Save On Weddings By Finding Out Who Your Real Friends Are

Though the average cost of a wedding is up for debate — “experts” report different numbers, though most agree it’s between $25,000 to $30,000 — the fact is that an average wedding in America can be pretty darned expensive. And while you can take steps to save a bit here and there, there is one area that you’ll need to focus on if you want to save big bucks: the reception.

According to Smart Money magazine, reception costs average 46% of the total wedding bill. As such, the best tip for saving money on a wedding is to limit the reception — which means limiting who you invite. But how can you do this? How can you turn away people you want to share in your special day?

CNN suggests you quiz potential invitees to see who really is connected in your life. Those that know you well and are part of your life get invited, those that don’t, stay home.

What sort of questions do they suggest? Pick among these:

1) Name the city I’m living in now.
2) Name at least two of my closest friends.
3) Name my current employer and my past employer.
4) Do I have any kids?
5) Do you know the name of my fiancé? Bonus question: Where and when did we meet?
6) Do you know where my parents are and whether they are still alive?
7) Name at least two of my hobbies.
8) How old am I?
9) Where did I go to college?
10) Name my last boyfriend before this engagement.

Their suggested scoring system: score of 50 percent or below — not invited; score of 50% to 60% — waiting list; score over 60% — get an invitation.

Now they don’t recommend you literally send out tests to potential guests, but instead float a few of these questions out during your engagement to see who really is involved in your life. And those that are connected are people you will probably want to invite. The others are the ones that add size (and cost) to an already expensive day.

Yeah, this system might be a bit awkward or somewhat crass, but it sure beats selling tickets to your special event.

Should you be invited to my wedding? [CNN]

FREE MONEY FINANCE
(Photo: Ben Popken)

Comments

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  1. an excellent idea. after all, this is supposed to be an important and intimate day in one’s life, so why surround oneself with strangers?

  2. DrGirlfriend says:

    Some of those questions are kinda strange (my own mother probably couldn’t tell you the name of my past 2 employers, and I am pretty sure she loves me. Although my high school chemistry teacher told me she my mother didn’t love me enough because she didn’t go to a parent-teacher open house. So I should probably ask her to make sure.)

    But I used that general reasoning for my own wedding. We had 50 guests, and that helped us keep our costs down to a small fraction of what is considered average for wedding costs. And those people were truly the ones closest to my husband and me.

  3. mgy says:

    This is a terribly blunt way of offending close friends. Shouldn’t you know who your friends are?

  4. wgrune says:

    It really chaps my hide when people show up for the recpetion and not the ceremony.

    You like/love me enough to have me buy your dinner and booze all night but you wont sit through less then an hour long ceremony (which, lest we forget, is, uh, THE ACTUAL IMPORTANT PART OF THE WEDDING).

  5. Marshfield says:

    I’d have a hard time working more than ONE of these into a casual conversation.

    “Oh, Hey.. do you know if I have any kids?”

    I’d have to see it done to believe it was even possible.

  6. KyleOrton says:

    If the bride/groom sees a person often enough to quiz them, I think that person should be invited.

    We used a 1 year rule for our wedding. If either side made plans to see the other over the past year, they were invited. (I was surprised how many people on the initial list didn’t pass this.) Also, if we had seen them within the last year, but wouldn’t be sad never to see them again they were off the list.

  7. lannister80 says:

    Well, don’t forget that many young folks’ receptions are paid for by one or both sets of parents. The cost to invite a guest is almost certainly more than the value of the gift you’ll receive from the guest, but the benefits go to you, and the cost goes to the parent. :)

  8. Etoiles says:

    The problem is, you can’t necessarily vet blood relations the same way or you’ll be in heaps of trouble for the rest of your life.

    I’m an only child, and I have no cousins on one side and only two, and they’re brothers, on the other. But I have loads of aunts and uncles. All things considered if I ever marry I would like only to invite two (one couple) out of all of these, but woe betide me (and my mother, and the aunt I do like) for the rest of my natural life and possibly also beyond the grave if I should exclude any of them…

  9. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    “Now they don’t recommend you literally send out tests to potential guests…”
    Why the hell not? You’re already recommending this friendship pop quiz complete with a scoring system, why not go the extra mile to alienate your friends by printing up a bunch of these at Kinko’s and then FedExing them out, complete with blanks for YOUR NAME etc.

    Here’s a better idea, why not have a reception you can afford instead of blowing the roof off the sucker (or setting the roof, the roof, the roof on fire). Seeing who enjoys a scaled down celebration would be a much better (and more personable) measure of friendship, MAYBE.

  10. snoop-blog says:

    $25-50k? Jeez-us. Freakin princesses. Just keep it short and simple. Over %50 of couples end up in divorce anyway. And then that princess will re-marry, and still want another fairy tale wedding. I think it takes most women 3 marriages before they get past the whole “I’m a princess phase”.

  11. DrGirlfriend says:

    @mgy: I agree with you on that, but wedding guest lists have a way of getting out of hand really fast. Then there’s also guilt over not inviting so and so, whether it be your own guilt or some relative trying to convince you to invite you old neighbor from when you were 8. Believe me, I had to sit relatives of mine down and tell them that I was no longer welcoming suggestions for the guest list. Having ways to re-focus yourself and whittle down the list is helpful.

    I would never ask people these questions, not even in “subtle” ways. But when trimming my own list, I asked myself if the people I was inviting knew me well, or not.

  12. GodzillaDad says:

    Wow seriously it costs between 25-30k? My wife and I we married 2 years ago for 7, including reception. I cant image spending that much for a wedding, that extra 23 could buy a new car or be down-payment on a house!

  13. PunditGuy says:

    @mgy: Agreed. There’s something awfully passive-aggressive about this. Just because you can’t make up your mind about who should attend your wedding doesn’t mean that potential guests should have to compete for the honor of buying you a gift in exchange for a dry chicken dinner.

    This also seems to ignore the politics involved when it comes to invitees. I’ve been through this twice, and both times I’ve had many more people attend my weddings than I would have picked for myself — but the mother and mother-in-law get a say, especially if they’re kicking in cash to help.

    Want a cheaper wedding? Pick an offbeat venue. Here in Minneapolis, you can get married at a zoo or, like me, at the Science Museum. Your guests get free passes to the exhibits, you get great pictures of the happy couple next to dinosaur bones, and the staff is outstanding. We (and by “we,” I mean my in-laws, fortunately) paid less than half the national average, fed 150 people a fabulous buffet (see page 22: [www.lancercatering.com]), and people actually had fun.

  14. lilacorchid says:

    I had a small wedding of about 120* because I cut the guest list. My mother wanted to invite family that I had never even heard of and I told her she got 40 people, and no more. (Sorry Great Aunty So-and-so twice removed. I didn’t know you were alive until today.) I’m sure my mother thought I was ruthless, but I was paying for the damn thing and I would like to have some of my friends there too! Cutting the guest list is hard (hardest part of my wedding planning actually), but you just can’t invite everyone you have ever met.

    *From where I’m from, weddings of 4-500 people are considered the norm. They are usually big community events and you send out the invite to the head of the family and they wait to see how many people are coming. Yay for buffets and curling halls!

  15. qwickone says:

    @snoop-blog: clearly you’ve never tried to plan a wedding. I’m not saying it can’t be done for less, but things add up very quickly. Dinner at $30 per plate with 100 guests is 3 grand right there. Add in waiters and a mandatory 20% tip and youre over 4 grand. Go forbid you have a big family like mine. Our guest list was 400 and yes, i knew every last one of them and saw them within the last year.

