Budget Weddings Forum

Family money issues.

I am seven months pregnant trying to plan a wedding for March 25, 2017. My fiance and his family want "something nice" that would loosely cost 15k - 20k. My family is somewhat traditional and wants to pay for my wedding, however really only have an 8k budget. The only decisions that have been made are that we are having the wedding/reception on my aunt's 2 acre property. At this point, I am at a loss with one: how to please both sides of my family by having a "nice" backyard wedding for 8,000 dollars and two: reconcile with myself that it's not about what I want. What I want is to elope, period. All of my meager paycheck is going to prepare for the baby, and I don't really have the funds to provide anything. Help, please. 

Re: Family money issues.

  • CMGragainCMGragain member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    edited July 2016
    I have a cousin who had two children with her FI before they decided to get married in a simple courthouse ceremony.  Immediate family only attended.  I heard that it was lovely.  She wore a pastel colored suit which she has worn many times since then.  Very sensible and beautiful, too.
    Sure, she used to dream about a big wedding, but reality spoke louder than her childhood dreams.  They are very happy, and have since had a third child.
  • thisismynickname2thisismynickname2 City By The Lake member
    5000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    It sounds like your family is paying for a wedding, and the budget is 8k. They who pay have a say. Not that it's not about you, but if your family is paying, at least that takes the stress off you financially.
    Ideally, your family will take you and your FI's wants into account in making the decisions. You can have a lovely wedding for $8k!  Let us know if you want tips for stretching that money as far as it can go (i.e. a small guest list, afternoon event with the proverbial cake and punch, or brunch wedding, etc.)

    I hope your FI is accepting of this budget and isn't giving in to his parents' pressure to do something outside of the budget. First and foremost you both need to be happy with the plan. 

  • kaos16kaos16 member
    Knottie Warrior 500 Love Its 1000 Comments First Answer
    lnixon8 said:
    As someone that had a reception on family property, do not think that you are saving money. By the time you rent tents, walls/heaters/air condtioning to make the tent comfortable, fancy porta potties, tables, chairs, floors etc... you may be spending well over what you would spend at a restaraunt or community center. Good luck!

    Agreed!  We actually decided against getting married on my family farm because it was cost prohibitive.  It ended up being less expensive to do an all-inclusive venue nearby.
  • As PP's have mentioned you need to do what makes you and FI happy.  It sounds like your folks want to pay for a very lovely wedding.  As is always said he who pays gets a say.  If you don't like their plans, you can certainly decline their money and get eloped.

    That said, I will echo others about the unexpected costs of using someone's home.  I would say stop there for photos or maybe have an informal gathering there later if you really like the space and want to honor their offer, but a more "traditional" venue may be better suited.

    Some great Ways to save: Smaller guest list, skip or minimalize the Bridal Party (fewer gifts and such), avoid meal times if possible (2PM and 7PM), choose a restaurant or non-traditional venue, catering can be done cheap with BBQ, Italian or Mexican food from a local business, go with sheet cakes over a fancy wedding cake, skip the favors (no one misses them), minimalize your flowers or use non-floral (or no!) centerpieces, etc. 

    As long as everyone you invite is properly hosted (chairs for every butt, comfortable room, enough food for the time of day) you should be fine.  I've been to three wedding done for your budget or less, two were fantastic and one was horribly planned...read these boards and you'll be just fine :)

  • Ditto everyone who has pointed out that a backyard/family property wedding is unlikely to be a budget-friendly choice.  It sounds good on the surface, but when you consider the fact that *everything* has to be rented/brought in you wind up in a death-by-a-thousand-cuts situation.  It would almost certainly be more economical to utilize a space that is already configured to do events.  VFWs, community centers, and mid-tier hotels are often great for budget weddings.  

    With that said: if you want to elope, do it!  Your friends and family will get over it.  Really they will.  They may be sad that they don't get to see you on your wedding day, but in the end the marriage is far more important than the wedding anyway.
  • Congrats on your pregnancy and engagement. Two very exciting experiences!

    First, spend time with your FI figuring out things that are important to the two of you. This is couple's only time and does not include considering what FI's family wants or what your family wants. Once you have an idea of the things that are important to the two of you, decide on a budget. If you can't afford anything besides someone to officiate, go with just that and elope. If you have the funds for something more ... go ahead and add on. Do not accept money for either side as those that pay, get a say. If you need more time to save up for something more than just eloping, allow for more time.

    No is not a four letter word and can be very empowering.

    Greenjinjo OurWildKingdom
  • The wedding is about you. If you take anyone's money, those people can control how it's used. So you'll have to come to a mutual understanding regarding how that sits with you. Don't consider how reasonable or laid back about how your family members normally are. Weddings change people... we've seen many situations where parents get controlling to the point where the couple prefers to elope to escape the drama.

    Eloping, a small ceremony, or pushing the date out are options too. 

    I'll echo a little bit about "saving money" with a home venue as well from my own experience. My uncle offered up his gorgeous property on the lake for our wedding. It really is a perfect spot and we could instantly see how it would play out in our minds regarding where we'd say our vows and pitch the tent etc... 

    However, things quickly added up! Rentals: chairs (for ceremony and reception), tents, dance floor, portable bathrooms (not portapotties), heaters for the tents, dishes etc...   Caterer and their staff, plus tax and tip... and then, help! Who's going to set all of these things up, clean up after, and then get everything returned to the rental company or ready for pick up? I sure didn't want to ask anyone to do those things and I didn't want to deal with it on my wedding night either. Additionally, you'd want to consider a day of wedding coordinator to make sure everything goes smoothly. 

    I had an enormous spreadsheet detailing every expense and detail and it stressed me the heck out. As everything tallied $, I decided I should at least look into venues and I found a venue that saved me thousands. The food cost was comparable, and they were willing to negotiate a little on site fees since they already owned all of the equipment. A coordinator was included too. 

    I did need to cut down some of my guest list, but I saved about $4k otherwise and had a fairly worry-free event that I didn't have to burden anyone else with.


    You'll never be subject to a cash bar, gap, potluck wedding, or b-list if you marry a Muppet Overlord.
  • I'll disagree a little with the other PPs in regards to a backyard wedding.  It can be a very cheap choice, it really just depends on the situation.  I had a wedding like that at my mom/stepdad's house for around $5K.  And we could have done it substantially cheaper if we'd gone simpler on the flowers and didn't hire a photog.

    The "rain" option was to use the house instead.  Which may not be an option for you at your aunt's...then you'd be looking at a tent rental.  Guests could use the bathrooms at the house, so no porta potty rentals needed.  There were already 3-4 tables in the area.  We did need a few more tables and fold out chairs.  I'm not sure where my mom got them from, though I don't think she rented them.  But that would be potentially another rental cost, depending on how much was needed.

    We had the food and a signature cocktail brought in by a local restaurant (provided the rest of the beverages ourselves for a few hundred bucks).  I think the food/sig cost was $15/person...but I'm sure we could have found something just as good for cheaper, my mom just especially likes that particular restaurant.

    It's definitely a good idea to compare costs between a wedding at your aunt's and a more all-inclusive place.  Like anything else, the number of people you are inviting very much affects your cost...even for a backyard wedding.  I specifically kept my guest list under 40 because, if I'd gone above that, my mom's house would not have been an option anymore.

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