Parenting & Family

Keeping wedding costs under control

  • Last Updated:
  • Aug 19th, 2019 5:11 pm
[OP]
Member
Jun 11, 2015
279 posts
228 upvotes
Vancouver, BC

Keeping wedding costs under control

I'm getting married and (as an avid RFDer) the wedding industry gives me the heebie jeebies because it seems to involve rampant overcharging and spending thousands of dollars on things no one notices. The bride is normally pretty financially responsible but logic seems to go out the window on the subject of weddings.

My impression is that the way to run an amazing but cheap wedding is to prioritize: best possible food and DJ, good venue, open bar, then cut costs by skipping band/videographer and not spending too much on dresses or decorations.

I've resigned myself to spending $30k, but I don't want to spend $60k.

I'd like to find a planner who would not just handle the admin aspect but also talk the bride down from excessive spending and ensure we get good prices from vendors. I'm worried planners will do the opposite and talk the bride into stupid expenses and lead us to vendors who buy them lunch.

I want someone who will (gently) tell the bride that spending $5k to release a bunch of white doves is stupid and someone who will talk her down from inviting far too many people.

Is that even possible?
40 replies
Deal Fanatic
Jan 18, 2003
5222 posts
1117 upvotes
Mississauga
with your desired budget, you should at least state how many ppl....
[OP]
Member
Jun 11, 2015
279 posts
228 upvotes
Vancouver, BC
Number of people is uncertain and will depend on my success in talking the bride down.
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Jan 9, 2011
5193 posts
5085 upvotes
Vancouver
Our wedding was small and intimate. 18 guests. We requested no gifts, bring a potluck dish to share. Our guests thought this was a great idea. We didn't even buy any clothing (had it all already) except bride bought pair of shoes. The whole thing cost about $600. We still look back on it fondly and wouldn't change a thing.
18% = GTA residents as a proportion of Canada's total population
97% = chance that an RFDer lives in the GTA when he posts something location specific, without giving a location

Were you hit with surprise customs/import fees on an Amazon.ca purchase?
Newbie
Jul 24, 2019
64 posts
81 upvotes
Canada
Congrats OP
Kiraly wrote:
Aug 12th, 2019 2:47 pm
Our wedding was small and intimate. 18 guests. We requested no gifts, bring a potluck dish to share. Our guests thought this was a great idea. We didn't even buy any clothing (had it all already) except bride bought pair of shoes. The whole thing cost about $600. We still look back on it fondly and wouldn't change a thing.
@Kiraly, great OOP amount.
My friend bought a wedding dress at Salvation Army, Mississauga. Apparently they have $500 wedding dresses, some from designers (previous years so donated). Until she told us, we did not know. Her wedding was $2500 total, including catering at a restaurant. Nonalcoholic champagne, bought by the bride and groom. We were all so relaxed and everybody was in good spirits (even without the spirits). No children at this wedding. Simple meal with Costco like sandwich ordered. Cake may have been home made or Costco. Flowers from guests' gardens.

They took their honeymoon later in the year, when prices were rock bottom. They just looked for the best price and asked the boss if they could be flexible on the dates they took off. Gave the boss lots of notice and had work covered so no issues with deadlines.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Sep 19, 2013
1989 posts
660 upvotes
Winnipeg
I dont want to get all panicky here. But you're not married yet and you're already looking for someone to talk to your would-be. Honestly, you and her should be the ones doing the talking, setting the budget and the priorities.

On some other forum, we might find a thread from your bride on how to find someone that will talk to the groom about the importance of a wedding and needing to spend some $$.

Bottomline: Just talk to each other.
In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move. -- Douglas Adams
Deal Addict
Feb 4, 2010
1858 posts
916 upvotes
Mr Bean wrote:
Aug 12th, 2019 3:01 pm
I dont want to get all panicky here. But you're not married yet and you're already looking for someone to talk to your would-be. Honestly, you and her should be the ones doing the talking, setting the budget and the priorities.

On some other forum, we might find a thread from your bride on how to find someone that will talk to the groom about the importance of a wedding and needing to spend some $$.