  16. TracyHamandEggs says:

    @wgrune: Those people irk me to no end. Weddings take like 15 minutes unless you have a full mass, if you can’t be bothered showing up to that then you shouldnt go to the reception.

    (exception made for child-related excuses or when they are many hours apart, since there can be legit schedule issues)

    But seriously, I was the best man for a guy who I hadnt seen in 2 years (except the bachelor party) and who’s fiance I had never met. I think most people know who their close friends are without a stupid quiz.

  17. @DrGirlfriend: “Although my high school chemistry teacher told me she my mother didn’t love me enough because she didn’t go to a parent-teacher open house.”

    My junior high science teacher told my mother she didn’t love me enough because she’d had a fourth child and that was just irresponsible parenting and evidence she didn’t love her children.

    I am still indignant!

    (See what would have happened to your mom if she HAD gone to the parent-teacher conference?)

  18. snoop-blog says:

    @qwickone: I’m must be a simple country bumpkin then cuz I never even been to a wedding like that. The weddings I’ve been to, family members chip in and cook, we rent a legion or something for the reception, find someone you know with property and a gazebo, and poof: your married, and it doesn’t count any less because you did it all for just 2-3k. I’m engaged and we’re planning a Vegas wedding (because we’re classy like that) batchelor party and all down there (yeah boys you know what I’m talkin about) and I gaurantee the people going with us will have a blast. Oh but the point of all that was that the actually wedding itself will cost us less than $500, plus the trip, and a reception back home where the bar WILL charge.

    were saving that happiest day of our life for our child’s birth…

  19. @snoop-blog: Yeah, but weddings aren’t just about the couple — they’re about the family and community. My wedding had ever so little to do with ME and ever so much to do with my extended family whooping it up at a giant awesome party.

    My parents were happy, my grandparents were ecstatic, my friends and relatives had a great time, my husband and I ended up married at the end of the day, and those who paid for it could afford it — so why should it matter if it cost an absurd amount of money?

    As for cutting guest lists, my mother suggested asking people if they’d give me a kidney. But she was kidding. It was her guest list. :P

  20. It took my grandmother almost 8 months to acknowledge the birth of my son. I am allowed to retroactively un-invite her from my wedding 4 years ago?

  21. Inglix_the_Mad says:

    @gnappulicious:

    Because in a family like mine, where my parents had 9 and 12 siblings respectively, you cannot keep up on everything. You help each other out, I’m getting a big freakin’ tree removed for 40% off because I’m related to the tree service owner’s wife, you just can’t keep up when theres more cousins, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, et al.

    That doesn’t include friends yet.

    I’m lucky my wife’s family wasn’t huge. Then again we had some of them flying from Finland…

  22. BuddyGuyMontag says:

    You really posted this, Consumerist? Really?

    Here’s the problem:

    As mentioned above, not only is doing something like this awkward and alienating, it’s stupid.

    Here’s how you do it:

    Before you even pick a venue, create the list. Get prices. Choose venue based on head count you can afford. If you love the venue but the minimums affect the head count list, THEN you make the tough decisions.

    We had a 125 minimum and I think we had like 115 show up. So because of this, we worked a deal where we got a couple of extra comped rooms.

    ALWAYS NEGOTIATE.

  23. Inglix_the_Mad says:

    @wgrune: It really chaps my hide when people show up for the recpetion and not the ceremony.

    I make an exception to that with those that are single and have small 1mo-1yr old children.

  24. PinkBox says:

    I’m not sure even most of my family would know the answers to all of those questions.

    Doesn’t matter anyway, since I plan to elope. I’m not wasting 25k on a wedding when I could put it towards a house.

  25. BuddyGuyMontag says:

    We actually caught heat because we didn’t invite the Bride’s father’s cousins.

    People I never met before, and the Bride hadn’t seen since like, 2003.

    Of course, my grandmother-in-law asked me at the Bridal Shower who I was. BTW, she’s not senile.

  26. Robobot says:

    Spending more on a wedding than many people earn in a year? No thanks. It seems like most guests just attend weddings for the receptions anyway. Civil ceremonies at the court house (or, of course, no-frills weddings at the house of worship of your choice!), are the way to go. After that, maybe a small dinner with close family and maybe a few very good friends afterwards.

    Not only are big weddings tacky and wasteful, but they’re so stressful to plan. I can imagine that many couples begin having problems due to the stress and trials of dealing with wedding planners, caterers, dress makers, brides maids, etc. It’s enough to sour a marriage before it begins.

    You can, and should, celebrate your partnership with the person you love every day. You don’t need two loans and 500 “close friends” to help.

  27. Yurei says:

    Yeah, people need to seriously spend less on the frivolous things for the wedding and reception. You don’t NEED a limo, or a DJ, or to eat in a fancy restaurant. Heck, I told my boyfriend that if we’re getting married, it will be to go to the city clerk/court house or wherever you have to go to sign the paper, and then put all the money into the reception- which will be done, backyard cookout style :)

    Oh sure, i’m sure we’d say some vows and exchange rings at the reception so some people *coughparentscough* can’t complain about not getting to see anything. But i don’t need to spend 4 grand on a photographer. My boyfriend is a fantastic photographer himself because of his line of work. I don’t need to spend 4 grand on a place catering or having it at a crappy restaurant with dried out chicken. I’m a fair good cook myself, and my mom and I cooked up everything ahead of time for her second wedding, and it was a blast. Nope, I don’t need flowers (allergic as all get out to them) or a fancy dress, or to go into an actual church and do it since neither of us is religious anyway.

    If we do it, i’m sure we’ll blow a few grand on it- but only on food and booze for our backyard, and we’ll hook up our own sound system, hehe.

  28. TouchMyMonkey says:

    @snoop-blog: Man, we did the ultimate no-frills wedding. Justice of the Peace, followed by a kegger. I think we spend $200 total on the whole thing. And we had FUN.

  29. BuddyGuyMontag says:

    @PinkBox: Eh, I see your point. I actually had an expensive wedding but I also minimized costs as much as I could.

    We threw a hell of a party, and as Sam Rosen once said, “this one will last a lifetime.” When your Autistic brother is dancing like Nuke LaLoosh with five different girls on the floor, those are memories you can’t get by eloping, and it still tears my wife up to this day.

  30. EarlNowak says:

    @Spaceman Bill Leah: Yes.

    Two words: Destination Wedding. I figure if they’re willing to shell out for airfare to south america, I’ll go ahead and buy them dinner. They deserve it.

    And you’ll save a fortune through the exchange rate.

  31. evslin says:

    As I look at these questions it seems like someone ought to be able to answer at least half of these questions regarding any of the friends they’d consider putting on my own guest list. So how about instead of asking your guests weird questions, just save the weirdness and quiz yourself instead. If you don’t know enough about somebody to be able to answer the majority of these questions about them, why would you want to invite them?

    Relatives excepted, of course.

  32. BuddyGuyMontag says:

    I think the problems with weddings is all dependent on how you grew up, the “social class” that you and your parents are in, and geographical location.

  33. illtron says:

    Any of you idiots who spend $20,000+ on a wedding deserve to have your spouse cheat on you and get divorced.

    I’m planning my wedding, and we’re looking at something more like $10,000, and we’re fully aware we could do it for far less if we wanted.

