5 For Friday: Wedding Costs & Gifts

Hi friends!! I’m shipping off to Bahhhston this weekend for a wedding, so since the costs of ’em all (both HAVING it and ATTENDING it) are on my mind right now, I thought we’d do a little 5 For Friday action and see what you all think about it too. Don’t be coy over there! :)

Here we go — 5 juicy questions about wedding costs:

  1. If you’re married, how much did YOUR wedding cost?
  2. Did you get frugal, or did you allow yourself to splurge?
  3. If you’ve ever BEEN to a wedding, how much do you usually give as a gift?
  4. Do you change it if you have to pay for flights/hotel/etc?
  5. What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever seen at a wedding? ;)

Haha… I’m *really* looking forward to what you have on that last one ;)  There’s always something going down at weddings!  Whether it’s someone making a fool of themselves (sometimes me! *ahem*), and others just America’s Home Video’ish.  Either way, I wanna hear about it!

But first, my answers.  Here we go…

  1. WEDDING –> One of my earliest posts were how the Mrs. and I were shooting for a $10,000 budget – way below the national average of $28,000 (!!!) – but we ended up spending roughly $16,000.  Not totally on target, but also still do-able and we were able to do a lot of the things we really wanted to do.  And btw, this number did NOT count the engagement ring ($7,800), honeymoon ($4,000), or the rehearsal dinner ($2,500) or any other gifts involved in throwing a wedding (groomsman, bridesmaids, parents, etc).  Not that we had to pay for it all ourselves – both our parents took care of a lot of it, but cost-wise that’s how it all broke down. You can see our initial breakdown here, though we never did a follow up post on it…
  2. FRUGAL vs SPLURGE –> We went frugal on everything but the honeymoon (that $4k was just for lodging/food, we got free plane tkts as a gift to get there). We wanted to treat ourselves to something nice for once, and GET AWAY WITH IT, haha…  it was def. fun, but no plans on recreating the all-inclusive anytime soon ;)
  3. WEDDING GIFT –> We used to just buy things off their registry, but after having our own we REALLY REALLY enjoyed getting cash gifts to help pay for a lot of it, so we now give everyone – no matter who it is, or where it is, etc – a crisp $100 bill.  It’s easier to bring to the receptions, and it’s more fun to open. Like a little kid on Christmas ;)  Who doesn’t like money??
  4. CHANGE? –> Nope!  It’ always a flat $100 gift.  Even if just one of us attends and not both.  We don’t tweak our gift based on the $$ a plate costs at the wedding or how much it costs us to get there or anything (though I get why people may do so) – I just like keeping things simple.  Kinda like my 20% flat tip deal.
  5. FUNNIEST THING –> My boy getting “Iced” during his reception! Hahaha… do you remember when that was all the rage? When you had to hide a Smirnoff Ice somewhere, or creatively come up with ways to present it to someone, and no matter where you were, or what you were doing you HAD TO DRINK IT right there on the spot? And by “drink” I mean “chug?”  Oh yeah – we got him GOOD :)  And then everyone said we were immature… fine by me!

Your turn!  Tell me all your wedding secrets and let’s have some laughs up here today. Maybe we got some readers currently PLANNING their weddings too?!  Your tips can even do some good today! Woo!  Lock and load, baby.

PS:  If you see me in the streets of Boston this weekend stumbling around, come up and say hi! I may not remember meeting you later, but I promise we’ll have a good time while there ;)  Happy Weekend!

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  1. Cassie December 9, 2011 at 6:35 AM

    1) Not yet *sigh*
    2) When it happens, it’ll be a hybrid of the two.
    3) Usually the gifts are between $50 and $100.
    4) This doesn’t change if I have to travel for the wedding. Chances are if I’m traveling for the wedding you mean enough to me that I’d probably spend more on the gift.
    5) Lol, oh man. 2 years ago I went the wedding of two of my university friends. After they signed the paperwork and were announced as husband and wife, the groom picked the bride up, threw her over his shoulder, and walked out. We were in hysterics!

  2. Kristin December 9, 2011 at 7:00 AM

    I am not married. The first wedding I went to where I wasn’t really little was a friend of mine from a summer program when I was a college senior. I drove one way with a friend about 700 miles and flew back (he was on his way across the country) and had a 1 night hotel stay. I totally cheaped out and ordered one of the less-expensive registry gifts with the friends I was traveling with that was probably only about $30 total. However, I had no real money at the time as a college student.

    I have been to three other weddings since then, all post-graduation. The first, I had been planning on giving $100, but there was an inside joke in the groom’s fraternity about the number 22 and it was a very extravagant wedding, so I gave $122.22 instead. I gave $100 checks to the other two. I didn’t qualify it based on how far I was traveling.

    One of my quirkier friends always gives a toaster to the couple. I’ve thought about getting things off the registry, but all the couples have been going though relatively transitory periods and thinking about or eminently moving, sometimes far away, and I’ve usually though that it would be easier for them to buy new things wherever they settled, rather than me buy something, have it shipped to them somewhere across the country where the wedding was taking place, and then they have to pack it up and send it to their new place!

  3. Kristin December 9, 2011 at 7:05 AM

    Oh, and the funniest thing that has happened at a wedding was the fire alarm going off! The wedding was on a college campus during the summer. The weather was drizzily that day but luckily not at that time. Everyone went outside and we started singing songs so that the couple could keep dancing. We got lots of funny looks from some of the campus visitors, but that didn’t dampen the bride’s and groom’s spirits, which was great.

  4. KC @ PsychoMoney December 9, 2011 at 8:17 AM

    1. I might have to dig through some stuff to figure this one out and see the totals, it was definitely on the smaller side, like $6000ish for the reception, but my wife’s parents paid it. You got me thinking though and I am going to dig around a bit.

    2. Being college students we did everything frugal.

    3. That number has grown through the years, but it all depends. If it is family or close friends it will be higher, ranging from 100-500 and it might be a mixture of cash and or a gift. Everyone else it is cash and would probably be something around $100. Back right after college that number was closer to $40, I know its cheap but we didnt even spend that much on ourselves so we couldn’t justify spending that much on anyone else.

