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The TRUE Cost of a Wedding


AzCactus
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Per TheKnot.com the average cost of wedding is $31213.  Obviously this varies by location but that's the average nationwide.  The average age of those getting married is 29 for men and 27 for women.  Now let's say you had a very small wedding think fewer or around 20 people and it was more of a lunch/get together that costs $6213.  This would leave $25K to invest.  Now let's say that this couple agreed to invest and not draw on these funds until the woman turned 65.  Additionally, let's say nothing else was added and the return was 8%.  This would be about $500,000.  I understand that sometimes (maybe often) relatives step in and help but either way this seems like a lot to "spend" especially when we know that about 50% of the marriages end in divorce.

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Per TheKnot.com the average cost of wedding is $31213.  Obviously this varies by location but that's the average nationwide.  The average age of those getting married is 29 for men and 27 for women.  Now let's say you had a very small wedding think fewer or around 20 people and it was more of a lunch/get together that costs $6213.  This would leave $25K to invest.  Now let's say that this couple agreed to invest and not draw on these funds until the woman turned 65.  Additionally, let's say nothing else was added and the return was 8%.  This would be about $500,000.  I understand that sometimes (maybe often) relatives step in and help but either way this seems like a lot to "spend" especially when we know that about 50% of the marriages end in divorce.

 

And if the marriage doesn't work out...100% loss of investment...but at least you had one hell of a party!  Cheers!

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It is one thing if the parents helping, or if the two getting married have high incomes/assets themselves.  However, I think in most situations the wedding ceremony and the engagement ring are terrible financial decisions.

 

If you are spending more than 12 months worth of savings, or worse going into debt, you are starting your marriage in a bad place. 

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I've started thinking about some purchases in terms of future compounded value lost. Makes life less fun  :-\

 

Don't do that...you'll make yourself miserable.  If you do some of the basic fundamental things:

 

- Spend less than you make...live within your means!

- Don't take on any unproductive debt or debt that could sink you.

- Try and pay yourself first.

- Take advantage of tax benefits that could lower your tax bracket or the amount of tax you pay.

- Have an emergency fund of at least six months.

- Invest any other capital you have...either in tax-free accounts or outside.

- Use an investment system that works for you...ETF's if you have no time or use Ben Graham's methodology if you do.

- Always pay your credit card off each month.

- As your income goes up, pretend like your disposable income didn't increase nearly as much as your savings did.

- Don't compare yourself to others...worry about what you enjoy and like!

 

The last one is important...once you know what you like and who you are, alot of things don't matter.  I was having drinks with Francis Chou and Peter Kaufmann last Wednesday night in Toronto with a bunch of employees from Premier, and Francis and I were trying to out-duel each other on who gets the better deals...Francis who shops at Costco...or me, who shops at Walmart! 

 

I didn't worry about spending money on the drinks or what the compounded loss would be because of the bill.  When is that ever  going to happen again to me or my staff?  The only thing that could have made it better was if Wayne Gretzky and Prem showed up to join us!  :o  Cheers!

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I've started thinking about some purchases in terms of future compounded value lost. Makes life less fun  :-\

 

Don't do that...you'll make yourself miserable.

 

+1

 

How long until you're living in a cardboard box, eating nothing but ramen noodles, and going into the library to log on and check your portfolio every day?

 

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I've started thinking about some purchases in terms of future compounded value lost. Makes life less fun  :-\

 

Don't do that...you'll make yourself miserable.

 

+1

 

How long until you're living in a cardboard box, eating nothing but ramen noodles, and going into the library to log on and check your portfolio every day?

 

Hello ScottHall.

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Not sure how the average is so high.  Here's our experience.

 

We were married in 2005, had a nice wedding at a little chapel on the campus of the school we graduated from.  I think this cost a few hundred dollars to rent.  Then we had a reception at a Marriott about 20m away.  I think all-in it cost around $10k, my wife's parents picked up the tab.  I think my parents pitched in some for the open bar.

 

Is it a lot?  Sure.  Could it be more if we would have saved it?  Nope, when we got married that $10k would have washed through our hands like water with zero return.  The wedding and reception were great, a very memorable event.  We went to Jackson Hole for our honeymoon.  I have no idea what it cost, probably a few grand.

 

Was it worth it?  I think so.  You can hoard money to your hearts content, but so what?  You have a pile of money and die and that's it.  I like to save and invest, but have no problem spending it either.  We just dumped a bunch of money into renovating our pool.  Would it have been cheaper to buy a pool pass each year?  Yup.  But the community pool isn't in my backyard either.  It doesn't make financial sense, but who cares, there's something to be said about enjoying life.