  34. oneTee says:

    friend of mine came up with the dance theory. At my wedding…if i’m on the dance floor dancing and i see that person…will i get excited and want to dance with them? if not, they’re not invited :)

  35. wgrune says:

    @Inglix_the_Mad:

    Exception granted. Also, like TracyHamandEggs said when there is a 4 hour gap between the wedding and reception, skipping one is also allowed.

  36. Jon Mason says:

    I was caught between two worlds on this – I was “lucky” in that I had just moved to the US when I got married so apart from 3 family members and 2 friends, didnt have any guests of my own to invite. My wife on the other hand is born and raised in the south, and has two sides of the family to invite, both of which were large, she also works at a pretty small company – the kind of tight-knit place where if you only invited one or two people, others might feel slighted… we ended up with just around 100 people, but still were able to do it for less than $6000 total – including venue, food, cake… the one financial bonus: a lot of her family is baptist and so we went alcohol-free for the reception – if it had been in England with my friends/family I can imagine the booze bill being pretty substantial.

  37. rixatrix says:

    And if I, the friend, don’t know the answer to any of these questions for someone whose wedding I AM invited to – this gives me the right to skip out and/or not have to buy something for their many showers, right? (Including future baby showers.) It’s only fair.

  38. Jon Mason says:

    Also:
    I totally agree with skimping on the “frills” – forget the limos (drive yourself or get a cab), over the top decorations/flowers (rent a location that is already nicely decorated)

  39. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    What sort of questions do they suggest? Pick among these:

    1) Name the city I’m living in now.
    2) Name at least two of my closest friends.
    3) Name my current employer and my past employer.

    So basically just invite people who can get past the security questions on all of your online accounts.

    I totally agree! You don’t want the people who can break into your online banking account mad at you.

  40. Wormfather is Wormfather says:

    What about relatives? How does one explain to their mother that “No, I’m not inviting my great aunt, I havnt seen her in 15 years and I’ve seen her a total of 5 times in my life!”?

    Just asking.

  41. zarex42 says:

    This quiz method is a nice idea, but a little weird for weddings.

    It’s much better for wills, that’s what I’m gonna do! Leave all my $ to the one that wins!

  42. DrGirlfriend says:

    @Eyebrows McGee: I’m glad I took the heat from my teacher, instead of my mom having to! I just laughed at my teacher, whereas my mom probably would have really caused a scene.

  43. @Wormfather is Wormfather: If anyone in your family is into genealogy, you are totally screwed. There is no way out. Trust.

  44. The larger issue is if we friends can even afford to go to your stupid wedding. I had to turn down 3 weddings this year, which probably saved me about $1500. You’ve got to fly into town, get a hotel, buy a gift, buy a dress, etc. I wish you all the best on your special day, but at $500 to attend, it’s not worth it. Also, destination wedding saves the bride and groom money, but is even harder to attend as a guest. $900-$1100 for your special day? HA! HAHAHAHAHA. The savvy bride could probably turn a profit if she planned things right, but damn, weddings cost everyone a fortune…not to mention the divorce.

  45. snoop-blog says:

    I think the men get off easy. All we do is just show-up (if their lucky). We don’t care about the band, or the flowers and really not even the pics. Yeah we want pics, but how often are we going to look at them? Well it depends on how many you women put up around the house. Women will let something like flowers ruin a wedding where as the only thing of importance to the man is his woman.

  46. Wormfather is Wormfather says:

    @qwickone: No offense, but where I live (stamford, ct) I’m paying $115 a head and that’s considered a deal.

    No one in my family seems to understand that this a lot of damned money!

  47. @illtron: “Any of you idiots who spend $20,000+ on a wedding deserve to have your spouse cheat on you and get divorced.”

    Why?

  48. mac-phisto says:

    @doctor_cos: technically, controlling your guest list is the biggest part of “having a reception you can afford” – even reasonable caterers are charging $100/plate for food & if your reception goes above 300 – plan on your costs skyrocketing as your choice for a venue moves from “party hall” to “convention center”.

    still, i’m an advocate for “grassroots receptions” – the best & most fun weddings i have been to were very low cost. in some cases, relatives made food for the event. in another case, friends supplied tables, chairs, tents, etc. as a favor. who needs a dj when you have friends in a band or a decent stereo & an extensive music playlist? are those 6′ high table arrangements really worth the cost?

    & most importantly – don’t waste money on party favors – seriously, i usually end up throwing them away. if you’re going to offer them, put some thought into it. one idea i really liked that i encountered – a low-cost wooden picture frame with a picture of me & the bride & groom hanging out before they were married. probably set them back <$3/guest. bonus points for thoughtfulness.

  49. rockergal says:

    all I can say is “Vegas Baby”
    My husband and I spent $600 on our nuptials and that was 8 years ago.

  50. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    @evslin: Superb response.

    My ex and I let our friends know our wedding was for fun, not for formal. We were all broke college students anyway. Somebody gave us the hugest box of Crayolas and a roll of newsprint as a wedding present, and we took a table at the reception and made it into a coloring station. Lot of amazing artists among our friends, so lots of amazing keepsake pictures and amazing memories.

  51. DrGirlfriend says:

    @Eyebrows McGee: Because if you don’t live your life exactly the same way any given internet stranger does, then you deserve all that and more.

  52. selectman says:

    @Eyebrows McGee: Don’t you know that $20,000 == divorce needing moron and $10,000 == smooth operator who knows he could spend less but doesn’t because he can afford not to?

  53. Snakeophelia says:

    I have an even better suggestion – “Immediate Family Only”. While it may chap the hides of some of your friends, they can’t complain they weren’t invited because they weren’t “close enough” friends. And while the definition of “immediate” is flexible, I do agree with Miss Manners that it’s much less rude to exclude categories than specific people.

    My husband and I were married in 2006, and only parents, stepsiblings, and young nieces/nephews were invited. This saved us a lot of grief, as the one friend who did get mad about not being invited was consoled (we think) by the fact that we simply pleaded poverty (which was true) and pointed out that we didn’t invite ANY friends. I also immensely dislike the new tradition of expecting wedding guests to pay for plane fare/hotels/etc, so we also let our friends know that our wedding was small because we paid for EVERYTHING for every attendee – all meals and accommodations for three days.

  54. Jthmeffy says:

    @snoop-blog: I’m with you. My wedding had 50-100 of the closer friends and family (although I admit my father is an only child and none of my mother’s sisters could show – live all over the country). We had the wedding and the reception at a beautiful park, made all of the food ourselves, and had a friend of the family (a Judge) marry us. The wedding was beautiful, and we only spent a total of $1-2k on the entire ordeal. It wasn’t this grand fairy-tale-fucking-expensive wedding, but if it had to be, I wouldn’t have been marrying that person then – in no way is one day worth the cost of my first house.

  55. ekthesy says:

    @mac-phisto:

    A good way to keep the goodwill of favors while not actually having to parcel out crap the guests won’t even bother with is to make a donation in lieu of favors. You spend a lot less money.

  56. PinkBox says:

    @snoop-blog: In my case, it’s the fiance that wants the big wedding, not me! I guess he wants to be a prince?

  57. dragonvpm says:

    @evslin: That’s probably the best idea I’ve heard in this thread. Short of someone who is obsessive about keeping up with random people they know that would probably accomplish the same thing without having to go through the really “Who Wants to go to My Wedding” quiz show format.

