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Gulp!! Getting Married: How Much Did You Spend?


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#1 of 63 OFFLINE   Arthur S

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Posted January 05 2007 - 05:11 AM

Hi everyone:

I am to be married next summer...I have no idea how much a modest wedding should cost...I am interested in any and all stories of the financial arrangements you made...including how much, if anything you contributed along with what the bride-to-be contributed...

BTW

If I had a spare $180,000, I would ask Emmylou Harris to provide the music for the wedding and reception...

PS All the RoadRunning by Mark Knopfler and Emmylou Harris is my new favorite music DVD and CD...unreal beauty of a person and as beautiful on the outside as she is on the inside...loves dogs...always looking for good homes for strays...

Thanks

Art

#2 of 63 OFFLINE   streeter

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Posted January 05 2007 - 05:29 AM

Not a penny.
That's the nice part of being a guy: The bride's parents have to pay for everything. All you have to do is get your tux, rings, etc. and show up. Posted Image
Congratulations!
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#3 of 63 OFFLINE   drobbins

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Posted January 05 2007 - 05:41 AM

My father-in-law to be gave us the choice between the classic big wedding and reception, and a much watered down version with us getting a check for the difference. We had a nice smaller wedding with cake & punch in the church basement. Then took the check and used it for a down payment on our first house. (We can't dance anyway) We are happily married for 17 years now. Wish you both the best.

#4 of 63 OFFLINE   benjaminBen

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Posted January 05 2007 - 05:55 AM

my wife and i paid for ours and we spent 2500 for about 150 people. We cut a lot of corners to make it work... the females at our church made food for the reception and we ordered pizza..

#5 of 63 OFFLINE   Dennis Nicholls

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Posted January 05 2007 - 06:06 AM

If you have to ASK how much a wedding costs, you can't afford to get married. Posted Image
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#6 of 63 OFFLINE   Jassen M. West

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Posted January 05 2007 - 06:17 AM

Thankfully my finace's parents are footing the bill. They are great people that believe in tradition. I have been involved with every step of the planning process, minus the purchase of the wedding dress. My bride to be bought her own dress. So far the place we are having it is running about $8500. That includes wedding and reception, food, cake, champange toast, flowers for the tables and linens. When you book your location be SURE to ask them if there is an additional chair, table and linen setup fee. Many places will charge and extra dollar or two per chair or table its a ripoff. The photographer (bless this guy, we made a little bartering deal with him) cost us only $800 and we got a DJ/Guitarist for $1500. I have yet to rent a tux and we haven't picked out flowers.We are not doing the whole limo/horse drawn carriage thing. I would consider this a modest wedding as the per person rate is only $46 per person. I've seen up to $120 per person for the whole ice sculpture and chocolate fountain extravaganza. Here is the view from where we will be exchanging vows. This reminds me I should change my sig to party in 6 months!!!

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#7 of 63 OFFLINE   Arthur S

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Posted January 05 2007 - 06:29 AM

Thanks for all the comments, suggestions, photos, etc., don't stop sending your thoughts everyone...

As to my buddy Mr. Dennis Nicholls: Since I can't afford to get married, please send me a PM with a good credit card number...and do you have any connection with Emmylou Harris so we can get her to sing for us...

Happy New Year!!


PS I was raised by wolves...

#8 of 63 OFFLINE   Stephen Orr

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Posted January 05 2007 - 07:31 AM

My son is about to find out. He proposed to his lovely young lady on New Year's Eve. The next day, she began planning. The wedding isn't until June of 08. Oh, the humanity....

#9 of 63 OFFLINE   Jeffrey Noel

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Posted January 05 2007 - 08:05 AM

If you are having a DJ, please, for the sake of your guests, do your research and don't go super cheap. I can't tell you how many weddings I've been to where many people left early because the DJ(s) were horrible. We spent more than we had planned, but it was sure worth it. I still get comments of how impressive they were.

I'd suggest having a smaller wedding so you can have a longer/better honeymoon. That's what you'll remember the most!
God bless!
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#10 of 63 OFFLINE   Randy Tennison

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Posted January 05 2007 - 08:20 AM

Just remember, the wedding day is the brides day, not the grooms. She's had the wedding in her mind since she was a child.