 

Sanjeev, I'm 100% with you.  Anytime you can be with friends, or family spending time it's worth the money spent to do it.

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A wonderful way to ruin your life is to view every spending through the lens of compounding.

 

I only look at the spending that I don't want to spend through the lens of compounding.  8)

 

So, no, I'm not going to Omaha. I'm buying couple BRK shares instead. :P

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Not sure how the average is so high.  Here's our experience.

 

We were married in 2005, had a nice wedding at a little chapel on the campus of the school we graduated from.  I think this cost a few hundred dollars to rent.  Then we had a reception at a Marriott about 20m away.  I think all-in it cost around $10k, my wife's parents picked up the tab.  I think my parents pitched in some for the open bar.

 

The only way you get wedding for 10k all in when doing it at marriott is some combination of (a) smaller than average guest count, (b) cutting corners on other venders, such as invitations, photos, limos, music, and florist, and/or © dry wedding.

 

Ours was >50k all in for around 150 people.  I think the cost is a function of (a) guestlist size, (b) bridal party size, and © quality level.  At a given quality level (like a hotel like marriott),  the cost is affected by your guestlist size obviously, but less obviously by bridal party size (which affects transportation costs, rehearsal dinner, gifts for bridal party are customary). 

 

Venue - ~25k for around 150 people with a bridal party of 19 (8 groomsmen + 8 bridesmaids + 2 flower girls + 1 ring bearer).  Dinner around $45 per person pretip/tax; Alcohol open bar + wine with dinner another $40 per adult.  Passed Appetizers, tent, valet, etc all makes up the rest.    We were at a yacht club, but in my experience all of the major hotels were around the same price point when you broke it out per person.

Photographer + printed photos - $4k

DJ - $1k

Gown + Tux - $3k

Florist - $1.5k

Transportation - $1.5k

Rehearsal Dinner - $2k

Bridal Party Gifts - $3k

Church donation + Priest donation - $1.5k

Wedding Rings (not even counting engagement ring) - $4k

other odds and ends make up the rest.

 

 

I offered eloping or destination wedding as options, but we didnt do that.  Additionally, if we're going to host guests were not going to serve bad food or cut major corners (the event is a reflection on you, you're better off not having a ceremony at all then hosting an event that isnt up to the standard levels customary with your socio-economic family/friend group). 

 

Luckily for us the cost was manageable and represented around 6 months of savings at the time, and we received a large amount in gifts from our guests too, which was helpful.  I would reiterate my prior post...if you are spending more than a year's worth of savings (or worse, going into debt), its not a financially smart idea.  You're better off not hosting a reception or doing a very small reception. 

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You can also do a large wedding on the cheap.  My wife and I did back in '96.  We invited 250 people (we invited only good friends, limited family to 1st cousins, and asked everyone not to bring their young children, otherwise we could have invited 600+ people).  We had about 240 show up and we did it for under $8K total (wedding, reception, dress, & rings).  Her parents were not in a position to help us at all and my parents paid for our honeymoon as our wedding present and paid the band as well, but we had to pay for everything else.  We rented an Elks hall for $150 for the night, the agreement was that they would provide all the drinks from the bar, so that is where they made their money.  My wife got a discontinued dress right off the mannequin at the bridal shop and it fit her so there were no alterations, it was a $4000 dress for $1400.  We found a caterer to do a chicken dinner for $8/plate (I'm not sure if you could find something so cheap today though).  My wife did all the flowers for the church, reception, table arrangements, her bouquet, herself (she studied floriculture and floral design in school) we drove up to the wholesale flower place in boston and got the raw materials at wholesale costs.  We had the wedding party all meet at a discount photo studio to take some pictures before the wedding and we just had family members photograph the wedding itself.  We left disposable film cameras (1996 remember) on each table and encouraged everyone to take lots of pictures at the reception and leave the cameras on the tables when they leave (we ended up with tons of pictures of the reception).    There are a ton of ways to cut costs for even a large wedding.  And of course you don't need a 2 ct ring or whatever people are buying these days.  If she needs that you probably don't need her.

 

 

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Not sure how the average is so high.  Here's our experience.

 

We were married in 2005, had a nice wedding at a little chapel on the campus of the school we graduated from.  I think this cost a few hundred dollars to rent.  Then we had a reception at a Marriott about 20m away.  I think all-in it cost around $10k, my wife's parents picked up the tab.  I think my parents pitched in some for the open bar.

 

The only way you get wedding for 10k all in when doing it at marriott is some combination of (a) smaller than average guest count, (b) cutting corners on other venders, such as invitations, photos, limos, music, and florist, and/or © dry wedding.

