap due to that, if you had 100 guest at your wedding it might have been different. I have a large family even the bare minimum of family would be at least 40 people.

  • Cinderella for a day says:

    I am pretty sure the Taj Mahal isn’t my venue. It is a tourist site like many other grave sites.

    Your, showers, teas and long list of her events seemed to imply that it was an over the top culmination of events. On my phone it is difficult to reference and quote.

    Money better spent on charity?? Most wealthy people have a fixes budget for charity and so the unspent money would go to other frivolous things as you would likely say. Btw, do some research on republican vs democrat senators and donations, you might be surprise to find that many of te democratic leaders only want to donate our tax dollars.

    You are right, brides shouldn’t eat distracted with all those silly details, another 10k for a planner would do. When most adults choose to get married, it is about the relationship. After the wedding it is about the relationship. You seriously can’t cut then a little slack to plan a dream event? They must carry a sign and repeat, I live an want to work through the good times and bad times together” and not mention if red velvet is something they lik or worry that after spending that much. A major player might need to be replaced. Also, with the person wearing white, just kind of rude in a traditional sense. The bridezillas is a trashy tv show with trashy people, I hope we don’t need to hold that up as an example.

    You don’t have to say things to show pleasure or contempt in life, context, word choice and many other things can make your intentions clear with the literal use of a specific word.

  • Cheap Cheap says:

    OH-I get it-Taj Mahal-Indian Burial site. I was really confused there for a minute-
    I don’t know which gang would get to you first-Armed Muslims,the Army, the police,concerned citizens,preservationists,or just outraged bystanders-but I can tell you my rich uninformed but oh so entitled Americans, in India, no amount of money will allow you hold your wedding in white at The Taj. Americans pride themselves on being conquerers and feel they must somehow be triumphant wherever they set foot. This is seen with kindly amusement and a bit of cheering on by most of the world,rather like the antics of a playful puppy who’s paws are too big but means well and tries hard while falling frequently.But when the puppy stumbles into the master suite and jumps onto the silk bedspread,it’s time to be told a definite ,”No.” Youth and confidence are no substitute for thousands of years of history. I’ve read this now for how many months? Relatively,these comments have been 1% as long as the history of the US. Say the”Good OLD U.S” is a 2 1/2 year old. India,by comparison,is 40 years old, the town I was born in is at a minimum,a 15 year old, China,Japan, all the Aboriginal people,South America,all feel that the new rich bully has come to town and while Obama is the best leader in years,,comparing him to the Bushes is not a contest. Other countries simply do not sit and discuss ow easy it is for them to write a $30,000 check and how silly it is that others can’t.The world community has much more important things to worry about and this is what you simply do not understand. I realize there will people calling me bitter,angry,and all manner of other insults. I consider myself a world citizen.Thus,the Taj Mahal is not and Indian Burial site.It is a Moghul monument where Mumtaz Mahal was entombed. You can’t see her tomb. There is a reproduction of it above ground for people to admire directly above her tomb which is closed to the public. In that way,no one can ever walk across her tomb. In almost every country,you will find culture,tradition, history,and people honoring it. In America,we have-credit,sexting, Honey Boo Boo, and the Kardashians. I don’t encourage assimilating American culture.An empty sponge is a Valley Girl minus the class. But still,throwing money around has always been the tried and untrue answer to all problems,hasn’t it? It worked for every war,Vietnam,Afghanisthan,the war in Iraq, the war on drugs, the war on poverty. It ‘s only money. Only In America. In the “Old world”, they don’t talk about family centered,they are family centered. Workers have free healthcare.Bosses make less-but enough. Lunch is 2 hours. Shops close at 5.People are expected to go home to their families for dinner.The only place open later are special tourist areas .Annual vacations are 4-6 weeks. Strangers in hotels greet you like old friends. Shopkeepers give you gifts. Ordinary people read books and do not live on the telephone and everyone-everyone,still walks,rich,poor,or in-between,because it’s good for you and the first thing they drink is water-in a glass bottle.So there is no doubt they will outlive Americans.They have enacted laws for the betterment of women,meaningful laws,about the makeup of the board of Directors of Major companies. I believe their laws require 50% female presence on boards. So simple,so fair,so easy. And The Old World did it. This could be a great country. But our congress is distracting the citizenry a 1,000 other ways with fracking,causing hunger, stalling legislation ad infinitum, trying to kill health care (while that’s exactly what they enjoy-subsidized healthcare) and killing,killing,killing,so many animals worldwide,from dolphin on 2 fronts to blowfish,,euthanizing wild animals in Alabama,deny free food to the homeless in Raleigh,killing Caribou in the Tundra,the Patriot fish of the Atlantic coast are being killed, the black bear,the polar bear,the wolf, the earth has never seen such a massive attack especially in America,where people don’t care as long as they can write another $30,000 check as if it was nothing. But what will you do,when the air is unbreathable, the water is fracked,the babies are all born with birth defects and no one has any interest in a business degree anymore? You know what they’ll want? Math and science. How terribly old fashioned. We could have had a cure for breast cancer and other scourges in the last decade .But we didn’t have funding. We had hundreds of really great 1 night stands that were paid for and marriages that lasted or didn’t. But there was no significance. Mankind used to want to live a life of meaning. Now,he wants to be known for having a bigger blowout than his neighbor. Really,are you sure that’s trading up?? Or is that the problem? Cheap Cheap-I got the name from 3 Phds who worked for my husband.While they worked on a diagnostic tool for uterine cancer I worked for less than minimum wage as purchasing agent, human resources,billing, payroll, and, decorating.Computer a tech budget=open.Tables,chairs,boardroom,pictures-$0. I’m frugal.Ok- I’m a legend. Shopping is a competition. My husband and I bought a lovely boardroom table and comfortable computer workstation chairs and I found golden oak -12 circa 1905 total cost $12-not each-all.I refinished them,tung oiled them,and upholstered them in burgundy velvet, and, done. Decoration,I haunted, dozens of antique shops, found large watercolors or decent older prints that were humorous,had good frames ,and appropriate subject matter that were under $15. I dragged them to U-frame it, where you’re taught to do the work.They make their money selling you frames,glass, and mattes. My picture therefore cost all of $12 even though it was 3ft+ x 2 1/2’ +.I got beautiful pictures newly framed and matted to match the office carpeting and paid for them myself since they were my choice. I also found three library tables ,plain maple ,absolutely classic,for $20 each.I sanded,stained,and varnished them.They were unbelievably useful and over the years,they made wonderful study desks of my children and my husband allowing enough room for growth since they are over 5 ft. long.And so
    these gentlemen made me a plaque showing a bird feeding it’s offspring and in typical engineering style,the labeled it:Cheap Cheap.
    There-you see? It had nothing to do with tips or my being a disgruntled server in a restaurant.

  • Cinderella for a day says:


    First, I am not exactly sure how romantic it would be to get married at a burial site in India.

    Second, in your bitterness you continue to equate the price of the wedding to putting the ceremony ahead of the relationship. It is just plain ridiculous and growing long in the tooth.

    It is is disheartening to observe your apparent joy in your “friend’s” thud and your seething animosity for what sounds like a group of fun and glamorous events leading up to a special day. Tell me this, would her maturity have been different an her desire to have sex with her husband changed if she had go married at the JOP with a $3 bouquet? Nope! Your point was completely invalid, just another attempt to bash people for wanting to celebrate a major life event in a way you believe is too elaborate.

    I am sure that divorce is to be had with couples that choose to celebrate in your dressed down concept as well as the extravagance that seems to irk you to the core. Look inside and try to figure out the real issue.

    • denise says:

      Cinderella for a Day,

      You need to re-read my post. I never said that the Taj Mahal was romantic, so please do not put words in my mouth. I’m only alluding to it as an easily recognized, ostentatious venue. I thought about using Winchester Cathedral but since it is a place of worship, opted to use something that I felt most people would see right away as over-the-top. And FYI, I took no joy in what happened to my friend. Her wedding took place almost 10 years before my own. I was sorry that things worked out for them the way they did, because I had known them both for a long time. My eyes were opened by some of the things that transpired before, during & after these events. What YOU fail to grasp is this: there is such a thing as getting wrapped up in all the little details of a wedding & not thinking about what comes afterward. You see things like that on ‘Bridezillas’ all the time. It’s when people are majoring on the minors. It DOES matter what kind of wedding one has & this is why. When you are worrying about every single detail, this minutia can easily become your focus.

      These are the kinds of comments/attitudes/statements that I have observed in others’ weddings or learned about from someone else who observed or heard them.
      What kind of music will we have & who will play it? And who will sing? But I don’t like her. Do I want to wear a jewel -embellished belt with my dress or not? What kind of decorative towels will we have in the restroom at church? What will I wear to the rehearsal dinner? It has to be bride-like. What color dress do I want my bridesmaids to wear? I don’t care about the expense. I think 1 of my bridesmaids is backing out. My mother can’t find anything she wants to wear. My fiance’s mother wants to wear something that totally clashes with my color scheme. She’s so mean. My flower girl is coming down with the flu. What kind of flowers do I want to carry? Real or silk? We need a table at the reception for people to leave presents. It has to be decorated. Have we paid the caterer yet? Who’s going to be my wedding planner? Who’s coming to do my make-up & hair before the wedding? I need a practice run to try out different hairstyles. Should I wear my hair up or down? What about half up & half down? I don’t know WHEN I can work in a manicure. The church says we must be thru by 8 o’clock. Have I started the thank-you notes for my latest shower? I think there’s a smudge on my wedding shoes. I need to hit the tanning bed twice a week all summer long. Where can we rent a limo to leave the reception? The best man’s tux doesn’t fit him. Your preacher or mine? Or both? We can’t marry in the nice new church cause we’re not members there. Do we have time to join? When? We should have gotten more gifts by now. I want to hire a masseuse the day of the wedding. What if your uncle gets drunk at the reception? My intended thinks this is turning into a circus. Now he wants to elope. We have to order invitations, thank you cards, RSVP forms, wedding programs, itineraries, etc. soon. THEY HAVE A DEADLINE! I can’t get my dress zipped up. Dad says he’s not about to wear an ascot. Now what do I do? His family doesn’t think there should be any dancing. I’ve got to return all my duplicate presents. I wish these people would check my registry before they buy anything. What do you mean Aunt Irma & Uncle John got us stuff that isn’t even on our registry? Don’t they know not to buy anything else? Why isn’t there a receipt? I don’t want 3 cream & sugars. I don’t have time to take it back! Are you wearing THAT to the rehearsal? Well, I don’t like it! Why am I yelling at YOU? Don’t break anything. Honest to God, I wish you would shut up. No, I don’t like the colors they want to use at the shower. I’ll just do it myself. I hope nobody brings their kids! All they do is make noise. I only want a designer one. I don’t like the ink on the itineraries. SHE wants to wear a white blouse? Doesn’t she know that I’M the only one that’s supposed to wear white? Well, I’LL tell her not to. I decided that I want a different veil. I don’t care if it costs more. If you love me, you’ll let me have whatever I want, expensive or not. I hope she doesn’t come. Why did they pick out such a tacky present? I’m not gonna thank her for THAT! I don’t WANT your grandmother to come to the wedding, she’ll just be too much trouble. She can just send our present in the mail.

      Can you see how these ongoing logistical problems could totally keep someone from thinking about the actual marriage? When do they have any time to think about it?
      You may notice the preponderance of ME, MYSELF & I in these comments. That’s because a lot of brides are so caught up in their own importance, that they think the whole world is revolving around them. I don’t suppose you have to have a huge wedding to behave obnoxiously, but it often seems to be that way. With a smaller wedding, there’s simply not that much to fret about. So, without having all the other problems to dwell on, maybe you can remember a little better that, ‘oh, yeah, our relationship is what it is all about anyway. We’re about to be married. We need to think about each other & what we’re committing to.’ If all of us paid more attention to our promises & vows, maybe the divorce rate wouldn’t be so high.

      But you, CFAD, question whether the young lady would have been more mature had she had a $3 wedding. I have no way to know, but without all the other stuff distracting her, maybe she would have had a chance to figure out more about her future relationship with her husband. I personally believe that she loved all the glitz & glam more than she loved her fiance. I guess she was more interested in parties, gifts, showers & attention than in being the wife of this man. For her, it was all about the preliminaries. There are other people that ONLY want to be married to the person they love. And HOW the knot is tied isn’t nearly as important to them as THAT the knot is tied.
      However, I never faulted the young lady in question for what you think I perceive to be the ‘elaborate’ style of her wedding. Further, I never mentioned the size, price or style of her wedding, as you also seem to believe that I did. I had bridal showers, etc. so obviously have no problem with them at all, AS LONG AS THESE KINDS OF THINGS DON”T BECOME THE ONLY THINGS THAT MATTER. If you would kindly re-read what I wrote, I only said that she focused on all the temporary things & neglected to think about her future AFTER the lights were out and everyone went home. I also never said that a simple wedding guarantees that your marriage will be divorce-proof. But a Social- Event- of- the- Season wedding doesn’t guarantee that either. My desire is not to ‘bash’ anyone or fault them for doing things the way they think they should be done. I’m saying only that there can be dignity, respect & honor in any kind of wedding . If people have the money they can have any kind of ceremony they want. Weddings are big business & a lot of us want to do our part to stimulate the economy. But ask yourself why super-weddings are such a big-time industry. And why is so much money spent on things that are non-essentials? Most people aren’t going to remember that much about weddings they’ve been to, anyway. I’ve been to many weddings & find it difficult to remember the details about any of them. I don’t recall the colors or what music was played at weddings just a year ago. I do believe those kinds of dollars would be better spent on charities or research for incurable diseases. Furthermore, CFAD, not everybody in this country WANTS a big wedding. And that should be respected, too.

  • denise says:

    I try not to be judgmental of others & every situation is different. The fact remains, however, that you are just as married whether you take your vows before the JOP or in the Taj Mahal. Your marriage is recognized either way. Yes, there are people who have no problem with writing a $30K (or more) check every month. But they are the fortunate few. It’s possible that some people in this world have lost sight of the real purpose of a wedding & that is that 2 people are there to commit themselves to each other. In an ideal world, the marriage should always be more important than the wedding.

    Years ago, a girl I knew got married. She had multiple showers, teas, etc., & all the hoopla you can possibly imagine. She was the absolute Center of the Universe. When all these things were over, tho, she wasn’t able to deal with the realities of MARRIAGE. And there’s no doubt that marriage is a completely different thing from the fantasy-land of engagement/ wedding. This girl LOVED all the attention she received as well as all the gifts she received. She came back to earth with a thud. Ultimately, she couldn’t cope & they were soon divorced. She told her mother that all her husband wanted to do was have sex. Well, duh, why didn’t she think about that before? Becauseit didn’t fit into her fairy-tale scenario. It’s not just a kiss & riding off into a chaste happily-ever-after. The fact is that she loved being a bride but hated being a wife. I don’t know, maybe pre-marital counseling would have helped. She was obviously a ‘getter’ & not a ‘giver’. There are still multitudes of girls out there who are just like her, focusing on the temporary & fleeting, instead of on the long-term, day-to-day challenges/rewards of marriage.

    • Beverly says:

      Hello everybody and( Denise), I been away because I got tried of all the posts that seems to be haters. I have to say something about your post, I am not sure why you feel the need to talk about someone else wedding and marriage. There are things that is just none of you business and to bring them up is tacky. Not everybody who have a big wedding is not happy in their marriage. everyone has issue and I sure you do as well. I know I have a lot of issue, but I still think no one have a right to judge me about what I do and where I do it at. You have some hate in you and it sounds like telling the story about this girl make you a little bit happy. What was the first thing you said when you heard about her, I told you so. That how you are comming off on here. You got a lot to learn about people. I don’t know if you have money or not, but you have issue.

  • Cinderella for a day says:

    It’s wonderful that you enjoyed your small wedding and I am sorry that your mother wasn’t able to see it. Your point behind wasting money on being a Cinderella for a day and depleting your parents 401k is the exactly on point with half of the arguments on here. For some people it isn’t depleting a 401k. For some it is writing a check, no different from paying any other monthly bill. It’s the people standing in judgment on those that have the ability to write that check without a second thought that is the issue. 30k is nothing for a wedding. A moderately sized wedding in NYC can easily be over 60k. Photographers can quickly hit 10k, even before prints. ( other than the small included package). The horrible friend that started this entire conversation shows to us that you neve know who your true friends are. All people can value thing differently and if you even want to go into debt for your wedding, do it. It doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with you or your marriage p your prospects for a long and beautiful future. If anyone says different, try are applying their personal values to you which I am sure some of their choices deserve some scrutiny as well. Just keep your eye out for the people you truly want aroun you, the ones that are happy for you and don’t whisper about you no matter how big or small your wedding is. Thy are both an important event in a couples life that will be cherished.