If you don't believe me, think about this. She's going to spend thousands of dollars on a dress she'll only wear once, and you are going to rent shoes.
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#11 of 63 OFFLINE   Jeff Gatie

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Posted January 05 2007 - 09:11 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Randy Tennison
Just remember, the wedding day is the brides day, not the grooms. She's had the wedding in her mind since she was a child.


True, and irony of the fact that when she was a child she probably had not yet met the most important person in the wedding besides herself is completely irrelevant. I think this was mentioned in a "Friends" episode and Monica replied "Oh, like the groom matters?" Posted Image

#12 of 63 OFFLINE   Greg_R

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Posted January 05 2007 - 10:06 AM

My fiance and I are getting married in 10/07 and we are well along the planning path. A few tips:

- Sign up for "The Knot" immediately. You can plan your wedding with their tools or you can get your own wedding planner. The Knot also has a lot of good info and contacts. You can get a % budget breakdown with most planning guides.
- Wedding shows are ways to get in touch with local merchants. Many offer freebies if you come in and listen to their sales pitch (i.e. it's a way to save some cash if you can stomach it).
- IMO DJs are a waste of time and tend to detract rather than enhance the event. Rent a pro sound setup (powered speakers + mixing board + mic) and hook your computer or iPod up to it. Have the best man run the show (speeches, 1st dance, etc.).
- Caterers are notorious for nickle and diming you on EVERYTHING. Linens, centerpieces, extra tables (DJ, drinks), bartenders, cake cutting fee, toasting fee, etc., etc. Get EVERYTHING you need in writing on the contract!
- Funeral homes have very inexpensive limo rentals (not a hearse, a limo) and they come with professional drivers. There is no writing on the vehicle (XYZ funerals, etc.).
- Elements of your honeymoon make nice wedding gifts (fancy hotel stay, fancy dinner, etc., etc.). There are websites that can set up a registry for these items (and send you the cash).
- Churches and halls can easily fill up over a year in advance. Book the hall, church, and caterer ASAP!
- Blood tests, counciling sessions and other activities may be required depending on where you get married (Catholic church requires 6 sessions with a married couple in the church, etc.). Be aware of these requirements and get them taken care of early (while people aren't freaking out over last second details).

We are cutting some corners and are not getting anything fancy (cheap hall, typical catered food, etc.) and are close to hitting $12k for everything (in MD).

Your job will be keeping the bride sane. I would recommend sitting down IMMEDIATELY and have each of you write down your priorities for the service. For example, you may _really_ want live music at the ceremony and she may really want tons of flowers. Come up with a merged list so you can budget your wedding appropriately. If not, you'll end up 3-4 months out with $300 to spend on a limo, photographer and blood test!

Congratulations and good luck!

#13 of 63 OFFLINE   Greg_R

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Posted January 05 2007 - 10:13 AM

Some other things:
- You can usually do beer/wine/soda cheaper by yourself (especially if you want 'good' beer and wine). We are hiring 2 bartenders and supplying everything (including custom plastic cups with our names / wedding date on it). These custom cups cost ~0.30 each.
- Don't forget about the groom's requirements... you will need to buy your wife a wedding gift, your grooms gifts and a few other things.
- Dance lessons are a romantic gift that you can take with her 6-12 months out.
- Try to get a photographer that gives you the negatives. Many photographers make a ton of extra cash by charging $10 per 8x10 print ($500-600 wedding album is the norm). You can easily spend over $2k on photos if you aren't careful. Costco has the best photo printer in the business... we are planning on making our own album (future wife likes to scrapbook). You can also send the negatives to relatives who want to print out their own pictures (group pic with Aunt Mildred, etc.).

#14 of 63 OFFLINE   Arthur S

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Posted January 05 2007 - 11:21 AM

Hi guys!! This is some great stuff. Everyone is welcome to provide as much detail as you wish...

GregR, thanks a bunch...

Art

#15 of 63 OFFLINE   SethH

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Posted January 05 2007 - 12:13 PM

Describe "modest" for us. How many people? Do you plan to serve a meal or just heavy hors d'oeuvres? Do you plan to have an open bar?

