Wedding Etiquette Forum

SO: Did you "break even"?

I was actually wondering about this with the "how much did your wedding cost" thread, but then the thread about the bride who hopes she gets at least the cost of each guest's plate back really made me want to ask.

Do people who pay for their own weddings expect to break even or even make a profit from their wedding?  I guess if people have parents paying for it, it's all pure, sweet profit.  If you paid for all or part of your wedding:  did you break even? 

Re: SO: Did you "break even"?

  • Profit = value of gifts?

  • Call me crazy, but I never looked at a wedding as something to profit from.
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  • I didn't expect to, no.  Did I?  Not even close, but we didn't want gifts at all.

    I have trouble considering gifts given as "profit."  Even at Christmas or my birthday, it's not profit.  What an awful way to look at it.

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  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
    Hell NO.    I do not even know how that is possible anyway.  don't get me wrong, we did get a lot of cash, but not enough to even be close to covering the plate. 

    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
  • I never looked at my wedding as a profit.
  • Ha.  Not even close.
  • I never even considered totalling up the cost of our gifts and cash to figure that out.  I mean it never once crossed my mind.  I know as far as cash goes, no way we came close to "paying back" the wedding.  In my area though, typical gifts are only $50-100, not hundreds like people in NY say it is.
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  • In Response to <a href="">Re: SO: Did you "break even"?</a>:
    [QUOTE]Call me crazy, but I never looked at a wedding as something to profit from.
    Posted by salt78[/QUOTE]

  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
    Even for arguement sake you did get gifts that covered your plate.  What about the cost of the venue, bar, flowers, transportation, attire, accesories, favors, cake, photographer, linens.  Well you get the point.  It's not even possible to 'break even' by just 'covering your plate'.  If you think you will, you will be disappointed the day after the wedding.

    The only way you might be able to 'make a profit' is if mommy and daddy paid everything, so there was no out of pocket expense by the bride and groom.

    For most of us that was not the case.

    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
  • Obviously, not married yet, but I don't expect to make back the money we're going to spend on the wedding.  Like others, it never really crossed my mind. 
  • Okay, so I'm not insanely naive or anything, because even typing that out seemed really crass.  I wondered if I was just being overly uptight.
  • No, but that also never crossed my mind.  We also had a big snowstorm the day of our wedding and some of our guests couldn't make it so in that case, definitely not. 
  • I haven't had my wedding yet, but I'm not expecting to and it never crossed my mind to think that.  If it had, I would be having a cash bar, appetizers only and charging admission at the door.
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  • Quite frankly, I don't think this even crossed my mind. In fact, the only thing I wanted was to have all our friends and family there to celebrate with us, gifts were just a bonus really.
  • I wouldn't even know what to do with $15K worth of gifts, which is my wedding budget.  Given that I'm trying to keep the registry reasonable so no one goes broke, that would be a stupid amount of gifts.  I don't have the storage.
  • CellesCelles member
    2500 Comments Combo Breaker
    edited February 2010
    Well.  If I add a modest mark-up to the cash bar, charge for a photo booth (a nominal amount unless I pose with them; pictures with The Bride should go for a nice premium!), and ask the DJ to solicit donations in return for requests...  then yes, I should be able to make a tidy profit. 
  • I'm glad I'm not alone in thinking that gifts =/= profits.

    I have no idea how much all of our gifts combined were, but I doubt they were as much as we spend on the wedding in total. If you're talking about the PITA people that come here and say that people should bring a gift that'll "cover their plate" I really have no idea.

  • Basically what Dani said.
  • I have no intention of expecting that my costs will be covered. That's not why I'm having a wedding.

    And also, before we all get lumped together, not everybody who has their wedding in NY/NJ is a moneygrubbing hoar. Maybe that's true of some circles, but there are plenty of people who were raised right.
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  • edited February 2010
    We were close to "breaking even" (although I hate how that sounds), but were absolutely blown away by the generousity of friends and family. One of my friends had a wedding a few years back and spent upwards of $65,000, rationalizing the whole way that by inviting 300 people, she'd make it back. Yeaaah....didn't happen. Sucks to have debt from your wedding in the five-figures.
  • I'm not married yet, but that thought has never entered my mind. I had a friend a couple weeks ago ask about invites and what friends are coming. He then made the comment that "You should only invite people that will give you a gift." I was appalled by that. I mean, yes, in theory, people should bring a gift. But I'm not going to be spotchecking people to find out if they did indeed bring a gift. I'm more excited to have the people that mean the most of to me to be there to share the day.

    ....but wedding presents are sweet.
  • JessandTrav - this thread makes me feel a lot better about humanity in general. 

  • Yeah, this didn't cross my mind either. WHat kind of a concept is that? If you were supposed to break even, then just go to the JOP and save everyone the cash exchange.
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  • I think that the "cover your plate" theory kind of goes hand-in-hand with social circles and cultures where cash gifts are the norm. I've heard of Chinese, Indian and Italian weddings where the bride and groom broke even, or made a "profit". I've also heard my parents say that they try to guess at the price per head and add some sort of fudge factor. Yes I think it's crass, and I would never dream of proclaiming this as an "etiquette" thing... but some people really do think it's practical.

    I did expect to receive cash gifts as this is the norm in my circle, but I didn't expect or hope that it would equal or surpass the amount of money I spent on the wedding; nor did I rely on this money to pay for the wedding.
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  • No, and let me tell you, it was a real biitch putting together invoices to send to all our guests who came up short.
  • no way am going to break even, dont even care and if you plan a wedding with that in mind, its just dumb. My parents and I are splitting 65K down the midding and invited pp...even if everyone gave 100, which is normal in Boston area at least, still wont cover it.

    who cares, thats not the point of a wedding
  • DH and I were lucky in that our families paid for a lot of the wedding - almost all of it in fact.  So yes, we "profited" at the end since we didnt' have bills and our guests gave generously.

    However I'm fairly certain that even with our guest's generosity, we couldn't have planned the wedding if we needed to pay for it based on our guests' presents. 
  • Nope not even close but it never crossed my mind we would.  I was happy they were there and was completely overcome by how amazingly generous some of our guests were.
  • I think we "earned" enough cash/presents to cover the food and alcohol but not the entire cost of the wedding.  No way, Jose!
  • In my area, most people give a $20 gift from a couple.  Not a chance of "breaking even".  Luckily, it's was not a concern because I'd ralther spend money on a great party than cheap out like my step-sister did.  Her goal was to "make profit".  Hell yeah she did, but lost a bunch of friends and all her respect.
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