How much was your wedding?

As some of you may have read in my other thread, TonyF and I have recently gotten engaged after a fantastic 7 years together.

My Maid of Honor who is my best friend decided to take it upon herself to kidnap me and get me to try on some wedding dresses last Sunday. She has been calling me nonstop about our budget and ideas for party favors, flowers we’re getting, etc.

The boy and I are pretty laid back and we just want to have a smallish wedding that doesn’t have many frills because it’s a celebration of our union with family and friends, not just an excuse to feed and booze them up on our dime.

We wanted to get an idea of how much our Dopers paid for their weddings and receptions so we can throw out some numbers and ideas to appease the MoH. We were thinking $10,000 total, but seeing as though we have 110 people on the guest list due to large familyage, it’s kinda hard to cut down on things since it’s the food that will cost the most.

These are things that are important to us:

  • good photographer

  • good food

  • good cake

  • good DJ

Of course, these are the most expensive things in a wedding.

TonyF’s sister will be doing the invitations and my brother will cover the cake as wedding presents to us.

Another thing we were wondering about: we were also thinking of having the MoH and his Best Man tell everyone (since I read that we shouldn’t put it on the invitations) that we’ve been living together for 3 years and we don’t really want or need for anything. Basically if our guests would like to give us anything, cold hard cash is fine. It was that way for some of our Asian friends who got married. My Asian family and our Asian friends think the money in the envelope is standard, but would that be weird for anyone else?

Gah, I hate thinking that we’re being tacky but we haven’t been to many weddings and are new to this whole planning thing. What say you, Dopers?

Ours was about $2,000 1978 dollars. We had 25 people, pretty much all friends.

I do enough budgeting for conference receptions to think you’re going to find it really tough to host 110 people on a $10,000 budget, unless you seriously cut back on food and especially booze.

As for gifts, Miss Manners has always said it is a no-no to ask for money. I think it would be fine to have parents tell that to people who ask. Of course you can do what people did in SW Louisiana when we lived there. They’d have wedding dances - advertised on the radio ( :eek: ) where people pinned money on the bride. It might of been okay for them because pretty much all Cajuns were related to each other.

We eloped, and I’d seriously recommend it. But if that’s not your sort of thing, the only recommendation I would have is that the further your basic wedding plan is from the traditional, the more freedom you have from the “have to haves”–if you have a Church wedding in June with in a big white dress, people will be telling you (and you’ll be tempted to agree) that you have to have flowers, you have to have at least 5 attendents, you have to have a full open bar, you have to have imprinted napkins . . . but switch things up a bit and you get further from the expectations of everyone else, if that makes any sense.

To rephrase what I said: If it’s basicaly the same wedding that everyone else in your family/circle of friends has had, it’s inevitable that you (and other people) will make comparisons to all those other weddings. Those comparisons, and those fears of falling short, are, IME, what lead to people spending money on stuff they don’t really care about.

Congratulations to you!!

My husband and I got married in July. We had about 115 people and a very nice wedding with buffet dinner and DJ. Total was about $20,000, including the 12 day honeymoon in Kauai. We could not (and would not) have done it without my parents’ financial help.

Also, I advise you you to NOT mention gifts or money in the invitations. Let your friends and family know, and they will spread the word. You will feel much better about the whole thing. We had a registry but my husband wouldn’t even let me include registry cards in our invitations and now I’m glad because every found out about it anyway and we got just about everything we registered for, and people felt it was very classy to do it that way.

About $2000. We served finger foods and cake, and the photography and music were gifts from friends. We did our own flower arrangements. About 80 people. Then we had a celebration on the other coast that ran a few hundred bucks. No bridesmaids, gowns, that sort of thing, though.

My marriage cost $40 ( and my sanity! ). We paid for the license and went to the home of the Judge to have him perform the ceremony. His name was Paddy O’Paddy.