    4. This has not changed for us, but then again we haven’t had to travel super far yet, my brother will most likely get married in Honolulu, so we shall see.

    5. I had a friend that he and his wife were waiting until marriage before they had sex. At the reception early on nobody could find the bride and groom for a while. When they finally did pop up somebody noticed that his pants were on backwards, needless to say that become the topic of discussion and the butt of all jokes for the rest of the night.

  5. Elle December 9, 2011 at 8:48 AM

    1. Our wedding budget was about $5,000. We were married December (5th anniversary this month!) so the costs were much lower. Our parents paid for most of it. We did our best to optimize the funds.

    2. We were 80% frugal and 20% splurge on a few items, such as reception area decorating.

    3. We’ll use the registry – we haven’t given a cash gift yet.

    4. Probably not. We haven’t been in that situation, all local so far.

    5. My brother was helping my brother in law’s wedding as the “DJ” (actually just managing the iPod). They picked out the victory song in from Star Wars IV as their entrance to the reception music. My brother messed up and played the cantina song. It worked just as well :) (How do you mess up a pre-made playlist?!)

  6. Stephanie December 9, 2011 at 8:50 AM

    1. About $20,000, but we paid just under half that. More than half the budget was food, because of the long guest list. We wanted to keep it under 150, but each set of parents gave us a list of 80, leaving us with a total of -10 guests for ourselves. :-P When we told them they had to cut their guest lists by nearly half, my mom offered to pay for the food if it meant the parents didn’t have to cut their guest lists. I told her that as long as she didn’t restrict OUR guests, she had a deal. It definitely helped our end of the budget, but the final guest count wound up being close to 230!

    2. There was a lot of frugality. Homemade centerpieces, favors, invitations… Basically anything we could do ourselves we did.

    3. Usually $100, unless there’s something REALLY cool on the registry that I specifically want to buy them.

    4. I’ve only had to do the flight and hotel thing twice, and most recentlyh it was a wedding I was IN, so that was a bunch of added expenses and the checking account took a pretty bad hit. ;-) I think I wound up getting them a $50 gift card to the place they were registered for the wedding I was in. The other one was less costly so I think I stuck with the standard $100 for that one.

    5. Hmm… Probably at my wedding – everyone wanted our best man and maid of honor to get together at that point. We pretty much inadvertantly rigged it so they’d catch the bouquet and garter (as far as I know, no one actually discussed this, we were just all on the same wavelength). The pictures of the bouquet toss are great, she’s reach for it and everyone else is just standing their with their hands at their sides. Then our DJ made her put the garter on him, instead of vice versa, because he wasn’t feeling very well and the DJ felt he should be the one to have a seat.

  7. Alexa December 9, 2011 at 9:13 AM

    1- We spent about $11k. We only had 11 people (including us) and it was very upscale but small…because if it was upscale and big we would have gone broke! This was the total cost of things….my engagement ring was already in the family and we didn’t have a honeymoon b/c my husband was going to be donating his kidney to his father 11 days after.
    2- We splurged…lol… My husband wanted a designer suite for the wedding (big cost) but I had to buy my dress off the rack (big savings!).
    3- No matter who the person is…I think about $50 is good, maybe $100 if they are family.
    4- I don’t, I was a bridesmaid once and I will never do it again. Brides get picky and make you wear/pay for a dress you’ll never want to wear again! At least let us pick something we actually want to keep. I’m still trying to sell mine on eBay
    5- I don’t know if you would call it funny but my husband and I found it amusing… We had some redneck friends getting married and they wanted a “classy” wedding….well no matter how much money they spent they couldn’t hit their true colors!

  8. J. O. December 9, 2011 at 9:55 AM

    1. We spent about 4k total. We had planned to have a private ceremony but my uncle decided to ride his Harley down to Key West that weekend. He and his wife attended. We got married at 9am and went straight to a boat for a day of snorkeling the reefs, fishing and lobster diving. We spent a week and a half down there. I think the ceremony and pictures totaled $500. I wore a white sundress and my husband wore shorts with a white button down.

    2. Frugal on the ceremony and SPLURGE for the next 10 days! I’m so glad we did it that way!

    3. I usually spend $50-$100 on a gift but I rarely get to attend. I live far from friends and family.

    4. No. I still spend the same.

    5. I can’t remember anything funny right now. Most weddings I’ve been to have been a drag. How lame is that?! I usually only attend close family because of the distance.

  9. Trinnie December 9, 2011 at 9:58 AM

    If you’re married, how much did YOUR wedding cost? it was 10 years ago and we spent $2000 on the reception (did our own decorations and flowers, I sewed the bridesmaids’ dresses, etc), $1000 on rings, $2000 on my engagement ring, didn’t do a honeymoon until we were like 2-3 yrs married.

    Did you get frugal, or did you allow yourself to splurge? frugal’d it up, baby! we paid for everything ourselves, (cash gifts ended up “reimbursing” us later)

    If you’ve ever BEEN to a wedding, how much do you usually give as a gift? $100 is normally what we give…

    Do you change it if you have to pay for flights/hotel/etc? nah…honestly, we don’t get invited to alot of out-of-town weddings…lame

    What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever seen at a wedding? ;) OH MY GOD-where do I even begin: watching Herbie’s 250+ lb butt get lifted by his groomsmen and get dragged into the bathroom to get de-pantsed. My sister-in-law and niece arguing over who was going to bid on said pants (yes, we auctioned them off for more money), my mom yelling at a friend of mine from El Paso, TX who kinda looks like me, because she thought it was me and was upset that I changed out of my wedding dress too early…and it goes on and on and on. and this was just our wedding!

  10. Well Heeled Blog December 9, 2011 at 10:04 AM

    Wedding planning!! Hahaha. The topic that keeps giving in PF material. ;)

    I am currently planning a $7,000 event for 40 in California. My parents has committed $10,000 cash as a gift for the wedding, so basically the whole thing will be paid for. That makes budgeting much easier. I’ll do a detailed write up once the wedding is actually over, but what has kept our expenses down, relatively speaking, is to have a lunch reception and get an up-and-coming photographer. I’ve realized that you can’t DIY your way out of an expensive wedding. You gotta cut the big stuff (venue, photography, etc.) if you want to make a significant dent in the budget without doing craft projects every single weekend.