 

Ours was >50k all in for around 150 people.  I think the cost is a function of (a) guestlist size, (b) bridal party size, and © quality level.  At a given quality level (like a hotel like marriott),  the cost is affected by your guestlist size obviously, but less obviously by bridal party size (which affects transportation costs, rehearsal dinner, gifts for bridal party are customary). 

 

Venue - ~25k for around 150 people with a bridal party of 19 (8 groomsmen + 8 bridesmaids + 2 flower girls + 1 ring bearer).  Dinner around $45 per person pretip/tax; Alcohol open bar + wine with dinner another $40 per adult.  Passed Appetizers, tent, valet, etc all makes up the rest.    We were at a yacht club, but in my experience all of the major hotels were around the same price point when you broke it out per person.

Photographer + printed photos - $4k

DJ - $1k

Gown + Tux - $3k

Florist - $1.5k

Transportation - $1.5k

Rehearsal Dinner - $2k

Bridal Party Gifts - $3k

Church donation + Priest donation - $1.5k

Wedding Rings (not even counting engagement ring) - $4k

other odds and ends make up the rest.

 

 

I offered eloping or destination wedding as options, but we didnt do that.  Additionally, if we're going to host guests were not going to serve bad food or cut major corners (the event is a reflection on you, you're better off not having a ceremony at all then hosting an event that isnt up to the standard levels customary with your socio-economic family/friend group). 

 

Luckily for us the cost was manageable and represented around 6 months of savings at the time, and we received a large amount in gifts from our guests too, which was helpful.  I would reiterate my prior post...if you are spending more than a year's worth of savings (or worse, going into debt), its not a financially smart idea.  You're better off not hosting a reception or doing a very small reception.

 

Interesting points.  I have no idea how many people we had, 150-200 I think.  I'd have to ask my wife, it was medium sized.  There were appetizers, dinner, booze, the whole deal.  My wife and her mom purchased all the flowers at Costco or somewhere and built everything themselves.  They did a lot of the decoration themselves as well.

 

Limo was free, my wife has a relative who owns one.  I think we tipped the driver, a family friend a few hundred bucks.  I didn't put engagement/wedding rings in this.  I seem to remember paying $3k for my wife's ring, then another $1k for our wedding rings.  They're gold, they seem nice, who knows, it was 12 years ago.

 

I'll say this on hotels, I'm fairly confident the cost has risen.  We held our Microcap Conference at a Marriott in Philly in November.  The costs over what we paid in 2005 for our wedding have increased significantly.  Some of what the Marriott wants now for things are bordering usurious. 

 

My brother and his wife paid for a lot of their wedding, they didn't have much money.  They purchased booze at a discount through a distributor and rented a nice gazebo outside Cleveland.  They had about 100 people, very nice event, and it was a few thousand dollars.  A friend took pictures, they hired a catering company for food.  It can be done.

 

I think the biggest determining factor is the expectation of those who are coming.  My family, my wife's family, and my brother's wife's family are all low key middle class families.  Not upper middle class, just middle class, and everyone attending was expecting something in that range.

 

I went to a wedding of a college buddy right after graduation.  His dad was an investment banker, he was an investment banker.  The wedding was in Naples, FL, at some posh yacht club, the band alone was $10k, food was a seafood buffet with caviar, lobster tails and anything else you could imagine.  It was out of this world, I can't even imagine the cost.  In terms of expectations this is what most of the guests were expecting.  My college buddies and myself were blown away, most of the people there (bankers, friends of bankers) expected something like this as a baseline.

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I would never invite more than a dozen people. How do you guys even know and remember a few hundred people? Only a handful of people truly matter. I'd much rather spend the money on not having to work and being able to spend more time with my spouse and traveling together. The absolute max I'd spend on anything related to a wedding is $1k I guess.

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I have no idea how many people we had, 150-200 I think.  I'd have to ask my wife, it was medium sized.

 

Americans...  ::)  :o

 

Supersize me baby.

 

 

Do Canadians not have large families?  I have 36 1st cousins, almost all of them older than me so they all had spouses and some of them teenage kids by the time I got married.  My wife has a large family as well. Out of the 250 we invited it was over 200 family members alone.  And there were some hard feelings over it from people we cut from the list.

 

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I have no idea how many people we had, 150-200 I think.  I'd have to ask my wife, it was medium sized.

 

Americans...  ::)  :o

 

Supersize me baby.

 

 

Do Canadians not have large families?  I have 36 1st cousins, almost all of them older than me so they all had spouses and some of them teenage kids by the time I got married.  My wife has a large family as well. Out of the 250 we invited it was over 200 family members alone.  And there were some hard feelings over it from people we cut from the list.

 

Do you know all these people as close friends? Why would you invite them?  :o

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