Budget Weddings Forum

Small Wedding Due to Money

Hi all!

I'm newly engaged and really excited to join the married community!  I need some outside advice though, because my family is obviously biased for having a big wedding.  My fiancé wants whatever I want, so he is also no help lol.  Here is my dilemma.  I would love to have the large wedding of my dreams, with all of the pretty little details and farmhouse tables (everything is pretty much planned, I even have my invites picked out), but I can't justify spending thousands of dollars for one day, when I still have student loans, we don't own a home and I still have a crappy car.  All in all, a bigger wedding of my dreams wouldn't cost that much (around $12,500 - not including a honeymoon), at least compared to the American average, but that amount could dissolve most of my student loans, it could get me a more reliable car, or be apart of a down payment towards a house.  Saving up the money also isn't the problem, especially since we have set a date for September 2020.  I think if I had 2 of the 3 things listed taken care of, then I wouldn't even blink and eye and I would just move forward with my dream wedding.  My mother-in-law and her sister keep saying, "if it's only because of money, then that's not a good reason to not have the wedding of your dreams."  But again, it's not that we can't afford it.  It comes down to where that money will be the most use for us.  Either we use it for a wedding that lasts for one day and is really for our guests than for us, or being able to use it to pay off my loans or make a real estate investment.  I'm extremely torn.  I don't want our wedding to be about the money and ultimately I just want to be married to my best friend.  As long as our closest friends and family are there, I'll be happy, but I also get a excited when I think about all of the wedding planning and details for a larger wedding.  HELP!!!!  

Re: Small Wedding Due to Money

  • Hi all!

    I'm newly engaged and really excited to join the married community!  I need some outside advice though, because my family is obviously biased for having a big wedding.  My fiancé wants whatever I want, so he is also no help lol.  Here is my dilemma.  I would love to have the large wedding of my dreams, with all of the pretty little details and farmhouse tables (everything is pretty much planned, I even have my invites picked out), but I can't justify spending thousands of dollars for one day, when I still have student loans, we don't own a home and I still have a crappy car.  All in all, a bigger wedding of my dreams wouldn't cost that much (around $12,500 - not including a honeymoon), at least compared to the American average, but that amount could dissolve most of my student loans, it could get me a more reliable car, or be apart of a down payment towards a house.  Saving up the money also isn't the problem, especially since we have set a date for September 2020.  I think if I had 2 of the 3 things listed taken care of, then I wouldn't even blink and eye and I would just move forward with my dream wedding.  My mother-in-law and her sister keep saying, "if it's only because of money, then that's not a good reason to not have the wedding of your dreams."  But again, it's not that we can't afford it.  It comes down to where that money will be the most use for us.  Either we use it for a wedding that lasts for one day and is really for our guests than for us, or being able to use it to pay off my loans or make a real estate investment.  I'm extremely torn.  I don't want our wedding to be about the money and ultimately I just want to be married to my best friend.  As long as our closest friends and family are there, I'll be happy, but I also get a excited when I think about all of the wedding planning and details for a larger wedding.  HELP!!!!  
    Congrats on your engagement & welcome! 

    I think this is one of the harder parts of wedding planning. Even though your FI says he wants whatever you want, I think having a more in depth conversation about your financial goals and how a wedding fits in is super important. 

    Also, there are tons of ways to budget/save/reuse/buy used for a wedding to save money, if that’s what you decide you want, but ultimately you two have to decide how much you are comfortable spending on a party where you get married. And this number is different for every couple and that’s okay! 
    OurWildKingdomshort+sassy
  • OurWildKingdomOurWildKingdom in the 216 member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 5 Answers
    Echoing PPs — sit down and talk with your FI about your financial goals. 

    FWIW, my wedding cost around $2,000 total and I’m very glad we did it that way. I just wish we had done it sooner.
    short+sassy
  • Congrats on your engagement!  

    I'm admittedly biased toward smaller weddings and saving the cash for other things.  FWIW, that was what I did and had an amazing day.  It was still fun to plan.  One thing that is nice about a smaller wedding is I was able to spend more time with each guest.

    But there is nothing wrong with your "dream" wedding plans either.  Or somewhere in the middle.  Especially since you won't have to go into debt for it.  However, if you go this option, make sure it is because this is what you and your FI want to do.  Don't do it just for the guests or because you all feel an obligation to invite XYZ people.

    And especially not because your family and/or his family want a big wedding.  If they aren't ponying up any dough, then they don't get to spend your all's money on the event they want.

    A wedding is a joyful and momentous occasion.  But it's going to have those elements whether a couple spends $100 or $100K.  And after the wedding is over, the marriage starts.  That is the best and most important part.  
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    OurWildKingdomdowntondiva
  • MyNameIsNotMyNameIsNot Atlanta member
    Knottie Warrior 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    edited March 2019
    Duplicate post  
  • MyNameIsNotMyNameIsNot Atlanta member
    Knottie Warrior 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    edited March 2019
    Nothing to see here
  •  I still have student loans, we don't own a home and I still have a crappy car.  
    This is your concern, right here. Money is one of the biggest reasons why some marriages don't make it. Spending money you don't really have on a wedding might be a cause of friction once that wedding is a distant memory and you find yourself needing a new car to get to work.

