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Katie
Savvy October 2022

Who even has money for a wedding??

Katie, on March 24, 2020 at 1:13 AM Posted in Planning 0 30
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Hey all,



I know there's a lot going on in the world, and people who have actual weddings coming up soon deserve the floor more, but I just have to put it out there or else I might lose my mind! Can someone please tell me why weddings are so expensive? My fiancé and I have no money for an actual wedding reception with our (already downsided) guest count of 100 people and I'm trying to figure out some way to get that celebration to happen.
He wants the reception part pretty bad, with all the family, music, and good food. I get that but also, WE CAN'T AFFORD IT! I've tried thinking of different ways to compromise, including having a super small ceremony and dinner next year then followed by a celebration with everyone else a year from that. He seems ok with some of my ideas but I'm stressed that he's just trying to make me happy and will regret things later. I don't want to start a marriage like that.
There's so many other things I would rather spend $15,000 on that would impact our lives and not just a day of it. Does anyone out there have any ideas or advice they can share?
I know it's not a big thing right now, especially since we weren't even considering to have this wedding until two years from now, but all this new financial stress (because of the virus and me being out of work until possibly August as I'm a daycare teacher) just has me thinking of it so much more.
It's much appreciated and I hope anyone who reads this is doing well.

30 Comments

  • LB
    Champion November 2016
    LB ·
    • Flag
    If you wanna cut back there are two main ways:
    1) Cut your guest list and host a nice small reception
    2) Host "cake and punch" after the ceremony
    if your FH wants the whome shebang, tell him what it costs and work through it together. Maybe once he really see the cost his tune will change
    • Reply
  • Katie
    Savvy October 2022
    Katie ·
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    We have cut it. He has the big Italian family and we aren't sure how to cut it any more than we have. If we did, it would probably cause drama, the last thing we both want. We have been doing all this together, he's 100% aware how much it costs. He keeps trying to make it work, but I'm just not seeing it as possible.
    • Reply
  • Serena
    Devoted October 2020
    Serena ·
    • Flag
    We saved 2 years worth of our tax refunds, which was huge, FH puts $75 a week aside in our wedding account, and we had a little help from my mom with getting a dj and purchasing food. Do we have all the extras, no. But we have a beautiful ceremony space with live music, a reception venue with a dj, and good, affordable food. Southern bbq. All said and done, we invested 12k into this. We initially expected 20 to 30 guests, however Covid-19 has other plans lol. We have about 10 ppl attending if we don't have to postpone. Could of saved a lot of money if we knew the ending result! But it's okay, I'm happy as long as I get to marry my best friend. So saving and cutting corners is how we did it. No photobooth, only 1 hour packages of videography and photography, cutting cake with cupcakes rather than a 3 tier, family reunion packages of bbq rather than catering, aside from ceremony florals and my bouquet/his boutonniere, no other florals, a DIY cocktail bar, I'm trying to think where else we saved big. I realize what we did is not for everyone, but its perfect for us Smiley smile You guys will find what works best for you!
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  • Tiffany
    Devoted October 2021
    Tiffany ·
    • Flag
    Many people out there cannot afford the average cost of a wedding. They get help from family and/or go into debt. I've known countless people who are STILL paying off their wedding AFTER a divorce.
    My FH and I decided to not have a traditional wedding because we are frugal and there were certain ppl that we didn't want there but couldn't get out of inviting.
    • Reply
  • Dierdra
    Super November 2020
    Dierdra ·
    • Flag

    Start saving now. If it's 2 years out do the back track math and see how much you would need to put back each month to accomplish a wedding that you both will be happy with. We cut a lot of cost down by having our wedding in the off season and having it a little farther outside of our city, plus I have spent a lot of time on vendors. We are refusing to go into debt for our wedding but we also want to have something nice that we will both be happy with.

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  • Dierdra
    Super November 2020
    Dierdra ·
    • Flag

    DIY-ing can also save you some money!

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  • Karla
    Super February 2020
    Karla ·
    • Flag
    Honestly, if you guys are unable to cut down on guest list any further, it’s going to come down to saving and maybe waiting for a year or two to have the wedding.


