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June 01, 2007


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Well $150 (thats like £70, right?) is a bit cheap. I think over here, just the notice/registrar alone costs more than £50. Even for 5 guests and McDonalds for food you're talking pretty stingy.

On the other hand, $27,000 (approx £14,000) is a lot of money. And I agre that the scariest thing about that is its average. Someone is probably spending £100,000 on their wedding - more than my entire house is worth.

Weddings are a costly affair. I'm getting married in 2 weeks on the Big Island in Hawaii (north of Kona). There will be 30 people including bride & groom and total cost will be about $9000. The biggest expense is the reception dinner & drinks which is about $4000 - unfortunately if you want to have a nice reception you really get raked. Other costs are for flowers, site fee, photographer, videographer, cake, etc. There were some items that were negotiated and that helped.

We made our own invitations and bought the favors locally. I think we opened up ourselves to pay more since we are organizing this remotely from Asia. But it should be a lovely experience.

We will have a second mini wedding in Asia and a dinner cruise on the river for about 50 people that will cost another $3000 as well. But it should be good fun. We are also paying for all the relatives / friends accomodations & local travel in SE Asia and that will chew through some $$$ but not that much.

My philosophy - spend enough so that you are satisfied but think about each cost from a value perspective as much as you can.


We spent just over $10,000 on our wedding (2 years ago, in the Boston area). Most of my recently-married friends spent the same or more. It's hard to do a "traditional" wedding for less than that (around here). A friend who paid nothing for food and location still spent about $5,000. If you're willing to be non-traditional (i.e. elope), obviously you'll spend less. But small details will add up quickly.

We had planned to pay all our expenses ourselves, so we cut back most aspects as much as we felt we could. In the end, my parents offered to pay, but that didn't affect our budget. It just gave us a guarantee that we would still have some savings at the beginning of our marriage.

I read that article and was amazed. It sounded quaint, but definitely not my cup of tea. I want too many family and friends there to do anything so small.

My parents offer a lump sum to all of us kids. My sis got twice as much as my brothers, and I will get the same as my sis...that is, if I get married. They don't include shower gifts and the wedding gift (honeymoon or vacation accomandations...they own a time share), in that sum though. We had/have the option to take the money and elope or to use it towards the wedding. Being that all us are tradition, everyone has opted for the moola to go towards the wedding. Although, I think my bro and his wife would have taken the money and had a destination wedding if it hadn't been for her family insisting on a traditional wedding.

I have been to all kinds of weddings, from elaborate to very plain...and from it all I realize that I don't need a wedding that goes overboard and borrowing things is fine. I do want something that is nicely done and affordable, but not "cheap". If I ever do make it down the aisle, I hope to have an affordable day. One where the ceremony is gorgoes, traditional and holy, and the reception a nice balance between elegant and a rip-roaring time!!! I do realize it will take alot of money because, let's face it, I want my day to be "perfect" and I have a huge family!

Wow! I had no idea the U.S. average was that high. Add in the ring and honeymoon and you are talking about some serious cash. I wonder what the average value of the wedding gifts and money donations comes in at.

Our wedding was certainly not cheap, although we did our best to try and get it that way. Our location cost $150 (less than the church cost!), but the two things that were most important to us, Food and Photography, cost us quite a bit. To put it in perspective, I think about 75% of our budget was food, and it ended up being expensive.

But we couldn't/wouldn't imagine it any other way. We had 150 of our family and friends (mostly family - we both have large families and couldn't imagine not having them there!) at a great park reception with extremely memorable food (we think so and most of the guests we've talked to think so) and gorgeous photographs. Sure, we could probably have done it for half the cost with generic catering and a cut-rate photographer, but the memories are worth quite a bit to us.

She has been out of school for a while! For undergrad and two graduate degrees, try $270,000 not $27,000.

Btw, no source or raw data from those statistics, so I'm guessing $27,000 is not really the average that most people spend on a wedding. Given all the $100k+ and million dollar weddings, that mean is going to be really skewed. Anyone have some better statistics for this?

I don't think anyone should be defensive over what they paid for their own wedding. It's a personal experience and everyone is different. Do what you can afford -- some parents save up for years to pay for weddings.

I agree that the $27,000 is skewed upward by some very expensive events.

I don't think anyone should be defensive over what they paid for their own wedding. It's a personal experience and everyone is different. Do what you can afford -- some parents save up for years to pay for weddings.

I agree that the $27,000 is skewed upward by some very expensive events.

I've been to three weddings in the Los Angeles area that were well over $50k each. At least one of these couples took out loans to pay for their extravaganza.

My wedding was under $20k. Still very expensive for one day, but under the 'average' in this area. I succumbed to family pressure to have a wedding, but I'd prefer to have had a very simple ceremony and a nice dinner... but that's just me.

Keep in mind that prices and cost of living are different depending on where you live. I live in NJ which has a very high cost of living, but the salaries are higher too. I paid $18k for my wedding 14 years ago for 130 people. Most of my friend's weddings were about the same and all of them would not be considered lavish. In today's dollars $27k does not sound unreasonable i this area.

I'm a former wedding planner and know that many many many people pay far too much for their weddings. Some of it can be blamed on the wedding industry though --- expectations are set high about what the "perfect day" looks like.