Mind you I’m divorced now so maybe $40 and a Judge named Paddy O’Paddy were poor choices. :slight_smile:

Voyager, my fiance (wow it’s so weird calling him that!) also does booking for conferences and he said that’s why we might want to steer away from having our reception in a hotel and have it in a restaurant instead since there are no cake cutting fees or anything like that. And the wedding dance is a HUGE no. No no no. Oh the thought of me doing that just hurts because I couldn’t do that.

Manda JO, we’re thinking of late December of next year. I’d like to wear a pretty white wedding dress and have him in a tux. Our friends would be the attendants who would wear their own dresses/suits. His best friend is officiating so there wouldn’t be fees there. We want to get married in front of friends and family and have a nice dinner with everyone to celebrate. The thing is, we have a lot of people we’d love to share this happiness with and that’s why we can’t elope really.

But you bring up a fantastic idea of having it be different. We’re definitely trying to do our own thing, but still have a nice, somewhat normal/traditional wedding. Classy but quirky and fun is what we’re aiming for. Hence why we’re thinking about having a candy/chocolates bar with customized bags/stickers for people to take their party favors in. Oh and I demand a chocolate fountain. Say what you will but we and everyone else we know will have a grand time with those things!

Ghanima, thank you and congrats to you as well!! $20,000?? Aw man…the thing is, we don’t think our parents will help us at all financially. His parents have their own bills they need to worry about and mine…mine tell me over and over they paid for college and that’s all I can expect. They’re absolutely right and I’m grateful that they covered most of college for me so I really can’t ask for more from them.

That’s kinda why I want to tell our family and attendants about us not needing anything. It’s tacky to put it in the invitations but I didn’t know how our friends and family can really word that “money would be a fine and much appreciated gift” without sounding cheap or needy.

Shoshana that sounds wonderful! I would love to do that if we were pretty much set on having a bigger celebration. We’ve dated this long and for my family at least, it could be the last wedding ever so they want to commemorate the occasion with a nice party. I tend to agree because we waited this long to get hitched, why not throw a nice bash to celebrate it!?

FloatyGimpy, true things might not have worked out but at least you have some fun and interesting stories to tell! I want to be like my co-worker and have the doctor who delivers my future child be named something interesting. The doctor who delivered her was supposedly named Seymour Weiner. Heh heh. Good times.

My sister’s was approximately 34K which is very very VERY cheap in our ethnic community. My parents and her in-laws (their good friends before my sister married their only son) split it down the middle very amicably. They gave my sis and bro money on top of that.

Most of the weddings I go to (at least in my ethnic community) are 50K+ but all those Indian doctors need to spend those c-section payoffs somehow I guess…

$50. We eloped to Vegas to avoid the whole “family wedding” junk.

Eh, it’s Spain so prices and customs are different (the “bridal party” is four people: spouses, the woman giving him away and the man giving her, usually his mom and her dad), but my brother’s 200-people wedding cost about 18000€ in 1999. I’m pretty sick of hearing Mom whine about how it came mostly out of my parents’ pocket while the presents (99% of them, money, which has been normal hereabouts for over 20 years) went to Bro and SiL’s…

Less than $5000, but that was 15 years ago.

About 75 people, a very nice reception at a very nice golf club. One thing we did to cut down costs was have the reception around lunch time. Not a lot of drinking, and no endless DJ’s and dances to pay for. We were married at 11, eating by 1230 or so, out of there by 330.

I’m sorry, but marathon weddings just suck.

See, that’s another thing that bugs me. My family expects this HUGE bash but they won’t help me pay for it. They keep telling me I need this and that but they don’t want to foot any of the bills. It’s annoying. My mom has told me numerous times that she’s got money, she’s set and she never wants gifts for her birthday or Christmas because duh, she can buy anything she wants herself.

I want to ask her for a loan of $10K because we want to get married sooner rather than later because we feel it’s time. But I know that she’ll bitch and moan about how dare I ask her for money, why do I need to borrow money from her when I have a full-time job, etc.