    Our wedding weekend (rehearsal for 80 ppl, bbq/pool party for 40 ppl, wedding for around 180 ppl and afterparty for around 100 ppl) was a little over $100k (this did not include my engagement ring or our honeymoon). Our parents helped out with our wedding—combined, they contributed a little over $45k, but we paid the remaining $65k. We had a 15-month engagement that allowed us to save and we also took a bit from our savings.
    Some ways we saved:- got married during “off season”.- bought some decor from past brides/planners- our photographer had a package that offered parent albums so we were able to give those as gifts for them.- we paid in cash if there were transaction fees if not, we paid using our AMEX to earn points (which in turn paid for about $5k worth of flights for our honeymoon).- our rehearsal dinner was open wine/beer only and didn’t include hard liquor- 3 tier cake for cutting and pics (served guests slices of identical flavors, but it was a “kitchen cake”)
    Some ways I’ve heard of others saving:- food truck for wedding dinner (so much fun! You can get a few different kinds to offer variety!)- catering from Lucille’s or other chain restaurants are pretty inexpensive- diy florals- don’t do favors- cash bar- air bnb venue (be careful with this though as bringing in all the stuff such as tables/chairs/portable bathrooms can get expensive if not carefully planned)
    Honestly, as much fun as my wedding was, sometimes I wished we had just eloped instead. 😂
    • Reply
  • Trisha
    Expert October 2020
    Trisha ·
    • Flag

    I Think You Should Wait A Year Or Two So You Can Both Save And Have The Wedding You Both Want. If You Rush Into It Now, You May End Up Not Having The Wedding/Ceremony You Want And Regret It Later.

    • Reply
  • Lena
    Devoted May 2021
    Lena ·
    • Flag

    Weddings are expensive but you only do it once Smiley winking I agree with the people above that said set a budget and start saving every week, get marries in the off season and prolong the engagement so you can have the wedding of your dreams. Good luck!

    • Reply
  • Taylor
    VIP October 2020
    Taylor ·
    • Flag

    My parents were able to give us some money. It covered around 25% of the wedding. I put away several hundred dollars from each check. My FH does the same. I realize that everyones discretionary cash flow is different, but sit down and figure out what you can save each month without stretching yourself too thin. I was the same as you. I knew it would be expensive so the courthouse would have been okay with me but my fh wanted a wedding. When I seriously thought about it, I really wanted one too... I just stress about money more. Have we spent a ton of money that could be used for other things? Yes. But I will only get one wedding. I'll have many houses and cars over my lifetime but I can't go back and do this over. Personally, I think if you can make it work, try to. As far as the virus, it will run it's course. Table the discussion and come back to it when this has blown over.

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  • Ellen
    Dedicated August 2020
    Ellen ·
    • Flag
    We are in our late 30s, so we are fortunate to be in a different situation as we are solidified in our careers (tech & finance), making decent money. We already purchased a home, and we save every month for our vacation and wedding fund.


    My parents contributed around 30k, and we are putting out the other 15k. This is not to brag, but getting married older does lend itself to being able to afford more. I will say, however, if my parents were not being so generous, we would have scaled down that cost and taken a bigger vacation instead.
    • Reply
  • Tori
    Dedicated October 2021
    Tori ·
    • Flag

    I would start saving now! FH and I opened a savings account and will be adding to it every month. This will really help. Also, DIY things if you can. Cut out certain things that may be unnecessary, like programs or favors. Go with just beer and wine, and also to cut costs on catering BBQ, Italian, or Mexican are typically your go to's.

    • Reply
  • Anna
    Dedicated November 2020
    Anna ·
    • Flag

    The good news is, it looks like you have a while to save! I think the number one easiest way to start saving is set up your direct deposit so that a certain percentage (10% is what I did, but whatever works with your budget) automatically goes into your savings account every paycheck. That way, you don't even see the money - you just start saving and forget about that extra $50 every week. That said, don't go into debt over your wedding. You're right - you can spend $15k on SO MANY things! A down payment for a house, traveling the world, cars, student loan debt, anything! It's really what's important to you.

    • Reply
  • Ally
    Dedicated June 2021
    Ally ·
    • Flag
    Budget, budget, budget! Write down all of your monthly bills and costs and include a little extra spending money (for fun and nights out, we all need those). Everything that is leftover, put into a special savings account or keep it in cash and store it somewhere safe. This is how my fiancé and I are saving. I also having been saving all my change and 1’s and 5’s ever since I started college five years ago and have over $1,000 just from that. It’s not a lot in the grand scheme of things, but it’s something! I highly suggest not starting to plan a wedding until you have a system in place to save money and know you can follow the strict budget. Set a budget and stick to it. That’s soooo important. The budget tool on this app is really helpful.