  • denise says:

    Your story reminds me a little of mine. My husband & I were married 32 years ago. My mother had died less than 1 calendar year before. This was beyond a devastating loss to me- I cannot begin to tell you how it was. I never expected to lose her while in my 20’s & with her only 61. My fiance had been married before, short-term marriage, no kids. Neither of us wanted a wedding that was a major production. I personally felt that it would be in very bad taste to have a Hollywood- like wedding while my family & I were essentially still mourning my mother. And my husband-to-be had been down the aisle once already. We thought seriously about eloping, but in the end, we married in our little church. My sister was my matron of honor- my only attendant. She wore a Sunday dress in a solid color. I wore a beautiful dress off the rack. The ceremony could have been in the pastor’s study but we chose the sanctuary for the comfort of family members & close friends in attendance. I’ve never had any desire to be a Princess. I didn’t have music & didn’t walk down the aisle. (My father escorted me in from a side door- this was my choice). However, I gave a VAST amount of thought to the service & wrote it myself, as well as the vows we took. I did ask our pastor for a copy of his usual marriage ceremony & personalized it with words & imagery of my own choosing. There was no alcohol served at the reception- our church frowns on it. No problem-punch was just fine. A friend of mine kept the guest book. She was very pregnant & I felt like it would be better for her to be sitting down. Her mother made my wedding cake- she did that professionally & it was their wedding present to us. A friend & my cousin served the cake & punch. We also had little sandwiches & other finger foods.
    Lest you think I was ‘deprived’ of my chance to have a mega- wedding, fear not. I was glowingly, incredibly joyous beyond compare, as evidenced in all the pictures taken that day. I had the man I loved & that was the only thing that mattered.
    However, for the record, I’d like to say this. There is NO WAY, given more normal circumstances, that I would EVER have asked my wonderful parents to pay a massive amount of money for MY wedding. We were comfortable, but definitely not rich. I would have never even thought about spending that kind of money. I would be ashamed if an idea like that had even run through my mind! I would never in a million years have thought it a good idea that they deplete their 401K or anything else so I could pretend to be Cinderella for a day!

    • britney says:

      It seems like you are bashing women who have big weddings. Not everyone situations is similar to yours, it was great to have the wedding day you wanted, why judge someone else?

  • Michael says:

    I think that if you are able to afford a nice wedding, then by all means, go for it! Not everybody is in a position to have everything they want for their big day and end up being humbled when reality sets in and they realize that there is a limit on the amount that they can afford. Just because you don’t have a 30k wedding doesn’t mean that you love any less. The amount that you spend on a wedding has many different factors that should be considered well before hand. This is assuming that you are financially secure, and are both in agreement about how you want to remember this next step in life. Some people get jealous because they can’t afford a story book wedding, and some people would rather keep it simple. Before you start to plan a wedding I think that the bride and groom should keep themselves grounded, and plan a wedding that they can just be happy with. If you can have a wedding that will not cause a financial strain then I would say do it. I wouldn’t reccomend going into debt over it though. You don’t want to have any regrets either way. You would just want to be able to look back in time after a while and say that you had a good wedding and had an excellent time doing it. If you have to take out a loan, or rely on other people to pay for it, then maybe you should consider a more private, smaller ceremony. It doesn’t mean that you love each other any less. We all want the best for our wives and husbands, but the reality of your financial situation and being responsible are the biggest factors here. Not everyone has the opportunity to dictate exactly what they want and when they want it. There are a few more factors that come into play as well. When I got married 3 years ago, it wasn’t anything close to what I wanted, or how, or where. We had been together quite a while already and very much in love. My dad had passed away unexpectedly , and I had not been feeling well myself, but I was more worried about my dad at the time and just figured ill get checked out after my dad is out of the hospital. Well, my dad passed, and about a month later I went to the doctor to see what was wrong with me and I was diagnosed with stage 3b lung cancer and was told by Dana Farber cancer center that they could not do anything for me. I went to brigham and women’s and was told that they don’t know if they can help me but would give it a shot being that I am young and otherwise healthy. I was getting very harsh radiation treatments and very strong chemo treatments as well. All this to see if I could be eligible for an operation to remove my entire right lung. So, near the middle to the end of treatment we decided to tie the knot. As you can imagine I was not looking or feeling that great, and couldn’t help but to think that the woman I love so much may be a widow in a matter of weeks or months all during the ceremony , which took place at a justice of the peace house with his two dogs and cats right in the middle of his living room. All the money we had was being spent on things that health insurance didnt cover, and I was also unable to work so our income was compromised and we only had each other. If I had the chance I would have had the 30k wedding when we were more suited to do so, because we wound up losing everything anyway. But I’m still alive and doing well now, but I do regret not giving my wife the wedding that she deserves to have when I was able to. I feel like I let her down or ripped her off cause I didn’t do it sooner. So my advice to anyone that is planning on getting married would be, if you can do it without spending all you money and not put yourself into any type of financial difficulty then by all means do it. You don’t want to be in a situation later thinking to yourself that you should have done it another way or have any regrets about anything that you did or did not do when you had the opportunity.

  • ted409 says:

    My last wife and I just went to the jp and got married, and he seemed all happy to do that. A lot of you will probably find this crazy but we lived together for five years. I thought I was going die so I wanted her to have something. She’d really been there for me. I guess the cost was the cost of a marriage license and gas to the jps office.

    • Mesha Casteil says:

      Ted, my Dearest…….Bless you, Darlin’…… must suffer as much as I do!?!? Which in fact, I am never without some level of pain. Day and night. I have a couple of things going for me, however. I don’t think I have problems as severe as those you spoke of. Tho mine are increasing.
      But have you looked into Bio-feedback?? It’s rather antiquated at this time, I learned it when it was new……in the ’70s. But I do it in a comfortable place, darkened (NOT dark) room, with gentle, likable music. Ask your pain-manager about it.
      I DO NOT LIKE DRUGS. So, I use as much as I can find that helps under “whole-istic healing & treatments”…. healthy, natural foods (no meat), certain vitamin and mineral supplements in moderated doses. MOVEMENT….. s-o-m-e kind of movement every day, as often as possible. It does NOT have to be regimental, as in an exercise routine if that is not possible. Keep yourself INVOLVED, and ENTERTAINED. These are a MUST. Get outside at LEAST four days each week….. just to sit outside your door for a few minutes, if that’s all you can do. And I have found, tho I go thru books like a grinder, having someone read to me (who really KNOWS HOW) removes my mind from some of my night-pain, and weather-related pain. Hot-bath soaks followed by warm blankets will relieve my bone pain for hours. But you must use the hottest water that is safe, and stay in until you are warmed completely thru. Then RIGHT under a blanket!! I hope some of this helps.
      But I have one more thing going for me….. I am Native American Cherokee, from the Carolina mountains. That is my blood-line heritage, and still very pure. So, I am a strong lady by nature, with a high threshold for pain, and a strong Will to overcome that which attempts to subdue me. This helps me more than one would imagine, and in more ways than would be guessed.
      I do so very much love people. I care about what happens to them. And their sufferings. I love Jesus & God, trust in the Spirit to help, and I will send prayer your way. I love you, Ted.
      I think what you and your wife did to be married was great! Now, if your health prevents you from going out to celebrate……do something at home. WHATEVER is RIGHT FOR THE TWO OF YOU. Put your heads together and think. It will be YOURS, only YOURS, to decide. “Let it Be.”
      God Bless and Keep You Both!! ……………………Mesha

  • Penny says:

    Weddings ceremonies are beautiful things. This has nothing to do with money. Always beautiful.

    Wedding receptions are tedious, and have everything to do with money. Even expensive receptions, followed by an even more tedious dance, are painful things where 75% of non-immediate family guests are looking at their watches to find an appropriate time to slink away without seeming rude. Hello reality. Everyone believes their wedding reception was the exception, which is pretty sad.

    • Mesha Casteil says:

      IN A NUTSHELL, SWEET LADY…… a nutshell. I applaud you!!
      God Bless, ALWAYS ……………….Mesha

    • River says:

      “Weddings ceremonies are beautiful things. This has nothing to do with money. Always beautiful.”

      Hm. I’ve always found them tedious. Regardless of what kind of spin you put on them, they’re essentially the same at every wedding. And, depending on the venue, most of the time you can’t even hear what’s being said.

      Granted, I find the whole concepts of weddings tedious. So, perhaps that colors my perspective.

  • Jennifer says:

    Some of the comments on here prove that my mother was right….

    When I got married my fiancee and I had been together for 10 years. I didn’t really want to have a huge wedding. I felt like at that point in our relationship, the party wasn’t a big deal to me anymore. I was most looking forward to calling him my husband and changing my terrible last name to his nice generic one. As the oldest child and only daughter, I felt like I would have to do the whole shebang to please my mother. She shocked the bejeezus out of me by suggesting that we go on a lavish vacation instead (I had never been out of my state before.)

    She said, “Why pay all that money for four hours to feed a bunch of people who are going to find something to complain about on the way home.” I see a lot of complainers commenting…

    I followed her advice. My husband and I had a destination wedding on a beautiful island with only our parents in attendance. After a week on that beautiful island, we went on a Caribbean cruise and then spent a week and a half at Disney World. We spent a full month travelling and spent about the same amount of money as a modest but nice wedding would have cost at home. And we went top of the line in all of our hotel accommodations….views , balconies, all that. It was an AMAZING experience and one that nine years later, I have no cause to regret.

    Upon our return home, we threw a lunch time reception (yes, we paid for everything ourselves, vacation included) at a lovely restaurant on a beautiful beach. I decorated myself and we had a lovely menu from the restaurant. I did not provide alcohol. As it was a restaurant, several guests decided to avail themselves of the onsite bar and purchase themselves a cocktail. To my knowledge, no one thought that was tacky. If they did think it was tacky, I only wish I knew who they were so I wouldn’t bother to invite them to future events.

    I understand that there are several brides out there now that not only expect gifts, but expect the cost of the gift to cover the cost of the guests meal. THAT is tacky. I would assume that if you invite someone to your wedding it is because you actually like/care about that person. If your guest cannot afford a lavish gift for you, do you like/care about them less? Would you choose not to invite them? If that is the case, you really don’t like that individual and shouldn’t invite them. While I wholeheartedly appreciate gifts at occasions such as weddings, showers and birthday parties, I would never expect them. If I invited you, I am most happy about you showing up. I am not gift grubbing.

    I say to each his own. Have whatever wedding you dream of or can manage. However, I might suggest that complaining about paying for a cocktail or trashing someone for giving a “cheap” gift is spewing negative energy. Everyone feels better when you focus on the positives.

    Soapbox rant over.

    BTW, I would like to know in which state you can find a house for close to $30K. In my state, $30K will buy you a mid-size sedan with the base trim package. My 50 year old fixer upper “starter home” in a decent town with an hour commute cost $350K…while the market was in a deep lull.

    • Mesha Casteil says:

      GIRL……Jennifer, my Lady, ……YOU GET THE PRIZE!!!! You and your MOTHER !!!!! THAT’s how to have a wedding. No money was wasted, because I am certain you have video and photos to hand down thru your generations to come, beautiful memories to grow old with and re-talk them over and over, stories for children and grandchildren for decades, and something to re-create on your 25th or 50th!! Bravo! Just Bravo!
      As for finding deals on homes such I did with ours…..Look in the larger cities located in the foothill-areas of the Carolinas. You mentioned a figure of $350k for a house such as ours if purchased by you. That price would get you a near-million dollar home, but most likely in need of around another $220k to make it “yours”…. inside & out. Or it could get you a small Victorian with some history, in a nice area. ‘Have to know how to “shop” too.
      GREAT Talkin’ With Ya’!! Many, Many Blessings……………Mesha

  • Elizabeth says:

    I’d like to comment on a couple of things. First, I’ve always thought it was tacky to have a cash bar at a wedding. I was raised in the south and even at fancy weddings a keg–a good, cheap way to go–was always present (and of course at Baptist weddings, no alcohol was present). Nobody ever left in a huff over these things. My friends and I have all been married in our churches, again a nice, cheap–and meaningful–venue, and then gone on to a different venue to have a hell of a party (well, not the Baptist ones:). Some of us have had homemade wedding dresses, consignment shop dresses, or even fancy non-wedding dress dresses. All but one that I can think of was off-the-rack (and that one was $7,000–my whole wedding didn’t cost $7,000). Sure, it’s an individual choice, but as many people have pointed out, there’s really no point in going into debt over it.

    • Mesha Casteil says:

      Darlin’…..I agree with you about the “bar” issue. Knowing how weddings are done in the South as well as the North, to each his own. But I have NEVER liked the idea of ‘booze’ connected to a wedding, or any other ‘Holy’ matter.
      It seems this whole ‘debate’ got started, and heated, w-a-y back with my very 1st comment, regarding going into major debt for a wedding. The point I was actually trying to make was that it just didn’t seem ‘logical’ to either go into a big debt for the sake of a wedding…….or……if one HAS so much money, to spend all that for the sake of a wedding, when there are so many other places some of the money could/should go.
      So, you and I are certainly on the same wave with this. And no, I would not spend $7000 for gown. Even if I’d had $7000. Mine was borrowed. And I was beautiful. I would come closer to buying a $10,000 wedding gown to be buried in…….because when I die, I’m going to pass thru Judgment, be purified, and be ‘one with Jesus/God’.
      Sweetheart, I like the way you think!! ‘Great Talkin’ With Ya’! Blessings, So Many Blessings! …………………………..Mesha

  • Stephanie says:

    I don’t come from money. I had no family help. We both work long hours with little pay. And we were ready to be married. So we saved up for a simple, modest wedding, and a reception for 55 guests. It was a lovely day, or I so thought. Until people started commenting and comparing us to the other summer weddings they had attended.

    Ouch. I thought we were so beautiful and happy, but apparently I was wrong. My wedding wasn’t Pinteresty enough, the venue wasn’t pretty and decorated finely, we didn’t have cute props, and we couldn’t afford and didn’t know any live musicians or bands. Our photog took lots of family pictures and not enough statement pictures. It was like an “80s wedding”, as one person said. Boring, generic. I thought to myself, So? Is that bad?

    Clearly, that’s not nearly enough today. Weddings have to make a statement, and be personalized and stylish. They have to be photogenic.

    Weddings are for rich families, or people with time to craft their wedding as a full time job for a year+. A wedding is definitely not a simple celebration of love. Hence why elopement is so popular. I wish I had eloped, and escaped the judgments. And I feel sad about my beautiful day being judged because it wasn’t a $30000 wedding.

    • Christilynn says:

      Hi Stephanie,

      I’m sure your wedding was beautiful. Your friends and family, however, sound rather ugly. I’m sorry people commented on things that they should have kept to themselves. If you were happy that day, then I would think that your wedding was exactly the way it should have been. Don’t let the comments of some people ruin your memory of the day.

    • Ann says:

      I’m so sorry that those small minded people said those insensitive and even cruel things. I bet your wedding was beautiful, and was exactly what it should be. I’m really astounded that anyone would be so rude.

      Please try to reclaim those feelings of happiness that were robbed from you…and also take note of the people who should not be invited to any future celebrations.

    • Mesha Casteil says:

      STEPHANIE @@< ……..Please read what I wrote to JEN, back a couple or so, comments. I meant it for you, as well as what my husband and I did for our own wedding. I pray you understand my goodwill, my love, and best intentions. For I feel pain for those who tried so hard, but cant seem to see that they really did do well, all due to a few who just cant get enough and have to hurt people, like you, because of their greed and gluttony.
      Now, search back and read. Know that you are understood and loved. Tho you TRULY need NOT feel the way you do. You are wrapped in my Heart.
      Blessings Forever To You & Your Husband!! ……………..Mesha Casteil

    • Beverly says:

      Hello Stephanie
      I am so sorry about the statement that your guess made at your wedding. We all know that people can be mean. It was not your wedding that did not stand up with the times, it was your guess. Never think twice about the decision you make in life, but take note about the peolpe you hang around. Not everybody is a friend. If you were happy on that day then that’s all that counts.
      Find new friends that has the same values that you have, it will make you a lot happier in life.

  • Jen says:

    Fourth wedding of the summer last Sat. It doesn’t matter if it’s a $5000 wedding or a $30 000 wedding- wonderful, happy, fun, supportive families have the equivalent weddings. Families who clearly did not help the struggling couple, or are drama filled, tense, bitter, trying too hard, showing off, or plain difficult families have a similar wedding, as well.

    Weddings serve as a painful reminder of families who have close, supportive bonds, vs families who don’t. The money tossed around doesn’t hide that fact. So they can be beautiful or sad.