The $27,000 average is actually accurate according to the lastest study put out by The Fairchild Bridal Group (the company that does the annual survey). Here's a news story about it:

But there are many ways to cut costs when planning a wedding (mainly staying away from the "bridal" isle and using everyday things instead of the higher priced things specific for weddings.) I'm in the midst of helping my sister plan her wedding on a $5,000 budget - honeymoon included.


Here in NY - NJ - $27,000 doesn't get you very far. Long Island weddings probably average $150 per plate and catering halls make you guarantee 100-125 people - tack on music, flowers, dresses..... and you've got yourself to $30k pretty quickly.

My husband and I got married last June and the big day costs us approximately $20k. I did a lot on my own - invitations, wedding programs, menus, table placements, etc. Half the budget went to the place we got married and had reception. The other half was photographer and videographer. The video and photos came out great and since that's all we have left from the wedding we decided to spend it there. We didn't have a honeymoon because both of us had to go back to work a few days later. I just made sure that most things I got were on sale or bargained for. There were a couple of things my husband and I regret,1)the number of people (120) and 2) the location was away from where we reside.

I could never convince my wife to go for a 200 dollar wedding. Our family spent over 50 grand. And I felt like it was such a waste.

I've been to weddings that probably cost between $2500 and $40k and I can say that the better ceremonies and the better food were often not reflected in the price of the wedding. The same goes for DJ's.

Chris, if she went to a state school for undergrad and got fellowships/scholarships for grad school, that's seems possible, at least for her out of pocket costs/loans.

I'm all in favor of $150 weddings, especially if the couple is poor -- or, as is more rarely the case, the marriage is intended as a spiritual, rather than as an economic exercise.

From a material point of view, however, the wedding exercise is an investment like any other, and as such, $27K (or even $100K) is not an especially large amount for an investment that generates unique tangible and intangible gains.

The tangible gains in this instance are the realized gift proceeds that are over-and-above the cost of the wedding ritual itself, and many couples routinely draw a small (5-10%) profit in this way. (NB: It is surprising that the Internal Revenue does not demand a more strict accounting of realized wedding gift proceeds, since these amounts are easily auditable, and would involve the recovery of millions of dollars in lost tax revenue each year.)

The intangible gains are even more lucrative than the tangible ones. They include the enormous prospective career, business, and social networking opportunities that arise from the carefully pruned guest list, and from the ongoing cultivation of the newly expanded circles of friends, relatives, and acquaintances that emerge on both sides.

When my wife and I married 7 years ago we had decided to do it all ourselves. We spent $12,000 for a full-blown "traditional" wedding. We had the wedding at the end of February which allowed us a great deal of wiggle room when negotiating for the banquet hall and the photographer/videographer. We were able to get the dinner down to $40/plate from the in season cost of $75 and the Photographer/videographer was $1500, this included the video, all of our photos and the proofs (I have heard some places charge up to $2000 for the proofs). The photographer was amazing and the quality was excellent, so much so, that we have used her many time since (kids, parties). We kept the guest list down to 120 people, which was great because they were family and friends who we truly cared for. Everybody talked about the wedding as being the best one for years to come.

I'm always amazed at the amount people will spend on a wedding. To me, they clearly have the cash (or the cash support from family) to go all out like some people do. I know plenty of couples that save, save, save just to have a lavish day. I'm mu ch happier that my parter and I decided on a $2,000 limit for the wedding and made it work. I would have been happy to spend even less, but it worked out fine because we were both comfortable with the amount.

My sister is getting married this fall and her wedding will be costing 40,000. I think that is crazy. I got married 13 years ago and spent 10k which was crazy too.

My costs for the wedding are a little crazy as well. Probably $2000 when it comes down it. Bridesmaid dress, tuxes for 3 boys, shower, hotel. It is my ister.

I think my sister is now realizing that she should have had the smaller wedding.

Its sad how all common sense goes out the window for "the perfect day to remember your whole like." As if you'd forget if you didn't spend spend spend.

My partner & I had our wedding ceremony almost 13 years ago- when gay weddings were not even talked about. No one in our families were contributing money for a wedding that "didn't matter"- so we had to come up with our own cash.

Instead of putting our lives on hold or into credit servitude, we planned and crafted and cooked nearly everything ourselves. If friends had any specialties- like our photographer friend- we asked if the undeveloped rolls of film taken could be gifted to us. Another friend who had just finished the penultimate Wilton cake decorating classes volunteered to make our cake- which we were able to have a Duncan Hines cherry chip, a childhood favorite for both of us. Dresses were sewn- mine, and for both of our sisters who witnessed (bridemaids). We had only my partner's tux to rent. Our biggest cost was the DJ.

We made all the food ourselves for the reception. If the food is good and presented nicely, its likely to be better than the $150/plate ripoff at the local wedding providers. Our reception was in the church hall, downstairs from the ceremony. We did not serve liquor- but we also had no potential liability of someone being served too much.

In the end, we got away with a huge wedding for 150 people plus a weeks honeymoon that all totaled cost us about $3000. In today's world- it might be around $4-5K. Over time, both our parents felt extreme guilt in paying for hetero weddings-- and we ended up getting cash equivelents. I'd say our wedding was among the best ever, but that's just me.

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