    For the honeymoon, I think we will also be able to keep it under $4,000. It will be 9 days in Buenos Aires / Iguazu Falls, Argentina. We are using Starwood points for a few nights in hotels, got the Chase Hyatt for 2-4 nights at the amazing Park Hyatt Recoleta, and we got our flights for under $450 thanks to a British Airways 100K miles promo. Basically, I’m trying to miles and points the heck out of our honeymoon budget. :) When we’re there, I’m going to indulge in all the culinary offerings Buenos Aires has to offer: STEAK, gelato, pizza, dulce de leche, medialunas, etc. etc. I am so excited and cannot wait.

  11. Brendan December 9, 2011 at 10:15 AM

    The rule in my family is to give a wedding present that covers your cost at a wedding. If my wife and I are both going, I know it is probably going to cost about $100/head, so $200 is usually what we go with.

    While I consider myself to be very frugal in day-to-day life, I think a wedding is a great time to splurge on the bride and groom.

  12. Edward Antrobus December 9, 2011 at 10:20 AM

    1) I don’t remember the exact numbers but it was somewhere in the neighborhood of $200 for the ceremony and reception. The rings cost another ~$150 (and the engagement ring was $100, I took advantage of our joint Irish heritage and gave her a claddagh). I wore a suit I already owned. I’m not sure how much my wife’s dress cost, it was off the rack and jazzed up be her. Honeymoon was a gift, and (although we had budgeted for it) so was the wedding cake.
    2) We went way frugal. Courthouse ceremony and then a barbeque at the park.
    3)When all of my friends got married, I was in lean times and gave $25. This summer we went to my wife’s uncle’s wedding and we bought $50 worth of small items off their regisitry.
    4)Nope. Its not their fault you had to travel to their wedding, so why punish them? Unless they are one of those couples who decides to get married in Italy or something. I’ll send a gift, but you won’t see me at that wedding.
    5)I could go with the story of the drunk maid of honor giving her speech and telling the groom “if you hurt her, I’ll kill you!” Twice.
    But I have the best wedding story ever. A few years back, a couple of good friends of mine got married and had their reception in a venue that overlooked the bay in Point Pleasant, NJ. The couple sat at a a table with a huge window behind them with a view of the bay. The best man got up and started giving his speech which to this day absolutely nobody remembers because halfway through, a large fishing boat sailed by with it’s name spelled out in 10′ tall letters: COCK ROBIN.
    Then, of course, there’s also the fact that I went to that wedding as the date of one of the groomsmen.

  13. Rich Uncle El December 9, 2011 at 10:25 AM

    Good Post
    1. About 40 K paid for by the wifes mom. about 10 G paid for by me. Way over budget, but ex-wife wanted to spurlge as long as I didnt pay for the 300 guests to eat then I agreed. Most of the 300 people where here family.
    2. Spurlge but if I do it again it will be frugal
    3. If its family and I am attending with my girlfriend I give about 200, for friends I give 150.
    4. Out of town weddings I do not attend.
    5. A fire show at a recent wedding right before eating the cake and a buffet of various desserts.

  14. C December 9, 2011 at 10:32 AM

    1. I think it came to about $23k, not including rings or honeymoon.

    2. Neither really, I just estimated how much things cost and how much I was willing to pay, and budgeted accordingly. We splurged on the honeymoon.

    3. $200 for friends, cousins, etc. More for a sibling or something.

    4. No change, we usually have to travel to weddings.

    5. The groom’s uncle passing around homemade hooch at the reception.

  15. Nancy December 9, 2011 at 10:39 AM

    1. We spent $500 on our wedding. It was incredibly small and most of it was for food. We bought my husbands ring and my ring was given to me by my mom awhile back as a gift from a jeweler that made my sisters rings…We camped out for a couple days before hand (hubby caught 17 fish the morning of our day and I did yoga, really, really relaxing)…my husbands best friend and his wife came with us, then we had our friend who introduced us drive up on our day and our friend who married us.
    2. We were extremely frugal…After 3 weddings of siblings in the last 5 years…my parents had very little money and I didn’t want them to fork over what little they had in their retirement $. From a cost-benefit perspective, I just didn’t want to spend a lot on a dress and everything that comes with that day…we would rather put that money towards a down payment for a house or save for when we have children.

    3. I usually spend around $100 for gifts for people that I really care about. I would usually make a gift for them, I buy some sort of salad bowl and fill it with unique kitchen items that they probably haven’t thought of asking for.
    4. Wouldn’t change if I had to pay for flights/hotel, the most I spent was to fly back to MT, then stay in the cabins where my friend was getting married for a week…but she is my best friend from high school, so I would do anything to be at her special day
    5. My sister’s wedding was a blast…they were married at a country club in Vegas, and some of her friends had bought the blue Elvis glasses, so it was hilarious to see everyone want to have them on through the night. Plus her husbands side of the fam is crazy..dancing, loud, but not obnoxious, great time. Our wedding day was fun, in a different way…we didn’t really have a schedule, so we just looked at each other and said “well, lets get married” it was so fun, no stress or anxiety at all. The other great moment was my best friends wedding, we were right on a lake and some of the groomsmen decided to get the fishing boat…except they were all football players, and one of them started to rock it…and you could see the boat slowly sinking…classic!

  16. Beckey & Jeff December 9, 2011 at 10:44 AM

    1) $2,000 and that included the dress.
    2) Frugal.
    3) $50
    4) Never had to pay for any of these things to attend a wedding.
    5) My sister in law downing about 4 bottles of champagne and saying she didn’t when she was quite obviously tipsy.

  17. rt December 9, 2011 at 11:22 AM

    1) Ours was about $12-$13k. I really wanted to keep it under $10k, but here in DC, things just cost so much.
    2)We were quite frugal. We made all the decorations ourselves, bought a wedding dress from a consignment shop, etc.
    3) If I have to travel to the wedding, usually something very small or nothing. If I do not have to travel, $100-$150 depending on how nice the wedding is expected to be.
    4) Yes, when paying for traveling expenses to a friends wedding, I usually forgo getting them a gift…though if it is family, I still get them a gift.
    5) This would have to be the minister going on and on about how the couple met on eharmony, and makign them sound like total losers.

