“How Much Is Too Much To Spend On A Wedding?”

May 4, 2012

The following is a guest post from Shondell of Call Me What You Want Even Cheap as part of the Yakezie Blog Swap. You can find my post there. 

Getting married is one of the happiest moments of any girls life! We talk about it, we dream about, we fantasize about it. Let’s face it, for most of us we’ve been thinking about it since we were little girls, so naturally we want it all for our big day regardless of the cost. Of course advertisers are fully aware of this fact and take every advantage to sell us things we don’t necessarily need.

According to the Huffingon Post the average cost of a wedding in 2011 was $27,021. I can totally see how a couple can breeze through $27k without batting an eye. A banquet hall alone can take up half of that cost depending on how big your wedding is. Is $27k too much to spend? It sure is if you are in debt, or if you’re using all of your savings to pay for your wedding. I think a wedding can be nice without breaking the bank.

I am getting married in a few months and we’re not spending even close to that amount of money. Personally I just don’t see the need at this point in my life. I would rather put that money on a down payment on a house or some other type of investment rather than a wedding. Spending $27k for a few hours is just a hard pill for me to swallow. Even though both my fiancé and I have no personal debt, we’ve made the decision to have something small and pay cash for our big day! I am sure it will be memorable even though we’re not spending big bucks!

I must say planning our wedding and watching sales reps try to sell me things that I don’t want or need has been a blast. I was in a bridal store the other day looking for a wedding dress and I didn’t even open the door all the way and a sales rep approached me. Her first question was “are you engaged?” I said yes, she then asked me to fill out a survey. I knew immediately they just wanted my contact information so they could call and email me to try to sell me more stuff. I told her that I was just looking. Then she said she would see if there was a consultant to assist me. I said sure and off she went to get a consultant. When she came back I asked her where her clearance section was. Immediately her attitude changed. She said “clearance section?” I repeated it again even though I knew she heard me the first time. It was so funny, I wish I could have recorded her reaction. She looked at me like I had two heads, and then motioned her hand in the direction of the clearance rack. She never said anything else to me while I was in the store and of course the consultant never came. Maybe they were all busy, or maybe they don’t assist customers that shop in the clearance section. Who knows! I did eventually get my dress and not at that store.

Since I started planning for our wedding I’ve been really trying my best to look for wedding deals and asking friends and family to chip in where they can. I’ve been extremely fortunate to have some great friends and family members that are assisting us. My cousin/maid of honor is a party planner and has decided to plan my wedding for me. Thank God, because we probably would have just went to City Hall without her help. I hate planning events, it’s just too stressful. My other cousin who use to be a cake decorator has offered to do my cake for free. My cousin is so talented that her cakes should be in magazines.

My mom has a good friend who happens to be a wedding photographer. He offered to do our wedding as a gift to us. He brought some of his samples over the other day and he is pretty good.

Instead of renting a banquet hall to have our reception, a friend of mine suggested we have it in a nice restaurant. She also happens to know the owner of a nice restaurant that’s not far from the church we’re getting married at. The owner was nice enough to give us the whole entire restaurant for free and only charge us for the food and drinks. We’ll have to make sure we tip very well. Another freebie is my wedding dress. My mom purchased it as a gift to me. I think that’s it for the freebies for our wedding. After the wedding I will post our cost for everything such as the food, drinks, the church and the pastor.

How much do you think is too much to spend on a wedding and what do you think about freebies for your big day?

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  • Michelle May 4, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    I think over $20K is a lot! Or anything over $10K, but I’m sure when I get married I’d be spending over $10K

    • Marissa May 5, 2012 at 3:57 am

      I honestly want a destination wedding, but even those end up costing close to 10K now.

      • TM @ Young and Thrifty May 7, 2012 at 3:15 am

        I’m in the same boat Marissa. I can’t believe the figure of 27K. To me this shows how crazy our materialistic values have become. As a young person today dealing with student debt (my partner’s), a mortgage, car loan and other costs, to spend that much money on a celebration for everyone else (my gf and I have been living together for years, love each other, and are committed for life… this is really just to satisfy others). I figure if we have to spend money, we might as well have a great party in a warm place during the winter!

        • Marissa May 7, 2012 at 7:08 am

          Will you invite me to this warm place for the wedding?

  • Tammy May 4, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    I think the important part is that the money is spent only on the things that matter to the couple. Bridal magazines are so thick because everyone has a different idea of what makes “the” dress. The whole day is that way. If you don’t care about flowers (or monogrammed give aways for the guests, having an officiant that completely tailors the service for you, or whatever), don’t spend money on them. Your day will be special because you are with the man you love, whether you spend 5, 10, 20, or $100,000.

    • Marissa May 5, 2012 at 3:58 am

      Its the industry that has caused brides to become super consumers.

      • Invest It Wisely May 6, 2012 at 1:59 pm

        I know a couple that spend thousands on JUST the wedding dress, and $20,000 on the ring… and the wedding ended up getting cancelled and postponed because of personal issues. One party is wealthy so I understand that a $20k ring for them might be like a $2k ring for me, and I shouldn’t judge, but for the life of me I can’t understand why you’d put so much focus on making such a big splash when you don’t even have the relationship in good working order.