    @illtron: You’re spending $10,000? Jeez, based on what some folks here did, you just deserve to get cheated on then. Seriously though you’re planning on spending a good chunk of what a vehicle costs for ONE day. I don’t have a problem with it, but as with EVERYTHING, people should spend what they can comfortably afford and they shouldn’t turn into psychos (a la Bridezilla) about something like a wedding. Whether they spend $10k or $100k, if they have it and want to spend it that way, then more power to them.

  58. Norcross says:

    Wow. Seeing this, I realize how much I scored on my wedding. Including rings, I spent less than $1,000 on the whole thing. Party.

  59. Mistrez_Mish says:

    @illtron: Seriously? That’s just childish.

    You do realize that a lot of it has to do with where you live? Hell, I could have gotten away with planning a $10k wedding I would be ecstatic!

    NYC: lowest, non-gang gangland dangerous (think East NY) venue that isn’t dirty with a somewhat polite and attentive staff will run you $65 per person. For a relatively small wedding of 70 people, that’s $4,450 for food alone. Figure in the ceremony area and officiant fee, tips, attire, the cake, cake cutting fee, tips, dj, the photographer, and all other wedding necessities it adds up FAST.

    I’m not into the princess bullshit, drives me crazy. Even a simple, small, modest wedding can set you back.

  60. Wormfather is Wormfather says:

    @illtron: First, where do you live, because 10,000 some places goes a lot further, geographicly speaking.

    That brings up this point: Someone in the midwest with a lower cost of living pays 10,000 and gets a spectacular wedding, should my fiancee and I have a craptastic wedding just because we live in the northeast? Or do we deserve to cheat on eachother.

    But all that is neither here nor there: Who the hell are you to tell other people how to spend there money!?!?!? If the lady and I want to spend $50,000 on a wedding, well guess what that’s our buisness and you have no right to say what you did.

    QFT!

  61. Mistrez_Mish says:

    @PunditGuy: I wish that I could have afforded the museum! I checked out the American Museum of Natural History, fell in love with it…. and then saw the price tag :(

  62. samurailynn says:

    @Snakeophelia: Immediate Family Only would have sucked for me… I only have stepsiblings (who didn’t end up coming to the reception anyway) and my husband has three siblings. Neither of us are that close with our parents or siblings. I have aunts, uncles, and cousins that I’m much closer to than my husband is to his immediate family.

    We ended up getting married in Hawaii, just the two of us. My parents threw a reception for us a few months later.

    I think the big problem with weddings is that historically people have invited everyone they’ve ever known to the wedding (all relatives, friends, neighbors, parent’s friends, elementary school teachers…). Those historical weddings were more of the big potluck in so-and-so’s back yard kind of a wedding. Now formal gala event weddings are more popular, but a lot of family members still think you need to invite everyone you’ve ever come in contact with. The gala event weddings can be fun (I’ve been to a couple of my husband’s cousin’s weddings) but I can’t imagine ever spending the money necessary to have one, and I wouldn’t ever blame someone else for not wanting to spend the money on one.

  63. snoop-blog says:

    @Wormfather is Wormfather: I’m in the midwest, and 10k would be utterly sickening here. But the average rent on an apartment is like $400/mo. (for a 2 bedroom). 50k per year is considered to be well off (if not rich) in my neck of da woods. Jobs still hire at federal minimum wage here.

  64. Wormfather is Wormfather says:

    @Mistrez_Mish: Thank you, as someone lives over in fairfield county the idea of spending $10K would be awsome but once you’ve cut everything that you’d want in your wedding you might as well have a kegger.

  65. Wormfather is Wormfather says:

    @snoop-blog: I know, and it’s not to say that people in one area are better/worse than the other, its just demographics.

    My rent here is $1500 and that’s resonable, it’s just the way things are.

  66. NYGal81 says:

    We got a lot of crap from some people (including family…) about not inviting everyone under the sun to our wedding last summer. This included the very generous “and Guest” invitations that some folks thought we needed to send out. It’s nice if you can afford it, but news flash–a wedding is more than a free dinner and open bar. It’s also not a cheap way to entertain your boyfriend/girlfriend/significant other that nobody except you knows. We did follow the basics of good manners by inviting committed others (fiancees and spouses), family, and close friends. I can honestly say that everyone there was there for a reason.

    We did have a few people (younger extended family) not come because we didn’t invite their teenage girlfriends too, but you know what? I don’t care. I hate to sound all ex-bridezilla, but this is the happy couple’s day, and that’s what matters the most. The quickest way to see who should be left off your guest list is to determine which of your guests isn’t going to be able to see that it’s not all about them. Off they go. Problem solved.

    I still get snarky comments every now and then (from family–his, not mine) about how so-and-so didn’t even know we got married because we didn’t have a big wedding. I thought the 110 we had there were plenty. I sure don’t appreciate it, but our wedding day was not about having every person ever known by anybody in our network of families, blended families, and extended families be there with us. Ironically enough, the portion of the family that was so up in arms about the brevity of the guest list had the most no-show guests to our reception. Glad we paid for them to not show up.

    Sigh…My wedding day was the happiest day of my life (cliche, sappy, etc., I know), but I wouldn’t go through all the planning, crying, fighting, and anxiety again for all the money in the world. I definitely wanted my princess day, but I’m also pathologically cheap. The two do not mix well.

  67. beckalina says:

    If I ever get married, the majority of my reception budget will be spent on alcohol. We’re a family of drinkers.

  68. snoop-blog says:

    about 10 people will go to Vegas with us to watch us get married and they are buying their own trip (although it was explained to them that they shouldn’t feel obligated to go because we are having the reception that everyone is invited to back home.) We’ll just play the video of us getting married and get really trashed,… again.

  69. MaytagRepairman says:

    I was married a couple of months ago. We decided upon a small wedding in a city park on a Friday around noon. Since our famlies live so far apart or would rather not take the day off we were able to narrow it down to 25 people who would actually show up consisting mostly of parents and siblings and sibling children. The park didn’t cost us anything to use and since it was during the week there were no strangers wondering in. The reception was a family style lunch served in a private room at a local non-chain restaurant. Our mothers took most of the pictures. No band, no professional photographer, no musicians, no over-the-top reception, no brides’ maids, no best man. A few flowers here and there. Done very inexpensively and just as rememberable. I don’t feel like I missed anything for not spending thousands more.

  70. samurailynn says:

    @NYGal81: Maybe a good idea to avoid people saying that they didn’t even know you got married, but still being able to have a smaller (and more affordable) wedding would be to send out announcements. When we sent out invitations to the our reception, we sent them to people that we knew wouldn’t be able to attend because the card included a picture of us and we still wanted to include those people. I feel like I’ve seen wedding announcements before, and I feel like an announcement with a picture of the couple would be a nice way to still include all those people who aren’t actually going to the wedding and reception.

  71. JanetCarol says:

    The problem with not inviting people is I would be starting World War III with my mother and mother-in law.

    To them it doesn’t matter what we want, who’s paying for it, and who we like.

    I’m exhausted about the whole thing.

  72. NYGal81 says:

    @illtron: Wow…what a douche-bag thing to say. Way to be a mean-spirited jackass.

  73. dewsipper says:

    @snoop-blog: “I think the men get off easy. All we do is just show-up (if their lucky). ” My Hubby was in charge of the wall of beer.

    Our wedding was under 2k for 120 peeps + lots of crashers. Over half the food was brought by the guests. You can spend whatever you want on a wedding. We went cheap, and everyone still had a great time. I think they liked that they were “involved” in the wedding and reception instead of just attending.

