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Budget Weddings

Need advice please. Long...sorry in advance.

I've been so confused and at a total loss of what to do lately.  This might be long, so I apologize in advance.

My FI and I have been engaged for 3 years now.  Long story short....we got engaged in January 2012 when we were living in Michigan.  3 months later, we moved to Arizona for FI's job.  Skip to 1.5 years later in Sept 2013, we moved to North Carolina for FI's job again.  We are still in the same place.

Because of moving a few times, as well as the fact that we were VERY financially irresponsible for about 3 years, we managed to accumulate a ton of debt.  We stopped spending and carried the balances for 2 years, then April 2014 I made a budget and we have been trying to heavily pay everything off.  I like the idea of starting our marriage debt free.

My issue....is that I am sick of waiting, I just want to be married to him!! I don't want to wait any longer.  We have a little in savings that I set aside before, and by messing with my budget and putting only minimums towards our debt for the next couple months, we can manage to have $6500 saved for a wedding by August of this year.  I thought this was great, as we were hoping to go up to Michigan around then for a short visit.

Our original guest list was around 140 people.  We managed to cut it down to about 95 people. I thought of doing a brunch reception instead of dinner, using an ipod instead of a DJ, and checking out restaurants instead of an actual banquet hall/venue.  Restaurants are already decorated, so I could add a little touch and save on decorations as well.  I presented this idea to my mom (she or my aunt were going to scope a few places out & skype me while getting tours), and she basically told me that I was "being cheap, this is one of the biggest days of your life.  Decorating and putting ideas together is one of the most fun parts and you're just being cheap!"  She also yelled at me when I scaled back on our guest list, saying "these are all good people, they deserve to be there, they helped me through a very tough time!" (they were mostly previous co-workers of hers that I have not seen in at least 10 years). 

I'm getting frustrated with trying to figure this out, and I am sick of everyone asking us if we ever are going to get there, why aren't we married yet, what could be taking this long, do we have cold feet?, what was the point in getting engaged, blah blah blah.

So I guess what I'm asking is, if you were in my shoes, what would you do??  Would you try to plan a wedding for August on a small budget then continue paying debt after and just ignore what everyone says until then, or would you bite the bullet to pay off debt first and forget planning until that is taken care of?

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Re: Need advice please. Long...sorry in advance.

  • Decide which is most important - debt free or wedding. I'd ignore your mom, if she's not paying for it then who cares if she thinks it is cheap, do what works best for you guys. You can do budget friendly and still be nice though I do think being out of town and planning it might be tough if your mom or other boots on the ground people aren't on the same page as you.

    We are not in your financial position but decided on a small wedding (75 people tops) and keeping it around 7k. We could have it twice that size but didn't want it. I'm being budget concious because I don't see the point in spending 15-20K on a wedding even though we could afford it.
  • ShesSoColdShesSoCold bend over and I'll show ya mod
    Moderator 5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its
    OP, there is no right or wrong answer here. What worked for me or someone else, might not work for you. 

    H and I weren't exactly smart with money and had gotten ourselves into a little bit of credit card debt. Not a ton, but too much to pay off within a month or two or six. But having a ceremony and reception with family was important to us. We were engaged and actively saving for two years so we'd have time to pay off our debt also. We didn't want to start our marriage in debt and having failed at combining finances previously, we didn't want the added issue of the debt when we tried again. 

    We were able to pay for the wedding in full and pay off our debt at about the same time. We were at zero when we got married. We hadn't planned on it (and no one should EVER plan on gifts) but our guests were very generous and that allowed us the emergency fund we'd never had before. 

    But we invited 35 people and had dinner and drinks at a restaurant. No DJ, no florist, no outside vendors other than the (budget) photographer. I bought my dress off the rack and H wore a suit he already had. It wasn't the huge blowout people think of but it was awesome. 

    But you and your FI need to figure out what's best for you. Not your mom, not her former coworkers, not your neighbors or internet strangers. You. 

    Good luck! Stick around - this board (and all of 'em, really) are really great at helping with budgets and have great advice. 
    Image result for someecard betting someone half your shit youll love them forever
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  • I'd grab my fiancé, walk down to the courthouse ASAP, and get fucking married already! Just go do it- waiting for August sets you up for months and months of drama.
    Dreamergirl8812smam00
  • Honestly, what would make you happy? If you're more interested in being married sooner rather than later then I'd just do a JOB thing and make it an intimate moment between the two of you with whatever trimmings you feel would add to the romance of the day.

