Weddings and debt.....

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-04-1997
Weddings and debt.....
148
Tue, 07-22-2003 - 3:36pm
I'm starting a new thread because the other ones are so ridiculously long. On one of the boards I frequent, there was a woman trying to decide whether she could stay home with her coming baby or not -- as I recall, it was an unplanned, but not unwanted, pregnancy. One of the factors was that she and her DH were 10,000 dollars in debt from their wedding. I really wanted to jump in and say something about big formal weddings you obviously can't afford, but I didn't, and to my surprise, nobody else did. But these threads about lavish weddings have me wondering --- how common is it for couples and their parents to have to go into debt to throw one of these things? And do you think that it's worth it?

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 07-22-2003 - 3:42pm
Of course not. That's ludicrous. And even if no one went into debt, I wouldn't throw a big party if I needed the money to help pay for new baby expenses.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 09-04-1997
Tue, 07-22-2003 - 3:43pm
No, this couple was paying off their wedding that happened two years prior! They still had 10,000 dollars to go! Then she gets pregnant -- two years after the wedding!
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 07-22-2003 - 3:46pm
All I can say is OMG.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 07-21-2003
Tue, 07-22-2003 - 3:47pm
I think it's utterly stupid to go into debt for a wedding, or anything for that matter, other than a home or a degree. My parents gave us $$$$ for our wedding, I used a smaller portion for a wedding on the lawn, with tents, catered dinner, a band, photographer, flowers and yes, we served alcohol. I wouldn't have a reception if we couldn't afford to provide food and drinks for the guests. I kept costs down by receiving my gown as payment for modeling it lieu of being paid, shopping like crazy for the best prices on most things and limiting the guest list to 80 people, something my in-laws were distressed about but too bad. We used the bulk of our wedding gift money as a downpayment on our first home, which was a considerable wiser investment then blowing the whole wad on one day.

We still had a very nice, beautiful and fun wedding, we just didn't have any people that I didn't know or care about in attendence.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-31-2003
Tue, 07-22-2003 - 3:58pm
In my current part of the midwest, it's not at all uncommon for parents to take out a home-equity loan to pay for a daughter's wedding. Adults planning their own weddings often put some nasty scorch-marks on their credit cards in the process. When I lived in the South, it was the custom there for parents to put money in a wedding fund for daughters in the same way as they would a college fund, but on the whole, they were averse to actually going into debt to finance a wedding.

It is possible to have a very elegant wedding without going into debt. The issue is one of size vs. style. If you want all the best food, the most elegant gown and the most beautiful church, the only way to get it without overextending yourself is to keep the wedding very small. The more guests you have, the more likely it is that it will be very generic and uninspired, unless you ante up with a substantial amount of cash.

Part of the culture shock noticable here can, I think, be attributed to the "package wedding" concept that is commonplace in the larger cities of the Northeast. The package usually includes a reception hall, meal, liquor, music, flowers, cake, photographs, table linens and printed favors, and transportation for the wedding party; the whole thing is priced at a flat fee per guest. It is generally cheaper to go that way than to buy all of those elements separately, but it leads to people buying a more "grand" wedding than originally intended, because these catering concerns have exclusive contracts with most of the available venues that are suitable for wedding receptions. Outside of the Northeast, the only other places I've encountered that particular setup are resorts that offer "destination weddings."

Avatar for biancamami
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Tue, 07-22-2003 - 4:04pm
My NYC wedding was modest enough that DH and I paid for ALL of it (including the honeymoon) without resorting to such measures as taking out a loan or going into credit card debt.

First, I refused to burden my parents with MY wedding costs and I didn't want to come back from the honeymoon and have bills to pay. UGH! We had A LOT of friends and family help us with services (like DH's cousin is a caterer and he catered the reception for FREE...DH's aunt is a baker and she made the cake for free...etc, etc)

We also researched our honeymoon thoroughly and went to a GORGEOUS all-inclusive in Dominican Republic that had a special deal ($50 a night...everything included) It was wonderful!

We may have "missed out" on a lot of fancy things that some other friends included but I think my wedding was perfect and I don't feel deprived. I just don't see the sense in getting yourself into debt before you even start your life together.

Ana
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 07-22-2003 - 4:04pm
I don't feel anyone should go into debt for anything that does not return teh money back to you later. For instance, I would pay for my child to go to a good university in return for a good career/education. But I don't think a wedding is one of them. If you can't save up for what you want and have it paid in full two weeks before the event, then it shouldn't be done. Anytime you have to finance a one day event (take out a loan), then you can't afford it. Unless of course you are in a hurry before the baby comes and will pay it off within the amount of time itwould've took you save up for it.

My wedding cost me and my dh a total of $15,000. That included everything we needed to make the event happen. (wedding chapel, pastor, decorations, reception hall, food, cake, flowers, dress, tuxedos, engagement ring and wedding bands, honeymoon, rental car, airplane tickets, travel clothing, gas for the car, souveniers, rehearsal dinner, plane tickets for out of town guests, photographer, photo album, brides maids dresses, alterations, shoes, hair stylist, make-up, manicure/pedicure, invitation, thank you notes, favors, any and all items forthe wedding and reception (cake cutter, guest book, glasses, etc.) The total was paid in full 2 weeks before the wedding. We had no financial worries because of the wedding and having to owe money after the wedding. It took us 1 year to complete the saving process.

Tonya
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 07-22-2003 - 4:05pm
Good googleymoogley!
Tonya
Avatar for biancamami
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Tue, 07-22-2003 - 4:07pm
We used the same strategy for the reception...only 75 people in a small venue (but we still had a dance floor)

It was perfect!

Ana
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-12-2003
Tue, 07-22-2003 - 4:18pm
Personally, I think it's absolutely crazy to go into huge amounts of debt for a wedding. Why in the world would anyone want to start a life together already in the hole financially? Especially since many of us go into marriage carrying the debt of school loans. Our wedding was fantastic - 3 years later, people still talk about it, and compare more recent weddings to it. And it was done within a very reasonable budget. I'm not going to discuss financial specifics, because that's not important - a dollar is a different quanitity to different people. What is important is that it fell well within our own budget. We were lucky enough to have parents who wanted to help pay for the wedding, and their contributions fell well within their own budgets.

I've always felt that the MARRIAGE is ten times more important than the party.

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