    I did have to do a lot of weeding out of people, but the first two tiers of people on my side did get invited (immediate family & close friends, all aunts/uncles and their kids & their kids’ kids). Hubby’s list wasn’t all that big, so I lucked out.

    I did send out 3 invitations to really old friends that I hadn’t seen in a long while – just to let them know we were getting married (not expecting gifts or attendance or anything, and even wrote something like that in a quick note included with the invitations). They all came, and it was absolutely wonderful to see them again. So, I would definitely recommend adding a few of those people to any guest list.

  74. NYGal81 says:

    @samurailynn: The people in question wouldn’t recognize my husband if they passed him by on the street. I have never even met them. They’re very very casual acquaintances of his family.

    I do think the announcement is a very nice idea if you are actually distressed that you can’t invite the people, but still want them to know. Although, I often wonder if the announcement gets mis-interpreted as “begging for gifts.” I can see some people taking offense to it–but then again, people get offended at the drop of a hat these days.

  75. Breach says:

    Good advice!

    Only idiots spend 25-30k on a wedding though. That could be an investment, down payment on a house, spent on cake and wedding dress and florals?. In an era of 60% divorce rate, id say to hell with that.

    You can have a nice wedding without spending that nearly much.

    Beware of woman who want that “dream wedding” scenario anyway.

  76. I’m pretty late to this discussion, but reading those questions I think that those are things a couple should ask themselves about the people they’re planning to invite, if they feel in over their head.

    The last few weddings I was invited to, I declined to attend first off because I was subjected to the online blog whining about the expense and secondly because I realized the people wanting me to travel out, pay for transportation and hotel (hell one wedding was Thanksgiving weekend) barely even knew me anymore.

  77. Amelie says:

    When I got married, my father offered me the difference in cash between having a traditional wedding and getting married at the local church with a few relatives and dinner at a restaurant. I have never regretted the decision. The $20,000 down payment on my house was the best investment I’ve ever made.

  78. snoop-blog says:

    If you’re going to spend $25-30k on a wedding, then you should be the one buying my broke ass a gift. Seriously with that kind of money, what could I possibly buy you that you couldn’t buy yourself? A yacht? A Lambo? I probably couldn’t even afford to breath the same air as the bride and groom at a weddding like that.

  79. parungaj says:

    Since I’m Asian, our families are notorious for inviting everyone (blood, high school and college buddies) to weddings. Being a blood relation is a definite invite and if not, you’ll be on hit list for the rest of your life. Our perfect solution (and something that’s just starting to get popular) is having the wedding on a Friday or Sunday instead of the traditional Saturday. We felt the ones who would choose to take a day off work were truly the ones closest to us. On top of that, reserving space on those days are much cheaper than having it on a Saturday. So you can still invite all those people and know they probably won’t come and still not offend them.

  80. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    @janetcarol: Elope! Escape while you can!!

    @Wormfather is Wormfather: You say, “We’re not starting off married life in debt.”

  81. dtmoore says:

    Courthouse + Many Kegs + Boar on a Spit + All of my good friends/family = Awesome wedding for very cheap.

  82. suzapalooza says:

    First time around my MIL got into the mix and invited work friends, people my fiance didn’t even know he was related to, and people she “owed” invitations to. We were “coerced” into wedding trinkets that we didn’t really want (custom coasters? napkins with our names imprinted?) 400+ people, but they paid for the reception, so hey. If I didn’t have pics I couldn’t tell you if some of the folks had even been there or not. We were so busy doing all of the “wedding” things, we barely had a chance to say “hi” to the guests.

    Second time, we paid for it ourselves, invited immediate family and intimate friends ONLY, and had a small, personal reception. It was wonderful and meaningful and we actually got to chat with everyone who came!

  83. samurailynn says:

    @NYGal81: There were some people that my mother-in-law wanted invited that I’m not sure my husband had ever met or seen. There were also some people that my mom wanted to send an invitation to even though I hadn’t seen them in probably 15 years. I didn’t mind so much because I knew the people she was doing that for were part of an older generation where that sort of thing was expected.

    As far as offending people with announcements, just don’t include notes as to where the couple is registered. If they want to send a gift, they’ll ask where you’re registered, send a check or gift card, or pick out a gift on their own. I’m sure there are some people out there who will still take offense, but you’ll never please everyone.

  84. vladthepaler says:

    Or you could just charge admission.

  85. goodywitch says:

    I think the quiz is silly. You have the family obligations that you have to invite, whether you want to or not, including the family friends who you really don’t remember all that well. If you have to give someone a quiz to determine if they’re your friends, then something else is wrong.

  86. BytheSea says:

    Um. I think the answers would be, “Fuck you, if you need to ask, I’m not coming.”

  87. spazmate says:

    The best plan is to get married on an unusual day – rates usually increase a lot on Thursday, Friday and Saturday – so get married Sunday – Wednesday. This step alone will eliminate guests who aren’t really close to you as they will have to take off work to go to the event.

    We managed a small wedding with 60 guests for less than $5000 at a rented facility with a catered dinner and open bar. It can be done – just focus on what really matters for the event and eliminate all the other stuff.

  88. Ragman says:

    My grandpa’s advice to us was to get each of the people we’d invite to give us $50 and just elope.

  89. lilacorchid says:

    @snoop-blog: “were saving that happiest day of our life for our child’s birth…”

    Amen. I feel sorry for people who want their wedding day to be the happiest day of their life. What about the next fifty years? All downhill from here?

  90. This article is really adding to my stress levels, because I received a wedding invitation this week from a cousin I normally only see at funerals. I was thinking “It would nice to see his side of the family for a non-death-related occasion,” but now all I can think about is how much of his money I’d apparently be wasting. (The $600+ I’d spend attending an out-of-state wedding is almost besides the point.) Thanks a lot for harshing my buzz, guys.

  91. mac-phisto says:

    @dewsipper: i keep suggesting this – a lot of people feel like they’re imposing on others by asking them to bring a dish or help in some way.

    the reality is, most people love that – i know i do! it makes me feel good inside to know that i helped out in some way (& that others want my secret recipe for 7-layer taco dip) =)

  92. floraposte says:

    Ah, the American wedding; the potlatch of the twenty-first century.

  93. the15th says:

    @Michael Bauser: I feel like that’s almost the point of a lot of these articles. Stressed out about the place settings/food before? Now you can stress out about that AND whether you’re a selfish princess Bridezilla because you’re not sewing your bridesmaids’ dresses and using flowers picked from your own garden. And the guests can stress out too, about whether or not they really should have been invited.

  94. chemmy says:

    Another good way..

    You “I got engaged…”

    Friend “Am I invited to the wedding?”

    NO INVITE

    Proper response would have been “Congratulations” or something of the like….

  95. DoubleEcho says:

    My wife and I spent $3000 on our wedding, and her father bought her dress for her (that was his gift). We had about 80 guests and had a great time. I would have contemplated suicide if I got a bill for $25,000 for a wedding, and there’s no way I’d marry a woman who expected a $25-50,000 wedding either.

    My best friend (who was my best man) had his wedding reception at a pretty ritzy hotel, which his parents paid for, and the food at our reception was a hell of a lot better. Ours was about $15 per plate I think – His reception alone cost more than our whole wedding!

  96. chemmy says:

    We got married in a Catholic Church in NYC and did it all with 30 guests for around $5,000…

    We didn’t suffer – whole tux/dress/church/limo/flowers

    etc etc

    We decided to save for a down payment on a home instead… 25K would make a nice wedding I’m sure (though ours was plenty nice) but it makes a nicer down payment.