    • Mesha Casteil says:

      To Jen > My Sweet, Sweet Little Lady,
      You have it SO right. This is what I have been trying to say since I began writing on this subject……..IF someone CAN afford an EXPANSIVE-EXSPENSIVE wedding ……OKAY!!!!! Tho, I, PERSONALLY, do not understand putting that much money into a ‘PARTY’ when there is so much ‘need’ in the world. But that’s MY ‘cross’.
      BUT….Those that do it anyway, should not become the ‘standard’ by which EVERY OTHER UP-COMING BRIDE from every economic bracket down the table should FEEL CHEATED IF THEY CANNOT MATCH IT!!!!! FOR GOD’s SAKE!!!!
      The whole POINT behind a nice wedding is making the CEREMONY specialized and what is uniquely ‘you & the groom’. Having the RIGHT people there. Go and have some pre-ceremonial photos made at an affordable place to keep as your ‘officials’…..SEARS, J.C.Penny, there are some surprisingly reasonable priced portrait studios that will do one or two poses in nice sizes for around 350.00 to 500.00–really ‘pro’ products!!
      College students studying professional/commercial photography will do beautiful work at the church and reception for a VERY reasonable price.
      A large enough space, an open enough imagination, time and volunteers, bride’s maids dressed in the same color (not necessarily the same dress), who has the baddest stereo to move and set up as ‘disc jockey’……playing music from every age group that will be there ( I promise you) will have EVERYONE up for at least two dances!! There has to be at least six people with children or grandchildren who can do the video!! Dance with the fathers, grandfathers, mothers, grandmothers, brothers, sisters, (on BOTH sides) and I assure you……. when the years pass by and ‘time’ begins taking these precious people, and the young ones grow up and older, and you are then looking back at those captured images……you are NOT going think about how ‘small’, how ‘cheap’ your wedding was to pull off. You are going to think about how TREMENDOUSLY FORTUNATE YOU WERE that you had so modest a wedding, so intimate, with ALL those who really meant something, in a familiar place, comfortable and serene. And not so crowded and loud that you missed all the funny, unexpected things I promise you WILL happen in a true, non-starched, layed-back, loose, comfortable ‘FAMILY’ WEDDING.
      It simply is not realistic for every bride in the world to think her wedding was a failure because she felt it had to be in keeping with the ‘RICH & FAMOUS’!!
      And if someone at a more modest wedding says something derogatory to someone toward that that notion……I would personally have that ‘creep’, and his gift escorted off the premises, realizing that they were too focused on notoriety, finer things, and status, than they ever were the relationship they had with us. And it would be good to learn that fact, then.
      Jen….My Darling, you are on the ‘spot’ with your comment!! And I would give ANYTHING if you and I could take Stephanie out for a day with ‘the girls’!! We would show her what’s important and what’s not worth fretting about when it comes to the ‘majority’ of the ‘High-Brow Society’!! We could help her not feel so badly about her wedding!! I’ll just bet it was super-lovely.
      And we would have to invite Beverly from these comments too. She has quite a head on her shoulders as well!! She is a terrific lady. I love her too.
      It was great talkin’ with ya’, Jen!! So Many Blessings! ……..Mesha Casteil

  • Brian says:

    I think it is abnormal that someone would reveal their health problems to win a petty blog discussion. I would guess that most people have struggles
    In life but don’t use it for credibility.

  • With citizens like you... says:


    In your prior message, the misuse of certain words was a sign of your education, but now when challenged your need to call someone a “little bitch” is the nail in that coffin.

    It is great that you choose not to take meds that can help you, ever heard of munchausen?

    You keep doing your good deeds and hating! I have had enough fun entertaining jealous trolls. Fill that empty spot somehow.

    • Beverly says:

      Hello Mesha
      With all the pain you and your husband are in on a everyday basis, it’s a wonder you can write. Some people just don’t know how hard it is for others. you know the saying-to walk in my shoes. I just read another saying, I hope this will make you laugh. The girl was calling her BF names and he said “sticks and bones can hurt me, but names can’t. So she hit him on the head with a dictionary.

    • Mesha Casteil says:

      With Cit.’s Like You….. Good Morning, I have risen from my coffin. And want to Thank You for your lovely suggestion. Sorry I haven’t responded before now. We have been doing work for our local Humane Shelter, and for the support of ObamaCare.
      In regards to your suggestion of Munchausen…..and regarding your questioning the level of my education…… No, Thank You, to your suggestion, as both my husband and myself feel much better dealing with our health issues the way that we are. And we get much more accomplished by NOT being ‘loaded’ with prescription ‘chemicals’, and by just eating healthy foods in nice fresh air, and ‘moving it’ every chance we get!!
      My level of education?? I’m not going to bore you with the list of schools and colleges we attended. Or what all our final credentials come down to. BUT! I would like to point out that YOU failed to capitalize the ‘M’ on the word “Munchausen”. For, you see, Love…. that is the person’s proper name who discovered it. So, in proper English spelling, it must be capitalized!
      Yes, we will continue to do all the good we might be able to for all who may come or be sent our way. And for the charities and organizations we feel do need the people behind them.
      As for “hating”…..’don’t know WHERE you got that from… we hate no one. There is no possible way we could do what we do if we hated anyone. That, I fear, must be an attempt within your own mind to bring us ’round about YOUR level of seeing some people who fail to meet certain high levels of social criteria and standards within YOUR realm of existence.
      And “jealousy”…..oh, My Dear, I can certainly reassure you that there is NOTHING within YOUR ‘world’ that we are ‘jealous’ of!! In fact, no one could PAY me to live with the pressures, daily competing, personal compromising, stress-building, tongue-biting, manure-swallowing lifestyle YOU indicate is your daily ‘grind’. No, you can sleep well tonight, I am not ‘jealous’.
      Oh, yes…..when I was describing my home in an earlier comment……I forgot to mention that we have a five-by-six foot fireplace in the large sun-walled receiving room. And another one of the same size in the library. Living in the lower part the Great Smokey Mountains……those big roasting beauties are ‘Heaven’ from fall to early, chilly spring mornings.
      And one last concern you had…… IF I had some “empty spot to fill”, I would simply do so by writing to you!! You seem to love the torture, as you continually return for more.
      ………………..Good Night, Sweet Princess. ………….Mesha Casteil

  • With citizens like you... says:


    It is so great to hear that part of your retirement plan includes “whatever help the government can give you”! It’s easy to donate other people’s money. They should have a limited wedding and not enjoy the fruits of their earning in the style they want to. How selfish of you to have many pets so that you can enjoy their love and adulation while there are starving children in the world. There is a term for the style of life you want those with more money to live, it is called socialism. If people didn’t get to enjoy these weddings that you can’t fathom (only because they were beyond your grasp), then why earn the money. When I get each year to the level of pay that affords me the cost of your lifestyle which you seem to believe is just, then ill just go home for the rest of the year. It sounds like you have extra space in your home! How greedy when there are homeless! Acres of land while some sleep on streets. Why waste money on all that when you could live in a small one bedroom and donate the rest to buy one bedroom homes for others!

    It is sad that after 40 years that you think the way you do. It’s sad that anyone would begrudge someone a 30k wedding which is barely an amoun of money worth mentioning. It is sad to hold everyone to the budgets for the lifestyle you achieved in life. I have no idea who said you are poor and your lifestyle sounds great, I just don’t know why you think it is right to foist it on others!

    • Mesha Casteil says:

      Dear With Cit. Like You, Darlin’, I am NOT dictating, or condemning. PLEASE re-read, slowly, what I wrote. I just don’t understand that kind of spending when those who have so much ‘extra’ could do so much more ‘good’ than even I can. As for my many animals, they were ALL abused/abandoned/adopted…..doing ‘my part’ in that area to help out. And they took up a LOT of space, and still do, in my home. The extra bedroom has been a CONSTANT ‘guest’ room for so many who have been down on their luck and needed temporary shelter ’til they could get out on their own again. It has been a temporary home to 4 foster children over the years until they could be returned home or placed with an adoptive family. One and a half acre of our property was fenced off right away, where it is covered solid with TALL, DENSE oaks and under-growth, and creek runs thru there. Since no one can go walking thru or kids hanging out back there, it has become a wildlife refuge to two different hawks, two different owls, bats, woodpeckers, raccoons, rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks, and on, and on.
      Our patio is home to many different birds as they migrate from fall to spring, feeding stations and housing everywhere around the yards in use. And the flowers I grow go to the sick and elderly at the hospitals, and nursing homes.
      As I already said, we readily work with the homeless, and the starving, we donate to so many charities, and we do everything we can for children.
      Like I said, if you’ll re-read what am saying, I am not condemning. But I must admit that your note to me did indeed have a particular ‘odor’ to it I didn’t care for. And many of your statements were made in such a tone and manner that they could very well portray you as one of those ‘elite’ in the group of 3….
      ‘vanity’, ‘greedy’, ‘narcissistic’, ……..or are you just a rich, spoiled, little bitch?
      I was merely suggesting that if one has the extra money…..would it be SO BAD to make do with a little less and help the less fortunate a little more? We ARE doing our share, ALL that we possibly can. My husband has thrombophlebitis, hypertension, and diabetes. He eats a healthy diet, takes minimal meds, exercises. And that’s all that can be done for these problems. He’s active, and has a fine job. Me? I have osteoarthritis over most of my upper body. I have degenerative disc and vertebrae disease in my neck, down my spine, and into my upper hips. I have acquired celiac-disorder due to an extreme allergy to gluten. I am wheelchair-bound. I am a writer. Our lives are hard, as I cannot hardly eat, exercise is a trip to Hell, and I don’t believe in pain-killers, as what I require is narcotics, and I wont take them. So, now that you know our lives is not all so rose-y, will you sleep better now??? I hope so.
      And I could give a rat’s wet ass with a white garter belt on it HOW MUCH any of you rich-brats spend on your weddings OR your funerals. …….Mesha

      • ted409 says:

        I don’t know how you have any life at all without your painkillers. I have fibromyalgia, arthritis and bulged discs in my neck, not to mention having had one heart attack. I take 3 different painkillers 3 x a day and my body sure reminds me when its time for more. I do have to go without for a few hours at a time because I can only take these 3 times a day. I usually get a big reminder everyday what life without the meds so god be with you. Taken as prescribed meds are not a bad thing, at least that’s what I think.

        Good luck.

  • Cheap Cheap says:

    Hi Beverly-Always a pleasure!
    Diana-If I were you,I’d hate weddings as well.Time to send your family a bill.Send it to the bride,groom,and mom and pop. If you finally were allowed at the table,deduct the cost of your dinner and 2 antacids.
    Steve,Steve,Steve. What can I say to you that Beverly and Mesha and The Society for the Blind haven’t mentioned already? Since you’re “lucky and carry no arrogance” Rotflmao, You are such an expert on me I’m amazed. The only capacity I’ve served in is as stand-up . Please feel free to insult Christians as much as you like. My mother-in-law’s only request before our marriage was that we not have the wedding in a building with a picture or statue of the “hanging man” because she was afraid ,apparently,that that would somehow automatically convert her son to some Ferengi sect. This was long before the Star Trek sequels.The Koch Bros weren’t in control yet to the best of my knowledge. When they realized I was neither American nor Christian,they welcomed me into their tiny loving Hindu arms and made me promise never ever to work in a restaurant but only to cook banquets for 150 or less at home. And a legend was born. Now,my sister gave me a gavel 30 years ago and had” The Judge ” inscribed on because when I gave answers to my children,I never wavered,I was consistent,they didn’t change and they were sensible and true. In fact,we lived in a neighborhood of 23 houses where the children would come over with their school surveys,and years later,the much younger ones sometimes came by with the same questions and a few remarked that I had given the exact same answers to their siblings. It’s not judging if it’s steadfastness. It all depends on the terms your faith uses, don’t you think? Well -don’t you? And why don’t you? Lighten up Stev-o. Even artificial sweetener is bitter.Stick with sugar. Or know the difference.

    • Mesha Casteil says:

      Dear Cheap-Cheap, and Beverly….I have been reading the comments over the last several days since I first posted. You, two, seem to be the only people that understood where I was coming from?! One commenter really insulted me, by pretty much telling me I was too poor to even be commenting on this site!!
      I didn’t set out to offend anyone, or to be offended…….but as for ‘him’, there is a certain part of my anatomy he may ‘show affection to’ any time now.
      It just seems to me, I am reading how SO MANY are GOING INTO DEBT, or spending up entire RETIREMENT FUNDS, etc., etc.! That seems ABSOLUTELY ABSURD to me??? FOR A WEDDING??? Then how much farther in debt are they going for a decent home, cars, and the natural expenses that come with setting all that up??? My mind cannot stretch around this at all!!
      WHY??? ALL the ‘needy’ in our Nation and abroad. It’s one thing to financially strap and threaten your own future because a daughter wants a Hell of a party after the IMPORTANT part is done…….when, if some creative planning and imagination were used….. a fun-filled, beautiful, story-book reception could STILL be had and on a ‘shoe-string’!!
      But…..when one is going to ‘LIQUIDATE’ their entire livelihood for a ‘PARTY’,
      I can think of a WHOLE lot of BETTER places some ‘serious amounts’ of money would serve a better, FAR BETTER PUROSE!
      Have these folks heard of children’s cancer research, Alzheimer’s, Autism, Downs Synd., Breast cancer, and on, and on…….! Could you IMAGINE how far research may go, if not perhaps finding a couple of cures, IF all the ‘Big-Shot-Brides’ of 2014 limited their wedding costs to 10,000 and donated the other respective 20,000 to different diseases for one year!?!?!? Collectively, out of the generosity of their hearts, in this….OUR NATION, alone??
      What are the chances? From what I’ve been reading…….a ‘snowball’s chance’.
      IF I HAD that kind of money, I wonder if I’d be the only one who would do it?
      Which brings me back to my FIRST comment……. IS it ‘vanity’, ‘greed’, and a good dose of ‘narcissism’ ?
      Because I’m not any of those things. I could have had a 30,000 wedding, and gone in complete debt for the home and repairs, set-up’s, autos, etc.. But I chose a very nice, modest church-wedding with a very creative buffet style banquet reception where everyone had a blast for HOURS! And money left over for a very nice, very comfortably sized, three-bedroom, two full baths, large cook’s kitchen, dining room, library, sun-wall large receiving room, atrium, a 15 x 30 ft. antique brick patio with fire-pit…..and big oaks all over on almost 3 acres in a very nice subdivision. The money we’ve earned in our 40 yr. marriage has provided for us, our daughter, our MANY, MANY pets, many relatives in need, friends in dreadful need, many, many charities, helping local shelters here for the homeless, for abused and abandoned children, abused/abandoned animals…..etc.. We will retire on company pensions, social security, medicare, and any other government help we can get. Because we will have done what we are suppose to do. Love, care, share, and help those less fortunate than ourselves. And when OUR ‘time’ comes, I trust in my God that someone will be there for us.
      I think you are wonderful people, and I love you just the way you are!!!!!!!!!

      • Beverly says:

        Hello Mesha
        I just wanted to say if everybody think like you with their hearts the would be a nice place to live. Now as for your comment about–

        (but as for ‘him’, there is a certain part of my anatomy he may ‘show affection to’ any time now.)

        Well that is the funniest line I heard in a long–long–long time. You should do stand-up.

    • Beverly says:

      all I can say is ILMO
      nicley said.

  • Steve says:


    I am sorry that you do not see your own bitterness as it is sad to think it most likely impacts you in your daily life. The point that you and a few other small minded people are trying to make is that you think you have a right to judge others based on how they spend their money. We are not talking about spending it on drugs or something else, but on things that they enjoy that you feel may be ostentatious.

    I never indicated it was a good idea to spend all your money as your tech quote indicates. I actually only referred to enjoying some nice meals and the cost in reference to a wedding.

    Examples of your sad “silent” aggression:

    Wealthy are bad tippers and cheap (is this a sign that you have been a disgruntled service industry employee that bought their tips did not properly reflect the quality of texting you did instead of serving?)

    The expensive meal was ok but not nearly as good as the less expensive place close to home. ( if you believe there isn’t a variance in quality and preparation for food, I will weep for your dead taste buds )

    The trolls are the rich waving their money because you think that somehow the majority of them care that you be impressed. Trolling is usually a reference to bitter sentiment and things of that nature but your bridge picture did make me chuckle as I pictured it in my head.

    I definitely don’t understand how the pope came into this but he hasn’t been in office long enough to be beloved. His title is beloved and right now the riots and fights in the Catholic Church itself seem to disagree with your early assessment here, we shall see. John Paul was beloved.

    The wealthy or well off are stupid and are just frivolously blowing all their money while stepping on the little guy. He/she should be leery of the future and pack away their money! (Sounds from your fears there that you may be the bad tipper). Btw, check out charitable donations between wealthy democrats and wealthy republicans, it actually surprised me.