Bottomline: Just talk to each other.
This. I would seriously reflect over marrying someone you cannot talk to and you don't have the same mindset when it comes to finances because you're going to continue to have this issue (house, kids, vacation). I honestly, think it's also indicative of someone's maturity (or lack of)...$5k on releasing doves...really??! Reminds me of the show "Rich bride, poor bride)".

Also if you do find a wedding planner who does all that, you'll probably be paying an arm and a leg leaving you in the same quandary.
Deal Fanatic
Feb 7, 2017
9413 posts
6711 upvotes
Eastern Ontario
Mr Bean wrote:
Aug 12th, 2019 3:01 pm
I dont want to get all panicky here. But you're not married yet and you're already looking for someone to talk to your would-be. Honestly, you and her should be the ones doing the talking, setting the budget and the priorities.

On some other forum, we might find a thread from your bride on how to find someone that will talk to the groom about the importance of a wedding and needing to spend some $$.

Bottomline: Just talk to each other.
This

You guys seem to have a lot to talk about in order to end up on the same page

First place to start...
Find out WHY she feels the Wedding in her head, heart, dreams is so important to her
And what aspects of it mean the most

Is it the gathering of friends & family
(Then invite EVERYONE but opt for some other sort of celebration reception than a catered sit down dinner followed by DJ Dancing & Open Bar)

If it’s the fairy tale ...
Fancy white dress, pretty pictures, and yes maybe even doves

Then figure out how to make that look ... but on less money
So... fewer people
Maybe IMMEDIATE Family only

I know some people who wanted “the look”
So they eloped, or had a Destination Wedding
Was fewer people
And combined Wedding & Honeymoon
In the end, the look was achieved
Just that everyone else saw it in photos vs in person

It’s a trade off

But in all honesty ... sounds like you guys need to get real about a talk on finances
How much you make
Hoe much you save
How much debt you have
Your here & now Situation
And where YOU BOTH want to be heading
Long range ... 5, 10, 20+ years from now
And how you all plan to get there
Pay for the COMMON LIFESTYLE you BOTH envision

Money issues, is one of the LARGEST contributors to divorce
The time to get together on this is NOW

Lol Wedding Planning is a TOUGH exercise in Budgeting
But it’s a valuable learning experience
The steps you make thru the learning process
Can stand you well down the road
[OP]
Member
Jun 11, 2015
279 posts
228 upvotes
Vancouver, BC
I think we communicate relatively well.

Weddings are a major difference in perspective given I hate them and she seems to love them. I'd much prefer a small intimate gathering of the type people have described here. She seems to feel a lot of social pressure to invite people.

At present, our understanding is that we both want this to be special for her but that saving money for a house is important, so we will try to make the experience as amazing as possible while keeping costs moderate.

My worry is that as the process goes on, she will get caught up in things. A mini 'bridezilla' scenario. E.g. her fiscally irresponsible friends will suggest fiscally irresponsible stuff, she will feel social pressure to invite people she doesn't care about.

I'm going to continue to talk to her, but I want to figure out how to frame things to make it more collaborative. I don't want it to be me vs her + her friends + the wedding planner.

My current plan would be working with her on a guest list and a rough budget, then bringing that to a full service planner to get some options on how to set things up.
Jr. Member
Aug 31, 2014
183 posts
85 upvotes
Toronto, ON
It sounds like she wants to wedding due to social pressure. Like others mentioned before, have you guys have in-depth discussions what the expectations for a house is? Or kids? Or vacations? Coz all of those can easily succumb to social pressures too.
Deal Fanatic
Feb 7, 2017
9413 posts
6711 upvotes
Eastern Ontario
TWELVES wrote:
Aug 12th, 2019 3:55 pm
I think we communicate relatively well.

Weddings are a major difference in perspective given I hate them and she seems to love them. I'd much prefer a small intimate gathering of the type people have described here. She seems to feel a lot of social pressure to invite people.

At present, our understanding is that we both want this to be special for her but that saving money for a house is important, so we will try to make the experience as amazing as possible while keeping costs moderate.

My worry is that as the process goes on, she will get caught up in things. A mini 'bridezilla' scenario. E.g. her fiscally irresponsible friends will suggest fiscally irresponsible stuff, she will feel social pressure to invite people she doesn't care about.