  97. HogwartsAlum says:

    @GodzillaDad:

    Blame the wedding industry. No one is required to spend that kind of money. I’m not married yet but when I get married, I’m not spending my money on all that junk. They are just out to make a buck, like any business. Those bridal magazines are all ads.

    What counts is that you are celebrating your committment with the people who are most important to the both of you. HOW you do it is completely up to you. My cousin just got married in a public park, with a potluck reception and it was very simple and nice.

  98. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    @lilacorchid: So it’s pitiful for it to be all downhill from the wedding day but it’s not pitiful for it to be all downhill from the birth of a child? What’s so sad about actually being happy on your wedding day?

    @Michael Bauser: It’s their decision to spend the money. Maybe your cousin was also thinking it’d be nice to see you.

  99. Youthier says:

    @wgrune: That always chaffs me too.

    There was an exception – both bride and groom were employees at a small call center and invited all of their coworkers. The ceremony took place during the weekend hours that the call center operated. The call center operated with a smaller than usual crew and they all high-tailed to the reception as soon as business hours ended.

    And those costs are crazy… maybe it’s where I live but I had a full-out white wedding for 250 guests two years ago and it was under 10 grand, which I thought was way too much money (but my mom and dad insisted AND paid for it).

    @mac-phisto: To me, it would be rude to see “Please bring a dish to pass” on an invitation. If the bride/groom called me up and said, “Youthier, could you bring some of your awesome cheesy potatoes to our wedding?” I would say, “Sure!”

  100. Etoiles says:

    @mac-phisto: The problem is that there are two entirely different camps of people in the world, and a couple getting married is usually facing equal numbers of both (because you can pick your betrothed, but you can’t pick your family OR his / hers).

    The first group of people Know How Things Are Done. They are people who cling to Bride Magazine and TheKnot.com and certain kinds of advice columns. They are scandalized if you do anything out of their norm, from the poofy white dress to flasks for the groomsmen as gifts, to flowers on every table at a proper, seated four-course meal.

    The second group are people who believe that a wedding is a time for people to come together, for two sets of families and friends to become one, and who want to be involved in a joyous day. They are happy to help wrangle the littler guests, they are happy to have an outdoor party, they are happy to be seen in dresses they may have worn before. (The more adventurous and counterculture of these may even haunt sites like offbeatbride.com.)

    The problem is, catering to one group or the other tends to leave the other feeling uncomfortable and out of place… but it’s the first group that really, really complains vocally about it, and so most couples end up caving in one way or another to that sort of pressure, particularly when it comes from family.

    At this stage it’s a moot point for me personally, because no-one’s exactly putting a ring on my finger, but my family are such, and I different from most of them, that I have been rolling this around in my brain for years without coming to any satisfactory conclusions.

  101. kmiles says:

    Ho-ly Crap! $25-30K?? My husband and I got married almost 2 years ago: We had over 300 guests, a full reception with free beer for all the guests, and a dance. We ~maybe~ paid $5000 for the whole thing… I think we had an amazing wedding, and everyone told us it was awesome. I didn’t feel like we skimped on anything at all either. Must be inflation… :)

  102. snoop-blog says:

    @Youthier: Mmmmmm, cheesy potatoes!

  103. ionerox says:

    @DrGirlfriend: Ditto with the employers, plus my mom couldn’t name friends I’ve had since high school or pretty much any of my ex-boyfriends (although, I believe she pretends to not remember the ex-boyfriends… which is a clear sign she does love me and gets to come to my wedding reception).

  104. mac-phisto says:

    @Youthier: yes, i would completely agree. do not ask for favors on invitations, that’s tacky.

    @EtoilePB: well, i think you just found your own way to whittle the list in half. lol! i know what you mean though. what cracks me up is that group #1 tries so hard to be chic that they end up being horribly tacky. & the pressure to make everything perfect can make the day quite stressful for the honored couple – that’s just not right.

  105. fencepost says:

    My wife and I kept costs down by having a destination wedding – not a fly-off-to-a-tropical-island-by-yourselves bit, we had it at Sequoia National Park. Worst case our guest list might have been around 60 people, but total ended up being 30 guests (including 10 children age 7 and under, 9 of them girls).

    All of the girls got to dress as fairies, inexpensively – a family friend runs a dance studio, so we were able to order costumes through her (and get reimbursed) for around $60/each.

    Cakes couldn’t be fancy or tiered, because we were hauling them up from Fresno ourselves on mountain roads. Bouquets were wooden roses from [www.rosesofwood.net] (at the time they were tied in with Bergo Designs and did custom bouquets, they may still do so). Little guest checkin gifts were LED flashlights from DealXtreme (because it gets dark in the mountains). Corsages were nylon & wire butterflies and dragonflies that my wife tracked down somewhere.

  106. 3drage says:

    Nothing says starting off on the right foot like going in debt up to your eyeballs for a wedding.

  107. ElenaGange says:

    When we got married (his first, my second) we didn’t tell anyone our
    plans. We asked his parents to go to lunch with us (I had no local
    family). While at lunch we asked if they would go with us from the
    restaurant to the Courthouse because we were going to get married. So
    we traipsed off to the Courthouse, got married in the most intimate and
    serious ceremony possible with just the Judge and my future in-laws in a
    corner office with windows looking out over our City. It was a Friday
    afternoon. Once the deed was done we called all our friends to come
    down and meet us at a local bar/restaurant on the patio to celebrate
    with us. They were all so surprised they dropped everything and rushed
    on down to the meeting place. And of course since we had just gotten
    married everyone wanted to buy us drinks. So basically the cost of the
    wedding was the cost of the license. And then everyone else paid for
    the 5 hours or so of partying in the beautiful afternoon Spring weather.
    No muss, no fuss. 25 years later we still think it was one of the
    smartest moves we ever made. But, no, it wasn’t the happiest day of our
    life – there were many more to come. But it sure was fun.

  108. @Breach: “Only idiots spend 25-30k on a wedding though.”

    I’m pretty sure my three degrees declare me in the non-idiot camp. I also resent you calling my parents idiots.

    Different families come from different socioeconomic and cultural norms. Nobody’s making YOU spend $25 to $30k on a wedding. One of the nicest weddings *I* ever went to was a $500 job with a pizza-and-beer “reception” at the newlyweds’ unfurnished apartment. Another of the nicest was an $80,000 jobber in downtown Chicago with high-end everything.

    I’m pretty sure only idiots judge their friends by their money. But if you’re incapable of being friends with people who aren’t EXACTLY LIKE YOU, and you feel the need to consider them all “idiots,” then that’s really your loss.

  109. Good information to follow. My wife and I got married 2 years ago and it cost about $13k. We both agree that it was a HUGE mistake. We actually realized this in planning but her mom insisted on have it that way. We wanted to do a destination wedding and only have close family come. Nothing wrong with having the wedding and honeymoon all in one. Instead her mom proceeded to invite people whom my wife did not remember and who she hadn’t seen in years. At $30 a plate, that wasn’t a good idea. The reception was $9k. They could have given that to us, paid for the destination wedding and the rest would have been a gift(part of down payment for a house?). Instead we both ended up broke.

  110. ringrose says:

    One way you can save a lot of money is to have the reception and the wedding in the same place.

