40-Plus Brides

Is it worth it to wait and save up?

Hi, everyone,

Long-time reader, first-time poster :)

The short and sweet background: I am 40 and my fiancé is 47. This will be his first marriage and my second; we don't have any children.  He comes from a large family (5 siblings, all married with children) and I'm an only child.  He asked me if I would marry him in September and we've just started wedding planning.

I got married for the first time when I was very young (19, he was 23). We got married at city hall with 2 friends as witnesses and then the 4 of us went out to dinner.  We didn't even tell our parents until a week after.  Not exactly the nicest way to start your lives off together, pretty much alone and in secret.  It doesn't exactly set the best tone.

My fiancé and I have talked about wanting to host a party that is special and a good time for us as well as our guests, who will mostly be friends.  Our guest list is about 50 people. Food and wine are an important part of our lives and that's where we intend to spend most of our budget.

As for our budget, we originally thought $3K, but after hearing back from our first choice of vendor for space and food, I think we're looking at more like $6K (with $4K for food and wine). I feel like I'm being realistic about expenses and have even built in an small cushion for "just in case."

We were originally planning a March 2018 wedding date, but after looking at real costs, I'm thinking that we should push it out six months to September, giving us more time to save money to pay for this.

I'm wondering if any of you have had similar thoughts or experiences, where you saw your numbers, made your compromises, and decided that a longer engagement was worth it so that you could have what you wanted?

We're not in any rush, though it's unbelievably sweet (and an example of the kind of man he is) that my fiancé wants to get married sooner rather than later.  I don't want to go into a bunch of debt for this party, especially since we want to honeymoon in Italy, which is a whole other expense, but I'm trying to decide if waiting is worth it?

Thanks for your input!

Re: Is it worth it to wait and save up?

  • Thanks so much for the ideas! Our initial plan was to host dinner in the private room of our favorite restaurant (also where we had our first date), which cuts our guest list down to 40 because of space constraints and would save us money.  But we decided that hosting dinner by itself is...well, kind of boring, at least in our opinion, for us, especially because I have out of town guests who will be incurring the expense of airfare and hotel for a weekend. I feel like as hostess I need to give them more than just a 90 minute meal.  We live in a small college town and there really isn't anywhere to go after dinner other than to a bar. That's why we thought more of a party atmosphere, with heavy hors d'oeuvres, wine and beer, a DJ, and a dance floor would be nicer.
  • CMGragainCMGragain
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 25 Answers
    member
    Only you can decide what your priorities will be.

    Wedding = couple who is legally able to be married, license, officiant, witnesses.

    If you want to have guests, you need paper invitations, a place for everyone to sit, food and drink.  You might also want a wedding gown, flowers, music, and attendants, but those are optional.  DJs and dancing are not required, but if they are important to you, then you need to budget for them.

    One way to save expenses is to have a morning ceremony with a brunch/lunch reception.  Everybody gets plenty to eat, but it is more cost friendly.  Serve mimosas and wine.  Afternoon weddings can have cake and punch style receptions, often with little tea sandwiches and munchies.  I think you might find that heavy hors d'oeuvres can be expensive.
    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg

  • eyeadvise said:

    Thanks so much for the ideas! Our initial plan was to host dinner in the private room of our favorite restaurant (also where we had our first date), which cuts our guest list down to 40 because of space constraints and would save us money.  But we decided that hosting dinner by itself is...well, kind of boring, at least in our opinion, for us, especially because I have out of town guests who will be incurring the expense of airfare and hotel for a weekend. I feel like as hostess I need to give them more than just a 90 minute meal.  We live in a small college town and there really isn't anywhere to go after dinner other than to a bar. That's why we thought more of a party atmosphere, with heavy hors d'oeuvres, wine and beer, a DJ, and a dance floor would be nicer.


    Doing an event in a restaurant doesn't mean a 90 minute meal ONLY. I agree, if you're asking people to travel, a little more would be nice.

    It all depends on the space you choose and how long you book it. For example, our rehearsal dinner was at a restaurant that had a private room with a lounge/fireplace area and an area that had high tops and a bar. We booked it for 4 hours and used the entire time.
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    charlotte989875
  • lnixon8lnixon8
    500 Love Its 500 Comments Third Anniversary Name Dropper
    member
    I know this board is for brides 40 and up but I think your problem is central to anyone planning a wedding. We're planning the most expensive party of our lives. Since we haven't done it before the prices can definitely be jarring (unless you're an event planner, helped your sibling/friend plan a similar wedding...)

    Do NOT go into debt for a party. Very few of us look back on our weddings and seriously wish we had spent more on things like flowers, linens, invitations, chair covers, the dress etc. 