  18. SmartAssetTeam December 9, 2011 at 11:23 AM

    1. Not yet…
    2. I want quality, not quantity when I do tie the knot, hoping I can do this frugally.
    3. Only weddings I have been to were when I was too young to be expected to bring a gift. I got off easy!
    4. Like your idea of a flat $100, regardless. Easy, generous, and you don’t have to think about what would make a good gift.
    5. I think my favorite silly thing that has happened at a wedding is actually from a Disney movie. It involves a crazy french chef and a little crab trying to escape… perhaps a little childish, but so cute and funny!

  19. Helen December 9, 2011 at 11:29 AM

    1. About $2000, for a 100-person afternoon reception.
    2. SO FRUGAL. Seriously. We made basically everything.
    3. & 4. Our money is pretty tight, so we usually spend about $30-50 on a gift (regardless of whether we travel or not) and we try to make it something really meaningful.
    5. Oh dear. Not a lot of funny moments at the weddings I’ve been to, apparently, because I can’t think of one!

  20. Nick December 9, 2011 at 11:30 AM


    1. WAY, Way too much. It was a HUGE wedding (over 250 people) and my wife’s family pretty much paid for the whole thing and insisted on a huge celebration. I joke with my wife that it’s because they wanted to make sure her “moving on” was confirmed… she doesn’t find it as funny as I do, but she knows I’m joking :) Put it this way, I’m embarrassed to tell people how much it cost.
    2. Splurge on some things – like open bar. We had a food and beverage minimum on the place that wsa impossible to hit so we added complete open bar at the end.
    3. Usually $250. Not bad, right?
    4. Nope.
    5. Brother and sister dirty dancing on the dance floow.

  21. Bonnie December 9, 2011 at 11:41 AM

    1. Almost 10 yrs ago now so I don’t really remember. I know our budget was $20k and I think we stayed under that. The best thing we did was hire a really good wedding planner. She only cost $1600 and was amazing. Saved us a ton of $. Even my dad, who could give Scrooge a run for his money, told her how wonderful she was and that she didn’t charge enough!
    2. The planner felt like a splurge, but saved us tons of money. She knew the really talented up and coming vendors that still had low/reasonable rates. We cut back on flowers (don’t really like them) and spent more on photos.
    3. My husband loves giving very personal gifts, so we don’t have a standard gift. We rarely purchase off registries either.
    4. Yep. We spend much less if we have to travel.
    5. I love watching little kids dance on the empty dance floor during dinner. Very cute.

  22. Aaron December 9, 2011 at 11:58 AM

    Good questions J

    1. Wedding cost us about $1600 – and most of that was then covered by the presents. #cheap!
    2. We went totally frugal. Just invited 15 close friends and fam and then went out to a restaurant afterwards.
    3. Depends on who – but generally between $25 – $75
    4. Yes. :)
    5. Myself. Told the “booger” story at my bro’s wedding as the best man. Bad choice.

  23. Brian December 9, 2011 at 12:21 PM

    1. If you’re married, how much did YOUR wedding cost? Our initial budget was 10K but then pretty much everyone decided to come even though it was on a weird day (We did Feb 29 which was a Friday, no one is supposed to come to that). So we ended up spening $15k since food for 300 people is shockingly expensive.

    2. Did you get frugal, or did you allow yourself to splurge? We did a really good job on being frugal. She got her dress from this online site that saved her 60%. The photographer was new to weddings (but had been doing studio work for years) so she was very reasonable, and the videographer (who worked for and used local news station equipment) just likes shooting weddings so he was pretty much “at cost.” Our budget breaker was food for 300 when we figured only 200 would actually show.

    3. If you’ve ever BEEN to a wedding, how much do you usually give as a gift? We usually give a gift around $50 and then give them about $50 in cash

    4. Do you change it if you have to pay for flights/hotel/etc? Not yet, but if I was asked to fly to Europe or something I would probably only give them like 20 Euros… in all coins.

    5. What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever seen at a wedding? At one of my good friend’s weddings they started playing Ice Ice Baby, and a few of us were feeling good (Open BAR!) and did the dance

  24. Emily December 9, 2011 at 12:27 PM

    Our wedding cost less than $2,000. We wanted to save the money to honeymoon in Maui, which we did.

    We never go to a wedding that requires a flight. My sister when she got married did so over the Christmas holiday, when I was going to be home anyway. And neither one of us are close to our cousins who live more than driving distance away.

  25. Megan December 9, 2011 at 12:47 PM

    I love this idea! I freelance write and edit for wedding clients and vendors, and love sharing this info.

    1. Wedding Cost — I think we aimed for spending $5,000, but probably exceeded it a little bit. I would say we spent probably close to $8,000 by the time all was said and done. We were able to get great deals from people or borrow items. The most I spent by myself was on my wedding dress ($400), and my mom covered half of that cost (Total dress cost was $800). Best of all, I won a contest from a radio station and had our honeymoon covered (a $10,000 value for virtually FREE)! We went to Jamaica for it and had a great time at a resort in April.

    2. Frugal vs. Splurge — We were definitely frugal with it. Like I said, we borrowed supplies from many people. My mom was super helpful with the wedding planning. She works in pediatrics and some of her nurses pitched in to help. We designed our own invites. We got a great deal on a reception hall because my stepdad is part of the American Legion and is the treasurer at the hall we used.

    3. I think I usually give about $25-50. I’m a poor graduate student, and that’s a lot for me!

    4. I haven’t ever had to travel far for a wedding, but I would consider making something if I had to fly out to a wedding.

    5. The funniest thing I’ve seen at a wedding was actually at MY wedding last New Years Eve. My husband’s family got a little tipsy and started sliding down the floors. Kids and adults alike! It was a riot! Obviously, I didn’t join in in my dress, but it looked like a lot of fun!

  26. Megan December 9, 2011 at 12:48 PM

    Oh, I forgot to mention we made our own food. MUCH cheaper and still tasty!