        • Marissa May 6, 2012 at 6:52 pm

          I watch shows on Tv where ppl spend 20K on a dress! A dress I tell you! Crazy!

  • Earth and Money May 4, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    Our goal is to keep our wedding costs under $5,000. We’re all for freebies! We have lots of friends who have offered to help us out for free – the wedding cake, photography and video are all being done for next to nothing. We’re having a potluck to cut down on food costs. Our major cost is still the venue, but there are ways to cut down on that too.

    • Marissa May 5, 2012 at 3:56 am

      Pot luck is a great idea!

    • Shondell May 6, 2012 at 1:25 am

      Our wedding cost will be under $5000 as well. We thought of a potluck as well, but since we’re not paying for the venue we decided against it. But it’s a great idea!

  • Savvy Working Gal May 5, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    My husband’s niece got married last summer. The reception was at the most expensive place in town. The dinner was catered by the most expensive caterers. The bridal shower was in a rented room at a botanical garden where each meal cost $33 a plate. The bride’s mother says the wedding cost $30k, but once you add in the shower, honeymoon and all the extras I am sure the real cost was closer to $40k. The sad thing is I saw the bride a couple of weeks ago and she didn’t seem happy at all. Her sister spent this semester studying in Europe and the bride couldn’t afford to go visit her. I think it is important to remember a wedding is just one day, but I may not be the best person to listen too – I eloped.

    • Marissa May 5, 2012 at 6:30 pm

      Hey, eloping is the smart person’s way of getting married!

  • Savvy Working Gal May 5, 2012 at 1:17 pm

    One more thing a co-worker’s son had a destination wedding this year. Total cost $20k. I didn’t give a number because I think I am out of touch with prices, but the closer you are to $5k the better. Here is a tip for your bridesmaids. Check out the clearance racks at the department stores after prop. A friends daughter did this and was successful.

    • Marissa May 5, 2012 at 6:31 pm

      I think bridesmaid’s dresses need to things you can wear multiple times, or I want to spend the least amount of money possible.

    • Shondell May 6, 2012 at 1:27 am

      A friend suggested looking for bridesmaids dresses after prom as well. I think we’ll do that.

  • Nicoleandmaggie May 5, 2012 at 9:42 am

    We spent 2-3K. Most of that on champagne.

    Here’s our “the wedding” post: http://nicoleandmaggie.wordpress.com/2010/11/29/the-wedding-post/

    • Marissa May 5, 2012 at 6:30 pm

      Oh my goodness. That is awesome!

  • Julie @ Freedom 48 May 5, 2012 at 10:06 pm

    Including our rings and our honeymoon, we spent just over $15,000 on our wedding. We paid for it all ourselves, but it was spread out over our 3.5yr engagement – so in the end, we didn’t even FEEL the expense!

    I think we spent a good amount, but we were also very frugal (got married at a conservation area and had BBQ catering for our reception etc.). I can easily see how people would spend 20k, 30k or more!

  • femmefrugality May 6, 2012 at 3:51 am

    $27k is wayyyyy too much. I’d venture to say you can pull something nice off for $3k…definitely under $5k. Freebies for your big day are awesome! If you network properly, you can get nice stuff without compromising quality.

    • Marissa May 6, 2012 at 6:50 pm

      I didn’t even think about freebies. I honestly think 5k is doable for weddings.

  • Invest It Wisely May 6, 2012 at 1:57 pm

    $10,000 can be reasonable, since that’s $5,000 per party and that can be earned in a reasonable amount of time. I don’t think I’d want to spend more than that, though. You don’t want to start off your new life with a bitter taste from all of the bills!

  • SB @ One Cent At A Time May 7, 2012 at 2:29 am

    When i got married in India, we spent around $10k, which is a lot of money in India. There were more than 600 people invited and the celebration lasted more than 5 days. May seem outrageous but, Indian weddings are like that.

    • Marissa May 7, 2012 at 7:07 am

      I was backpacking thru Indian and we went “crashed” a few weddings. I love Indian weddings. So over the top, but fun!

  • Oren @ Oren's Money Saver May 7, 2012 at 4:37 pm

    I am surprised that the average wedding is so inexpensive. I don’t think it is necessary to spend more than 10k, but 30k can go real fast.

    • Marissa May 7, 2012 at 9:00 pm

      Its new to me, too.

  • Michelle May 8, 2012 at 5:33 am

    I think you should be able to have a beautiful wedding for under 10k. We did ours for under 5k 10 years ago.

    • Marissa May 8, 2012 at 7:49 am

      Awesome. That’s what I like to see.

  • Belinda Ramirez May 12, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    Yes, who wouldn’t want a celebrated wedding?

    Wedding is a moment of love where mortgage loans, dues, student loans and other financial concerns are set aside. With the right wedding planner, creativity and fun can be coupled with thriftiness. Personally, $27k is too much though.