    In my case, we rented a space with lovely gardens. We had the wedding in one part of the garden, with tables and service for the reception set up in another. I liked the fact that there was minimal fuss between getting married and socializing with my friends and now-even-more-extended family. No travel headaches between wedding and reception, either. On top of that, I didn’t have to find two beautiful sites for the wedding and reception which were available at the same time… just one, available longer.

    I think having the reception in the same site as the wedding was a win all around – cheaper, less hectic, and a better party.

  111. coren says:

    I’m kind of doubting I could tell you my last boyfriend…

  112. xwildebeestx says:

    Gas from Phoenix to Vegas and back: $100
    Nevada wedding license: $35
    Ceremony at the first place we walked past: $150

    I guess that means I have $23,175 left over to blow on tacos, used cell phones and scratched blank CD-Rs.

  113. coren says:

    @Yurei: Ha, one of my good friends is having the opposite problem – he wants to do things exactly the way you’re talking about, the fiance is having none of it.

  114. dewsipper says:

    @mac-phisto: I am highly saddened that you mentioned your secret 7-layer taco dip and did not include the recipe!!!

  115. glitterpig says:

    I’m confused by these numbers. A “wedding” costs 25k, but the reception is only 46% of that – where’s the rest of the cost coming from? Our JoP was $100, and that’s because she came to our location. (Would have been $46 if we’d gone to the courthouse). I think we tipped her an extra $50 on top of that. No, it wasn’t a church wedding, but I don’t think priests are commanding thousand-dollar fees these days.

    I mean, if you’re the kind of person who’s spending $8k on a dress and $5k on rings, you’re probably not cheaping out with spending only $12k on the reception, right?

    (Just did the math for our wedding – even including dress/rings, we spent more than 70% on the reception. Everything all together (including husband’s dry cleaning bill for his suit) was $3k.)

  116. @mgy:

    This is a terribly blunt way of offending close friends. Shouldn’t you know who your friends are?

    Agree.

    There’s no great way to exclude people from a wedding when they think they should be invited. It’s like trying to “nicely” break up with someone – there are worse ways than others, but no GOOD way.

    The best way to make sure only people you want to attend, come, is to have a small wedding in an exotic, distant location. Only the people who really care will come anyway, and you’ll get to have your small intimate affair without hundreds of hangers-on.

  117. dewsipper says:

    @glitterpig: The big, pretty catholic church in town charges – I mean requires a DONATION – of $2,000 to the church to use their guy and the church for a few hours for a Saturday wedding. It’s extra for the organist. And you have to book it 2 years in advance because they’re all booked up, with both AM and PM weddings scheduled. Stack on flowers, runners, dresses, bridesmaid gifts, photography/vidiography, invitations, rings, and all that other stuff of a typical wedding and there’s your other 54%.

  118. AshleyKeen says:

    I realize that this is only marginally related, but I have to rail a little about an increasingly classless trend I’ve been the unwitting victim to recently.

    I am sick and tired of being invited to _bridal showers_ and NOT weddings.

    Seriously Ladies. If you don’t want to celebrate with me at your reception/wedding then DON’T BEG ME FOR GIFTS/CASH/PRESENTS. Nothing says “I’m using you” like a bridal shower invite unaccompanied by a wedding invitation, especially when the recipient is a single woman who is trying to make her own ends meet and isn’t getting Bed Bath and Beyond gift cards thrown at her like confetti.

    Just. Don’t. Do. it.

  119. Greeper says:

    Before my kind (The Gay (TM)) could get married we didnt have to worry about it. Now, we have one question: SHould we be able to get married. Mom – out, Dad – out, Aunts and Uncles and their respective second and third spouses (the irony) – out, Grandparents -out . . . most of our childhood friends – out. SOmetimes sabing money SUCKS :((

  120. NYGal81 says:

    @Breach:
    What’s wrong with women having ideas about a “dream wedding?” I had ideas about what I wanted, and I got most of them, but I also got creative to stretch our (small) budget. I surely was a control-freak bridezilla, but not because I needed the “best” of everything–because I’m a control freak in my every day life. I cut corners and costs on every single thing except the bar–I didn’t want to drink rotgut all night, and I don’t drink beer–and it didn’t result in me missing out on a single thing that I really wanted at my wedding. Do I wish I could have done more…that money was no option? Maybe. I really don’t think much would have been different though. I still would have shopped for an inexpensive dress, had my flowers done by Sam’s Club (beautiful, BTW…), and had one photographer for the least amount of time possible.

    But to get back to the original point–having a “dream wedding” scenario doesn’t mean the woman’s going to be a bitch-on-wheels every day of the rest of her life. It’s not so much the dream as it is “is there ANY way this can possibly happen in real life?” The planning of a wedding is, unfortunately, probably the first time a lot of couples have to grapple with difference between what they want, and what they can afford. If the groom is blind to the fact that how they handle the planning of the wedding could be a harbinger of things to come, he has some problems too. It’s not all on the bride.

  121. AngryEwok says:

    $25k on an “average” wedding? No way.

  122. scamps says:

    Christ on a cracker! I just got married a week and a half ago, and my average-sized wedding was only $10,000! If you just do the bulk of the work yourself and look beyond the “official wedding vendors”, you save a great deal.

  123. Yurei says:

    @coren: Owch, that sucks man. I mentioned my desire to my boyfriend and he was thrilled. Especially since I have a feeling no one in the family would be offering to help pay for ours if we had one. He’s also thrilled that I don’t like expensive jewelry :) I’d rather have a couple of lower value, nice looking pieces than one gaudy ring that cost 3 months’ salary. It also helps that if I invited my entire family, that’s only 20-21 people on both my mother’s and father’s sides. We’re a pretty small crew, only 3 people I know on my father’s side, and that is counting his younger brother and parents. The rest is all immediate family on my mother’s side. My boyfriend’s family on the other hand, is huge from what I can tell. :(

    Of course, things are a bit complicated for us and we might end up having to have 2 smaller reception parties. I’m a U.S. citizen and I live in the states, and my boyfriend is a Canadian citizen living in Canada- and it’s about a 9 hour drive between our houses. So either we hold the party for everyone on one side of the border at the risk of offending one side of the family for making them all travel and maybe not coming, or we hold one on each side of the border for each side of the family. (which is fine by me, and I suspect what would happen if we ever got married.)

  124. NYGal81 says:

    @Eyebrows McGee: Well said! :-)

  125. mdhatucb says:

    This quiz can easily be condensed into a quicker rule of thumb: if you wouldn’t invite someone to a dinner party with 4 other guests on a Thursday, don’t invite them to your wedding.

  126. sam-i-am says:

    This seems like a horrible idea. If someone called me and said “Hey, I’m getting married – if you can take a test about my life and pass, you can come!” I would probably hang up and never talk to them again.

    You don’t need to quiz people and tell them they failed. You don’t need to quiz people at all. Building your invite list requires only half a working brain.

  127. battra92 says:

    If I ever get married I will be damned if I’d spend enough to buy a Mercedes on one stupid meaningless party where people are just all too sloshed to care anymore and just want to go home anyway.

    Modest intimate weddings are the best. It’s also good advice to keep the list short as most people probably won’t hate you forever not being invited. They will get over it. Have a barbecue the next summer instead.

  128. linbey says:

    I dont know who spends this kind of money on a wedding. When I get married it will cost no more than $500 for the reception. Ill just buy 20 packs of hotdogs or so and put them on the grill. Ill turn on a laptop and set up a good playlist in Media Player to play through my decent speakers, and Ill ask my mom to bake several Betty Crocker cakes. Why spend all that money on something that lasts a few hours when you could use it as a down payment on a house or something USEFUL.