  27. Matt, Tao of Unfear December 9, 2011 at 1:01 PM

    1. Nope, not married.
    2. See above.
    3. I was in school for every wedding I went to, and warned them that they only gift they were going to get was me. I think I usually managed to do something small. Most expensive gift I gave was a ~$24 bottle of viognier.
    4. Haven’t had to travel so far that planes or hotels. One time I came down the day before to help and stayed with the groom.
    5. The bride had a photo op with guns. Lots of guns. Big guns. Like, think Lara Croft getting married. Yeah…

  28. Fig December 9, 2011 at 2:54 PM

    1. $6,100 for a wedding with two receptions.
    2. We were frugal with location, my dress, and guest list. We had roughly 60 people total at the wedding and 30 at the second reception which was much cheaper.
    3. I went to some weddings in college and gave nothing as gifts! I didn’t have a job and I just didn’t know that it was such a bad move. But then I had some friends do that at my wedding so I felt better as karma took over. But now I normally give $50.
    4. Nope. And usually I do have to pay for those things.
    5. At my wedding my sibling’s drunken dancing cracked me and everyone else up. :)

  29. Melissa December 9, 2011 at 3:51 PM

    1. If you’re married, how much did YOUR wedding cost?
    2. Did you get frugal, or did you allow yourself to splurge?
    3. If you’ve ever BEEN to a wedding, how much do you usually give as a gift?
    4. Do you change it if you have to pay for flights/hotel/etc?
    5. What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever seen at a wedding? ;)

    1. & 2. Not married! But I think/hope I’d go frugal all the way. Though I’d probably splurge on the honeymoon and the photographer.
    3. I’ve only ever been to one wedding where I was the guest, as opposed to going along with the rest of my family, and I think I gave $75 or $100. (I waffled between the two amounts, but I actually can’t remember what I gave.)
    4. That would probably change if I had to travel far. I’m going to a wedding next summer that I have to fly to get to, and I’ll probably either give a smaller cash gift, or try to just do something DIY that the couple will appreciate. It’s not the best solution, and I wish I could give more, but it’s more a situation of, “We’re all young and don’t have much money, so we do what we can.”
    5. No really funny stories. Alas!

  30. Carrie December 9, 2011 at 4:17 PM

    1. We spent roughly 18-20k total. Doesn’t count the ring (5k) or the honeymoon (maybe 1k).

    2. I was frugal on some things (no alcohol) but splurged more on others (photographer and flowers come to mind).

    3. I go with anywhere from $50 to $100, usually something off the registry.

    4. So far, I’ve never had to go to an out of town wedding. I think I’d still get a gift.

    5. At my own wedding, my cousin (who was around 10 at the time) was completely flattened by all the big boys when the garter was launched. He came out okay. The best part was the picture that came from it — the photographer managed to get a shot of everyone falling and you can see the “Oh crap!” look on my cousin’s face. He knew he was doomed.

  31. Tessa December 9, 2011 at 5:59 PM

    Not married yet, but as I work in the wedding industry, I have a good idea of what I want and what it will cost. The budget is about $5000
    I plan to be pretty frugal with the wedding itself, but I’d like to splurge on the honeymoon (that 5k doesn’t count honeymoon)
    I usually spend about $30
    Haven’t had that problem yet, but I don’t expect it would change the amount I’m spending
    I’ve seen a great many funny things happen at weddings. One of them was the ring bearer who decided to help us serve drinks (non-alcoholic) all night. It was super adorable and several of the guests tipped him :)

  32. Ashley @ Money Talks December 9, 2011 at 9:34 PM

    We spent about $3,000 on the wedding not counting the honeymoon, (which we paid for with change, btw! haha) or my engagement ring.

    We were frugal for sure! We were also buying a house at the time (and paying off all our credit card debt) and we were planning to have the reception in our new house which was scheduled to close right before the wedding. The house would still be empty so we could put tables and chairs out and such to make it “receptiony” and show off our new house. But like two weeks before the wedding it became clear that the closing wasn’t going to happen on time so we had to bust booty to find someplace to have the reception that was didn’t cost anything because we didn’t have a budget for a reception hall. We ended up having it in the club house of my mother in law’s retirement community trailer park. I still laugh about that.

    I’d say we spend between $50 and $100 on the gift, I can’t really remember. I haven’t been to very many weddings.

    I don’t change it.

    Unfortunately I don’t have any funny stories. Sorry!

  33. Ally December 9, 2011 at 10:07 PM

    1. I’m not married.
    2. When I do get married, I think I’ll get frugal for most of it but certain things I’ll splurge on like the band (I do not want a DJ) or the food.
    3. I have only been to weddings for close family so usually my parents buy a gift (around $50) and my brother and I put our names on it. My cousin’s wedding is next month and I won a $100 gift card to a lingerie store so I got them a sexy maid costume for their honeymoon. I hope they like it!
    4. I have never traveled to a wedding. I wouldn’t change my gift if I had to travel.
    5. I’m not sure if this is funny (I don’t like this cousin very well) or just sad but at my cousin’s wedding reception, the groom got really drunk and announced in front of everyone that he was cheating on my cousin with a coworker. My cousin stormed out of the reception hall and spent the night at her dad’s house. She filed for divorce two weeks later. This was a few years ago and now she is engaged to a really nice man. The wedding is in May but I haven’t received an invitation yet. I’m not expecting to get an invitation as I haven’t talked to this cousin in over two years.

  34. Ginger December 10, 2011 at 12:37 AM

    1. If you’re married, how much did YOUR wedding cost? Married – $50 (eloped at the court house much to my mom’s dismay)
    2. Did you get frugal, or did you allow yourself to splurge? Way frugal, but more importantly just didn’t want to deal with the family drama of a big wedding (or one at all…)
    3. If you’ve ever BEEN to a wedding, how much do you usually give as a gift? $40-$50
    4. Do you change it if you have to pay for flights/hotel/etc? Never been to one out of the city
    5. What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever seen at a wedding? ;) Fake flowers catching on fire from the unity candle

  35. Nicole December 10, 2011 at 11:48 AM

    Ok, this is embarrassing…

    First, I’ve been married twice. I didnt want a big wedding either time, but was talked into it both time. For the first one, my mom wanted a big wedding as I was her only daughter and I was getting married. My (ex)husband and I felt it was better to have EVERYONE there than for it to be fancy. We had about 350 people there. It cost approximately $30,000.

