Are Weddings Financially Stupid?

I think YES! I mean you spend all that money for that event that last at best 5 to 6 hours. And for a decent wedding cost between 8 to 40 grand. Man, that is a car or two or three(that will last longer than one day). You are probably saying to yourself what am I getting so riled up about now?

Well, you see I have TWO daughters and in our culture I am suppose to pay for these lavish events. No wonder a father always wants a boy when his wife is expecting. He knows all he has to pay for then is a rehersal dinner and a Tux. :wink: . Seriously, though I love my girls I am still not going to like writing the check to that pansy wansy “Frac”(or however you spell his name) from the movie “Father of the Bride.”

That is another thing that I think is not fair how come the father of the bride has got to eat the whole amount? Who came up with that stupid tradition? I think it would be fair that both families split that cost down the middle. And I think that should be changed. Can you change a tradition?

Well, you see I did see that movie the other night so it got me thinking about this wedding stuff. It was such a classic. Just a good family movie without a bunch of profanity, sex and violence(don’t get me wrong I still like violent movies hey I am dude) but still very entertaining. Steve Martin is so funny and relatable.

I am so bad listen to this. My daughters are both young 14 and 8 and I tried to make a deal with them now to agree to elope when they get married. I told them I would give them 4 grand a piece but they have to agree now. And they(typical females) both said “no way dad we want to see you sweat like ole Steve Martin did.” Then they smiled.

Does anybody feel the way I do?

Your plan should be to raise your daughters to a) not be so materialistic that a $40,000 wedding appeals to them and b) be independent enough to see the value of waiting until they have the means to pay for their own weddings.
If you start now, you’ll be set by the time they start talking weddings.

Funny you should mention it. I just returned from a four-day extravaganza of a wedding. Total price tag: just under fifty thousand dollars (for less than a hundred guests). The bride’s parents took out a second mortgage on their home to pay for it. I thought it was very silly . . . to spend all of that money for something intangible. Sure, you get the presents and the memories, but you’ve also just lumped a huge debt on somebody.

Another friend spent twenty thousand on her wedding. She’s not close to her parents, so she shelled out the money herself, and started out her married life saddled with debt. The marriage lasted less than a year, too, and she’s still not paid it all off.

My wedding cost about two hundred bucks. We were married at the JOP, and had a lovely dinner at a resturant following. Everyone had a great time, and the familes, grateful at being spared the expense, gave us a check that would have paid for a large wedding. Instead, we used the money as a down-payment on our house, which I personally think is a little smarter than blowing it all on a big party.

Well, me and the old ball-n-chain will most likely get married w/in the next 8 months. Or so he claims. He also said he would finish painting the living/dining room. That was over a year ago. So we’ll see.

BUT, having said that, there’s a non-denominational guy that goes on the road and will come to you who advertises in our local paper. So, we’ll just call him, go to the bar with our friends, sing “We are the Champions”, get drunk and go home. End of wedding.

Yeah, I’m romantic like that.

Amen to that Lissa I agree totally. Your plan made alot more sense.

Btw Does anybody know why the bride’s family has to eat the wedding expense? Did the tradition start by some guy having an ugly daughter and that is the only way he get her married off is to pay for the wedding?

“That is another thing that I think is not fair how come the father of the bride has got to eat the whole amount? Who came up with that stupid tradition?”

I believe that this tradition dates back to antiquity similar to that of providing a dowry. It would seem that women were so undervalued that the girl’s parents had to pay someone to take her off their hands. The husband would then be responsible to care for the wife. The tradition of the bride’s parents paying for all the expenses seems to be a dying tradition and more and more people sem to be avoiding these lavish and expensive weddings in favour of smaller more intimate ceremonies.

My friend was married 10 years ago and I believe that the wedding cost a small fortune. Everything was lavish and there were something like 300 guests at the reception. My friend hated it but his wife’s parents were insistent that their daughter have a memorable wedding day. I think that every time they make a payment on their second mortage they remember the wedding.

I agree with you pretty much.
I have seen brides spend money like there was no tomorrow on weddings and end up divorced within a few years.

You can have a nice wedding without spending a fortune. Sure, it won’t be at the Ritz, with 400 of your closest friends, but you can pull off a nice event for a couple thousand bucks, or even a couple hundred bucks, depending on what you do.

When my hubby and I got married (second wedding for both of us), I wanted a “real” wedding, since I had eloped the first time, but hubby wanted something simple, since his first one was a huge event. We were planning on paying for it all ourselves, but my mom and my dad both insisted on giving us some money to help out. We compromised and had (in my opinion) a very nice event. We had 125 guests, the reception was at an Embassy Suites hotel. They had several different “packages” available. We went with the chicken dinner, $30 bucks a person. That included the appetizers, dinner, dessert, wedding cake, open bar, our room for the night, and a 15% discount for out-of-town wedding guests. It was very reasonable, compared to other places around town.

I bought my dress at a bridal consignment shop, a “real” wedding dress, for $300. Shoes from Payless. We each had a daughter from out 1st marriages, and they were my attendents, hubby had his friend be Best Man, and that was it. We bought the girl’s dresses from Laura Ashley, $50 each, but better than $300 or more for traditional bridesmaid’s dresses.