  129. linbey says:

    @dewsipper: Id bet you wouldnt have to wait for 2 years to book a wedding at that church if you would do it on a Tuesday instead of a weekend

  130. mmmsoap says:

    @doctor_cos: Hear hear! The best wedding I ever went to was folding chairs and picnic tables, and we ate barbecue. Absolutely and totally fit the bride and groom (who, by the way, were in T-shirts and shorts), and was relatively cheap. (I think they pulled the whole thing off, complete with 100+ guests) for under $4000. And honestly, I had so much more fun at that wedding than any other I’ve been to, since I didn’t have to worry about messing up the dress, or getting a run in the stockings. And, given the attire, we could actually *dance* comfortably.

  131. Eels says:

    I read this elsewhere and thought it was a good idea, until I realized you’re supposed to have these people answer the questions about you.

    A better idea might be to apply it to the guests in question. Do you know where cousin Jenny lives? What she does for work? Is she dating anyone? If the answers to those questions are all no, then you probably shouldn’t invite her to your wedding.

    Calling her up to give her a quiz is completely absurd, as is the idea of waitlisting people to your wedding. Give me a break.

  132. NYGal81 says:

    I feel like I’m the only one–maybe two or three–here that’s of the mind if people want to have their wedding any way that want it, that’s up to them. There’s something about the “cheaper is better” theme in many of these posts that rings hollow to me. Maybe cheaper is better–for the people who feel like that’s important to them. I’m not sure there’s any reason for every other comment to insinuate that the money spent on weddings could go to something “useful” like a house, car, etc. You know what? I could say the same thing about a house or a car. Nobody *needs* to *own* a house or a car. There are plenty of scenarios where it makes more sense to rent/lease than to buy. You could keep right on renting/driving your beater and donate the money to charity. What a bunch of self-righteous BS.

    I think the whole point of the article was to show that there are ways to save money so your wedding doesn’t have to break the bank. I don’t think it was an indictment of anyone who is “stupid” enough to “dream” about a “traditional” wedding. Some people like all the hokey stuff that goes along with a “traditional” wedding. I, for one, am not going to insinuate that anyone who doesn’t spend 10+K on their wedding is a cheap bastard–it’s a personal decision–so why can’t the same be true for people who *do* value the pomp and circumstance of the occasion? There is an entire industry built around weddings because there is a *demand* for such things–if everyone was doing potluck, VFW, pig roast, BBQ, jeans & t-shirt, come as you are weddings, the industry would disappear. Wanting all the trappings of a white wedding doesn’t make people “sheeple” or lemmings. It’s simply what the person wants–no different than the people who elope, have no reception, don’t serve booze, or have a backyard BBQ. Why can’t people see that it takes all kinds?

  133. cecilsaxon says:

    Folks like that would get a cheap black and decker toaster at best.

  134. Jesse in Japan says:

    By those criteria, I wouldn’t even be invited to my own sister’s wedding.

    Not that my sister and I are particularly close.

  135. varro says:

    Have a five-minute City Hall wedding with your closest friends as witnesses….then invite people over serially for dinners or barbecues. Let them see you in your happy newlywed state before you become bitter.

    Oh no….can’t do that….if you can’t afford to be a Bridezilla with a $50K wedding, have a $40K wedding!

  136. varro says:

    @snoop-blog: Re Vegas wedding – my wife paid for most of it the morning after we were married when she hit a slot machine for $900…

  137. dewsipper says:

    @linbey: They only do Friday/Saturday weddings at the moment. And they have a separate guy they call in if you’re not catholic.

  138. Er, if you don’t *know*, yourself, who’s involved in your life, maybe you need to re-think getting married and pay more attention to the people you already deal with, since obviously you’re a bit fuzzy on the basics!

    That said, it’s good advice, if not, as others have noted, hard to implement when there’s a large family: family is family, and if they can, most of them will want to go. The trick then is to find creative ways to keep the costs down…I *highly* suggest a for-pay rather than an open bar, as it cuts a chunk off both the bill and the Drunken Asshole count!

  139. ELC says:

    Those price ranges are absolutely ridiculous and unnecessary. Including my wife’s dress (purchased, not rented or hand-me-down), a limo to take us 30 miles away to our hotel, heavy hors’doerves(??) at reception with full day use of facilities, church, preacher, wedding coordinator, invites, decorations, photographer (use of the entire time, no other weddings on that day – as many pics as we wanted), cake, etc – we spent between $2500-3000. We had about 100 people at the wedding and it was agreed by everyone that it was one of the nicest and prettiest weddings they’d ever been too – and some of these people have been to a LOT of them. One of our bridesmaids has been IN about 6 her self in the last few years.

    For people to spend that kind of money, when fully 1/2 of them aren’t actually committed to marriage and doing what it takes to make it work (due to divorce rates in this country), that is one of the biggest wastes of money in people’s lives! They need to shop around! Our photographer was actually a company executive who is an amateur/professional on the side. Most of the plants for our wedding were donated/loaned by people my parents knew who own a greenery. The reception was in the new conference facilities built by the local hospital – good service, multimedia access, and food.

    I’m not saying everyone is going to have access to those types of things, but I am saying that there are a lot of ways to cut down on weddings. MOST people go way overboard with stuff that will be used for a few HOURS at most, and then be thrown away.

    One biggie I see some people wasting their money on is paying for hotel rooms for their guests. What?! If they are really close to you and want to share, then you reserve a block of rooms and they can pay to share it with you.

    Use your heads people!

  140. ELC says:

    One more thing:

    If you have to find out who your real friends are, you are a moron. Probably the result of the Myspace, Facebook mentality that pervades. “I’ve got 100 friends!” woo hoo!

  141. Featherhammer says:

    A quiz to find out who your real friends are? How helpless.

  142. Featherhammer says:

    @ericole: Same thought, same time.

  143. katoninetales says:

    My first wedding was a Vegas elopement; it cost us around $500 including license and dress. The second was a pagan ceremony with Renaissance costume and cost, total, around $1500 (with finger foods and a cash bar–we bought the bubbly). I don’t get the princess thing.

  144. katoninetales says:

    @glitterpig: churches and priests sometimes charge more, especially if neither of the parties being married is a congregant. It’s entirely possible to spend thousands just on the bridal gown, plus flowers, tuxes, bridesmaid’s dresses, limousine rentals, a photographer (plus albums and guest book), and gifts for the wedding party. That’s a pretty big chunk of change.

    @GZA: If someone else is paying, then the alternative isn’t “pay for other stuff for us or pay for the huge wedding” in most cases; it’s “pay for the huge wedding or spend that money on themselves, or save it.” Resenting someone for giving you a lavish gift is unproductive.

    @ all the people who are in favor of “do your wedding how you want”–OK. I can see that. But I see a lot of people going into deep debt because society has convinced them that these lavish affairs are how a wedding “should” be and having more focus on a dream wedding than a strong foundation for a marriage. If you are from a social sphere where lavish displays of wealth are required, then if it weren’t a wedding, it would be something else–the wedding is simply one venue for a social occasion. For others, weddings are overblown because the expectations we as a society have built around them are overblown, and some of us feel the need to point out the virtues of inexpensive gatherings that are more about starting a life together than putting on a show or fulfilling a long-held fantasy.