    You can also cut down on costs by making your own decorations or reusing from other brides (I see people selling their wedding decorations all the time for dirt cheap). For me personally, having an expensive dress isn’t important. Find a store that has “last season’s” dresses or display dresses, they’re often waaaaay cheaper. Use fake flowers instead of real and/or make your own bouquets/boutonnieres/centerpieces. Buffet meals tend to be cheaper than plated (from what I’ve seen) and you could make it fun and customizable by doing something like a taco bar or pasta bar with multiple options. My friend had Qudoba cater her wedding and it was delicious! Good luck!
    • Reply
  • Carlette
    Dedicated August 2020
    Carlette ·
    • Flag
    I think it is doable since your wedding is 2 years away. You both are going to have to cut back and really budget. Also list what is most important. Instead of a 1500.00 dress look for a 150.00 dress. Instead of a plated dinner, opt for buffet. If you are crafty DIY can save you tons as well. Also look for brides who are reselling items. Think a bit outside of the traditional box and you've got this. Try not to let it stress you. Good luck!
    • Reply
  • Melle
    Legend June 2019
    Melle ·
    • Flag
    You’re right. It does cost a lot and I think it boils down to it naturally costs a lot to host an event with a lot of people. But you can work with the budget you are comfortable spending but it does mean some give and take to the things you want
    • Reply
  • Day
    Dedicated July 2021
    Day ·
    • Flag
    I'm learning from my sister’s current planning. I’ve heard she’s spent upwards of $15-18,000. I’m getting married next year so I’ve taken some notes.


    Firstly, set a firm budget. We sat down and looked at our finances and gauged how much we could comfortably put aside each month. We both refused to spend more than $3000 on food, drinks, and venue; and $2000 on the rest (decor, attire, etc).
    Knowing your budget, research the most expensive thing (venue usually). I honestly spent 6 months doing this.... It seems excessive but a lot of the venues are very expensive. Steer away from typical wedding venues if you can. I found a restaurant that would provide chairs, tables, linens, set up and tear down, and transitioning the ceremony space into a reception space for cheap! $2000 food and beverage minimum plus labor and tax but without a venue fee. Because my venue is not a typical wedding location, my deposit is due a least two weeks before my wedding date (unless someone else wants that date... I’ve had the date for 3 months without a problem).
    Limit guests. Being quoted $50-60 per person meant that we needed to keep the wedding small. For one, our venue is smaller, but most importantly... $50-60 per person is a lot of money.
    DIY if you can. I’m getting my flowers from a wholesale florist. The floral arrangements themselves are easy... only three elements. My invitations, RSVPs, and Save The Dates I’ve made myself. Just need to get them printed. Most importantly, keep the decor simple because these are all items that will either sit in your closet for years to come or will be rented for a few hours.
    Wedding dresses are expensive as hell. Try dresses at the bridal shops, but I would suggest looking online at Still White or Preowned Wedding Dresses.
    Lastly, ask for help. I hate asking for money... but I know a lot of amazingly talented individuals. I’m asking one of my cousins to do my hair and makeup. My other cousin will be my photographer. Our couple’s counselor will be our officiant. Those who have offered to help us will receive a gift as a thanks.
    • Reply
  • Katie
    Savvy October 2022
    Katie ·
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    For the restaurant you have, what is the guest count your planning? Are you going to still have all the dancing and everything too or is it just dinner? Thanks for replying 😊
    • Reply
  • Gen
    Champion June 2019
    Gen ·
    • Flag
    This isn't "advice" on how to save as much as it is a comment about the cost of weddings but... so initially our budget was $10,000 and even that amount I felt nauseous about spending. It ended up at the point where, 5 months before the wedding when I recalculated how much we would be spending, it was up to $21,000. I went into a literal panic attack and called my maid of honor crying hysterically telling her I wanted to cancel and just elope. I am honestly so lucky to have this girl as my best friend lol because she totally calmed me down, told me she'd 100% support me if I ACTUALLY wanted to elope, but was that what I really wanted? She made me realize no, it wasn't, and made me remember that money can always be made again but you only get married once (theoretically, lol). We trimmed the budget down to about $18,000. Then we got WAY more no's than anticipated (98 yes's out of 148 invited, where I was expecting closer to 120-130, and budgeting for all 148) and that knocked the budget down to $16,000. Then at that point I even added a videographer and brought it back to $17,000 lol. 10 months later, I don't regret a single penny! And this is coming from someone who initially didn't even want a big wedding (I wanted 20 people on a beach, but husband talked me into a big celebration to begin with). It was truly a once in a lifetime experience and I wouldn't trade it for the world. Not to mention, we got so many gifts from our wonderfully generous families and friends, that we actually ended up getting a lot of the money we spent on the wedding back in the form of gifts. So of course, not that you can "expect" gifts like that, but keep in mind that many people are very generous with wedding gifts so realistically you WILL get some of your money "back" from gifts. Anyway, that's all I've got lol. Just throwing that in there to hopefully make you a little less anxious about what you're spending. Obviously you don't want to spend more than you can afford and it's important to budget and cut out non-essentials and such, but once you decide on an amount you can afford, try not to stress so much about the money!
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  • Day
    Dedicated July 2021
    Day ·
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    View Quoted Comment
    42 people (that includes us). We will have dancing and music with our buffet dinner. We are doing a Spotify playlist because our guest list is mostly friends and family. Though it also helps that our restaurant will allow us to use their house speaker system for our private dining room. So the cost for music is $0 for us... unless you count Spotify Premium.
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