    There are some bad eggs out there and then small minded people that globally apply those attributes across an entire group. While I am not rich and not really even well off but just fortunate I would say since I am able to enjoy some nice things, I know a few of those trolls and somehow they don’t reflect your description. They are actually some of the nicer more generous people while the less fortunate people i know enjoy spending their time complaining with a edge of bitterness and jealousy. Not jealousy towards me as you may jump to the conclusion as you apparently love to do, because as I said, I have been lucky and carry no arrogance and my friends and family are from all walks of life, races, income levels and so on.

    CheapCheap, trying to take the moral high ground after you started this giant row between people is quite funny. You showed with your first post exactly where you stand. I’m not going to say anything but I will just stand here and JUDGE! Does your judging follow your pope’s beliefs? I hope in my life that my friends will have a face and a back and not two faces like you.

  • Diana says:

    My mother and sister pressured me to liquidate my 401k to pay for HER wedding. Yes, my sister’s wedding, not even for my own wedding.

    I did it. It was the dumbest thing I have ever done but there was alot of family pressure to do it.

    I realize now that it wasn’t ‘honorable’ and ‘the right thing to do’ and ‘part of our heritage.’ It was just my greedy sister wanting to go overboard on a stupid party. By the way, she at first said that I could come to the wedding but that I could not have a seat at the table nor eat because there wasn’t room enough for me in the budget.

    I put in $15,000 for the wedding. I don’t know how much she put in herself nor how much her husband put in. All I know is that my sister insisted I keep it ‘a secret’ that I put in the money because it would look dishonorable if her little sister put up the money because my parents were in the midst of a divorce and nobody was talking to my dad and ‘bride’s family is supposed to pay for the wedding’ so I had to make it look like my parents ‘had money.’

    It was such a manipulation. I was a moron and a chump.

    I hate weddings. Every time I think of the word I cringe.

    Weddings make bridezillas. Brides go crazy with over spending and some stupid ideal; bridezillas will turn on their own sisters to get what they want.

    • Alfredo says:

      I was with you until I saw it was only $15 grand. Take one less vacation and call it a wash.

      Your family does sound messed up though.

    • Beverly says:

      Diana Diana Diana
      What can I say, when it comes to wedding some people will go overbroad. This is something your family has been doing this to you all the time. It’s the money that gets me, it’s the you can’t eat with them, that is over the top. I hope you make this up by having a nice wedding of your own.
      leave the sister home

  • Cheap Cheap says:

    Steve: There comes a time in each person’s life when he/she realizes he it’s time for self-evaluation. The are a great many billionaires these days. They may or may not be nice people.In most cases ,the aren’t. So the fact that you can pay full-price for an island really is no standard for vanity or narcissism.I would still argue that ,even if you have the money to spend it all,you still shouldn’t. The 90’s had a commercial with young men and a caption that said,”yesterday you were a 22 year old software millionaire.Today,you’re 22.” That is the point that Mesha and I and others have been making all along. They’s found really wealthy people-people who have been wealthy for a long time,are also cheap tippers and penny pinchers. They have learned,perhaps,that wealth does not stay with those that have an open hand. And these are not times to be vain or narcissistic. Many of us have money that we don’t brag about but we don’t blow it on a big wedding or a 2nd or third house.I’ve spent $300+ for lunch.Was it good? It was OK. Frankly, the service was going downhill and instead of spending Father’s day there 3 years in a row,I went somewhere less expensive with a better view. For $300+ at noon,I don’t need to compete with a Classic Car show. I know t’s not much but it was a destination restaurant we visited 3-4 times in a week. Frankly,an oyster is an oyster. I can spend $50 because they have a nicer plate or $25 because They’re better.and closer and still undiscovered. I have no problem sharing. It’s one of the great joys of having enough. I like giving more than receiving. If you don’t,then fine. Sit on your little pile and count. I may send you an outhouse and a shovel some day. But don’t count on a gold one.It will be primitive and unusual and it may make you smile. That’s what money’s for.It’s not to soothe your ego. Pope Frank is admired because he eats in the cafeteria and takes the bus. He doesn’t envy anyone. But he is probably the most beloved man on the planet. May he live a long and healthy life.
    As for the posters on here,there were some sincere letters but not one of them reeked of bitterness.So the real trolls can hide under a bridge and wave their 1,000 each other and dream the rest of us are jealous . Move on from your wedding people.Have you ever priced out a decent gold-plated toilet? Well K.Kardashian has,and she’s saved up for them too.So what are you doing.? Right-not enough!

  • Lindsay says:

    Let’s get real, though. The large, large majority of people in the world do not make these kinds of incomes. Expensive weddings celebrated by wealthy families go hand in hand, but they shouldn’t be the norm to which all weddings are judged. Right now, it’s clear that according to etiquette standards, costly weddings are indeed what families are expected to produce in order to be considered good hosts. Considering the average family’s debts and incomes, there are definitely lots of couples or their families going into big debt for this day.

    • Beverly says:

      if it takes all the money you have in the bank and this is what you want to do, then it is nobody business but theirs. I would not tell anyone what my wedding is costing me. And it would be out of place for someone to ask. talk is cheap and if you are not paying for my wedding, then I don’t want to hear your opinion about my wedding. if I have a cash bar or open bar, it’s my wedding. if I spend 30.000 or 50.00 it’s my wedding. it seems to me that everybody has opinion about what othere people are doing. the question is what are you doing and how much are spending on your wedding, if anybody cares.??

  • Call to ALL women and marketing says:

    Hey I hope that all women will go out and correct a few things for the guys.

    The guy have spent their entire life being told an engagement ring should cost 3 months salary, right guys?! Did you ever see the commercial that said, 3 months salary unless you make a lot of money, then don’t spend more than XYZ?

    All the romantic movies tell the guys that the girls have dreamed of a certain wedding their entire lives. How many of these movies tell us to put our foot down and tell them they are being completely ridiculous (Not saying expensive weddings are ridiculous)? With that being said, that is the logic behind the guys doing what they can, within reason (and sometimes not in reason), to help her realize that dream.

    Just about the only thing that makes fun of women and weddings is that idiotic Bridezilla show. That show on the most part only tells us that they can spend what they want, but not throw a tantrum if their is an issue.

    The poster that just commented that his monthly salary may be 30k a month and that the cost of the wedding wouldn’t even be a second though. The reality is, he is exactly right! The actual problem is a bunch of bitter little trolls with issues for a therapist that want to begrudge other people the blessings they may have in life.

  • Dennis says:

    This all needs to be put into perspective. For some of us, $30,000 is one paycheck so spending that or more on a wedding isn’t something you’d think twice about.

    • Beverly says:

      the best statement I heard on this subject. some people have money and some people don’t.

      • Mara says:

        But it that a typical salary? $30 000 is the average spending, not an upper class exception. Guaranteed 98% of people spending that kind of money are not making $30000 a month.

        • Beverly says:

          Good Morning Mara
          I think most of the readers are forgetting that are three types of class of people in the United States. There are the very rich—the middle class—and as we call me—the poor………….I am called the poor not because of my salary-but because the IRS think I don’t need the money I make.
          In any other country I would be in the middle class.

  • Wolf says:

    We Just completed a wedding for about $5-6K. The Bride’s parents wanted a Princess wedding with all the trimmings. She put her foot down. They got a Ren Faire wedding.
    Rough Breakdown:
    Ren Faire wedding: $2400 (Included three cakes: Chocolate, Carrot, and Strawberry; Chapel for 60 minutes, Reception for 3 hours, cash bar, 1 day’s attendance to the faire for 48 people (at $25/head).
    Flowers: $300
    Travel (for the couple): $300 (VA to NY)
    Guest favors: $150 (tea and coffee)
    Her outfit, including veil (Custom made and reusable): $600
    My outfit (Reusable, not a rental): $250
    Rings: $50
    Photographer: Flight + room + board for 4 days.
    “Town Hall” wedding prior to the ceremony: $75
    There were other incidentals I don’t have numbers on mostly room + board. (We stayed in a camper in a campground).
    We could have done it a lot cheaper, but they insisted. This was a party where a wedding broke out. We and our guests were there to have fun.

    • Steve says:

      Wolf, sounds more like a lifestyle choice being Ren, rather than putting your foot down.

      Mesha Castiel?! No they aren’t vain or narcissistic, they obviously just aren’t as economically challenged as you.

      You can easily spend 500 for dinner for two at one of the known chef restaurants. People freaking out over costs of things just don’t live that way and the people that do have no obligation to share their money or most likely more of their money than they already do with other people.

  • james says:

    I doubt the average wedding is truly $28,427 , which is according to a poll provided by People that go to that website tend to be divas…it is an upscale wedding planning website…so that automatically bumps the number up dramatically.

    I remember shopping for a ring in the diamond market in New York. All this garbage about “on average people spend two months salary” is nonsense. When I asked the diamond merchant (who had been in the business 30 years) what the average diamond that he sold, he said “a around $500”. If you believed TheKnot the number they report is closer to $5000 for a diamond.

    The whole wedding planning stuff is nonsense. No one reports the truth.

    • Kathy says:

      I appreciate having someone here that is skeptical of the wedding industry “information”. That sort of information makes people feel like they must do things a certain way, thereby making people spend more in some cases or in other cases, makes the people who didn’t follow the so-called “norm” feel bad about their own weddings. No matter how much people claim that they did things a certain way because they wanted to, I do believe that people often buy into the wedding industrys “should’s” and “should not’s” a little too much, even going as far as looking down on the people who don’t hold costly wedding receptions as a big priority in their lives. I don’t care what people spend, whether it’s a lot or little, but I am disappointed that things are such that many people who can’t “keep up with the Joneses” so to speak have to feel crappy about something that should be joyful or are at the very least criticized by the judgmental guests who actually buy into the BS.

    • Beverly says:

      Good Morning James
      I just read your post and I can’t believe that diamond market from New York told you he is still selling diamonds for $500. I have not been to the website yet, but I will look it up today. There are people who is still spending $5000. for a wedding ring, to more. Just because you wont buy something-don’t think others wont. I am much older then you are and if a man try to bring a diamond that cost him $500. I would (LMAO) and send him home to mommy.

  • Cheap Cheap says:

    Can you get the toilets to flush Mozart? And can you tell me how you did it? I’m always willing to learn,as long as it’s different,interesting,possibly lavender scented,and good for a laugh. Just not The Requiem please. You can make up for a lack of money with a sense of humor. If you’re arguing about alcohol before the wedding,tis long and this hard., then please,don’t waste your time and get married. Your values are in fashion with your crown,possibly,even probably. But they are what hold two people together for better or worse.
    I don’t care what childish response you make to defend yourselves. There aren’t any of you here who have been married for 40 years and have screwed up or succeeded to the extent that we have. Somethings truly can only be realized with the passage of time.
    What’s really strange is the youngster,as I have to call them now,who insist on responding that I and Beverly and others,who’r remarks,magically disappear,are accused of bragging that we are the the cheapest or some other nonsense. Complete and utter hogwash. We budgeted what we had 40 years ago-Nothing. There were millions of others like us so we didn’t think it strange. It’s a few vocal rich kids or phonies-we’ll never know,who assume they have to keep up with the Smythes. Well -not me. I actually do live in a Country Club. I had 2 small girls and the community was gated. The first time they went to a birthday party,it was catered. The gifts were ridiculous. Too bad. My youngest was 4 and until she stopped having parties,they were held in the backyard with homemade food, sometimes her big brother played waiter.The cake was baked by me. The favors-picked from the $ store, and yes,unlike most moms,I invited the lot of them for a sleepover with movies and popcorn. Tiaras were left at the door. Everyone helped make breakfast and had a cooking lesson.They loved it.My teenager brought home her friends for trick-o-treating till senior year of high school because they used they now 8 year old sister as a front to allow them to go beg for candy and be kids. It cost me-Cheap cheap- $10 of bubble wands and soap while the teens played in the back with flashlights and I always cooked them supper.I competed with neighbors who spent $100’s turning their houses into haunted houses. That was fine. I never saw it as a contest and my children NEVER asked me to change what I did. You don’t have to compete. And you don’t ever have to listen to childish insults. Not when you’re 12 and not when you’re 62. And never listen to someone who says “it can’t be done.That’s what weddings cost here.”

    • Beverly says:

      To Cheap-Cheap
      Well said………………………………………
      It’s time to think outside the box, and it seems as if that is just the kind of person you are.

  • Stiv says:

    Wow. Many of you seem like shrill phonies.

    Oh, me and my husband paid $200k for our wedding and we paid for it all by ourselves at the age of 23 and 26. We took a modest 3 week honeymoon to Tahiti and would NEVER think of having a cash bar. In fact, we had a Single malt fountain, and the toilets flushed Chopin.

    We bought our first house six months later and now have three lovely children. We both had excellent divorce attorneys, and the separation is going very smoothly, six years later.

    • christilynn says:

      Whoever said any of that? My parents paid for my wedding. They had been planning it for years. They paid in cash, and there was no debt. My husband and I asked them if we could elope and have the money instead, and they said no. My mom told me that the money was just for a wedding – if we eloped, that was fine, but she wasn’t going to give us a huge windfall. It was fine with me, because I had a lovely wedding. My brother had a timeshare in Mexico and gave us our honeymoon as a gift – we only had to pay plane fare.

      We had an open bar.

      We own a house, have 2 children, and are coming up on our 9th anniversary this year. Neither of us regret our wedding – it was beautiful. I cherish all of the professional photographs of me with my dad, since he died 6 years later. My mother still tells me that planning the wedding was the most fun time of her life. It’s when we all really became a family.

      How does that make me sound phony?

      • Kathy says:

        It’s not phony, my point was that many people write others off as cheap or tacky and it’s downright wrong. I am really glad for you that your parents had the foresight and wherewithal to save for your wedding….everyone should get that opportunity and I think it was reasonably of your parents to insist that the money was for a wedding and not an elopement. I take issue with those that don’t understand that not everyone has that luxury. Middle class can be a lot of things; I am middle class and work hard and am good with money but have been paying my way for things like tuition, veterinarian bills, socks and underwear and dentist’s appointments since I was 18…not everyone has parents who helped them with BASICS let along extraneous things like weddings…I would just like to think that people understand how much the support of their parents in childhood and young adulthood can affect peoples’ ability to pay for things like weddings, even if people otherwise have made equal pay in adult jobs, been as sensible with money, etc….I don’t know if you are one of the people on this board like that but there have been people that have this holier-than-thou attitude and want to take all the credit for their respective abilities to have a wedding that costs X-amount of dollars.

        • Christilynn says:

          I know everyone doesn’t have that luxury; I realize that not everyone can have the kind of wedding I did. I have been to many different types of weddings – backyard barbeques and elaborate reception halls – and I have had fun at all of them. I have no problem going to a much more casual, inexpensive affair – a wedding is the celebration of 2 people coming together – who cares how it is done?

          However, I still can’t agree with the idea of a cash bar. I would personally rather see no alcohol at a wedding than be expected to pay for it. As I’ve stated before, this is definitely a regional thing – it is not acceptable where I live to have a cash bar. You may think I am exaggerating, but I am not – it is not done here. The way I view a wedding is that the reception is a party, and the guests are your, well, guests. The party is being thrown by the bride and groom (or whomever is paying for the wedding) and to ask guests to pay for drinks is rude. Yes, I understand no one is forcing anyone to buy a drink, but I just find the whole concept of a cash bar rude. It’s my opinion – no one has to agree with me. I am not going to not go to a wedding just because there is a cash bar. But it is something I would never do – I would have cut something else out instead if I had to, or just not serve alcohol (although, to be truthful, that is not really done around here either).

          • Mara says:

            Then you are still not realizing it. You’re still operating on high class etiquette, and putting other people down as “rude” because they don’t have access to the spending you did.

            It’s like me saying that I realize some people are wealthier than me, and that’s ok, but they’re still snobs showing off their money. Is that an accurate picture of you? Better to leave judgments at the door and just celebrate.

          • Kathy says:

            I still don’t get the rationale that it’s better to have no alcohol at a reception than to have a cash bar. Ok, if the couple if having a wedding reception at home and providing the alcohol, sure it’s weird and inappropriate to “charge” for it…but at most venues where you’ve got caterers, if a couple cannot afford an open bar, why is it worse to give people the option of having alcohol than to make it a completely dry wedding? You all act like a couple who gives people the option to spend a couple bucks on a beer or glass of wine is somehow sending some awful rude distasteful “message” by “making them PAY for something” when in reality its just as simple as, nobody is forced to pay a dime…BUT if you so desire, the option is there. Personally, I have been to all three types of weddings – cash bars, open bars, no alcohol…and I would like the OPTION to get a drink (for free or otherwise). I worked at weddings for many years for a caterer and I don’t see what the big deal is. Even at open bars, there are often tip cups out…if you’re going to an open bar wedding and not at least opening your wallet for the bartenders for tips, I would question who the cheap and tacky person was there.