It’s annoying because we’re currently living in a duplex that she owns and we pay rent even though she said we could live in it for free. We pay for all our own bills and I was finally able to pay off my credit cards from buying a whole new wardrobe to go from college attire to professional wear. I gotta say, I’m proud that I was able to pay for my own food, personal expenses and bills the last two years of college. Then I went from that to getting a job on my own and paying for my own wardrobe all without going into sizeable debt.

Now I want to ask to borrow, not for my mom to pay for our wedding, and she’s getting pissed even after she boasted that she has money, yay for her. But she wants us to have a big wedding. On our not so large paychecks. What does the woman want!?

Ours will be about $8k (fingers crossed!) for around 80 people at my fiance’s dad’s club. Almost all of that is for the food and drinks - we’re not having a photographer, DJ, band, etc. We found a lot of restaurants had a minimum spend of 10k-15k if you wanted to book them out on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday. If you want to keep costs down, what about an elaborate lunch or brunch? Or having a Sunday night dinner so people are less inclined to drink excessively?

When/if people call your attendants to ask where you’re registered perhaps they could say something like “oh, I’m pretty sure B&G have everything they need. But if you really want to get them something, I know that they’re saving to buy a house …” Nowadays I’d imagine most people know that cash is a veeeerrrry good gift for newlyweds. It’s so easy too - chuck some money in a red envelope and you’re done!

That is annoying. Can you tell her that you have budgeted for this amount, which will pay for X, Y and Z without going into debt. If she wants anything more elaborate she’ll have to pay for it herself, and if she’s not willing to pay for it she needs to shut up about it.

That sucks dude. At least in my culture the parents of the girl pay for it all and it’s usually a lot. Traditionally we’re among the less ostentatious Indian cultures but my ethnic community is very upper middle class and college tuition and weddings is where they generally show their purchasing power. I’m surprised as hell that my brother’s mom and dad paid up so readily but he’s an only child and I guess they figured with my mom and dad having Irish twins it was only polite.

As for me…my mom and dad have ordained that I get married in 2008 and I don’t give as shit about the wedding. I’m already dying a death everyday and I’m not even married yet…

Well, that answers your questions then.

Pay for the wedding that YOU can afford, and if your relatives don’t like it, remind them that it’s your wedding. If they want the extra glitz, tell them to pony up the cash.

Hmmm that’s something to think about. We’re still looking at restaurants so we’ll have to take that into consideration. Thank you for the idea!

We can only hope people will have that attitude and won’t think “they just want us to pay for our own meal!” Well yes, but everything is expensive!

I told her what we’re thinking of, but I can’t really tell her to shut up or to stop meddling because that would get me killed! You gotta love Asian mothers!

It’s the same in my culture too. The thing is, my parents aren’t all that traditional unless it comes to respect and how you act in the household. My parents are the ones who kept asking when we were getting married and now, they’re saying we should have this and that, but why are you spending so much money!? They seriously think I go on spending sprees every weekend and am therefore bad with money so I shouldn’t be trusted with anything. Yet they want me and Tony to plan a wedding… :dubious:

I’m sorry. :frowning: A wedding should be a happy occasion, not something that’s being endured. Think happy thoughts. Maybe your parents will make things easier on you than my parents are on me!

I would, but of course the relatives would get offended. If only relatives were reasonable and understood that we’re relatively young which means we don’t have savings yet so we can’t put on this WEDDING EXTRAVAGANZA like they want. Hence why we kinda want to have our wedding attendants and immediate family tell everyone that if they want to get us something, to just do the money in the red envelope thing like Kayeby mentioned. It’s somewhat subtle and doesn’t point fingers at anyone.

The cost of the licence at the local courthouse.

We had a reception for about 200 to 300 people. It cost us nothing and it cost our parents nothing.

We had been living together for years and only married when we decided to have kids. We told all our friends and relatives and told them that while the wedding would be a private affair during the day, they could bring whoever they wanted to the reception - spouses, lovers, kids even friends, but everyone had to pay for their own food and drink. We insisted on no presents, just the pleasure of their company, at no cost to us, to help us celebrate, was enough. There were no invitations printed - everyone was welcome.

