Thursday, August 12, 2010

Wedding thoughts

So I was on the train today with a friend from my building. We are talking about his future and his soon to be engagement and his future wedding. He has a huge family and her family is super small. I ask a few questions about ideas he might have etc. Since he has family globally that he thinks will come for a wedding, he feels he needs to do something huge, a big weekend event. I ask more questions...and he starts telling me all these ideas, expensive ones for his huge family...and later he says, 'it will be expensive, but who cares, her parents will pay for it". And i was like WHAT? Maybe the wedding, but not all that other stuff, that is unreasonable. Worst part is, my friend makes very good money.

I've often thought about my wedding, easy to do when you think you're marrying someone. Anyway, after hearing this story, I am still standing by my VERY SMALL WEDDING. Maybe immediate family only. Maybe slightly larger than that. I don't want to waste a ton of money on a wedding, and for the last 10 years or so I thought this. All of my sisters had 'normal' size weddings (150 - 200 people at a beautiful reception hall, etc) - and I really don't see the need. I guess that is one positive thing about 1) being the last in your family to marry 2) being older and smarter about money.

Society has changed is so many ways. It is acceptable to live with someone before marriage. It is acceptable to have sex before marriage. It is acceptable to get married outside of a church. In some states it is acceptable to marry someone of the same gender. Etc. So if our standards have changed, why must we assume the parents of the bride still pay for the wedding? Sure many many many years ago, the lady's parents paid the dowry (money, land, goods that a the bride brings to her husband in marriage - to help start the household) and/or a bride price and sold off their girl to a man's family. I do believe a more people are 'down to earth' in the sense that they don't believe in the traditional who pays for what; but it is shocking to me to hear a guy say that is expected when 95% of the wedding attendees will be his family.

I suppose I believe in paying what you can afford. No reason to go into debt for a wedding...especially when there is only a 40% chance it will last forever. The last thing I want it to be paying off a wedding for many years, or but my parents in a situation where they have to use retirement money on me. I'd rather them travel and do something for themselves.

A little history timeline on wedding cost for bride's family.


  1. That is very rude of your friend. You have the right idea about paying for what you can afford.

    I will say, I was lucky enough to have parents that hosted a wedding, however they offered. I can't imagine assuming they would pay or asking if they would contribute. I wouldn't be able to do that.

  2. Won't he be surprised when her parents CANT AFFORD the wedding he wants to have. Almost everyone I know of these days, the couple pays for the wedding. Usually the parents ON BOTH SIDES chip in for what they can. Its a tough economy, traditions or not. Some people simply can't take out a loan for $10-20-30K. Its just unreasonable to expect that. And since he's not even engaged, he clearly hasn't even talked about this with is "future wife". She may shut him down about that wedding stuff, hard.

    Oh, and 150-200 people? I think that's more "large" than "normal" anymore. I've been to like 6 weddings in the last 2 years and all of them had less than 100 people, and like half had less than 50 guests.

    My plan is to have a HUGE PARTY. Not a huge wedding. Like, get married at the reception place. Its a party, a celebration of your love, not how many flowers you can buy, how much you can spend on a dress you'll never wear again, etc. Find a place, buy some booze and food, plug in your iPod, and have fun!! :)

    And its totally NOT unreasonable to ask people to pay for their own way to a wedding. I've NEVER had anyone offer to pay for people to get out there. OR pay for a hotel. Or pay for food and travel expenses. Its always on my dime. Maybe I don't know enough rich people?!