            Anyway, my point at the end of the day is every single last wedding ive worked at or been to, cheap or expensive, thrown by someone who had money or didn’t…has been FINE…why everyone has so many opinions and judgments about the poor brides and grooms is beyond me. I wish people would abandon that judgment and all the expectations society and the wedding industry instill in them and just be nice and appreciative…if its a super cheap wedding be nice and compassionate and DONT act like the couple are cheap and tacky and rude…if the wedding costs 100K just appreciate the luxuries youre provided and stop acting jealous and mean just because someone managed to afford a party you couldn’t. HOW HARD IS IT TO LET OTHERS BE AND TO JUST BE NICE AND UNDERSTANDING???

  • Ashley says:

    Reading through the comments on this article makes me gladder than ever that I did not spend money on a wedding. My husband and I said our vows privately to each other, than celebrated by having dinner with family. Our lovely honeymoon was a gift, but it cost less than $500 because we stayed local and then saved up for a vacation the following year. We paid $54 for our marriage license, my husband’s ring was $50, and my ring, which I had designed and made personally for me, was the most expensive part of the whole deal, at around $700. So about $1,300 total, including the rings and honeymoon.

    I am not going to say that a large, expensive wedding is “wrong,” but I do believe that our cultural norm of people being enslaved to massive debts their entire lives is wrong, whether it’s for a wedding, a house, a car, a vacation, or even a college degree. In general, people in our society purchase far more than they actually need in order to be happy, and in many cases, even with all of those things they are still not happy. In my opinion, our culture’s mentality of embracing excessive living and placing so much value on material possessions is the embodiment of all that is wrong with our society.

  • Luci says:

    I don’t care how much people spend on weddings, but you can save the price of a stamp on my invitation because I’m going to very few these days. Why?
    1. The gifts – The price tag on the bridal registry items has gotten higher and higher. And what is worse is the “gimme” gift – telling people what amount of money you think is appropriate. Really. I send a small gift of money for first timers. Second time around, you got your stuff first time – I will send a gift to your favorite charity.
    2. Destination. You want to get married in Disney World or Honolulu or Cancun, fine. But I can’t afford to fly there and participate in your 3 days of partying. If I can’t drive there in under an hour, forget it.
    3. The waiting around. It used to be you got married and immediately proceeded to the reception. Now you get married at 10 am and the reception is at 6 pm while you and your photographer get all those specially posed shots. It may be okay for friends and relatives from the area, but if you are coming from a distance, it is just darned inconsiderate to tell your guests to just fill their time somehow so you can compose your picture album.
    4. The staged numbers. Every wedding seems geared toward producing that Youtube moment.

    • Christilynn says:

      Hi Luci –

      Have you really gone to weddings with staged numbers? Wow. I have never seen that, but just imagining it makes me cringe. And people have TOLD you how much to give as a gift? Double wow. Talk about tacky. I pretty much agree with all of your points here. I have been invited to a few destination weddings, and we have skipped all of them except one – and it wasn’t really a destination wedding, since the bride was from New Mexico even though she now lives in New Jersey, so we all flew to New Mexico. I find destination weddings a lot to ask of people. I also agree with the waiting around – my husband and I didn’t get married in a church, so we had a champagne meet and greet, the ceremony, and the cocktail hour immediately followed. With the reception and the after hours cigar bar, our wedding lasted from 3:30 pm until 11 pm, but at least no one had to go anywhere!

  • Jnet says:

    I’ve actually never been to, or know anyone who has been to a wedding with an open bar. Usually it’s a toonie bar (two dollars for those non Canucks) and a few bottles of wine are provided for each table, but any other alcohol was paid for by the person drinking it.

  • Barry says:

    I am not really surprised that the discussion on the cost of a wedding is most heated around the idea of a cash bar.

    Personally, I agree a cash bar is lame, but have been to 6 weddings that did have one. I didn’t complain, but when I got married, 5 of those 6 couples were there. I had a full open bar but provided the bartenders with pictures of those 5 couples and instructed the bartender to charge only them.

    At the end of the day I split the money with the bartender and figure I am now even, maybe even up about $20.

  • Julie says:

    Yes Kathy, ” you budget it in” I didn’t realize it was a foreign concept. If you are inviting people to an event you need to take into consideration if they are traveling to your event, are they taking time off from work, are they hiring a babysitter, etc…. Guests should never have to open their wallet at a wedding. For the people who feel they were wronged out of a wedding then they should of pitched in and helped pay. I would Absolutey attend a wedding with a cash bar, happily pay for my drinks, and give a very nice gift. However, I would still consider it to be very tacky and cheap!!

    • Kathy says:

      I understand the concept of budgeting, I’ve been doing it for a long time…which is why I also understand that the act of “budgeting” necessarily entails cutting out some things in life we want to have, like the ability to have an open bar for people we care about. Judging from your attitude you certainly seem to be the epitome of class…I can see why you would probably be above the “tacky and cheap” weddings thrown by people with fewer resources than you.

      • Christilynn says:

        The issue, for me, is that even if guests don’t give the couple a gift, they have still spent quite a bit of money to attend the wedding. At the very least, gas and maybe a babysitter – if the wedding is far away, add hotel costs to that. I have gone to many weddings that have cost me $300 – $400 (not including the gift) because my husband and I have had to get a hotel and stay overnight, not to mention whatever it costs to get there! Even if I go to a local wedding, let’s say I am out for 6 hours – that’s $60 – $70 that I have to give to my babysitter. It’s hard to do all of that and then spend $5 – $7 on a drink. And THEN give a gift. I find it tacky. You may not agree with me – that’s okay. But that is how I feel, and based on many conversations I see on this board, it’s how many others feel as well. I got married on a Friday. The idea that I would be asking people to take a day off of work and THEN buy their own drinks is crazy to me.

      • Julia says:

        Most low income weddings cannot afford open bar luxuries, but neither would the struggling couple expect an elaborate gift. Most weddings I have attended would have a $25-50 gift range-and that is per guest COUPLE. A sentimental card is acceptable as a gift.They tend to be local weddings with an understanding that people out of town may not afford to make it.

        There IS no budget money- for many guests, the couple, and/or the family. This is how many non- wealthy people celebrate. Everyone scales down, the hosts and the guests. It really isn’t offensive if you see it that way. You pay for alcoholic beverages if you wish to have one. You give a smaller gift. You are about on par as if you were giving a gift equaling $100+, traveling, but having a rich meal, open bar, brunch, higher end entertainment, etc. But the latter isn’t possible as the sheer volume of money going back and forth just doesn’t exist.

      • Jana says:

        Kathy, don’t you know that budget means the flexible, unlimited number that your luxury total amounts to? Why can’t you do a budget? Sheez. How have you not realized that only people with large salaries work really hard? People with smaller salaries are always spending their money on bills and ridiculous stuff like rent instead of tucking it away in savings for future spending. Idiots.

        Did you not realize how serious this situation is? Cash bar bride and grooms physically force guests to buy alcohol and shove it down their throats? They probably hide water from thirsty guests and lock the bathrooms so they can’t pee. Frigging poor people. It is a form of assault and they should not be allowed to have a wedding at all.

        I hope you are a little more enlightened and a little less tacky now.

        • Kathy says:

          Yeah I know, it’s JUST ALCOHOL, I don’t see why one’s ability to serve it for free to guests or not is the difference between a classy person and a tacky person. I just don’t use someone’s wedding reception format as a way to judge the worth of those people. I’ve seen plenty of low life tacky people have an open bar and plenty of wonderful, good people have a cash bar.

          In the course of these comments this Julie character has 1. gone on and on and on about tacky and cheap people making sweeping generalizations; 2. gets a condescending tone with me when I suggest not everyone has money “yeah Kathy its called budgeting I didn’t realize that was a foreign concept”; 3. suggests that if she gets something as trivial as an open bar at HER wedding its because she is this superior person that has superior “budgeting” abilities, 4. suggests to everyone that you’re cheap and tacky if you don’t have EVERYTHING according to what SHE envisions is what you should do, but a fool if you spend EVEN A DIME on a wedding if you DONT see things exactly her way; 5. calls me the one with the animosity when I am not the one rampantly criticizing peoples’ ways of throwing weddings, Im saying stop judging and let people do what they can and want and be gracious no matter what and apparently that message makes me the mean person; 6. suggests that “hard work” is the difference between an open bar wedding and one with a cash bar, implying that people that don’t have one work less hard than her (again, she is superior).

          I do not live in a bubble where people who don’t do things exactly my way and devote money to various things in life exactly as I do are tacky and cheap and inferior in their budgeting abilities. There are limits to peoples’ incomes and limits to the amount you can stretch a dollar. Some people who cannot afford an open bar and other luxuries at their weddings STILL DESERVE to have a ceremony with their loved ones there. People want their family and friends there for such an important event to CELEBRATE with them, not to sit back and judge and criticize. If you don’t have that respect for a wedding and your family or friends, even the ones that do things differently than you, than they deserve a better friend.

  • Julie says:

    If you guys are this hard up to write about how the perils of an open bar would be disastrous to your finances- why even spend on a wedding and put that money towards your student loans??? You could simply go to city hall and have a nice fete at your home or parents home. Not everyone who has an open bar is wealthy or have parents that are -we just budget it in.

    • Kathy says:

      “we just budget it in” you say that as if that is necessarily possible. And at the other end of the long line of critics are the family members who even 18 years after my brother and his wife went to city hall, they still say that my brother and his wife somehow wronged them for not having a wedding and thereby including them in the event.

      People getting married who don’t have a lot of cash have two choices – to either do what’s reasonable within their means, and face some undeserved criticism from SOMEBODY whether they elope or have a small wedding or have a cash bar, OR, they can go into obscene amounts of debt trying to please everyone…and still fail to please everyone.

      • Kathy says:

        I’d rather have a less expensive wedding with my friends and family there, with a cash bar, than go to city hall. If a prerequisite to inviting people I care about is to spend $X-amount of money on them, that’s just ridiculous. I don’t want gifts from people, I’d just want them to be there for something that is special to me and so much bigger than one party that celebrates it.

  • Vivian says:

    As a host, it is your responsibility to make your guests as comfortable as possible. Yes, yes… Of course, it is “your day” afterall. However, they are there solely in support and celebration of YOU, so showing them some appreciation by giving them fulfilling food and beverages should be at the top of your priority list! I planned my own budget wedding, and can certainly say from first-hand experience that providing an open-bar did not make me “break the bank”.

    I realized that there are numerous options that could help provide our guests with the beverage of their choice, at NO charge to them. I’d rather invest more money in ensuring my guests had a fun, memorable time as opposed to investing thousands into an abundance of lavish flowers that were sure to be discarded hours later. We had beautiful flowers, they just weren’t pouring from the seams. Buying 300 candles was much cheaper, and way more romantic. And, the bridesmaids could have cared less that their bouquets then went to serve as part of the centerpieces right after the ceremony. Be resourceful people!

    It’s not my business how much is spent on a wedding. However, I’d inevitably be annoyed if money was clearly poured into the most miniscule details, and yet I can’t even get a cocktail without running to the ATM. How about a cheaper venue or DJ? We got a live musician, who also served as a DJ, for half the costs. He was so talented, and it turned out much classier. Instead of stashing away some of our wedding funds for “honeymoon spending money”, we had a honeymoon registry instead of a traditional one. Guests could give us a dinner out, excursion, shopping funds, etc. We made our day fun for them, and they made our honeymoon fun in return.

    Either way, most caterers will even throw in a full-bar package at a disctounted rate, or even just a bartender for you to supply the alcohol. So, it’s beyond me how anyone can spend tens of thousands on their wedding and yet find it impossible to have cut costs SOMEWHERE to have allowed them to provide adequate beverage and food options. Even when we researched the costs of alcohol on our own, it paled in comparison to what all of our other vendor costs were.

    I don’t care what anyone says, the thing that your guests will remember most fondly is how entertaining, romantic and fun your wedding was. And, often times, many guests need a drink or two to “come out of their shell” in a room full of dozens, or even hundreds, of others that they have never met before.

    From a budget wedding bride myself, unless you are opposed to alcohol altogether and don’t offer any at all, there’s really no excuse to make your guests pay for a thing.

    • Christilynn says:

      Thank you, Vivian. You summed up pretty much how I feel about a cash bar. It’s about treating your guests right. It doesn’t have to be an open bar with a tuxedoed bartender giving you white glove service with top shelf liquor – I’m perfectly happy with an ice filled bucket at a backyard wedding full of beer and wine. But it is considered tacky, in this part of the country, to make guests pay for it. The whole, “if you don’t like paying for your own drinks, then don’t come!” mentality feels very Bridezilla to me, you know, “It’s MY DAY, and you will do whatever I say!” It may be your day, but these are people who are going to be your support through marriage, children, and the rest of your life. Surely, you can buy them some drinks!

  • Julie says:

    Carlos- your wedding had an awesome turnout for it being a destination. A friend of mine had one and only 15 people attended, but it was still a blast!!!!

  • Julie says:

    What Christlynn said is so true- it is a regional thing. I live in New York and Cash Bars are few and far between. It’s considered tacky because when you host an event and invite people to it they should not be expected to pay for anything at an event. You also have to consider that some guests will be traveling, paying for hotel accommodations, plane tickets, and raking time from work . If you cannot afford an open bar do wine and beer that is far better than having a cash bar,

  • Kathy says:

    Why is having a cash bar tacky? If you tell people NO alcohol is available they will complain; if you tell people it is available for a couple bucks, apparently you will complain, too.

    When my boyfriend and I get married we are not going to register for gifts and are going to tell people no gifts…we’re 30…we have all the Crate and Barrel and Target crap one couple needs, thank you very much. In turn, they can come and enjoy our company if they want, and if they don’t like the “service” they can go pay for better service at a restaurant or bar. If they’re not there for us, screw them. I don’t go to weddings expecting anything but to see the bride and groom; everything else is a bonus.

    I agree wholeheartedly with the author that weddings are out of hand compared to most peoples’ relative economic position. It doesn’t make rational sense, and this is evidenced by the fact that when the recession hit and spending on EVERYTHING was decreasing, it didn’t on weddings. People really buy into the marketing about your “ONE” day. It’s silly.

    • christilynn says:

      Again, it is a regional thing. Cash bars are considered tacky here. Personally, I would rather there be no alcohol than see a cash bar, but again, this is only my opinion. Or just beer and wine – last time I checked, beer and wine is alcohol, and most people are totally fine with that. But I can tell you that where I come from, it is considered rude and disrespectful to invite people to an event and expect them to pay for part of it. It is seen as akin to hosting a dinner party and then charging people for a glass of wine. It just isn’t done.

      Gifts aren’t really done around here either. Of the 200 people that came to our wedding, only about 10 of them gave us actual, physical gifts. In New York, it’s cash. The only time I have ever given anything except money for a wedding is when I go to a wedding in another part of the country. I know that in certain places, it is considered rude to give cash, so I do some research and figure out what the appropriate gift would be. But the wedding is not the place for gifts – that is usually done at the bridal shower and/or engagement party (if you have one).

  • Matt says:

    As a groom-to-be, I thought this was interesting article with even more interesting comments.

    The wedding we’re putting together is definitely “above average” in pricing, although the actual reception is probably not that far above the $30k mark with ~100 guests. If we were paying for everything ourselves, we’d be having a different kind of wedding with a much lower price tag. However, my fiancee’s parents (and mine) have been *very* generous and have the resources to chip in. Since a good chunk of my future MIL’s family is coming in from overseas I’m not pushing back on her desire to have a relatively fancy affair for them and to splurge on things like a pricey photographer, a new designer wedding gown, fancy flowers, a full open bar, and a farewell brunch the next day. My parents are pitching in for the rehearsal dinner, which while at a nice restaurant is not the most expensive place in town by a long shot. I’m paying for a live band out of pocket because I think it makes for a more fun party, but we also shopped around and found one that we love that isn’t insanely priced.

    For a lot of people weddings are a (hopefully) once-in-a-lifetime affair and a good time to pull out all the stops. But I don’t think it’s a good idea for people to go into massive debt to pay for a big party. Your guests aren’t going to have 30x as much fun at a $30,000 wedding than at a $1,000 one, but you’ll definitely be 30x as miserable with five figure debt hanging over you. Ultimately the whole thing is supposed to be about the bridge/groom and celebrating with their community. If financial restraint requires you to cut corners or DIY things or limit the guest list, your loved ones should be understanding. You should be inviting people to your wedding who won’t care what it cost and just want to be there to support you.