  • Even with a guest list under 50 and no bridal party, I totally get why wedding planning is stressful.  I appreciate your perspective and input!  I'm starting to think we should just elope and notify our friends and family with a Facebook status update LOL. 
  • My fiancee and I (age 42 & 44) weren't in a hurry but decided that the most memorable wedding would be to hold it in my home town on the old family farm during the Great American Eclipse on August 21st of this year (we are kinda space nerds). We are also holding a cocktail party with a live band in our current city the weekend after. 

    I am stressing out about the debt we are taking on to host two parties (35 guests at the mostly DIY eclipse wedding, 50-75 guests at the after party.) 

    I bought my dress online for $200. My ring is a family heirloom. His is inexpensive titanium. Bought lots of the DIY stuff (plates, silverware, linens) at WebRestaurant.com and IKEA and the hardware store (farm weddings are perfect for inexpensive mason jars!) Doing the table flowers using Costco stems. The family farm already has tables and chairs and shelter. Our biggest expenses are the photographer, acoustic guitarist, food/beverage (feeding out of town guest two catered meals and a pancake breakfast hosted by my brother), and the travel costs (hotels, renting a 12 passenger van to transport our guests as the entire region is booked up for the eclipse).

    We are having the after party at a friend's restaurant/bar and getting a really good deal. And, the live band is a friend's. We are super lucky to know talented people!  

    In all, we will spend around $10k, about half of that is going on the credit card, the rest is pay as we go in cash.

    Ask me in a year if we are still paying it off and if it was worth it! 

    If you have the time and don't have a major solar event to plan around, pushing it out a little bit and having the kind of wedding you want without debt might not be so bad. If you are good at paying off a credit card, perhaps a 6 months no interest card (like the Citi/Costco card we are using) for some of the costs would be an option.

    I don't know if this is at all helpful but, in the end, the money will come and go regardless, the memories of the wedding will last a lifetime. Enjoy the planning!!
  • CMGragainCMGragain
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 25 Answers
    member

    eyeadvise said:

    Even with a guest list under 50 and no bridal party, I totally get why wedding planning is stressful.  I appreciate your perspective and input!  I'm starting to think we should just elope and notify our friends and family with a Facebook status update LOL. 


    If you want to elope, that is certainly your decision, but to notify people on Facebook is really a bad idea, and poor etiquette.  If you do this, I guarantee some people will have hurt feelings.
    I think a restaurant or hotel with a private party room might fit your needs.  You could have the restaurants serve a fixed menu that you determine ahead of time.
    After you are married, whether in a private ceremony or a large one, it is nice to send out marriage announcement cards to people who were not invited, announcing the change of status.  This does not mean that they should send you a gift, though you might get nice cards of congratulations.

    Bride's Full Name
    and
    Groom's Full Name
    announce their marriage
    August 10, 2017
    Anytown, Iowa

    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
  • ernursejernursej
    Tenth Anniversary 1000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    member

    CMGragain said:



    eyeadvise said:


    Even with a guest list under 50 and no bridal party, I totally get why wedding planning is stressful.  I appreciate your perspective and input!  I'm starting to think we should just elope and notify our friends and family with a Facebook status update LOL. 




    If you want to elope, that is certainly your decision, but to notify people on Facebook is really a bad idea, and poor etiquette.  If you do this, I guarantee some people will have hurt feelings.
    I think a restaurant or hotel with a private party room might fit your needs.  You could have the restaurants serve a fixed menu that you determine ahead of time.
    After you are married, whether in a private ceremony or a large one, it is nice to send out marriage announcement cards to people who were not invited, announcing the change of status.  This does not mean that they should send you a gift, though you might get nice cards of congratulations.

    Bride's Full Name
    and
    Groom's Full Name
    announce their marriage
    August 10, 2017
    Anytown, Iowa




    Unpopular opinion - You don't even have to announce on Facebook that you got married. You can phone immediate family so that they know right away and then word of mouth can carry to the rest. It may not be etiquette approved, but Facebook announcements are becoming the norm. I have a friend that eloped and she announced it on Facebook after notifying her immediate family. I wasn't offended by it at all.
  • CMGragainCMGragain
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 25 Answers
    member

    ernursej said:



    CMGragain said:





    eyeadvise said:



    Even with a guest list under 50 and no bridal party, I totally get why wedding planning is stressful.  I appreciate your perspective and input!  I'm starting to think we should just elope and notify our friends and family with a Facebook status update LOL. 






    If you want to elope, that is certainly your decision, but to notify people on Facebook is really a bad idea, and poor etiquette.  If you do this, I guarantee some people will have hurt feelings.
    I think a restaurant or hotel with a private party room might fit your needs.  You could have the restaurants serve a fixed menu that you determine ahead of time.
    After you are married, whether in a private ceremony or a large one, it is nice to send out marriage announcement cards to people who were not invited, announcing the change of status.  This does not mean that they should send you a gift, though you might get nice cards of congratulations.