I got flowers from Michael’s (a craft shop), artificial of course, and paid about $100 total for my bouquet, baskets for the girls, a headband/wreath thing for my hair, corsages for my mom, my stepmom, his mom and our sisters, boutonnieres (sp?) for hubby, Best Man and our fathers. You can spend literally thousands of dollars on flowers that are dead the next day. I still have my wedding flowers!

We just didn’t do a lot of the fancy extras that add up.
We had a thread about this awhile ago and lots of people posted stories about how they spent $100 or so and had a nice simple wedding.

The key is too keep it simple. I have been to several weddings lately with 10 or 12 (or more!) bridesmaids. I can’t even imagine asking 12 friends to shell out several hundred bucks for a dress they will wear once.
If you keep the guest list down, that helps, too. You just can’t invite everyone you’ve ever known since 1st grade.
I have also seen weddings with vases of flowers all over the church, a little arrangement on the end of each pew and all over the altar. The darn things will be dead the next day!

One thing my parents did, which I think was a sensible solution, was to give each of us 4 kids a chunk of money, IIRC $5G or so about 20 yrs ago, which would be our wedding present. If we chose not to get married, well, we just had the cash (actually it was in the form of stock, but…) If we wanted to elope or have a modest wedding, we could use the balance of the money towards a house or car downpayment, etc. If we wanted to spend it all on the wedding, they’d help us knock down the open bar. And if we wanted to spend more than that on our wedding, we were certainly free to look wherever we wanted for the additional cash needed.
Being a guy, I kinda made out well compared to my 3 sisters, but the p’s didn’t think it was fair to give them such a sizeable gift and stiff me.


You had three sisters? So did I. And I think it was great. I didn’t have to share my clothes or toys with no mean ass big brother or a pain in the butt little brother. The other great thing was that they always invited their “girl” friends over. :smiley:

My quick and dirty answer is yes. We had a wedding thread here this summer, and a lot of people confessed to having modest affairs like mine. Our wedding was maybe $1500 (including my dress, I think), with another $2000 or so at the restaurant we went to afterwards.

Here’s my take on it, though. If you want to approach a wedding as: this is the biggest party we’ll ever throw, let’s go all out and enjoy it, damn the expenses, then fine.

What’s annoying (from my perspective) is when people spend a substantial amount of money on wedding-related stuff that they otherwise wouldn’t give a crap about. You know, the stuff they do because “everyone else does it” but no other reason exists. If it’s a party and a celebration, spend the damn money like you would if you were throwing any other kind of party! On the things you care about! It’s that simple. Don’t buy the $5,000 potrait photography package if you’d rather have a bunch of casual shots of your friends having a great time. Don’t rent an aisle runner if you don’t care about that. Don’t stuff the church full of flowers (unless you’re a big flower fan). Don’t make your bridesmaids buy a bunch of “we all look alike” dresses if you like their personal taste in clothes.

My sister, otherwise a sensible human being, was in tears over being unable to find a feathered guest-book pen that matched her wedding colors. This is the kind of thing I’m talking about, because she otherwise doesn’t give a crap about writing instruments. Sheesh.

I was cheap on photography because we’re not big photography people. But I spent a lot on belgian chocolates for our wedding supper because I thought they were the best damn things I ever tasted and I wanted my guests to enjoy them too. And we were happy to pay a big restaurant bill because we loved feeding our friends and family well.

Dinsdale’s parents were geniuses, BTW.

FWIW, more and more couples/families are splitting the costs. I know my in-laws paid for my BIL’s wedding.

We kept our wedding as cheap as possible. We couldn’t see the advantage of starting out our life together saddled with debt.
We each chose 50 guests. I found a street-length lace dress that I loved (I’m all feet; I would have found a way to get them ensnared in a long, satin train anyhow), Mr. Tabby wore a brand-new suit, and we kept the church ceremony short. We provided our guests with a buffet dinner a a local restaurant. They could buy booze at the bar if they wanted it.
The atmosphere was very relaxed, and we were able to foot the bill ourselves. Mr. Tabby still has the suit; it won’t button anymore, but during the years it fit him, he DID wear it on the rare occasions he felt the need to.

We are a happy tightwad family, and proud of it :D!

Hubby and I eloped during lunch one day - our first married meal was McD’s drive-thru. It was his second marriage and my first. I wasn’t the kind of girl who dreamed of a fantasy wedding, and I honestly don’t think I missed anything by eloping.
We have a daughter. She’s been in 2 weddings and a guest at 2 others. Being the practical soul that she is, I know she’ll opt for downpayment on a house over a fancy wedding and party.
I can’t help wondering what sort of people mortgage their house for a party…

I have to give Dinsdale’s parents credit for sticking to their guns. My father decided my sisters could have four years of college OR a big wedding. Both of them quit college after a year or two and then had a modest wedding. To his dying day, my father figured he got the short end of it, but never could figure out how.