    And on cash/full bars: open bars are *freaking expensive* if you have to pay for it through the caterer/venue. I think it’s something like $25-35 per head at our venue for the whole night, depending on what they serve. I *know* there is no way most of our guests are going to drink enough for that to be worth it overall. If you can bring in your own beer/wine and just pay for a licensed bartender it’s not nearly as bad, but in a lot of places they either can’t or won’t do that.

    If we were paying for this ourselves and had to pay those rates, we *might* have paid for beer/wine during cocktail hour (I think that was ~$10/pp). Or maybe a couple bottles of wine at each table for dinner (those were something like $20-25/bottle). It’s not “tacky” — it’s cost-effective. If the people getting married are super-rich and cheap out, okay, maybe you’ve got a valid complaint. But I *hope* most wedding guests would recognize that an open bar is relatively extravagant and often significantly ups the price/head of a reception.

    “Tacky” would be having a cash bar and a two-drink minimum…

    • Julia says:

      Excellent reply, Matt. People forget that not everyone in life is equipped with resources, well paying jobs, and family support. The wedding you are attending should be the wedding the couple can afford to celebrate, and you are there because they want to celebrate with you. It is so unkind to judge based on norms many people can’t afford to reach.

      Agreed, tacky would be insisting guests pay for the celebrations- imagine a reception entrance fee or yes, a drink minimum. Imagine paying for your dinner, or a gift requirement! But when have those ever happened? There is always water, coffee, and tea provided at a reception, and no one has to pay for anything. A gift isn’t even necessary, just appreciated. Congrats on your wedding!

    • Kathy says:

      THANK YOU! Exactly. My parents have no money and I am trying like crazy to pay off my student loans…the loans I got trying to get an education to get me the job that will help me NOT be in my parents’ position. So far, that whole plan of being responsible is paying off. Having a wedding with an open bar would seriously damper those goals. If I had the money or was born into a family that could afford an open bar, that would be GREAT, but it’s not an option. It’s also not an option to invite people and have it be a “dry” wedding, as my boyfriend and I and friends/family definitely drink alcohol. When we have guests over everyone brings wine and beer and liquor as a courtesy even when I don’t want or expect them too…those same unentitled people would be perfectly fine spending a couple bucks for a drink at my wedding, knowing I am trying to do the right thing but simply can’t afford to give more.

      I couldn’t imagine thinking of some of my friends as tacky if they had an open bar…sure, maybe if they’re so wealthy and free with spending for themselves that withholding fr guests seems selfish, but in MOST cases my friend’s aren’t that well off and if they don’t have open bar its pretty apparent why that is. C’mon people, it’s JUST alcohol…it’s often worth the cost when you’re buying a few for yourself, but spending catering prices per-head on alcohol can get insane (I worked in catering weddings for ten years, maybe that’s part of why I feel this way…)

      I thank god I do not (at least from what I can tell) have friends that have some of the attitudes of people on this board. and thank god there’re people like Matt that can keep their head out of the clouds about the value of a marriage and a wedding and a dollar.

  • Carlos Johnson says:

    I agree, Julie. I’ve been to approximately 20 weddings over the last 10 years since reaching “adult age” and not a single one of them had a cash bar. A couple were beer/wine only, but I guess that was due to the policies of the place managing the reception. None of my friends or family would have more than 2-3 drinks at a reception so it is not a big deal.

    When I got married I did want to cut down on the hysteria of “mother in law’s coworkers brother MUST get invited!” so we did a wedding on the beach in Fiji. We invited all the usual suspects, but in the end only 112 people sprang for the trip and we knew those were the people that really cared and wanted to celebrate our day with us. We were happy to pick up the bar tab at the resort for the weekend for our guests who made the long trip to celebrate with us. I couldn’t imagine it any other way.

    • christilynn says:

      I truly believe that the cash bar is a regional thing. I live on Long Island, and a cash bar is considered cheap and tacky. When we were shopping around for reception sites, a cash bar wasn’t even offered as a choice – that’s how unheard of it is around here. Oh, I’m sure you could still do it, but the reception halls are more likely to hear a request for no alcohol at all than for a cash bar.

      However, I have been to weddings in other areas of the country where it is perfectly acceptable to have a cash bar. The worst thing is not knowing in advance because I usually don’t bring money with me to a wedding. As a guest, I don’t like it, but I think I am just a product of my own upbringing. Yes, I think it’s tacky, but if you are my friend, I’m not going to make a big deal about it. Just please tell me before hand so I can have a glass of wine with my dinner!

  • Julie says:

    Hi Erica- I guarantee you that everyone who told you that you were a gracious host were absolutely saying how tacky your cash bar was when they were driving home. I’m not judging your decision, but I’m simply stating a fact. The only people who don’t mind a cash bar are the ones who have them. Everyone can argue this point, but at the end of the day a cash bar is cheap.

  • Ann-Marie says:

    Reading is fundamental. I see a few have taken my comment totally out of context. I agree with most, nobody’s business how much the bride and groom paying for their wedding esp if you are not paying. I also agree with the comment, rather no alcohol than pay for it, it’s not a club. I had my wedding and opted not to have a registry instead allowing people to give if they so chose to.. So to Ms. Amanda, if you did not understand what I said, asking for clarity would be much more intelligent than jumping to conclusions. BTW, I teach etiquette for a living and do quite well thank you.

  • JG says:

    I agree with Matt and Anne-Marie. Cash bars are really tacky. I would rather attend a wedding with no alcohol at all than one where I was expected to pay for a drink. It’s like offering cocktail peanuts to everyone and then asking people to pay cash for upgraded hors d’oeuvres. If you host a celebration, then be a host.

    • Erica says:

      How about no? We did a cash bar. It was lovely. We were attentive and respectful to our wonderful guests, and have been thanked for being great hosts. We go to cash bar weddings and have a great time.

      Maybe our cash bar weeded out the snobs!

  • Cheap Cheap says:

    Well nothing applies to everybody. And the most amazing people have responded with $30,000? What kind of loser are you marrying? Yeah, right. I went to a $1 million wedding last month and it was a obscene. What would have been enough? 5 days of celebration. Surely 10% of that would do it. Oh well.

    If only the bride had looked happy on just one of those days. I’d had said yes to my mother-in-law more often when she took me to the bank and asked me what pieces of jewelry I liked. It was 1983 and gold was $400 and oz.? I don’t know why I was shy. I was married to an only child. She gave the rest away. Boy this last decade sure has been interesting.

  • Cheap Cheap says:

    And as I’m reading that, I had just finished one more ad for America’s Final Crisis that says this time, when the depression hits, 90% of us won’t survive. When you’re young and strong, it feels like, wow-we worked hard for 2 years, but what the heck, we’re only in our 20’s. We’ll make more soon. And maybe not. Maybe you’ll get sick. There’ll be lay-offs. More than one. Your field will be the next “don’t major in this” on Yahoo.

    Your parents become ill and you are the caregivers-yes-you are that nice! You have children and you know what? They take up your spare time. Surprise! Oops, second child is twins. Sorry. (Hey-at least they were healthy. Was that scoliosis I spied? And the second twin is angelic, but could she be showing early signs of schizophrenia? Boy are you going to get blamed for the rest of your life.

    Forget the expensive wedding. Pray. Stay celibate. Really, there’s no way to win, lol. Honestly, those of you who have passed 15 years have had at least some of those things happen. I’ve told you what my wedding cost. I’m not embarrassed. We were poor college students. But I’m thankful to fearless to say she spent $56,000 11 years ago for a wedding that had it all, and $400 since then to her new husband for the wedding that had it all (the right groom.) Very best of luck. Being poor together can be fun in 100’s of ways when you’re in love. I remember being in married student housing with electricity turned off in Dec. in Wisc. and giving each other rides in cheap dinette set chairs on brown linoleum. Better than Disneyland. Dinner was pate on toast and baked apples with cinnamon and brown sugar still warm from breakfast.

    • fearlessstoryteller says:

      Interesting points Cheap Cheap. Unfortunately by summarizing my personal story, I forgot to mention I was 40 at the time, my children were grown and in college. My ex-husband and I both had our graduate degrees and investments that proved to hold even through the double recession. I was fortunate not to have the hurdles younger married couples face in the process of planning a nice wedding. I lamented about having the 56k back only because now that I’ve been retired, I have much more time to devote to planning, preserving, and procuring not just things, but knowledge to sustain my immediate and extended family should they plan to join us. Homesteading is a way of life for me now. I can, I dehydrate, I garden, I raise chickens for food and eggs, we have goats, and llamas. We have several solar panels and gadgets that use solar energy. We prep water, supplies, medicines, and many things that might be needed in case of catastrophe. We have land. We are about 75% off the grid and I hope to be 100% off and selling the power back by 2015. We have wind turbines and convert cooking oil to gasoline for our two tractors and our cars. With $56,000 I could finish out a lot of what we’ve started and build even two more energy self-sufficient Tiny Homes on our 15 acre property. This might seem like a lot to someone else, but EVERYTHING is relative. I have folks I learn from and admire that started living this way 30 years ago and they have bunkers, years worth of provisions and multiple properties that are off grid. I don’t think this article was supposed to be a doomsday message for people spending money on a wedding, nor is it a place to chastise others for what they spend or why. And I’m not doing that here. I’m just saying…if I’d known then, what I know now….regardless of how beautiful the wedding was….I’d have spent a little less and invested more in my unknown future. No regrets, just wisdom that comes with age.

  • fearlessstoryteller says:

    My ex and I spent $56,000 on our dream wedding and reception on the San Francisco Peninsula. It took us two years to plan and pay for everything for 250 guests and every possible trimming we could think to add. But we were debt free when we walked down that aisle. It was what we wanted at the time (11 yrs ago), and we were willing to work hard to pay for it. Our parents couldn’t help much and we didn’t want them to. We both had good jobs and saved money everywhere we could to make that wedding week as special as possible. Now, of course, I wish I had a fraction of that money back….but alas, I’ve lived, learned and moved on to a better life and a better suited marriage with a man I married on the beach, with just close family around. (read = cost, under $400) Priceless!

  • Johnny Vee says:

    If you have the money, go for it. If you didn’t, don’t. I think that’s the focus of the article. Burdening yourself with a big debt just to satisfy youself when you are not in that position to spend is not the best financial undertaking in any situation – whether a wedding, buying a car, birthday celebration or buying a house.

  • Jonathon says:

    My wife and I married in 2009 and we spent approximately $30K on our wedding. I hind-sight, we probably would have cut back on a few things as we ended up purchasing a home 6 months after getting married. BUT, that’s neither here nor there as the time has past and the money has been spent.

    In terms of if I’d inform a friend about the perils of an expensive wedding…..ABSOLUTELY! I would use my experience as an example. I would not be obsessive with what they’re spending, but I would give my input, initially, and let it be. This is their experience and as in everything in life…you just have to let people see things for themselves.

    Now, as for the person (Eleni) who is rather hostile regarding this topic; it amazes me how people troll on discussion boards with the sole purpose of being combative. NO, this is not a current/world affairs piece! NO! This isn’t an article on race/religious/orientation/etc or something that’s currently on every other news site in the US. YES! It’s a simple opinion piece targeted to real life situations; albeit the situation is weddings, expense of weddings and the relation to friendships.

    So, if you want to read about current affairs (or things that “really matter”, as your so eloquently stated) why the h*ll are you even looking at this article? Some people just need to get a life and relax and yes, you fall into that category.

  • Seth K says:

    Where in the world do you live that 30k equates to “charging an amount equivalent to at least a down payment on a house, if not most of the total cost”? Detroit? Hate to break it to you but 30k is actually a pretty budget-friendly wedding, supported by your own data of the “average.” Join the real world and be glad you still have any friends after a $200 wedding, or maybe you don’t, and that’s why you write a blog…

    • Anne says:

      There is no reason to assume your friends will care how much you spend. Except possibly the brides maids who will not be out the cost of a fancy one-time only dress.

    • Beverly says:

      why are you so mean, when you reply to a post. Not everyone thinks like you. what kind of friends do you have. Real people and real friends don’t care what kind of wedding you are having. just so you know. Big wedding, small wedding do not mean the marrage will last.

  • Anne says:

    I know that most people expect their marrage to last forever, but for apx. 50% are not. I look at a wedding as a nice party, but not the best day of your life. I honestly don’t understand how a person (usually a female) can put so much emotional weight on the wedding day – frequently all her life. What comes after the wedding if you consider it the best day of your life? Will you never have another great day?

    • Beverly says:

      to Anne
      no never the best and last happy day LOL

      • christilynn says:

        Well, it was the best day of my life – up to that point. It has been somewhat eclipsed by the birth of my children. But what it really was was the end of one life and the start of another – a celebration of how my husband and I were, from that point on, in it together. It was the first best day of the best period of my life!

        Also, I understand that half of weddings end in divorce, but I hardly think that’s a reason not to celebrate – after all, how many people get married thinking that they will get divorced? No one knows if it will work out in the long run – they just make the best choices they can and hope for the best. I’m sure those who get divorced would have never believed it would happen to them.

  • Julie says:

    Hi Diana- I didn’t say your a bad host, but I do believe citing alcoholic relatives as a reason is a poor excuse. Yes at an open bar alcohol is free, but an alcoholic is going to drink no matter what the price. My personal opinion is that it’s a cheap excuse not to have one.

  • Greg says:

    $30,000, if they can stick to that amount, is actually not unreasonable. My wife and I were married 20 years ago, and we did everything we could to keep it reasonable, and it still cost $18,000 back then. Looking ahead, I’m more concerned about figuring out how not to spend $100,000 when my daughter gets married. Fortunately, I don’t have hundreds of friends that will expect an invitation, so it might be a smaller affair than what a lot of people have to do.

  • Diana says:

    Why do you have to provide alcohol in order to be a good host? Are you dehydrating your guest by providing nothing to drink? Will only alcohol quench their thirst?

    Julie – your argument that alcoholic relatives shouldn’t be in a restaurant that serves alcohol makes no sense. An open bar provides free and easy access to booze that some may feel is too big a temptation for an alcoholic. If it costs them money (as it would at a restaurant) they may be more likely to think twice.

    In my area, an open bar is an anomoly. I’ve been to 2 weddings that had an open bar for the first hour. Every other wedding I’ve been to has been a cash bar. No one was offended.

    • River says:

      “Why do you have to provide alcohol in order to be a good host? ”

      It helps people get through the wedding.

      I’ll let you in on a secret. Most people – including your guests – don’t really care about your wedding. It’s a social obligation, particularly for certain friends and family members. A little bit of a buzz makes the experience more pleasant.

  • Julie says:

    Steph- you are the one who is wrong. People who have such strong opinions are not correct and they are not trying to he helpful. There are so many jealous people out there- especially when it pertains to weddings. I can afford a 30,000 plus wedding and I’m most certainly having one this fall. For all the people whose marriage hasn’t lasted are the ones who caved to society’s pressure of marrying young and popping out children before they were ready!!! So cheers to me for my lavish wedding and marriage !!!!
    PS- people who don’t have open bar because of alcoholic relatives – gimme a break that’s just code for Cheap !!!!! Then your relatives shouldn’t even be allowed in restaurants that serve alcohol

  • susan says:

    I think too much money is spent on weddings and funerals. Marriages don’t last like they use too. Who are they trying to impress, themselves? I say use the money for a down payment on a house, if you already have a house use it to pay on the house. Funerals the same. It costs way too much to place your loved ones in the ground. I believe in cremation. I know all don’t agree but pay for a funeral with all the trimmings and a month later look back and think was it worth it?

  • Sarah says:

    My daughter recently got married. We did not go into debt for the wedding and it was lovely. It was one of the most memorable days for our family and extended family. We did spend close to the national average, though, and the reception was for about 125 people. I have heard recently from some people that they described the reception as ‘over the top’. I am unsure whether they mean more than expected or outrageous or even sinful according to different definitions. I think I will ask the next time I hear that. When we start comparing with each other, we start defining and defending our own positions. Some who couldn’t and/or wouldn’t spend alot on a wedding criticize those who do by saying those people are showing off, etc. and those who can and/or will spend alot criticize those who don’t with words like tacky, etc. Maybe we should concentrate on bringing our good wishes for the married couple without tearing apart what they did for their wedding. How about simply enjoying the day in support and love for the two getting married. What we say about someone’s wedding is not really about the couple, but really about ourselves.

    • Mercedes says:

      YES! Finally someone said something that makes sense!!