    We divorced and I just recently remarried. Again, didnt want a big wedding, and neither did my husband. He had never been married, so this time, it was his parents that talked us into it (basically by offering to pay for it and plan it).
    It was smaller this time -195 people, but still cost about $30,000, because it was pretty fancy. Food was elegant (filet mignon, sea bass with lobster sauce), full premium open bar for (wait for it) 7 hours! That stuff doesnt come cheap. Other costs included in that were the photographer, about 2 grand, videographer, about 1 grand, harpist for the ceremony, DJ for the reception, limo, invitations. My dress(es), rings, rehearsal, out-of-town gift bags, honeymoon, and other incidentals, etc were probably another $30,000.

    The memories of both of those days are incredible, though and in a way, worth every penny. Even though my ex and I arent together, I’m still glad we had a beautiful wedding that we can share with our son one day. My dad’s health declined greatly between the two weddings, so I am so glad I had that dance with him at my first wedding where he was able to swing and dip me while we danced the jitterbug to my boy, Frankie Sinatra’s, “How you look tonight”.

    I guess compared to everyone else on this post, we seem a little extravagant. But, with the first one, we went pretty basic. The large cost was mainly because we had 350 people.
    With the second one, it was pretty fancy, but we had alot of people flying in and we wanted to make sure to give them a great weekend. So, we bought dinner and drinks for everyone the Friday night before, had snack/drink gift bags waiting for them in the hotel, wedding of course was saturday, and had brunch/lunch for them Sunday after the wedding. Also, for my husbands parents, they lost a daughter 6 years ago. I think they feel life is short, and they wanted to have an event that would get the entire family together.

    I usually give $100 at a wedding, but when it is a closer relation or distant acquaintance, I adjust a little. I was AMAZED at the generosity of gifts we received, especially at my second wedding. We received several $300 and $400 gifts.

    We dont usually change our wedding gift when we have to travel, though, I didnt expect a gift from our family who had to fly and pay for hotels for the wedding. And, some of them did not give a gift. But, to me, the money and time they invested in our weekend was worth it. Other thing, when you are in a wedding, it is SO expensive. I feel bridesmaids should not be expected to shell out for a gift too. Especially when you are in your 20s and starting out. Now that I’m 35, it isnt as much as a financial burden to be in a wedding, but it still is somewhat.

    Lastly, funniest thing that happened:
    While we were riding around in the limo for the first wedding, the limo broke down near a strip club. So, while we waited for the company to send us a new one, we went inside. The manager felt bad for me (I was in full bridal regalia) so he gave us champagne. The DJ started playing White Wedding by Billy Idol, so I got on stage and twirled around the pole a bit. My photographer came in and took some photos. I have a great one with the groomsmen all holding dollar bills. It was hilarious, and I have great photos and a story no one else has! My mom was NOT proud however!

  36. duddes02 December 10, 2011 at 12:42 PM

    1. Our wedding was roughly 20 grand. Split among our parents and ourselves (we basically paid for all the vendors and they paid for all the catering)
    2. Frugal big time. The 20 grand was among 300 guests!
    3. We usually give a $100 amazon gift card. Now that we are recently married -we’ll probably gift a little more. I still would prefer to give the gift card than cash (as we know that the cash would be saved))
    4. I wouldn’t change the amount
    5. Most of the weddings i’ve gone to have been pretty normal-nothing too funny ever happens :(

  37. NDchick1 December 10, 2011 at 2:21 PM

    1. About $20,000, split very unevenly amongst my in-laws, ourselves and my parents (the heavy hitters. Thanks, Mama and Daddy!)
    2. I was given a budget from my parents, and I knew how much I could spent, and so, I worked my dream into those numbers. I know that, I had budgeted a certain amount for the bar at our cocktail hour and reception, and my future father-in-law offered to take over that, so I don’t know exactly what he ended up spending. I put him and my fiance in charge and left it alone. Somehow, they had a failure to communicate and we did not end up with the beers and liquors that we wanted at the bar. FAIL! And a waste of money. It still irritates me.
    3. Usually I gift something around $100, give or take. I do not take into consideration if I have attended a shower and thus already gifted nor if only 1 of us is attending the wedding.
    4. I have friends and family all over this great country, and it has been a blast traveling to their weddings. I do not decrease the size on my gift if I am attending, but I might increase the $ if I am not able to attend. Either way, I win! New experiences and a great party in a different town, or I’m not spending as much money on travel/hotel so I can be a bit more generous.
    5. Hmmm…well, I didn’t actually *see* this per se, but my friends informed me that during my husband and my first dance, when he dipped me, I totally flashed our priest who was sitting right on the edge of the dance floor. The friends had a great laugh about that. Guess I lost a another pound or so the week of the wedding, so my dress was a bit bigger than at my last fitting. Whoops!

  38. Andi @ ModernTightwad December 10, 2011 at 9:45 PM

    1) $3000, including the dress and everything
    2) Frugal….we actually wanted to elope but then people started crying, and then I felt bad, so, wedding it was (If I have kids I will pay them to elope…cash money!)
    3) We usually give a couple things off the registry (about $50 worth) and I have a handmade book that I give them that has all the dumb things I’ve done and how to avoid them.
    4) Nope, I’m intractable.
    5) I once saw a bride start to run out the back door, change her mind again and flip a u-turn…had flower girl PTSD forever.

  39. Cheska December 11, 2011 at 4:30 PM

    1) Our wedding last August cost just under $12,000. My husband bought his own suit though and I bought my dress (out of pocket). I bought his wedding band on Etsy and my engagement ring and wedding band came from my mom. My original engagement ring from his mom is mia. :(
    2) I’d say we were frugal in some areas and splurged on some. We splurged on the venue, and food but did not spend anything on a limo, rehearsal dinner, DJ. I did the music myself on spotify!
    3) $50 but I haven’t gone to many weddings.
    4) It hasn’t happened so I’m not sure.. maybe? In my wedding, we had out of town guests who came and we were just happy they were able to come.
    5) LOL.. at our wedding, we had a croquembouche and I was excited to try it so instead of feeding my husband a cream puff, I took a bite first! LOL….