BTW, Mrs. Kunilou could have tapped her parents to pay for a lot more of the wedding festivities than they did, but she decided that since she was already grown up and on her own, it shouldn’t be their responsibility anymore.

I’m getting married next year, and I don’t think we’re doing it in a financially stupid manner. We look at it as a huge party for our friends and family to get together and celebrate, probably the only time that we’ll have all of these people together. We’re saving money where we can, and not going to go broke over this - my mom is sewing the dress, our friend is baking the cake, a friend is doing photography, and my grandfather is buying the wine (my idea for a 50/50 draw got vetoed, darn it!).

BTW, Bill, I’m 25 - everyone I know who is getting married are paying (or paid) for it themselves. You’re probably safe.

When I was the bride, the attitude we took on sharing expenses was the following: my family and my fiance and I expected to shoulder the burden. When his family offered to help out a little, we were pleased by their generosity.

Expecting the groom’s family to help pay might be all modern and fair and enlightened and all, but it’s money, and people get all wierd about money. If you get pushy about asking the groom’s folks to pay for things, that’s just going to create a rift between the two families–and that’s no way to begin a marriage.

Side benefit: since we were contributing the bulk of the money, we got to do things our way. If the groom’s family and kicks in half the dough, and then everything is planned by the bride and her mother, they might be miffed. Part of it being the bride’s special day with everything exactly the way she wants it is that her folks foot the bill.

I’m dreading my (someday) wedding. I agree with most in this thread that lavish weddings are a huge waste of money. I want to be able to afford to invite about 50 people, and have an open bar all night. I think it’s important to treat your guests well. I figure $10,000 should cover it. Then we can spend the rest of the money we may have spent on the wedding on our honeymoon. We’re thinking about going to Cairo.

The problem is her mother. Her (my gf, not her mother) younger sister just got married, and it was heinous. Three hundred people, tons of flowers, etc. And her mother was all over the place, making sure things were perfect for her baby. I can’t wait for her reaction when we tell her that the whole family isn’t invited to the wedding. Ick.

cranky - you have said elsewhere, haven’t you, that you firmly believe that intelligence is inheritable. And you forgot to mention how good looking my folks were as well.

Bill, now I’m not sure I know where you’re coming from. What would my childhood have been like if it hadn’t been for playing dressup and makeup with my big sisters? But at least you and I both enjoyed it when my sisters’ friends came over and we could invite all of our Barbies to a tea party.

Back to weddings, one unfortunate thing about blow outs is that in many (tho not all) cases, the wedding is more fun for just about everyone other than the bride and groom.

Our experience, at the time we got married, we were on the outs with Ms. D’s dad (we had found out 8 months earlier that he was a bigamist, and that my bride-to-be had a teenage sister and brother she had never heard about. I guess we were petty, but it kinda made us feel uncharitably towards him.) We were gonna have a small, informal party, but my mother-in-law wanted it to be a blow-out, just like her other daughter had the year before. So we go along, reserve a big hall, invite a bunch of people we really couldn’t care less about seeing. Then, the day before the wedding when we had to pony up with balances for the hall, etc., Ms. D’s mom says all innocently, “Oh, you have to go see your father to get a check.” And she just couldn’t understand why we were the least bit upset about that!

Just to share more of my wedding…
When I went to the store to buy the little guest book for people to sign, the woman was HORRIFIED that I wasn’t going to spend $12 on that stupid ostrich-feather pen to go with it. She kept saying I “HAD” to have one. Geez, get over it, lady.
I put the book on the little lecturn thing in the narthex of my church and there is a pen attached to that.
I can just imagine Martha Stewart and Emily Post discussing my wedding: “Can you believe Kinsey didn’t have an ostrich-feather pen for the guest book?!? What is the world coming to?”

With regards to why the bride’s parents are typically expected to foot the bill: Who (in general) is the one (in the majority of cases - certainly not all!) who (again, generally speaking) wants (usually wants, of course) the (that is a quite non-threatening article, no?) wedding? Forgetting any parenthetical commentaries for the moment, there are a lot more women than men reading Modern Bride. I don’t know of any guy friends who pretended to be a groom as a kid. Guys typically don’t go much for weddings. You get the point.

Again, there are exceptions (look at all the posts here) but since it is daddy’s little girls who are looking for such and such celebration, it ends up falling either on her to do it herself (with her fiancée’s support, duh) or turn to Pa to get some dough. Again, please don’t hurt me for this, I am just saying, s’all…. :slight_smile:

I got married six months ago (church wedding) and I think we were pretty smart about spending money. The wedding was just what we wanted, and we didn’t get sucked into the whole deal of buying loads of overpriced wedding stuff. In all it cost a couple of thousand. We had just under 50 guests, and the most expensive part was the reception (about 1/3 of the budget), although it was a conservative affair. We paid for it all ourselves, although we did get some cash gifts that we put towards the debt afterwards.

I read in wedding mags that the average price of weddings in the UK this year is nearly £12,000 (just under $20,000). Things in general do tend to be more expensive here, but IMHO as soon as you put the attach the “wedding” label to any service or goods, the price triples or more.