      • Kathy says:

        That is true…I have been to weddings where the bride’s family spent $85K and had a fireworks show…or to a wedding where the parents had a lot of money bu the super modest bride insisted on low budget everything and no drinks and plastic tablecloths, and at weddings where the people did what they could without much money, and ones where it was a fairly “typical” wedding – middle of the road, national average…ive been to low key parties a couple has had after eloping…they’re just parties which I am happy I was invited to, and I am just happy to be there. I don’t care or have any expectations about what “should” be involved in catering to others when you get married. I am definitely surprised at how pricey a wedding can be, but I don’t fault people for spending that if that’s what they want and if that’s the amount of money it takes to get it. I guess what shocks me far more than costs is the attitudes of people – what a wedding “should” or “shouldn’t”
        entail. People end up making everything about themselves instead of the bride and groom.

        • Beverly says:

          To Kathy, you are sooooooooooo right, the wedding is about the people who will be taking their vows. Not the guess

  • Beverly says:

    Hello again everyone
    This is just my way of thinking, everybody is missing the point of being a guess at a wedding. It’s not your and you don’t have to go. It should only be the people who want to them share their lives together. so if you are the kind of person who want to complain about what the are serving and if the alcholic beverages or not, you should not go. Everybody don’t drink alcoholic beverage. Some people just don’t know how to have fun and want everybody to be just as sad as they are in life.

  • lana says:

    If I could do it all over again, I would have the reception at a favorite restaurant and have only the closest 30 or so people. I would say no to parents friends being invited as well as second and third cousins etc. Our rehearsal dinner was the best! We had a private room at a pizza place. There was easy conversation and the bill was $110.

    • Beverly says:

      Good Morning Lana
      I just read your post and I think most brides think if they could have a do-over it would be much smaller. But most wedding are for the parents to show off their little girl getting married. Anyway that how it’s used to be. The friends and third cousins are a part of the family and at one time everybody would show up and give their blessing to the young couples. It’s hard to plan a wedding, because it’s just not you and your new husband that’s getting married. So if you had more then 30 people at your wedding-then you were bless. Everybody got the change to see the pretty bride. (I want to see some pictures)

      • christilynn says:

        Oh, not me. I loved my wedding, from start to finish. We had 200 people, and that was after trimming down the list considerably – My parents didn’t invite any of their cousins, for example (my dad had 23 first cousins, so just inviting them and their spouses would have been 50 people). We just had those we wanted and it was perfect.

  • Julie says:

    To Cheap Cheap,

    I feel like you may need some help. If you need to write such a passionate post about this article. I don’t know- just sayin!!

  • Duni says:

    You as the “friend” seem nosy & judgmental as flippin’ flip. Let me tell you about MY wedding. Its MY day. If I feel like spending it in debt, me and my fiance will choose to do so. If I feel like I just want to do a JOP thats up to me. If my family or friends want to contribute, so be it.
    Scoffing at the amount of your friends wedding just makes you sound jealous. so what if her wedding cost $30K or more… that day is not about you. Its about those 2 people putting their union together the way they want to.
    What she should have done was not look at the price tag of her friends wedding UNLESS of course the money was coming out of her pocket.
    Its not, so sit back, relax and participate. If not, don’t attend their wedding cause its to pricey for you.
    Plus, the more people you are close to, the bigger your wedding is going to be. The less people you ACTUALLY care for the more likely it will be you, your spouse and the officiant.

    I know it sounds like I’m yelling, but I’m just really blunt.

    • River says:

      “If I feel like spending it in debt, me and my fiance will choose to do so.”

      Just remember to start saving for the divorce. Financial issues, after all, are the biggest reason for it.

  • LT says:

    I could not agree more with the author. I’ll never understand why brides, grooms and their families go money crazy when the word wedding pops up. After a friend’s recent wedding ceremony, we talked about the debt the new couple had incurred from wedding costs. Her slapped-in-the-head realization that with the cost of the reception, hall, rental fees, cake, music, dresses, tuxes, airline fares, hotel rooms, limo and tips all around that their special day cost nearly $300 per guest to produce! We agreed that there are maybe four people on the entire planet that we’d embrace the idea of buying $300 dinners for. Sure wish that along with religious instruction and/or family instruction pre-wedding included financial instruction. Also, do you think that many weddings over the past 10 years were a result of home equity loans that were used to fund wedding parties instead of home improvements? I sure do.

    • AKDEB says:

      WEDDING INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX- it has trained people that they must do certain things and in certain ways. I love hearing the creative and frugal ideas that people are coming up with to make their day special for themselves and their guests. To each their own.
      The degree of nastiness in some of these posts is mind boggling.

  • Julie says:


    LN that is so true!! I’am getting married in a few months and my wedding will be around 35,000 and we are having an open bar. I don’t understand why people feel so passionately about this subject!! We have paid for everything ourselves and we own our home. Couples getting married should never have any expectations on gifts and people should really be less judgmental. I also think couples should never discuss how much their wedding costs because frankly it is nobody’s business but theirs. I would never dare tell anyone how much my dress costs!! Lol. Cheers!!

  • LN says:

    I don’t have a problem with whatever people spend on their weddings. Whether it cost $200 or $50,000, its their business. What I do have a problem with, is this common theme that has started where the groom and bride assume that their guests must reimburse them in manner of gift because they chose to have an extravagant event. Such as a large gift check or something of more value that the cost per head. That is disgustingly rude, entitled, ungrateful and unacceptable. You choose what YOU can afford and don’t bank on your guests paying for something bigger.

  • Beverly says:

    Good Morning Everyone
    This subject is not about if there is a cash bar or not, and the topic is not about how much a person can or will pay for their wedding. This is a topic about- if your friend tells you that they are going to spend $30, 000 on thier wedding should you say something if you feel they are spending way too much for one day of their lives. The answer is, if you think this will end a friendship for ever-then don’t. But you have to remember it’s not you day. is not your wedding. You also not tell anyone about your true felling either-the last thing you need is for her hear about it from someone else.
    It was still nice to hear everyone’s opinions. I am not the type of person to tell anyone what I realy feel about what they do or don’t do. I think it is because I don’t want anyone’s opinions about how I live my life. If I spend 1000 or 50, 000 it’s nobody business but mine. I am so glad this is not subject about war world III. This is just a friendly discussion topic.

  • ellyn says:

    Two of my family members are alcoholics who work very hard (with mixed success)
    to achieve sobriety. I like to drink wine in moderation, however I really do not
    notice or care if there is a cash bar or an open bar at a wedding. It is nice to have
    a glass of wine to toast the newly married couple, but other than that, if I want
    another drink I will cheerfully buy it. I think engaged couples should spend only
    what they can afford on their wedding. Those of us who are fortunate enough to
    be invited to share their joy and commitment should be gracious about whatever
    is offered.

  • Lina Magua says:

    I think the main issue here is not how much someone spends on their wedding, but rather the ever-increasing behavior of living off of debt to pay for things that society tells us should be a certain way. If you can afford to have a $100K wedding, that is great, and I say more power to you! Unfortunately, the majority of people cannot afford this. The author seems to be discussing the ever-increasing phenomenon of people who are willing to put themselves into massive debt for their wedding. In the case of her friends, it appears that they can afford their $30K wedding, so I don’t see that as an issue. And, if they couldn’t, and want to put themselves into debt, that is obviously their business. But, I agree with the author’s comment that people who are willing to go into massive debt for their wedding do put their wedding “before their marriage”, as financial problems are one of the top reasons for divorce. Society puts too much pressure on people to have certain things at their wedding. (I for one, would never have anything but an open bar at my wedding, but this is because my family is comprised of Italian Catholics who probably wouldn’t show up if they had to pay for their own alcohol. However, I don’t see this as something that every wedding HAS to have. It is a decision each couple is free to make on their own). As is going into debt. But I am free to have my own opinion, and I agree that it is not the best financial decision to finance a wedding with massive amounts of debt. Stay within your means. If this means having a $150K wedding, great! It if means having a $5K wedding, great! The marriage should be viewed as a lifetime investment, and the funds that you have should be allocated accordingly.

  • eleni russell says:

    to Beverly: thank you for your comment. The original question was is it alright to advise your friends if they inform you they are going to be spending $30,000 on their wedding, there were a few comments about that subject, one of which
    was Butt Out, none of anyone’s business on how much a couple decides to spend, so common sense, one should stay out of the discussion, before you know it, it was all about well i spent this, and i spent that, and i’m happy, and i know
    people who are unhappy, bla – bla – bla- more attention has been paid to this
    ridiculous subject then if the United States announced we were going into
    World War III. I dont care what anyone spends, nor do i care about a happy or not happy marriage, kids,no kids, pets, no pets, bla bla enough already!!!
    Its all about whether you should say something to friends who are going to spend a lot of money, and i say mind your own business. 4 little words, not a litany about “my” life.!

    • Beverly says:

      Good Afternoon Eleni
      I know what the main topic was, I gave a post about it. It’s funny how one main subject can turn to something else all together. personaly I have not met one person who is in a deep conversation and stayed on one topic for long. (Next time I will start something and lets see how long it takes to change the subject.)

  • LizW says:

    I agree it is each person’s decision. At the same time, I think we’re becoming desensitized to what the dollars mean when we see tv shows where so much is spent on weddings, sweet 16 parties, vacations, etc.

    My husband and I both have great paying jobs, but we come from families that didn’t always have money for the basic necessities. We know what a dollar can mean and are not keen on debt. One of the things I discovered is that there are some amazing, amazing dresses at second hand bridal shops. I bought one of the most beautiful dresses ever for a tiny fraction of original cost… $150…and had it cleaned. A few years later, I was able to pass it on to another young lady who loved it just as much. We also had a big casual backyard bbq with games, bounce house for kids, etc as the reception (people got comfortable before it). It was so much fun!!

    Be happy! Don’t drag yourself down with debt that could create stress on your marriage later.

  • Becs says:

    Under $200? Did you not pay for a wedding dress?! Oh let me guess, you made it. Good for you. I wish I didn’t work 80 hours a week so I could have done the same. You can’t even buy a cake for $200 in LA. Sure, I could have had my wedding somewhere else, but then there would be travel costs, and not to mention the guilt of not having my grandparents present (because they can’t travel). Thank you for keeping your mouth shut to your friends. It’s not really any of your business, anyway.

    • Ginger says:

      I think your misconception is that you have to have a traditional wedding gown or wedding cake for the wedding, or that you have to go through traditional means to get them. Perhaps they opted not to buy a poofy white gown from a bridal shop, and instead she bought a lovely sundress. Perhaps she skipped the professional wedding cake and opted for homemade ones that contained the same ingredients as a professional bakery cake, without the hefty pricetag. Heck, maybe she DID get a traditional wedding gown, but opted for a 2nd hand one from a thrift store, or maybe her dress was handed down from a family member who knew how to do alterations. Maybe she has a friend who makes awesome cakes and gave one as a gift. You made a lot of assumptions, when there are many other possibilities.

    • Doug says:

      Who would marry you since you work 80 hours a week.. Good luck with the marriage…

  • Lexagon says:

    Not only are you not keeping your mouth shut, you’re not even keeping it shut to them, unless they aren’t aware of what you do for a living.

  • Ann-Marie says:

    Great comment Tim. Everyone has preferences and priorities and it’s entirely up to that couple to decide what they can and cannot afford. Its really no one else’s business. That’s what planning is all about.

  • Tim says:

    We’re paying for most of our wedding. We made a decision that we wanted to buy a house more than have an extragavent wedding. And we have no regrets. But it doesn’t mean other people are spending incorrectly, it just means we wanted to invest in a home more than an event–it’s a matter of preference.

    And if you think $30,000 is a lot. I’ve been to weddings ranging from $100-150,000. I’ve also been to backyard weddings. I’m just happy to see the friends and family members joining as a union. A party’s a party, but their marriages are about the joining of two people into one couple for life–when you lose sight of that is when things get out of control quickly.

    I would say folks should be fiscally responsible. Don’t drive yourselves into debt. Make a habit of saving for the wedding–even if others are paying for it. It will allow you to incur any unforseen costs or put the money toward something else (home, investments, dream vacation, rainy day fund, who kn0ws).

  • eleni russell says:

    hmmm to christilynn…I wasn’t attacking you, merely stating facts, whats to discuss? Its not like a discussion on world issues, those matter, what someone spends on a wedding does not matter and should not matter except to the two that are planning the wedding… and I personally don’t believe it has an affect on the “marriage” itself..none of these so called opinions are based on any
    “factual” evidence at all.

    • Beverly says:

      Hello Eleni
      I tried not to reply to this post, but I could not help my self. You are right about about how this blog has notthing to do with world events, as you know there are others site that get a little more detail in what going on in the world, but have been talking about this subject for very long time. Something don’t have to be the end of world blogs as Christilynn said it’s only an opinion should someone spend 30,000 on a wedding or not, and at the same time we can tell about our wedding day, how much we spend, would we do it over again, and some of us tell about the dream wedding we alway wanted but could not afford at that time.

  • christilynn says:

    To eleni…perhaps you don’t understand the concept of a “discussion board.” This is a place where people comment on the article in question, which happens to be about how much people spend on weddings. If you scroll down to other comments, you will find that many others have decided that yes, they care how much others spend on their weddings. There also seems to be a theory on this board that the less you spend on a wedding, the happier your marriage will be. I wanted to point out that in my experience, that is not true. I’m not sure why you felt the need to attack me, or why you are so defensive.

  • eleni russell says:

    To christie lynn: no one cares what you spent, how long you’ve been married or anything else. It’s all beside the “point”. And quite frankly, no one cares if you put the wedding before the marriage, the marriage before the wedding, or any divorce either.

  • eleni russell says:

    This is ridiculous, its not anyone’s business except the ‘two” involved in the expenses. We all have our own thoughts about many subjects. However, they should remain in our own brain. The idea of friends sitting around, telling other friends and talking about the wedding budget is ludicrous.

    If you are a real friend, say nothing.

      • Mesha Casteil says:

        My house, in 1982, cost 27,000, an estate settlement. It needed 17,000 worth of interior cosmetic and yard/landscape work done. It was all we had. This brings the total of costs to 42,000, a few thousands under it’s actual value at that time.

        My point?? I had a choice….. a 30,000 wedding, or a HOUSE that today is worth 72,ooo !!!!!!!
        My QUESTION??? ….Are people who go into debt for weddings CRAZY or simply saturated with narcissism, vanity, and ‘greed’ ???

        • Beverly says:

          Good Morning Mesha
          it’s called to each it’s each it’s own……………………..
          what is a good idea to you may not be to someone’s else

        • britney says:

          Lol your house is only worth 72000 where do you live? My single parent mom could afford a house worth twice that much. Even if you paid cash for that house I’m not impressed if I spent almost 30000 on a house cash I would expect a house to be at least worth 150,000

  • Christilynn says:

    I don’t really understand these comments about how the “marriage is more important than the wedding.” If I can afford an expensive wedding, why does that automatically mean that I value it more than my marriage? I had a $100k wedding, we have been married for 9 wonderful years, have two beautiful children, have no debt except our mortgage – how exactly did I put the wedding before the marriage?

    • Beverly says:

      Hello Amanda
      This is just my opinion but I realy don’t think this is the form to be rude. I don’t know why anyone will spend time on a site that don’t like. Sometime’s it’s just better to say something nice, (or). Our country has seen a lot of hate in the past year, why go on with it. This past weekend has made me see just we take others life and feelings into account. I am not just talking to you so please don’t take this personal. I like to know that someone can afford a big wedding of their dreams, I could not. I love seeing two people in love and having their day. there are so many who can’t pay bills, by health foods,I can go on and on, but you get the point. Let just be kinder to each other.

    • seph says:

      Christilynn – Because people love to be mean and nasty to each other. You spent $100k, I spent $18k, a friend spent a few hundred on the courthouse and a rented park. We all did what worked for us and our spouse.

      But if you didn’t do it the way THEY thought you should or THEY thought you spent too little or too much, you’re the one who is wrong, not THEM. THEY are just trying to be “helpful” by pointing out what you did wrong.

      I do not feel the least bit bad or remorseful. After all, they got a free $50 meal. If they had to pay $3 for a glass of wine oh well.

  • Leon Mexico says:

    The way I look at this article is to think of all the other days you spend $30,000 in one day. Whether it is on a vacation, making a car payment, or buying a new piece of art, why would you do all those things and then have the same problem with spending that same money on the most important day of your life. This article makes no sense.

    • Ann says:

      Clearly you have a different lifestyle than most if you customarily spend more than $30,000 in one day. I’m not saying it is wrong, I’m just saying you have a different frame of reference.

  • Leslie says:

    My fiancé and I are childless widowers in our early 40’s, and we’re going to elope! We’ve both been through the huge wedding experience with our previous spouses. We both agree that we can’t justify spending $30,000 on just ONE day out of our life. In our opinion the marriage is MORE important than anything else. Next month we’re going to Colorado for work related professional training. While we’re there, we are getting married. Best of all is our wedding, reception, photography, wedding attire, and wedding rings cost less than $1,000.00. To us that is a bargain.