  40. moneygraffiti December 11, 2011 at 9:25 PM

    With a daughter who’s planning to marry in May, I sent this along to her as a must-read!

  41. J. Money December 11, 2011 at 10:09 PM

    Great great stories/budgets everyone! Enjoyed reading them and learning more about ya :) We just got back from our Boston wedding and it was sooooooo fun. But now I’m sooooooooooooooo tired, haha… always worth it though!

    @Cassie – Good point on #4 :) If you travel far they’re def important to ya!
    @Kristin – Wowwwww haha, that is crazy! Never heard of fire alerms interrupting weddings, good one :)
    @KC @ PsychoMoney – OMG! Haha… that is awesome!
    @Elle – Haha, yeah for real? You can’t mess that up! Happy 5th anniversary :)
    @Stephanie – You left out the best part! Did they get together in the end??
    @Alexa – Awww, that is SO WONDERFUL of your husband to donate his kidney like that! To his own father, even — how amazing!
    @J. O. – That sound like an AMAZING wedding! I would have driven my (imaginary) Harley down there to come celebrate too! Haha…
    @Trinnie – HAH! What was the biggest bid in the end?? :)
    @Well Heeled Blog – Yay!!! I cannot wait for you to enjoy it and soak it all in, my friend! It all sounds fantastic! :)
    @Brendan – Not a bad way to be, my man :) Thanks for sharing with us.
    @Edward Antrobus – Hahaha… I’m gonna make a huge sign with that on it one day for one of your events ;) You’ll totally forget you’ve already told me about it!
    @Rich Uncle El – Woahhhh you win for the larget budget so far! (Can you even call a $50k wedding on budget? haha…) Sorry to hear she’s now your ex, but glad you have a good girlfriend now :)
    @C – Oh how I’d love to get my hands on some of that homemade stuff! Always crazy strong, but but always makes for an intresting night ;)
    @Nancy – Man does that sound relaxing :) I used to fish all the time, really miss it… which is sad considering I live near a lake! Fail.
    @Beckey & Jeff – Nice! Definitely frugal :)
    @rt – HAH! It must have been years ago too – now *everyone* meets online! It’s totally “cool” ;)
    @SmartAssetTeam – Oh yeah – you get off as a kid for presents ;) Only not if you’re in college which I found out when my mother scolded me and had to pick things up on my behalf… eventually I learned to be an “adult” ;)
    @Helen – WOW. For 100 guests?? That’s amazing! Well done!!
    @Nick – Ahahaha.. now THAT is funny :) Good call on open bar too – that was a must for us as well. (beer and wine – liquor you had to pay for)
    @Bonnie – Me too! They are sooooo adorable for sure! :)
    @Aaron – Oh no! Haha… I don’t even know the “booger” story, but I always feel soooooo bad when someone cracks a joke and the room just stays completely silent – it’s one of my greatest fears whenever I’m public speaking! *shiver*
    @Brian – I love it!! HUGE fan of Mr. Ice :)
    @Emily – I like the idea of saving it for a honeymoon. $2,000 ain’t bad at all!
    @Megan – Ooooooh a New Year’s wedding! I’ve always wanted to go to one of those! And also Halloween weddings – where you have to dress up in costume ;) Haha… one of these days! (And good work w/ that honeymoon btw – that is awesome!!)
    @Matt, Tao of Unfear – Is it bad if I say that would turn me on? A chick w/ guns? Haha…
    @Fig – I was horrible w/ presents in college too — my mom always had to back me up and bring an extra gift just for me ;)
    @Melissa – I like that idea of making something instead when travels involved. Or actually even when it isn’t :) People love home-made gifts!
    @Carrie – HAH! Feel free to email me that picture on the side if you should happen to have it scanned in somewere ;)
    @Tessa – Awww that is adorable! And a damn good idea too for extra cash ;)
    @Ashley @ Money Talks – Oh man, that woulda been HOT having it in your empty house for sure! Esp since you’d be moving right into it together after the wedding – I like that ;) Glad y’all figured it out in time tho! (Are you still in that same house?)
    @Ally – Woahhhhhh! Now *that* is crazy… what a horrible time to say it too, such a dick.
    @Ginger – As much as I like weddings and making a big production out of them all, I do see the beauty in court house jaunts too. Though I’d have to at least have my immediate family there or it would just feel weird… def. frugal though! :)
    @Nicole – OMG!! hahaha… you totally win the BEST story of the day! Haha…. wow…. what are the odds that you stopped THERE out of anywhere else?? Haha… that is hilarious. And actually supper interesting too – how both weddings came about and were planned :) Thanks so much for taking the time to share them with us – I was fully invested in your stories!
    @duddes02 – Yeah, forgot about the # of guests for sure — I think we had 200? Which was $16k so $20k for 300 guests is just awesome! Well done :)
    @NDchick1 – HAH! You don’t hear that every day, now do you? haha… agreed on the adventures of out-of-town weddings too – we love traveling :) Moreso than staying in town actually!
    @Andi @ ModernTightwad – Woahhhh what if she didn’t come back?? I wonder what MADE HER come back at the last second? Def. scary stuff for everyone involved!
    @Cheska – Spotify! Hah! Way to use technology, I love it :) (And hope you find your ring soon too, that’s sad!)
    @moneygraffiti – Congrats! Yeah, hope she gets some good tips from our friends here for sure :)

  42. Cora December 12, 2011 at 3:01 AM

    Our wedding cost about € 2200,-, but this number doesn’t include the honeymoon, his suit and shoes(since we bought something he can wear quite often) of my dress (a gift from my parents). Including these numbers would put the total amount spent on the wedding at €4500,- (my dress being the most expensive item, ugh)

    We had a budget, but weren’t really frugal. We were able to do what we wanted (get married, have a reception for approx. 60 guests, have dinner with our families, stay at a hotel). It helps that we didn’t had a big party (since almost all our guests had to travel, we didn’t want to burden them with hotel costs, so no party).

