Somewhere along the line we learn not to be Kardashians. If there are one or two things important to you - that's what you save for. Later, maybe you can add another thing you can go crazy for.
One can't spend money for the "best" of everything - the best house, the best car, the best piano, the best kitchen gear, the best wedding, etc.
I worked with a woman who had to have a Kardashian wedding so they blew an incredible sum on it - couldn't buy a house for years.
George from the other board's daughter gave herself a $3,000 budget for her wedding and made it happen. That meant more money for other things.
As an addendum to the set a dollar amount, keep some in reserve in case there's a good reason to supplement the original dollar amount.
We have one son and one daughter. The daughter married first and wanted a pretty traditional wedding, think $$$. I’m sure location plays into this. DC can be $$$ for a hot dog! Bride and groom were 30 and had some savings as your daughter does. We gave them a budget and basically let them decide the details. They figured out what they wanted above the budget and paid for it themselves. One was a band rather than a DJ. They saved money by making their own table centerpieces and getting married in their college’s chapel. Groom bought the liquor wholesale and found a caterer to work with it. I think the wedding should be all about what the couple want for their special day. Having a budget helps them set financial priorities and learn to work as a couple. Good test of the future marriage. The only veto power I had was the wedding invitations. If it was going to say “mr. and Mrs. Nanna invite you to...”, then I wanted to be sure it looked like it came from me. That didn’t turn out to be a problem. Good luck. Spreadsheets and Wedding Planner books can be very useful! Try to enjoy the process with your daughter as much as possible!
|Pinta & the Santa Maria|
Has Achieved Nirvana
I think we need to also acknowledge that Times Have Change (tm). It kind of annoys me to be invited to a wedding where the couple are older, have established careers, are living together in a house with "stuff," possibly married before, and still expect the wedding shower, the wedding gift, etc. To me, the tradition of showers, gift registry, etc., is really to help a new couple get established when they are just starting out and have next to nothing. I must admit I get a bit chuffed at feeling like I am financing someone's desire to just get newer stuff. But what's the alternative? I do want to help celebrate and bringing a gift or somehow acknowledging the wedding is something I want to do. Other options seem weird as well--donate to a charity (that you might not actually support in RL), give money for a spiffy honeymoon or a down payment on a house, etc. Because it feels weird and tacky to just come to a wedding empty-handed.
Does anyone else feel this way? I don't know what the solution is.
|Has Achieved Nirvana|
I’ve been on the other side of that. We considered not registering but figured invitees would want and/or feel obligated to get us a gift so we figured it might as well be stuff we want.
We didn’t do showers or anything.
They should not break themselves and neither should you. Lots of wonderful parks with shelter houses to hold an event in inexpensively while still feeling opulent. Nature makes everyone look better.
Heck, we rented a riverboat and steel drum band. Everyone had a ball, open beer wine and soft drinks. Total bill $6k including dress.
Has Achieved Nirvana
A couple I know got married in their 40s. Their invitations said "Our hearts are full and so is our house! Please, no gifts."
|(self-titled) semi-posting lurker|
Yes to all the comments about established professionals with households full of stuff.... But Cindy's OS doesn't quite fit that profile, IIRC??
In any case, the question here is, if I'm understanding correctly, more about Cindy's and Mr. Sphinx's role as the parents.
If someone wants a beautiful dress and a fancy wedding, there's no reason to be super critical of that. As long as it's not breaking the bank. Our wedding was fairly elaborate (and also very much in keeping with local traditions). And it remains one of my most cherished memories. It also did not break the bank, so I would call it a sort of middle ground.
If OS wants a fancy wedding and a beautiful dress, it seems to me that the discussion should be about how to make that happen in the middle ground, again (sorry to be so redundant) without breaking the bank.
So much good advice! SK's imperative that you and Mr Sphinx be on the same page before all else is truly wise.
Forgive me if I missed this, but how old is OS? How long have she and her fiance been gainfully employed? Are they already well established financially? I think marrying off a 20 year old is very different than marrying off a 30 year old, even if it is still a first wedding.
Assuming OS and fiance have been successfully adulting for a while, a no-strings gift of cash to be used however they see fit seems most appropriate to me. And I agree that the amount should be what you can afford to give to each of her two siblings in future for their weddings.
Also, if she's a full adult, she doesn't need conditions placed on the money. Let them choose to elope with it if they want.