    Unless someone else is paying for this, I'd keep the wedding low key and focus on setting the marriage up for success. 
    OurWildKingdomshort+sassy
  • First - the "Wedding of your Dreams" should be ONLY about the person you're marrying to grow old together with, not the "stuff" factor.  Fancy tables in the bridal magazines are a "stuff" factor.  Whether you spend $13k or $400, you're still equally married.  Step away from the bridal magazines, google wedding searches, and realize that it's about the marriage and not the wedding.  Instead of focusing on the "stuff" factor about the wedding of your dreams, focus on the faces of your guests having a great time and you having fun regardless of the venue being a local community center/KC/Lion's/Restaurant Event room or the Enchanted Fairy Unicorn barn that was out of your budget.  Think about the logistics of those "rustic" tables and sure they make great pictures, but functionally, can be a PITA.  

    There is a "Happy Middle" if you budget things properly, just know that planning a wedding and a marriage involve tons of compromise.  That said, you can still have a properly hosted event for a large group and still maintain a tight budget without resorting to DIY (which doesn't save much if any money when you add up all the nickels and dimes, however there are things to DIY that will save you tons such as a veil vs. the cost at a bridal shop, etc.).  You just need to set your priorities and think about your guest's experience vs. bridal blinders!
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    OurWildKingdom
  • Congrats on your engagement!! Your wedding is all about YOU.  Do what you want, and what is in the best interest for your future.   

    My fiance and I chose to have a small wedding for the same reasons.  We decided on inviting parents, grandparents, and siblings.  That way we weren't left cutting specific people out and only inviting this aunt, but not that aunt.  No feelings will be hurt.  We are both in grad school and will both graduate with a lot of student loans.  Plus we own a house and will both need new cars in the next couple years.  Most of our family is understanding that we are still in school and all that, too. 

    We are getting married in September and will invite a total of 35 people.  We are having our ceremony at a scenic outdoor spot in Colorado (we are from Chicago) and a reception in a nearby house we rented on Airbnb.  We are having a private chef at the house cook our reception dinner, so it will be a nice intimate setting.  

    In order to incorporate our aunts, uncles, and cousins, we are having a "celebration party" about two months after our wedding so the rest of our family can acknowledge our marriage and feel included in the celebrations.  For this, will will have a large party at a restaurant so we can invite everyone and offer a buffet dinner (most likely ordered off the restaurants party tray/catering menu).
  • Sit with your fiancee and you both go over your wedding expenses. Just you and him, no family member ( they can confuse the heck out of you). Know what you want to do , if you have a big guest list , start with your family, close close friends and everyone else is an associate, they can go on the waiting list, when someone cancel, then add the closest person on the list. Keep in mind the higher your guest list the more cash you will be dishing out. Figure out your personal cost (ex: bride and groom garment, grooming, rings, transportation to the church etc) also what you want for your ceremony and the budget you want to work with, and do the same for the reception. Take everything into account, and come up with a budget, and delete anything that is NOT necessary. You both want your planning to be stress free and after all the celebration you both still have a life to live. All the best.
  • kostenannkostenann member
    Second Anniversary First Comment
    edited February 2020
    My best friend was in a very similar situation. In the end, she and her now-husband chose to go to the "rec center, subway, and iPod" route. They found a clubhouse with a covered outdoor area and bocce ball and Fazoli's (Italian) catered for like $5 a plate. It wasn't super fancy, but it was nice. We all had to work a little on DIY projects like invitations, RSVP but together we were able to pull off a very nice wedding on a budget surrounded by their closest friends and family.
    She was worried that it wasn't going to be "the wedding of her dreams," but in the end, they had a fantastic wedding and say they wouldn't change it for anything.
  • Saving money for your wedding is a good idea. Many people comment that it's better to put a down payment on a house.
  • edited October 2020
    Congratulations on your engagement! I

    First of all, I want you to be clear about your dream wedding for better understanding. What kind of venue you want? Do you want destination wedding? What's your budget?  I think you should discuss with your fiancé about your dream wedding.

    I think money is not a major problem. You can go for wedding loans even if you have a bad credit score.

    The problem I see is that your fiancé' seems less interested in planning about your dream wedding. 

    Discuss with him. All the best! 
  • For me, the budget defines the possibilities. A wedding shouldn't lead you into financial debt
  • Follow these tips for minimizing your wedding budget.
    1. Avoid guest list bloat.
    2. Ask for wedding help instead of wedding gifts.
    3. Hold the ceremony at home, or outdoors.
    4. Do the catering yourself, or hire a family-owned restaurant.
    5. Go minimal with the flowers.

  • My wedding is planned in 2021. I would prefer a small one, up to 50 people
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