    We usually give around €50,- (we often give money or something from the registry at that amount, and something personal -a little gift-)
    We haven’t been to weddings that required flights/hotel. I do think I would change the amount though. I once didn’t attend one day of a two-day bachelorette party, because it was way too expensive. So I’m cheap :)

    Funniest thing: a very cool dance by the bride and groom (starting very classic, ending in a ‘cotton eye joe’)

  43. serena December 12, 2011 at 5:00 AM

    Haha, hubby and I went to the courthouse. Must have cost about $50, I think? I seriously have never understood the wastefulness of weddings that cost in the upwards of thousands of dollars, especially when people owe debt……do not own homes, etc.

    Our gifts for weddings we attend are under $100, as well.

    And while we have never seen anything funny at weddings, I do have to say its funny, as in odd and sad, that people waste so much money for a wedding when 60% of them end up divorcing. Ouch!

  44. mints December 12, 2011 at 9:27 AM

    If you’re married, how much did YOUR wedding cost?
    Did you get frugal, or did you allow yourself to splurge?
    If you’ve ever BEEN to a wedding, how much do you usually give as a gift?
    Do you change it if you have to pay for flights/hotel/etc?
    What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever seen at a wedding? ;)

    – we paid 6K although it costed about 10K. The honey moon was paid by my mother-in-law so we spent only 400 on souvenirs and dinners our of the all-included resort. My brother-in-law gave us as a gift the wedding rings and my mom paid for the food
    – got very frugal and still got out of the budget by 1K
    – about 50, if it’s family then it’d be around 100, it it’s close family (siblings) we buy something for their wedding (as my b-in-law did) so it depends on what we’re buying ;)
    – nope
    – at a wedding in cancun, the best man undressed the groom and threw him to the sea…

  45. J. Money December 12, 2011 at 11:25 AM

    @Cora – Ahhh I LOVE Cotton Eye Joe! That is brilliant!!! :)
    @serena – Those divorce rates are pretty nasty :( But the money and parties and all are for memories and good times – I don’t consider them a waste. I’ts not many times where your entire family meets in one spot to celebrate :) At least mine…
    @mints – HAH! That’s awesome. Even more so it was in Cancun :)

  46. Leslie December 12, 2011 at 5:45 PM

    1. If you’re married, how much did YOUR wedding cost? -We both wanted to elope, but knew our parents would disown us if we did. So it cost about $2000 and included just siblings, grandparents, and parents at the town hall grounds in their colonial house/museum.
    2. Did you get frugal, or did you allow yourself to splurge? -Frugal. My dress was even “just” a bridesmaids dress that I got made in white. It looked awesome though.
    3. If you’ve ever BEEN to a wedding, how much do you usually give as a gift? -We give $100 flat as well. Unless it’s close family, then sometimes $200.
    4. Do you change it if you have to pay for flights/hotel/etc? -Nope.
    5. What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever seen at a wedding? The bride, groom, and parents all coming in to the reception with cowboy hats and drinking beer from cans with the men wearing bow-tie t-shirts. My family can be a bit redneck, lol.

  47. J. Money December 13, 2011 at 10:20 AM

    Ahhahhaha I love your family!!! And cowboy hats and beer! :)

  48. Candace December 13, 2011 at 12:53 PM

    1. If you’re married, how much did YOUR wedding cost? We got lucky to get married in Utah with low costs and low reception expectations (no full dinner, ceremony, or bar). So everything- photography, cake, catering, hall rental, dress, etc. ran 4k. I count the ring and honeymoon separately as groom covered that- 3.5k for my dream ring (we saved with a moissanite and are upgrading to a diamond at our 5 year anniversary) and 2k for the honeymoon- 8 nights at all-inclusive resort in Cancun, including airfare and day trips. It was an awesome deal!
    2. Did you get frugal, or did you allow yourself to splurge? Combination. We were super frugal in some areas so we could splurge where important to us- a nice location, dream ring and honeymoon, etc. I only wish that we had put more money into photography.
    3. If you’ve ever BEEN to a wedding, how much do you usually give as a gift? We typically get a gift for around $50. Recently our go-to has been the Sodastream Home Soda maker because it is something people don’t think to register for, but we use ours every day and it is fun.
    4. Do you change it if you have to pay for flights/hotel/etc? -Nope.
    5. What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever seen at a wedding? The bride was from Haiti, so her mother-in-law told her that she would do a Caribbean themed reception. The funniest thing then was seeing the brides face when she walked into a Hawaiian luau wedding reception.

  49. J. Money December 14, 2011 at 11:56 AM

    Haha… I bet! I used to LOOOOOOVE soda machines as a kid too – cool idea! :) I probably don’t have the patience for it now (not that I know what it all entails, exactly), but I bet others would really enjoy it. Way to be unique!

  50. Dani @ Ok, Dani December 14, 2011 at 6:57 PM

    1. If you’re married, how much did YOUR wedding cost?

    Only $2.5k! – We went to the Valley of Fire in Nevada and had an outdoor wedding in the canyons….it was GORGEOUS! (ifidosaysomyself)

    2. Did you get frugal, or did you allow yourself to splurge?

    It was frugal, but not really…the ceremony/photographer/videographer/limo/pics was 900, the venue was free, our clothes was 600, I made my bouquet for $15, makeup/hair was $50, and the dinner was almost $1k

    3. If you’ve ever BEEN to a wedding, how much do you usually give as a gift?

    Depends on the venue. If it’s a ritzy place I’ll give $200 for us to cover our meals. If it’s not a ritzy place, I’ll give a gift from their registry.

    4. Do you change it if you have to pay for flights/hotel/etc?

    Absolutely not. If I am CHOOSING to travel to go to this wedding, that’s on me. I wouldn’t skimp out on someone for that.

    5. What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever seen at a wedding? ;)


  51. J. Money December 14, 2011 at 7:57 PM

    Hahaha.. bouncers?? That is awesome. But more so your Valley of Fire choice – would LOVE to attend something cool & different like that! Well done my friend! :)