As the second mother to two boys, I'm never going to have to face this dilemma, so I'm drawing on my own experience as a bride. My own parents were weird about my wedding and very controlling with money. Thankfully by the time I married Mr. Pique at the age of 41, I knew how to keep them from spoiling my life with their drama. We just did what we wanted to do and paid for it ourselves. Little known fact: I was also married, briefly, at 20. I told my parents to do whatever they wanted and we would just show up. I didn't want any part of the wedding mishigas, or any power struggles, or any negotiating. The wedding just didn't matter to me, and it did to them. Apparently a lot. They went way overboard-private room at the Plaza Hotel, sit down dinner for 40, Rabbi, live string quintet playing Mozart--and invited their friends, to impress them. They chose everything and set all the rules. We literally flew in for the weekend willing to go along with whatever they came up with. We had had our own ceremony with our friends first (since they weren't invited to the parental wedding)--which pissed my parents off, even though they were invited, and came to that one, too.
Moral of that story: weddings are fraught, and it's worth it--in my mind--to keep it simple and go with the flow. That's why I think you and Mr Sphinx would spare yourselves a lot of grief to just give them the cash and tell them they can do whatever they like with it.
Assuming they decide to use it to help put on a big party, take joy in however much your daughter involves you in the planning.
|Does This Avatar Make My Butt Look Big?|
Don’t really have any.
I paid for my wedding. Sister paid for hers.
Two of brothers’ kids had inexpensive, dry weddings.
|Does This Avatar Make My Butt Look Big?|
OS is 28, fiancé is 30. About the same age as when I married Mr. Sphinx.
The difference is we were lawyers at big firms. They have more modest jobs.
My guess is that I would be surprised if they have less than $90,000 in savings collectively. I base that guess on OS asking for investment advice a few years ago and what she said then.
This is because neither has college debt, and they are fundamentally frugal. Maybe it sounds like a lot, but they have lived together for a couple of years, and they have been in the work force for five years. I think their savings are right on track.
I’m not sure what to do with that guess. Does it matter? I’d very much hate to see them blow a big chunk given the cost of real estate here. But I don’t want to blow my money either.
Congratulations to OS, groom-to-be, and the entire Sphinx family.
Everyone has different ideas on what's important to them, so generally I'd say, given a budget, prioritize by what's most important to the bride and groom, then the parents/parents-in-laws, then other people.
Of course, if parents/parents-in-laws are asked to contribute resources, then their preferences will need to be factored in. From certain perspective, there's good will (be it out of love, out of respect, or just to get them out of your hair by giving in), then there's earmarked funding, as in "if this one thing is so important to you, you pay for it." Inside one's own head, hopefully one is clear on how much "good will" one is willing to give, and when to talk earmarked funding.
In terms of keeping the cost of wedding/reception low, here are a few ideas (and admittedly they are not for everyone):
1. Wedding gown - borrow, inherit, or rent; don't buy. (Same for tuxedo if the groom does not already have one)
2. Ceremonial venue - get a free one (e.g., your backyard, your friend's house, city hall, public park, house of worship that does it for free)
3. Banquet/reception - if the number of guests is manageable, host it at home; otherwise buffet should be cheaper than table service; for banquet banquet, shop Chinatown restaurants.
4. Photography and video - get your friends/family to do it. Every one has a smartphone that can take decent photographs and record decent videos these days. Unless you want studio portraits with artificial backgrounds, there is likely no need for studio service.
5. Limousine service - if you don't have a car or your car is not big enough, borrow a friend's car/SUV/minivan. Put some bows and ribbons on it and it's a bridal limo.
6. Music, DJ, band - know any friend who moonlight as DJ or has a garage band? Get your friends to do it.
7. Stationery (invitations, etc.) - Go all electronic.
A lot of one-time "wedding" things can be more easily justified for not having if we look at it as delayed gratification: "if we give up on this one thing now, resources can be redeployed towards building a better life after the wedding." After all, "wedding" is one day, "after the wedding" is one lifetime.
Best wishes to the happy couple.
If you got OS through with no student debt you already gave her a wonderful gift.
Im gonna say that if the pix are important, hire a professional. I gots stories....
|Has Achieved Nirvana|
A friend asked me to be the photog at his wedding.
I screwed them up.
I will always be the guy who screwed up the wedding photos to them.
They don't say anything about it anymore, but they don't have much to say.
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