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March 09, 2010


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I agree that weddings can cost a lot and a lot of that cost can be cut down, but I read this article several days ago and thought it was a little ridiculous. Sure, you could have saved all that money. Just like you can save money EVERY DAY by cutting down on other stuff that isn't a wedding. Your middle paragraph in your commentary alludes to this, FMF, but I don't think it's stated blatantly enough. How about going to a cheaper college or living in a smaller house? That would work in the exact same way as this article says. And yet the article does not mention that; it just demonizes weddings.

I agree JM, I do think that weddings cost a lot (I should know I got married last October), and some people go way overboard.

But to "demonize" weddings...what about those same couples who decide to become house-poor because they "need" to have the $500K house rather than the $200K, or the newest car rather than one that is used but still runs well.

Plus, I think a wedding (for me and many) is a very special time that we experience only once (hopefully) in our life, and are willing to spend the $$ on to make it special. I don't regret a single-dime that I spent on our wedding, and we did it without going into debt.

Not to mention how expensive the divorce will be........ (I'm speaking from personal experience!)

Next time, I'll just live with the guy.

Why spend money to get yourself into a legal fix from which you'll have to spend more money to extricate yourself later?

Everyone thinks they'll beat the 50% odds--but 50% of marriages end in divorce even for those people.

Great post. That last sentence really hit home:

"Someone in their 50s today would have an extra $100,000 if they'd saved just $5,000 more 30 years ago".

Imagine saving an extra $20,000....That would be $400,000 more at age 50!!!

We had a somewhat basic wedding. However, when I think back, we didn't need to do some of the things we did and wished we would have just saved the money. In the end, it should be more of a celebration and less for appearances and trying to impress people.

For s single person like me, this post is very informative and helpful. Deciding to marry is one thing I should financially analyze before I enter into it. Wedding and engagement ring can be very expensive. And in marrying, you should also be assured that you have a home - another expensive thing to consider in marrying and building a family.

Here are some actual numbers.
If I had taken $18,000 out of my $320,000 investment portfolio in January 1993 for a fancy wedding, by March 2000, 7 years and 2 months later that $18,000 would have effectively lowered my portfolio by $189,539.

Fortunately I had already been married several decades at the time so it's purely hypothetical in my case however it validates the thesis of the article.

The lesson is this. In a time where 43% of the workers in the USA say that their savings are less than $10,000 and 23% say they are less than $1,000, and the dreams of a comfortable early retirement are fading fast for a lot of people - Avoid fancy weddings at all costs.

I agree that this goes for every dollar you spend - not just weddings. It seems pointless to even make this about weddings. For that matter, every dollar you spend on food is really $5, or every dollar you spend on clothes. Weddings are a celebration of a new marriage, and i can think of much worse things to spend money on.

Interesting argument. Just think of all the money we'd save if no one bothered to get married anymore. No presents to buy, no outfits to buy to wear to the wedding, no travel... Wow... we'd all be rich!

And very poor at the same time.

"Someone in their 50s today would have an extra $100,000 if they'd saved just $5,000 more 30 years ago". So don't go to college and you'll have Millions! ;-)

I am currently in the process of planning my wedding. I think that saying 18K is a "fancy" wedding might be a bit of an exaggeration. I consider myself fairly frugal, but when it comes to weddings there is a bit a of peer pressure element. I estimated that our wedding would cost 10K, before I knew what some items really cost. It's looking like it will be more like 15K for a 200-guest wedding.

I could probably cut some costs by having the reception further away (i.e. out in the boonies), as one of our friends did recently. That would cause our guests to drive about 30 minutes to cut the reception venue cost in half. It would be a possibility, but we think it would be an imposition and we would consider it rude.

As has been mentioned in other places: It really depends on what your values are. It's not bad or financially irresponsible to spend a lot on a one-time event. I also think that knowing the real cost (including opportunity cost) helps us make better decisions.

I think a wedding is a very special time that we experience only once (hopefully) in our life, and are willing to spend the $$ on to make it special.

I'm with the other commenters...this could apply for anything. Don't spend more than needed on anything and you'll be better off. Of course, everybody has different definitions of their "needs"...

What's that we always hear? Spend less, earn more, and invest the rest, right?

I am so with this article. Weddings are not worth it... I'd rather save the money.

I know my dad wanted me to elope and offered to give us 10000.00 to do so. Maybe he was right. We did spend way more than 10 grand.

We had a lovely wedding 6 years ago for about $10,000. Sure, I could have saved that $10,000 and invested it. I would have more money at age 50, but I wouldn't have the wonderful memories, which are priceless.

Our family is far-flung and we don't get together as much as we'd like to. Weddings are one of the few times that all of the cousins and aunts and uncles are together, and in my family, it's a weekend-long reunion and celebration. We've been married 6 years and it was the last time I saw several family members because of distance; it would most definitely have cost more than $10,000 to go visit each of those family members individually.

The same premise could be used for just about anything. Imagine how much you'd have at 50 if you skipped furniture or decorations in your home, ate only rice, and never left the house except to go to work. Sure, your life wouldn't be as rich, but you'd have $5 for every $1 you didn't spend on a bed!

There are many things that people do that could save money, but is it worth it to have skipped times of celebration in your life? I'd rather have the memories at the end of my life.

Instead of a wedding, why not elope?!? Doesn't anybody elope any more?

My grandparents:

1. Got married at the preacher's house in his living room. Cost = $0 (I think, unless he charged a nominal fee)

2. Honeymooned less than 100 miles away from home (i.e. a small local attraction, Reelfoot Lake State Resort Park in Tennessee).

3. Wore their Sunday-best clothes (they already owned) to the ceremony, so no out of pocket expenses for a dress and tux.

4. Had witnesses of course, but no guest list, no refreshments, band, etc etc all the stuff everyone takes for granted these days.

As far as your budget for getting married, you should allocate most of it to premarital counseling.

If the groom has never lived alone, he should get a small efficiency apartment and live alone and learn to do stuff for himself for at least 6 months. Guys who go straight from living with Mom to living with the wife/girlfriend NEVER learn to pick up after themselves, and it will become a big issue. Girl, you won't ever be able to go away for the weekend b/c when you come back the place will look like the Tasmanian Devil ate it for lunch. Invest in pre-marital housebreaking of future husband. If you wait until he moves in with you, it will be too late to train him.

Also, the couple should take a personal finance class together. Financial Peace University is excellent, but any good personal finance class that will encourage them to stay out of debt and plan their finances together will save pain later on.

Its true weddings can be expensive, however it depends on what the person wants, whether the person gets great deals and planning, and whether gifts can mitigate the expenses.

I doubt most weddings are easily the 100k, its true you can save the money , which people may do upon saving a home, however you can do the same thing by not buying anything and living the most frugal lifestyle, of course a wedding is usually a "one time event" , although families and friends get together , sometimes weddings are not the most enjoyable even in great settings , too loud of a music (very loud with no talking area), great grounds but not being able to use all of it, food is okay but hurried, and compliments are nothing to write home about.

There are many money saving tips for events, here is a free-money finance idea , take your wedding in another country! or check out special deals, plan ahead, considered multiple events or strategies, cooking or bulk purchasing with chef's or restaurants in food, renting discount halls in not so obvious places or locations in more rural or suburban areas while keeping in mind certain factors.

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