    • Beverly says:

      Hello Leslie
      please tell me how did you get all of that for a $ 1,000.00? that is more then a bargain. I can pass this on too others who don’t have a lot of money to pay for wedding.

  • Cheap Cheap says:

    I can’t wait to see what kind of weddings my children decide to have. They won’t ask me for advice but they are fare richer than we were at their ages. Our middle child moved into her 1st house last week with three cats and a BF of 10 years.He’s a permanent fixture so depending on the stork or PhD,whichever comes first,they will wed. But for me,it’s all a bit backwards. However,they’ve always been the closest of friends. And my going on 40? (He’s 35-close enough) He has moved in,at last,with his girlfriend. Facebook-I thank you-for publishing the biggest smile I’ve seen on his face in a loooong time-since he got a Tonka Truck when he was 10? They were flying to Hawaii on vacation. Oy! That’s the second child that went on a honeymoon first. Oh well. It seems right somehow. We’ve never been on a Honeymoon yet,not in 39 years. Do it when you’re young and healthy.Just for G-d’s sake do it. I don’t care if it’s the custom.I just can’t imagine charging guests for beverages.Better to serve Root Beer and Lemon Aide for free than to charge the people who set a day aside,dressed up,shined their shoes, ironed their clothes,drove a short or long distance, and found that there was nothing to drink because they hadn’t brought cash. I know what both my kids will want at their weddings the most-dance music,into the night. Aha-A spring water fountain!

  • Ann-Marie says:

    I agree that it is very bad taste to invite someone to your wedding, and ask them to pay for their own drinks. Not only tacky but poor etiquette. Considering these are the same people you would expect to give gifts.

    • Amanda says:

      So not only do you expect free alcohol for the simple act of choosing to attend a wedding, you also expect a gift lavish enough that “etiquette” effectively demands that you liquor up the gift-giver in exchange for the pricey bauble that you expect to receive. I think you are the one who needs a lesson in etiquette.

      • Dawn says:

        Amanda, with all due respect, you were rather harsh in your response. Yes, when someone gets invited to a birthday party or wedding, the host is expected to provide refreshments and the attendee is expected to provide a gift. There is obviously no law about this but I think we would all agree that this is the accepted American custom on that issues.

        I don’t see where Ann Marie said it HAD to be alcohol nor that she personally expected a lavish gift.

        If you want to invite guests to your wedding and make them pay for their own drinks, by all means, go for it. But don’t turn your nose on people who think it is tacky.

        • Erica says:

          I turn my nose up at anyone calling a wedding tacky. Guests need to get over themselves. Drink water if you are offended and call it a day. You’re there to congratulate, not evaluate.

          • britney says:

            Isn’t that the truth! Personally I think using the word tacky is tacky. And I was shocked when I saw a article with Miss Manners using the word, it is such a vulgar word. And as far as wedding are concerned they are no one’s business but the Bride and Groom and their families. No one should ever talk about their so called “friends” wedding behind their back, this article is in poor taste because she has to backlash a friend in the process, this article could have been written without mentioning their friend.

        • Ally says:

          I think you need to have your eyes checked Amanda, or take some reading lessons. Ann Marie never said she expected a lavish gift.

        • sister sister says:

          I think there’s obviously enough people who think differently to be able to counter your “I think we would all agree that this is the accepted American custom on that issues” claim.

  • mrs_r says:

    I agree with you that asking guests to pay for their own drinks is poor taste, and an example of poor hospitality. If you can’t afford alcohol – leave it off the menu. Not everyone who comes to my home for a meal gets alcohol, nor is it essential for a good time. On the other hand, NOBODY is ever asked to pay for the drinks they consume, and that should be even more true at a wedding. If you can afford it – supply it. If you can’t – leave it off with a clear conscience. It’s not essential. Hospitality is.

    • sister sister says:

      I would think it was more offensive to completely leave it off and not give those who want it a choice.

      They may want a drink but be in a predicament wondering “do they not want us to drink for some reason?” Give them a choice. Hopefully, real family and friends will already understand a couple’s predicament and really only care about being able to share what they can provide.

      • Crimson Wife says:

        I’ve been to completely dry weddings (Mormons and others who abstain from alcohol for religious reasons) and that I can understand & respect. Having a cash bar, however, is tacky. “Have a drink! (But not on our dime!”

  • Ann-Marie says:

    Bravo Matt, well said.

  • Lauren says:

    Oh, please. If somebody is not asking you to pay for the wedding, what do you care what is paid for the nuptials? My husband and I paid for our own wedding and it was right at $24,000. We had fabulous food and drink, music, and we put great care in that everyone that attended was shown a great time – it was our “gift” to all of our family and friends. It’s been 10 years and the memories are still wonderful – for us and those that helped us share in the celebration. It was worth the money! Again, WE paid with no expectations for contributions. We didn’t have people pay for their own drinks (I think that is beyond tacky) and we didn’t go into debt – we worked extra jobs and made a budget.

    • Cynthia says:

      The ability to save $24 000 and spend it on a wedding is a privilege. Having a well paying job is a privilege. Good for you working hard , but don’t kid yourself that it’s a budget all people can do if only they pull up their bootstraps,

      Our ability to save money, which is also by work and saving, goes to hospital bills first, student debt second, wedding third. Rather be tacky and have a cash bar than avoid real life expenses. And I’m sure we love our family and friends just as much as a couple who pays for their friend’s drinks.

      • Matt says:

        “Rather be tacky and have a cash bar….”

        While I applaud your paying bills before paying for a lavish wedding, that still isn’t an excuse to be bad hosts and require your guests to pay for their own refreshments. Maybe cut down on your list a little and offer at least beer and wine?

        While weddings have changed greatly over the years, the etiquette in being a good host hasn’t.

        • Jana says:

          Did you seriously just try to advise that providing booze for guests is more important than paying bills or inviting people to the wedding?

          I’ve never heard anything quite so sad. There IS no worse etiquette than not paying on something that is owed before spending on luxury.

          • cspeca says:

            Jana, it is in extremely poor taste to ask your guests to pay for their own drinks. Yes, seriously.

          • Crimson Wife says:

            It is in poor taste to have a cash bar, but that doesn’t mean the hosts have to splurge for a full open bar the whole time either. At our reception, we had a cocktail hour with an open bar then beer & wine the rest of the time.

        • Amanda says:

          Yes, let’s trim a few cherished guests off the list so the VIPs who make it through can booze the night away. And here I was thinking that the purpose of having a wedding ceremony was to share happiness with the bride and groom on one of the most important days of their lives. If you can’t afford alcohol, then don’t serve it. If an individual feels that they cannot last a few hours without a glass of alcohol or two… or three… then they are free to pay for a beverage themselves. Not every wedding is a five-star event, nor do reasonable people expect it to be.

          • Ben says:

            If I am free to buy my own alcoholic beverages at a dry wedding, I’m also free to not drop a check into the giftbox at the entrance. It’s a gift right? And I’m not obligated to give one right?

            Oh wait…

          • a bride says:

            Receptions are FOR THE GUESTS, *not* the couple. It is hospitality to those who attended the ceremony. You don’t have to serve alcohol in order to have a good party.

          • Anna says:

            Hey Ben, the check box is there just in case you forgot. Convenient all the way around, don’t you think?

          • Marc says:

            If you can’t afford an open bar, you can’t afford a wedding. It’s simple as that. Also, if you don’t have a full time job you also shouldn’t be getting married. Me and my fiance are both 26 with full time jobs and I would NEVER ask my family for money. Hell no. Never. If they offered to help as a gift, of course I would accept. But I don’t NEED their assistance and I wouldn’t be getting married if I wasn’t in a position to do it myself. Also, getting everything for your wedding over the course of a year helps to spread out the expense instead of burning all of your money in the span of a couple months.

          • KGG says:

            This is a very interesting argument. I would like to point out, however, that weddings are as individual as the couple tying the knot. So, serving alcohol at one wedding may be just as tacky as not serving it at another.
            For example, at our wedding, my husband and I paid for one complimentary beverage for each guest as well as one glass of champagne for the toasts (2 alcoholic drinks per guest). If guests wanted more to drink (other than soda, tea, and coffee, which we provided unlimited refills), they were welcome to purchase on from the bar.
            Now before you say that this is tacky, I would like to tell you that our ceremony was at 9:00 in the morning and the reception was during brunch. We felt that it was appropriate for us to give our guests refreshment to celebrate, but we also felt that it was inappropriate for us to get our guests drunk before noon.
            We did not expect gifts from guests in exchange for free booze. We felt that it was enough of a gift for people to give us their time on our special day (especially for guests from overseas!)

        • sister sister says:

          On a special day like a wedding who really cares that someone has their feelings hurt because they didn’t get a free glass of wine. Maybe they should cut down on their boozing and just offer their friendship on a special day.

          While weddings have changed greatly over the years. the rules to being a decent person and friend hasn’t.

      • Beverly says:

        Hello Cynthia
        I don’t think Lauren was saying that everyboby should have a wedding like her’s, but that she was able to have the wedding of her dreams and that she and her husband paid for it by working two jobs together. This was her dream not your’s. Not everybody is strap for money. Not everyboby have money. If I ever get married again I would like have to the dream wedding I did not get the first time.

    • Beverly says:

      I just read your post and I am glad to hear someone say, it’s my wedding and you are not paying so but out. My first wedding we did not have the money to have a nice wedding, but if I did my wedding day would have been over the top. thank you for your comment.

    • ShoRon says:

      Simple solution…NO BOOZE!
      Can avoid lots of potential problems. If one cannot get through a few hours of wedding and reception without drinking, then being tacky is not the problem.

      • msille says:

        I agree with the no open bar. People will drink far more if the drinks are free than if they have to pay for them. You can also be held liable if they get in an accident on the way home.

        • Eli says:

          I don’t care about the gift!

        • Susan says:

          Ben – so you expect a quid pro quo as a guest, eh? If the reception is not lavish enough for you, then NO GIFT! You are every bit as bad as the ridiculous bride in the news recently, who expected her guests to pay her cash to cover her cost per head. Do everyone a favor and just don’t go to a wedding – so the bride and groom can invite a real friend instead of a good-time-charley.

          • Ally says:

            Susan you’re right. A guest should bring a gift no matter what. But then, they can be happy with the $25 gift one brings instead of the $150 gift. That having been said, there is a correlation. Couples who have more lavish weddings expect more expensive gifts.

      • seph says:

        We have alcoholics on both sides of the family. Thus, we did not have an open bar. The temptation of an open bar would have likely lead to another rehab trip for one of them.

        I do not feel the least bit bad or remorseful. After all, they got a free $50 meal. If they had to pay $3 for a glass of wine oh well.

    • Doug says:

      Right on… If I went to a wedding with a cash bar I would leave, there is no way in hell I would pull my wallet out at a wedding… If you can’t afford the booze don’t serve any… Good for you for not making your parents pay for this..
      My friend took out a second on his home for a wedding for his daughter who felt entitled… My poor friend will finish paying for the wedding when he’s 83…

      • Ruth says:

        If you leave because a wedding had a cash bar, it shows how shallow and how much the people getting married mean to you. Venues usually have a bar, it is not something that is set up just for the wedding. I don’t find it at all tacky to have a wedding with a cash bar because the bride and groom are not responsible to pry you with alcohol.
        I eloped because I didn’t want to spend any money in a wedding. I had a small party in my backyard for my family and friends. I cooked for them and we had a great time. We spend the money to buy our first house. Weddings have become commercialized and I don’t understand why anyone would go into debt to have this huge wedding that they can’t afford.

        • a bride says:

          But the reception is for the guests, so they should not have to pay for anything. If you can’t afford alcohol, don’t serve it at all.

        • Anna says:

          if you’ve got a bunch of alcoholics on the guest list, don’t serve hard liquor. Really! We want everybody to make it home safely.

      • sister sister says:

        On a special day like a weddings who cares if some dude throws a tantrum because he isn’t given access to free booze?
        Sounds like your friend listened to too much of this kind of advice instead of insisting his daughter try some things like a cash bar or other ways to save money.

      • Mimi says:

        I once attended a wedding with a cash bar. I wouldn’t have minded so much if the cash bar didn’t charge for soda and punch. Free drinks consisted of coffee (in July) and tap water.

        My wedding had an open dry bar. it was over by 6, and everyone who wanted to drink went out to a bar later on.

    • Anna says:

      If you have the $$$ and want to spend it on your wedding, I say go for it. The thing that concerns me is when people go into debt to throw a party they can’t afford. It really isn’t about how much you spend, it is about being realistic about how much you have and staying within the budget. It is better to start married life with a little extra cash in the bank than with a huge bill you can not pay.

    • Kim says:

      $24k for wedding is a great price. I am planning for $40k on June 2014.

      300 guests on my list or 30 tables Chinese Banquet Menu $688 per table of 10. Food alone cost $20640, and another $5k cash price for open bar unlimited drinks for all my 300 guests. Video/Photo/makeup/dresses $10k. Wedding invitation/event room/flowers $5k.

      $40k just for one evening 4hr, not including wedding rings, Tea Ceremony and red envelopes for 30 nieces and nephews.

      Marrying to my highschool sweetheart priceless!

    • Ruth says:

      I eloped, cost me less than 1,000 for a vacation in FL. Been married for 20 years and still have my house that I used the money for the wedding to buy.

  • PatinMadison says:

    This topic obviously hits a nerve with people, so let me give my perspective as a parent whose daughter will marry by the end of this month. I set a firm limit on what I was willing to contribute – $10,000. Given that my daughter is marrying in a State on the East Coast, that is not a lot. Her inlaws chipped in another $5000 and the kids will pick up any remaining amount. We are not going cash bar, friends doing photographs or volunteer dj’s but neither are we going nuts. My daughter has a lovely gown (under $1000, altered and pressed), we have a modest guest list (100 people attending) and a lovely venue but no one is going into debt for this wedding. I agree with all the responders that the marriage is much more important than any one day in it…including the first. I am most pleased about the way that the couple was able to discuss their options, graciously accept the limitations of the family contributions and work out a budget that covered all the basics and as many of the frills as they could afford.
    The bottom line is: Spending money for the sake of spending money or because you heard that everyone else pays $30,000 for their wedding, or – worse yet- spending without keeping track of what you are spending is never sensible and does not bode well for any marriage.

    • gwendolyn morse says:

      Can have great wedding for much,much less. Buy ring at estate sale. Most beautiful gown I ever saw at a Charity thrift store. Was $125 with the most gorgeous lace and pearls dripping from the sleeves, probably was a $3000 at least wedding gown. Take home and dry clean, possible price of alteration. Buy flowers day of wedding at Grocery store and tie velvet or satin bow on them and carry them up your arm. Have mid afternoon wedding with cake and punch. Honeymoon, go to tourist spot but stay about an hour away from your favorite destination and drive the hour to Disneyworld or wherever and choose motel for a lot less. Man can also at least look for suit at charities and have dry cleaned or buy new suit he’ll use in the future, friend for photographer. Create your own personalized invitation on computer and print yourself . Lots of evening gowns at charities too for bridesmaids… especially near prom time… try on then get cleaned, or borrow bridemaid’s gowns from friends… how many prom dresses are hanging in closets unused?


      Read of one bride who was going to make her own carrot cake for the wedding and had tried several recipes to get the one she liked best. I ADMIRE YOUR $200 WEDDING. Be lots of fun the day or two before to have a cake making/decorating party with your friends making you wedding cake.


      Bet your friend will be the first to want to borrow money from you after all the big wedding expense.

      Also can rent a tent for the wedding. My son had friend her lived on west coast but getting married right after college wanted wedding on east coast with her college friends present who couldn’t afford flight to West Coast. My son renting house on large lot, 3 acres…. asked if she could rent tent and have it there. He said it was a wonderful wedding and a great day for him cuz at the time he ill with Leukemia but now well, happy, and healthy.

      Can have just as beautiful a wedding and be frugal too. Remember, if you want a wad [of money], you have to be a tightwad.

      I got gorgeous marquise diamond for $700 that appraised for $2600 at auction.

      • Jack Collins says:

        Yes – keep convincing yourself.

      • Phenobarbidoll says:

        Yes, get those teen girls shopping for a wedding dress. No pressure or expectation there! Just the assumption that 1) the girl will eventually marry, 2) she will want to wear a traditional wedding dress, 3) she will have the same tastes at 27 or 37 that she has at 17, and 4) she will also have the same body shape.

      • sarah says:

        Who cares. If other people want to spend alot on a wedding then then whaterver unless they are going into debt for it. I had a huge expensive wedding that I did think was too expensive but my parents wanted to have that kind of wedding for me and they did not go into debt for it and paid cash because they are good at saving their money. If that is how people want to spend their money and they are not going into debt by doing it, who cares.

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