    If you feel like you'd really be sad later if you didn't have more of a "traditional" wedding then I'd wait until you could really afford whatever kind of wedding would make you happy and invite whomever you feel is appropriate to be there. If your mom isn't going to help pay for these festivities then she doesn't get to dictate what kind of event you have or who attends. This isn't her day, nor is it her marriage. It's yours and you deserve to do things in a way that celebrates the relationship you and your FI have built together.
    smam00
  • blabla89blabla89 Atlanta member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its Name Dropper
    There is nothing wrong with just going to the courthouse and getting yourselves married, or eloping. There's also nothing wrong with having a small, intimate wedding with only your nearest and dearest. No one other than you, your fiance and your officiant is entitled to an invitation, so don't get caught up in the guest list guilt. The good thing about paying for the wedding yourselves is that no one else gets a say in planning, so just don't talk to your mom about it anymore. Another option is to do a very small/private ceremony right away and then throw a big "We're Married!" party with all your friends and family, once you've had time to pay off more debt and save up to host it. This is a totally acceptable option as long as you don't re-enact any wedding traditions (no wedding dress, ceremonial cake cutting, spotlight dances, etc.)

    We can't tell you what the best option for you and your FI is. It really depends on your relationship and finances, so I suggest you two take a long look at it together and make the decision that is best for you.
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    smam00
  • Do what works for you. A brunch even sounds lovely, or even an afternoon cake & punch reception (as long as you put that is what it will be on invite). As for your mom, telling you that you are being cheap, you just need to tell her, that this is what you can comfortably afford to do with the budget you've worked up for yourselves. And for people when they ask why you haven't tied the knot yet, tell the truth that with moving around for jobs & trying to get settled, planning a wedding got put on the back burner.
    smam00
  • JennyColadaJennyColada Awesometown, CA member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary First Answer

    Personally, a big lavish wedding was never of interest to me. Our wedding included 4 guests, which was perfect for us.

    So, I'm biased, but I'd totally choose a smaller (cheaper) wedding now and working on debt together versus waiting and STILL having a smaller (cheaper) wedding due to lack of wedding savings.

    And I totally approve of the small intimate family style wedding. But again, biased.

    smam00
  • jenna8984jenna8984 clam bakes & patriots member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Second Anniversary First Answer

    Personally, a big lavish wedding was never of interest to me. Our wedding included 4 guests, which was perfect for us.

    So, I'm biased, but I'd totally choose a smaller (cheaper) wedding now and working on debt together versus waiting and STILL having a smaller (cheaper) wedding due to lack of wedding savings.

    And I totally approve of the small intimate family style wedding. But again, biased.



    Agreed!

    We had a great wedding in a restaurant with 21 guests. I wasn't on a super strict budget so I spent kind of a lot on my dress and decorations but the actual food and necessary items only came to $1500. There is no reason that your parents, grandparents, siblings, few best friends can't be there.

                                                                     

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    smam00
  • levioosalevioosa Southern California member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
    PPs have made some great points.  I do want to emphasize though that if this is a destination wedding for your guests, you probably should provide a meal.  A cake and punch reception can be lovely, but I honestly don't think it's enough if you have many guests traveling in from across the country.

    You and your FI need to sit down and decide what matters to you.  If your mom is not paying, she doesn't get a say.  Stop sharing any wedding details with her, and if she says anything about them, change the subject and let her know the topic is closed.  A budget wedding is totally possible, and can be just as beautiful as a big fancy shindig.  What matters is that you and your FI will be married.  You don't owe anyone a big fancy wedding. If getting married at the JOP right now is what floats your boat, then go get married!  I do get the feeling though that you want some sort of "traditional" wedding.  If you do choose a JOP now, just remember that you can't reenact the wedding later when you have more money.  You can throw a "come celebrate our marriage!" party, but don't do vows, the dress, spotlight dances, etc. 


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    smam00
  • We plan on sitting down and discussing everything once FI is home in 2 weeks, he has been out of town for work.  I've taken on another job, so that will definitely help things.

