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How much did you spend on your wedding?

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  • How much did you spend on your wedding?

    My fiancee and I are planning our wedding. She's an attending, I'm a fellow. We pretty much see eye to eye in terms of how money saved now helps us reach financial independence sooner. However, we still want to throw a sick party for family and friends. I'm wondering what the WCI approach would be to this kind of decision.

    Did folks think of it as a percentage of current or future income? Or just throw caution into the wind and blow as much as possible without going into debt? We are not willing to take a loan for our wedding.

  • #2
    We spent about $5k. It was during my wife's gap year between undergrad and med school, and at the time she had not yet been accepted into med school. Could we have spent closer to the $20k or so we were told was normal? Sure, but we ultimately valued having driving paid off late model cars and having the funds to pay cash for med school interviews.

    The marriage and reception was held in our synagogue's social hall for a nominal fee. I and the groomsmen wore military uniforms. The judge was a family friend. We "catered" using the crunchy grocery store and buying wine from the Bevmo 5 cent wine sale. Everyone had a great time. We brought my stereo and plugged in iPhones for tunes. Her mom made the dress. A friend of mine from high school was a professional cake baker and made our cake at cost. Use those networking skills, and it is totally possible to have a sick party.

     

    The only thing we would have done differently in hindsight was spend money for a professional photographer, since counting on one of the bridesmaid's well meaning boyfriend to do it was an epic failure. Short story is you can't expect someone to be someone's date and still do a good job at capturing the event as a photographer.

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    • #3
      In my culture, big $$$, multiday celebration, paid mostly by the bride's family

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      • #4
        If you look at it like "throw caution into the wind and blow as much as possible without going into debt" you will absolutely spend way too much money.  First set a budget - defining whether that includes the rings, dress, and honeymoon.  Somehow me and my husband had different opinions on that.  Second, look for major cost savers like a WCI.  Just like WCI advises to focus on the major expenses (house cost, private vs. public schools)  more than traditional budget moves like  skipping the $4 latte, then apply that to the wedding.  For example, depending on the market having a wedding on a Friday or Sunday can decrease the price of all vendors, likewise with an off-season wedding.  Deciding between 75 people and 350 people again is very important because the guest number is the multiple for most wedding costs, so for us that meant not inviting any children. Weddings are definitely expensive and if we had it to do over we would not have had anything more than a courthouse wedding.

         

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        • #5
          Right there with you man, I’m getting married in April at wedding in a hotel in Downtown Boston.
          We tried to pick one of the cheaper hotels. For a wedding of 150ish ppl, we are paying just over 70,000, and about 10,000 for a honeymoon to Bali, our parents our contributing about 40,000 and we are putting in the rest. I’m pretty much killing myself moonlighting, but I upped my savings rate for retirement from 10% to 16% prior to the wedding, so while I’m spending a ton on the wedding I’m making sure I’m actually saving even more for retirement. But the money we are putting into the wedding is in know way in line with the WCI mentality, I may even have to borrow some money from my parents at 0% if can’t foot the bill. Togther my fiancé have learned a lot about finances through this process, and in retrospect probably would have chosen a cheaper venue, but we can’t go back now and our excited for our classy event.

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          • #6
            Wow, am I ever out of touch. I thought "sick" party was a typo.
            Working to protect good doctors from bad advisors. Fox & Co CPAs, Fox & Co Wealth Mgmt. 270-247-6087

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            • #7
              i didn't have a choice, my wife spent how much she wanted.

               

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              • #8
                if you are into the credit card thing, accumulate points for bz class or first class to bali. amazing place

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                • #9
                  Sister got married in Chicago suburbs a couple years ago.  Nothing fancy, 300 people.  The banquet hall was $100/plate (and this was one of the cheaper options).  So they spent I think $50k total.

                  Also can consider destination weddings to Mexico or Caribbean.  Obviously, you put somewhat of a burden of family and friends to travel, but it's basically a 3-7 day vacation with a wedding thrown in one night.  A friend recently did this, had ~40 people come.  The cost for him and his wife was $15k (they stayed for 7 nights total).

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                  • #10
                    I am recently married (both private practice attendings early career). Husband and I agreed that "average cost of an American wedding" (35k) would be our budget. If you are smart about it, you will be amazed what a "sick party" you can throw for that amount. Key for me was hiring a planner who was respectful of our budget early on in the process (to take advantage of their referrals who actually did end up saving me thousands), and just having a clear picture of what was most important to both of us.

                    Everything is negotiable. Don't get too attached to any one venue (most important as jsr52 states above), vendor, photographer, etc.

                    We had a fun, elegant, beautiful wedding for 80 people at a beautiful venue in a desirable city on a Saturday night, complete with a videographer. We did not "feel" the wedding financially. If we could do it over again, we wouldn't change a thing.

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                    • #11
                      About $18,000, about a quarter of which came from family.  Used what little savings we had and some student loans, and this is well before we even started saving for retirement or trying to pay off student loans.

                      Awful, awful financial idea, prob one of the worst I've ever made.  Absolutely terrible.  The whole industry is predatory, making people want these things/events/details - venues, dresses, tuxes, food, cake, DJ/band, lighting, centerpieces, hair, makeup, nails, photos - and charging a ridiculous amount for them...but try telling an American woman she can't have something she wants for her wedding.  Utterly ridiculous.  And in America in the 2000s, it's not like people only get one wedding...but I guess you only get one *first* wedding, right?

                      Truth is, with a doctor's income (assuming you make it through training), as long as you are otherwise not stupid and earn a lot of money, you can afford to do some financially stupid things a couple times in your life.

                      Now, saying all that, I enjoyed my wedding and its silly details; easily best night of my life.  I'm not sure I could have rivaled the experience for much less money.  I got out of the debt and it wasn't too life-altering.  I'd just never *actually* recommend to anyone to go into debt to finance a single night/weekend.

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                      • #12
                        I dont know how much we spent exactly, and dont really want to but guessing in (20-30k range?). My wife basically did it all, and mostly worked/paid for it too. I wouldve been happy with just a courthouse thing, but have to admit our wedding/honeymoon was pretty awesome.

                        All that is easy in hindsight, always seems important to one/both participants at the time. Just like diamond rings, theyre dumb, go CZ. Look better and are cheaper.

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                        • #13
                          $6k at the end of med school. 95 ppl. Open bar with beer/wine only. Buffet with little smokies, quesadillas, stuffed mushrooms, baked ravioli, salad and a few other things that most everyone knew how to eat. Rented audio equipment, no dj, no photographer. No regrets.

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                          • #14
                            25k cash, 5 yrs into PP, wish I had gone cheaper.

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                            • #15
                              61$. Courthouse.

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