I'm going to continue to talk to her, but I want to figure out how to frame things to make it more collaborative. I don't want it to be me vs her + her friends + the wedding planner.

My current plan would be working with her on a guest list and a rough budget, then bringing that to a full service planner to get some options on how to set things up.
I think...

That once you open the door to a Wedding Planner you’ve gone beyond your idea of someone to Mediate
You’ve just tacked on an added UNNECESSARY EXPENSE
You guys NEED to be working this out on your own
Otherwise ... if your idea is using a Mediator
Then you may as well just sign up for Couples Counselling / Financial Advising now
Or look for someone who does a bit of both ala Gail Vaz-Oxlade’s show “Til Debt Do Us Part”
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Til_Debt_Do_Us_Part

Same sort of money spent on hourly consultation fees
But ...
Far better long term results than going to a Wedding Planner
An investment in your future ... vs just another Wedding Expense

Cuz honestly if you are worried about your fiancée being swayed by her dreams, friends, family

You May think you are on the same page
But clearly you are not

So get some professional help mediating
(It’s NOT SOMETHING a Wedding Planner does)
Or just work on your COMMUNICATION & COMPROMISING Skills
Cuz in the end, that is what a Marriage is truly about
A WHOLE LOT OF COMPROMISE
On both sides of the equation
But in reality ... it may forever feel like you are the one doing all / most of the compromising
Just ask anyone who’s been married 25+ years
The trick isn’t control over the other person
It’s having a common end goal
And an understanding that getting there aint gonna be easy
Finances at times can be a real struggle
It goes with the marriage territory
Deal Fanatic
Dec 11, 2008
9480 posts
1161 upvotes
Best way to spend less is to invite less people. Your first discussion should be:

1) Budget
2) Guest List
3) Calculate what is the cost per person and see if possible ($15, $50, $200, $400 per person) so revisit budget

4) Agree on this and do not deviate unless you decide to bring the guest list DOWN. But also leave room in the budget in case someone does show up or you forgot someone important (who knows)....

Don't build your budget based on what things cost or what you want unless you can afford it.

If things do pop up and someone wants something special, it will have to come out from the wedding budget, so something has to go. But if someone wants to release doves and decides to do a cash bar to cover that cost, I would side-eye the shit out of that.

Oh and I may forego the wedding planner because sometimes they get paid based on your expenses and certain items, plus if you think your fiance may be tempted when seeing things, a wedding planner may bring up more items than you knew about.

You guys need to talk and make all decision together. You even get a say in everything she does, just like she would in what you do for the wedding. She may not show you the dress for tradition purposes but you need to know the cost of the dress (all of the costs, not just the dress but to get it fitted and hemmed etc)
Deal Addict
Dec 31, 2007
4274 posts
831 upvotes
Richmond Hill
Have it during off-season (ie not summer).
Deal Addict
User avatar
Mar 23, 2011
1528 posts
491 upvotes
You haven't mentioned yours and hers family background. Depending on the nationality you could break out even, or make a profit if you invite enough family members and you factor in the gift envelopes.
Alex
Deal Fanatic
Feb 7, 2017
9413 posts
6711 upvotes
Eastern Ontario
sherman51 wrote:
Aug 13th, 2019 12:36 pm
You haven't mentioned yours and hers family background. Depending on the nationality you could break out even, or make a profit if you invite enough family members and you factor in the gift envelopes.
Ya no

The first rule of wedding planning is DO NOT COUNT ON GIFTS
Be they Financial or otherwise
Not everyone is going to give / bring any gift
Let alone a big fat cash / cheque one
So thinking this way from the beginning ... that a Wedding could be a MONEY MAKING situation
Is just dumb ... and setting yourself up for disappointment

A couple starting out needs to realize that the biggest thing happening that day is the uniting of two people into one unit
FOR BETTER OR WORSE
And that often means ... at least in the early years
It’s more Poorer than Richer
And later in life it could be more Sickness than in Health
(probably WHY those words are in the traditional vows)
If you commit for a lifetime... you are going to see both sides of the coin

Gotta be on the same page financially going into this
Cuz one of the number one causes of Divorce is a difference of opinion on money
And the irony in that
Is nothing is more expensive IN a Marriage... than GETTING OUT OF IT

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