    Bride's Full Name
    and
    Groom's Full Name
    announce their marriage
    August 10, 2017
    Anytown, Iowa






    Unpopular opinion - You don't even have to announce on Facebook that you got married. You can phone immediate family so that they know right away and then word of mouth can carry to the rest. It may not be etiquette approved, but Facebook announcements are becoming the norm. I have a friend that eloped and she announced it on Facebook after notifying her immediate family. I wasn't offended by it at all.


    Oh, telephoning people to let them know is perfectly etiquette approved!  Letting them know on Facebook is what is wrong.  You can change your Facebook status AFTER you have told the important people in your life.
    Vistaprint can do beautiful marriage announcements very cheaply!
    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
    knottie72d6b636c9389057
  • ernursejernursej
    Tenth Anniversary 1000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    member

    @CMGragain. That was what I was advocating for. Phone the important people. If I wasn't family, I wouldn't care about a Facebook change.

    Personally, I find paper announcements to be over the top in today's world.

  • CMGragainCMGragain
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 25 Answers
    member
    edited May 30
    I have received several paper announcements from my widespread extended family over the past few years, mostly from second cousins.   They are not passe, or over the top at all!  Lots of people don't do Facebook, but everyone gets snail mail.  In the older days, people would publish their announcements in the newspaper, but now, with families so widespread, the mailed announcements do make sense, and they are traditional.  They are also cheaper than running an announcement in your newspaper.  I was horrified at what our local paper wanted to publish a simple announcement!
    Would you issue wedding invitations over Facebook?  I hope not!  That is really tacky!
    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
    JediElizabethknottie72d6b636c9389057
  • MobKazMobKaz Chicago suburbs
    5000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
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    ernursej said:

    @CMGragain. That was what I was advocating for. Phone the important people. If I wasn't family, I wouldn't care about a Facebook change.

    Personally, I find paper announcements to be over the top in today's world.



    I don't see paper announcements regarding a marriage over the top at all.  The past several years I have been inundated with graduation announcements from friends and family.  I personally would consider that announcement much more superfluous than a wedding announcement.

    Having said that, I see Facebook as the worst possible, least efficient, and tackiest way to make any announcement. Not everyone will necessarily see the Facebook announcement on their news feed.  When I check FB, I basically glance at my news feed.  I rarely actually check on anyone's actual "page".  At the very least, send some sort of e-announcement or email over a Facebook post.
    CMGragainknottie72d6b636c9389057
  • lovesclimbinglovesclimbing Alaska
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    member

    MobKaz said:



    ernursej said:


    @CMGragain. That was what I was advocating for. Phone the important people. If I wasn't family, I wouldn't care about a Facebook change.

    Personally, I find paper announcements to be over the top in today's world.





    I don't see paper announcements regarding a marriage over the top at all.  The past several years I have been inundated with graduation announcements from friends and family.  I personally would consider that announcement much more superfluous than a wedding announcement.

    Having said that, I see Facebook as the worst possible, least efficient, and tackiest way to make any announcement. Not everyone will necessarily see the Facebook announcement on their news feed.  When I check FB, I basically glance at my news feed.  I rarely actually check on anyone's actual "page".  At the very least, send some sort of e-announcement or email over a Facebook post.


    All of this. I think a Facebook announcement is fine for acquaintances and people who you're basically Facebook friends with and nothing more. But any family or friends who you interact with at all outside of Facebook deserve a call or mailed announcement or I'd say at the least email. Facebook is just a blast to anyone you happen to be friends with on FB. At least with email, you have to put a little thought into it to look up and type in their email. 

    CMGragain




  • MobKaz said:





    ernursej said:



    @CMGragain. That was what I was advocating for. Phone the important people. If I wasn't family, I wouldn't care about a Facebook change.

    Personally, I find paper announcements to be over the top in today's world.







    I don't see paper announcements regarding a marriage over the top at all.  The past several years I have been inundated with graduation announcements from friends and family.  I personally would consider that announcement much more superfluous than a wedding announcement.

    Having said that, I see Facebook as the worst possible, least efficient, and tackiest way to make any announcement. Not everyone will necessarily see the Facebook announcement on their news feed.  When I check FB, I basically glance at my news feed.  I rarely actually check on anyone's actual "page".  At the very least, send some sort of e-announcement or email over a Facebook post.




    All of this. I think a Facebook announcement is fine for acquaintances and people who you're basically Facebook friends with and nothing more. But any family or friends who you interact with at all outside of Facebook deserve a call or mailed announcement or I'd say at the least email. Facebook is just a blast to anyone you happen to be friends with on FB. At least with email, you have to put a little thought into it to look up and type in their email. 


    You're absolutely right here, but can I just say: It's sad that finding someone's email and adding it to a group letter is an acceptable amount of personalization these days? It's like a race to the bottom in good relationship building/maintenance. 
    CMGragainknottie72d6b636c9389057
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