We married during the day with only our immediate families (parents and siblings) plus our best friends as witnesses.

For the reception I just booked out a whole restaurant by promising the staff and management the biggest night they had had for a long time and that’s how it turned out. Old school friends and old workmates found out through the grapevine and the place was full of people we would never have thought to invite. There was no “wedding party table”, my wife and I walked around and sat at as many tables as we could. Twenty odd years later it is still a well remembered wedding because it was the biggest wildest reception most people have ever been too. There were a lot more speeches than at your average reception (everyone seemed to adlib one) but since it didn’t finish until after midnight no one cared.

You might be getting married but don’t think you’re too old to be spanked! brandishes slipper menacingly :smiley:

We went to both sets of parents to make sure they knew we didn’t want a big wedding - the initial plan was to get married at the registry office and go to a cheap but decent restaurant. I was a little apprehensive that my parents would try to inflate the guest list because you know how Chinese families are - everyone’s a freaking auntie or uncle. But they were actually pretty thrilled that we were being sensible about the wedding and putting our financial security above a one-day party. His parents were supportive but kindly offered to pay for a nicer restaurant than we had planned (which is where the 8k figure came from - our original budget was much lower).

If your relatives aren’t Westernised I think it’s pretty safe to assume that they’ll give hong baos (with the standard disclaimer that a gift is a gift, not an obligation. But come on, I’m Chinese. Everything is an obligation.) More assimilated friends/rellies will probably still have the cultural knowledge that cash is an appropriate and desirable wedding gift.

Have you set a date yet? We picked the very Chinese date of 8/8/8. Neither my fiance nor I are superstitious, but the date was available and as good as any other!

Oh, that sucks. I’m sure you know better than us how to manage your parents, though. We were young and didn’t have savings, but we had reasonable family. Would she ever forgive you if you eloped?

Ideally, I would have loved to have some extended family members come visit, and from his side there was vague talk of a big reception after a small wedding, but it just didn’t work out. We had relatives all over the country, and it was a nightmare trying to figure out how to schedule or pay for it, or have it in a place that would accomodate everyone.

After about 6 months of trying to even figure out how to plan for a wedding plan, and set dates, and save money for it, and reconcile the huge (to us) waste of money and time, we just looked at each other and said, “We refuse to be stressed out about our wedding. This will make us happy.” The next day we went to the town hall, bought a marriage license, and scheduled the date with the official on staff. Then we called our parents and a couple friends in town and told them to be there if they wanted, or they were welcome to visit us soon before/after. We sent out a general invitation to various extended family members, with apologies for the short notice. I bought a white skirt, my mom made a humongous cake and brought favors, and we had a cookout. Everyone took pictures. License, clothes, flowers, decorations, and food, all together we probably spent less than $400. We loved it.

My advice: Your wedding should make you happy, without inconveniencing guests. For example, getting a DJ vs a band will not inconvenience them. The lack of a bar will not inconvenience them. I’m betting that the lack of the other things you “should” have won’t inconvenience them either.

You’re just going to have to figure out what you’re willing to compromise on, and stick to it. If your budget is tight, then that’s that. Tell them straight out that you can’t afford [horrible/expensive thing you hate that they insist on], and express your sincere wink regrets. Be strong and don’t let yourself be bullied. (Easier said than done, I know.)

About gifts, I found that people will pretty much give you what they want to give you, regardless of what you tell them. Just make it known through the grapevine (friends, attendants, etc.) that you don’t really need anything for the house, and you’ll probably end up with some charity donations in your name, some gift cards, some cash, and some random trinkets. At least you probably won’t get 5 crock pots. If you want to tell them specifically that you’d prefer cash, I can’t really offer any advice, because I wouldn’t do that myself. If it’s the norm for your potential guests, I wouldn’t worry about subtle hints, though. Tackiness is in the eye of the beholder.