My wife and I spent a significant amount of money on the photographer and we spent about $700 on a videographer. I think the videographer was well worth the price. The pictures are great too, but they were really expensive. I will say this, though, check into your photographer. There are lots of folks out there who dropped $1000 on a digital SLR and now they are "professional" photographers. Spend the money to get a real one -- it's worth it.

My parents covered the rehearsal dinner and her parents covered the wedding/reception. We chipped in and covered non-traditional items such as the videographer and the chocolate fountain at the reception.

All-in-all it was just under $10k, but that included a large bridal portrait her mom got which was pretty pricey.

#16 of 63 OFFLINE   Arthur S

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Posted January 05 2007 - 12:58 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by SethH
Describe "modest" for us. How many people? Do you plan to serve a meal or just heavy hors d'oeuvres? Do you plan to have an open bar?

My wife and I spent a significant amount of money on the photographer and we spent about $700 on a videographer. I think the videographer was well worth the price. The pictures are great too, but they were really expensive. I will say this, though, check into your photographer. There are lots of folks out there who dropped $1000 on a digital SLR and now they are "professional" photographers. Spend the money to get a real one -- it's worth it.

My parents covered the rehearsal dinner and her parents covered the wedding/reception. We chipped in and covered non-traditional items such as the videographer and the chocolate fountain at the reception.

All-in-all it was just under $10k, but that included a large bridal portrait her mom got which was pretty pricey.


Thanks SethH

I will be following up ASAP.

PS Bride to be is going out to look at wedding dresses tomorrow.

Art

#17 of 63 OFFLINE   Stacey

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Posted January 05 2007 - 03:04 PM

Quote:
Just remember, the wedding day is the brides day, not the grooms. She's had the wedding in her mind since she was a child.

If you don't believe me, think about this. She's going to spend thousands of dollars on a dress she'll only wear once, and you are going to rent shoes.

Soooo not true! At least not for me anyway. Posted Image

My husband and I lived together for several years before we got married. My mom had ideas that included an expensive wing-ding and everything paid for by my dad. I had to put my foot down and insist I was paying for the whole thing and it would be MY way (typical woman there).

My dress was a rental (gasp!) ($25), I only bought the shoes ($50). My husband already had a suit so one dry-cleaning later ($20) and he was good. I bought us matching lapel rose for him and wristlet of flowers for me ($35). We were married in a church (marriage licence $100), but in the small "side-chapel" and the invitation list was immediate family only (appx 20 people in total).

My sister in-law worked for a resturant so I got the meal at a song and dance with servers and the church hall was the reception area. No DJ, just a nice meal with close family. (total, appx $500)

A few odds and ends like Wedding book to sign and decorating the car a little with flowers ($30-$40) and the photographer was a friend of the family whom we paid by purchasing him a much wanted, rare, dvd. Posted Image

All in all, and these are only approximates and the prices at the time were less expensive, even today I would not think my wedding would cost over $4000.
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#18 of 63 OFFLINE   Clinton McClure

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Posted January 05 2007 - 06:38 PM

I don't remember the numbers in detail but ours (March 2004) cost roughly $4k start to finish, including invitations, tuxes, bridesmaid's gowns, wedding dress, event hall, license, rings, cakes, DJ, and decorations.

#19 of 63 OFFLINE   SethH

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Posted January 05 2007 - 09:45 PM

Oh yeah, we did our own invitations with some kits we bought at Michael's (a craft store). Including a new ink cartridge the invitations cost us about $75 (before postage) and we invited about 300 people -- so that's probably around 150 invitations. They turned out great and we got lots of compliments on them. Probably saved us a couple hundred bucks.

#20 of 63 OFFLINE   Garrett Lundy

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Posted January 06 2007 - 02:42 AM

Under $3k. But we're cheap. We even told people to "bring a dish" on the invitation, supposedly it makes guests feel more involved. I really don't know, I just told the wife "Its your show, have fun".

But my god I hated the DJ. Anybody with 'Kickin' Kountry Kareoke' spray-painted on their Cerwin Vegas is bad news Posted Image (friends of her family that worked cheap no doubt).
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