    I did want a "traditional" wedding, and I had/am having a difficult time of letting go of my luxury "dream", but I'm getting there and I realize less can be more.  Marrying my guy and properly hosting our guests are the most important things of all of this, and like @jacques27 said, everything else is optional.

    Thanks all for your advice!!

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  • JennyColadaJennyColada Awesometown, CA member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary First Answer

    I think that you'll be surprised at how your wedding "vision" can change with reality.

    I mean, most of my life I just figured that I'd have a big wedding because that's how it's "done". I mean, I wasn't really excited about it, but I just never really thought of another option. Then I met DH and we discussed having a small wedding with just our parents as our guests, and I was SO excited. We had so much versatility and we were able to have our wedding EXACTLY how we wanted: I got the dress I wanted, we got flowers done how we wanted, we got a fucking FABULOUS menu, and an incredible venue. Honestly, I'd never even considered dreaming about our real wedding, and it is a billion times better than anything I'd imagined before.

    I think once you get into the realities of planning and in making your marriage real then you'll be excited no matter what the event looks like.

    smam00jenna8984levioosacjpr615
  • I think that your idea sounds great, your budget, brunch, less guests, restaurants are typically beautifully decorated so there's nothing wrong with that.

    And as for your mom, ignore her. I disagree with her saying that people should be at *YOUR* wedding because of her own reasons, and it's rude of her to call you cheap. If she has an issue with this then she can pay for your wedding. It's your wedding, you decide who you want there, and how much money you're going to spend. I like your idea, and if you love it then great! 
    smam00
  • First problem - you're having issues with how to keep a 140 person guest list under $6000...  As others mentioned, it costs $80 to get married...  Now, realize that if you have it where you're at it becomes a DW, thus fewer people will show. 

    1) KOC/VFW/Lion's halls all offer lots of options to keep things on a budget.

    2) Your choice of meal determines your catering budget, most caterers offer a 2-piece basic chicken dinner for under $20/pp...  $20x120+tip = ~$2800... 

    3) You don't need to overspend on a gown!  $600 after alterations, DIY the veil or purchase a premade one for $15.. 

    4) Flowers - Sam's Club or $500 to your local to the venue florist with a laundry list of what you need - the more flex you give them with a basic set of details the better.

    5) DJ - play list or splurge for a few hours with a small local guy. 

    6) Your Mom is insisting on inviting these people, then she PAYS for these people!  Until you have cash in hand (thank you WW board), they don't have an invite..

    7) The etiquette boards would hate me, but Cash bar...  Pay for the non-alcoholic beverages and maybe a keg, above that, you've met your obligation of providing something to drink for your guests.  If they come over to your house and all you have is soda, no one is going to complain if they have to go purchase something they want to drink instead...

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  • MesmrEwe said:

    First problem - you're having issues with how to keep a 140 person guest list under $6000...  As others mentioned, it costs $80 to get married...  Now, realize that if you have it where you're at it becomes a DW, thus fewer people will show. 

    1) KOC/VFW/Lion's halls all offer lots of options to keep things on a budget.

    2) Your choice of meal determines your catering budget, most caterers offer a 2-piece basic chicken dinner for under $20/pp...  $20x120+tip = ~$2800... 

    3) You don't need to overspend on a gown!  $600 after alterations, DIY the veil or purchase a premade one for $15.. 

    4) Flowers - Sam's Club or $500 to your local to the venue florist with a laundry list of what you need - the more flex you give them with a basic set of details the better.

    5) DJ - play list or splurge for a few hours with a small local guy. 

    6) Your Mom is insisting on inviting these people, then she PAYS for these people!  Until you have cash in hand (thank you WW board), they don't have an invite..

    7) The etiquette boards would hate me, but Cash bar...  Pay for the non-alcoholic beverages and maybe a keg, above that, you've met your obligation of providing something to drink for your guests.  If they come over to your house and all you have is soda, no one is going to complain if they have to go purchase something they want to drink instead...

    This is terrible advice. I would be incredibly embarrased as a host if someone came over and said, "What you're offering me sucks, I'm going out to buy my own stuff. Be back soon." And as a guest, I could never imagine telling someone who invite me to their house something along those lines. I'd graciously say accept and say thank you to whatever they had or I just wouldn't drink anything at all. WTF?
    charcoalandblushsmam00[Deleted User]
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