Marriage in Bad Economic Times

Updated on November 21, 2008
S.R. asks from Sparks, NV
74 answers

I need advice. I'm 31 years old and have recently gotten engaged. We would love to have a wedding, but are terrified because of the current economy.

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M.M.

answers from Los Angeles on

You can have a wedding without spending a fortune and the people that really matter to you and really care about you will understand.

Try to plan something simple and frugal. You want something that will be heartfelt and that you can look back on with fond memories. If eloping will give you that, then go for it, but if you want family and close friends around, then go with a frugal approach.

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G.O.

answers from Los Angeles on

My second husband and I got married at the L.A. County Recorder's Office (in Van Nuys) and was short but sweet. My sister was the witness and we had friends and family. After, we just had a little party at my condo.

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J.C.

answers from San Diego on

We got married in Sandals St. Lucia, it was amazing. Would do it over ten more times if we could.
When we got back we had a big cocktail/appetizer party in a private room of a fun casual bar and made it a tropical theme. We even ordered a wedding cake and had it delivered there.

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S.C.

answers from Los Angeles on

You can have a gorgeous wedding without going nuts! But you need to really evaluate your priorities. You could have a beautiful and simple wedding, wearing a lovely wedding gown, inviting just your family and closest friends, afterwards treat them all to a wonderful dinner at a great restaurant or catered at your (somebody's) home, to include champagne, wedding cake, flowers, etc. Or, you can have a bigger wedding and reception, still without going nuts. I had a medium wedding at The Newporter Inn in Newport Beach many years ago, and while I loved every second, I realized later that I would have preferred to do the first option that I suggested to you, and saved a bundle of money. Not everybody feels that way, so think about what's important to you, plan, and DO NOT CHARGE ANYTHING!!

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W.S.

answers from Los Angeles on

Congratulations!!! I was also recently married and I would recommend what we did to everyone!! This is my 2nd marriage. My first was the traditional wedding with 225 guests and it was a wonderful and beautiful event. We did it on a budget, but it still cost approx. $15,000. My second we decided to keep finances down, so we had an island wedding. It was absolutely the best decision. We picked Fiji and were able to do a 9-day trip for 5 people for just under $10,000. Now this included airfare, our stay at a resort on Taveuni, all food and drinks, activities, a separate room for our 3 kids and the wedding ceremony and reception that included all the traditional things like cake cutting, toast, first dance, 600 photos plus extra Fijian traditions. It was amazing! After finding a travel agent, we made our own island invites and sent all our close friends and family the information and we picked a date one year away to give people time to save. We suggested a shorter 5-day stay which made their fee cheaper, $2500 per person, plus it gave us a honeymoon without others. We had 10 guests join us and everyone LOVED it!! They all said it was something they would never have done if it wasn't for us and they are so glad they did it. If fact those who didn't go are now kicking themselves. Another friend of mine just got married in the Carribean on St. Lucia and I went. It was wonderful and only cost me $1200 though I only stayed for 3 days. There are many islands to pick from and you can do anything from casual weddings to full on traditional weddings. Ours was in-between. My dress only cost me $70. I found it in LA at the garment district. It was simple but beautiful, my husband and step-son (the best man) wore matching linen suits, $50 & $65 at Burlington and my step daughter twins (flower girls) wore beautiful skirt and blouse outfits I found on clearance at Kohl's for a total of $30. So, you see, it can be inexpensive, but still beautiful and everything you wanted. Having done both, I would pick the island wedding any day. It was so much more personal and felt more meaningful. Though we wish more had joined us, it was also great to have the few immediate family members and best friends with us. It gave our families real quality time to get to know each other. And when we returned we had a small reception at our home for those who didn't come. It was very casual and we billed it as a "come meet the new family, gifts not necessary" type of thing. It was during the summer, so it was a pool party and we had an island theme BBQ. Only cost a couple of hundred dollars. Good luck in whatever you decide to do. Remember it is about what you two want and that will always make it great!

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S.M.

answers from San Diego on

I got married for around $800. I wore my mom's wedding dress from her 2nd marriage (you can also find them for a great price in like Pennysaver or on Craigslist, etc.). I got my own delicious cakes from the Cheesecake factory. I bought two chocolate and two carrot (made from scratch) and had them covered with white icing and white chocolate shavings. Then I put doilies on top and topped with fresh colorful flowers (stems cut off) I got in bouquets at Costco. I clipped fresh baby ivy to surround the table for the cake, then I built 3 pedestals using stuff from party supply, one high one in back, two shorter ones on the side, and the last cake in the front on the table. It was stunning when I got it all set up. And the cake topper went on the highest cake.

Then I got rolls and drinks and water jugs, and asked everyone to bring an item for a potluck reception. Not the fanciest thing, but we were low budget. It worked out alright. I would probably figure out an inexpensive food budget next time and not potluck. My family helped decorate the reception hall. It was inexpensive since it was at our church. My husband and his friends were musicians so they provided the entertainment. My mother helped make some nice favors. We ordered our own wedding announcements (I bet you can do that online for even less nowadays). We didn't have a limo, and I made my own bouquets from silk flowers. I even got my bridesmaids their dresses for a great deal by buying formal dresses on clearance at a department store, both matching my wedding colors. I did my own hair and made my own hairpiece. It was really nice and the pictures were taken by a friend who does photography, and the video, too. We had disposable cameras for the kids and whoever else wanted to take pics. You can do it if you are willing to not go overboard and try to "keep up with the Joneses". There's also the option of having a wedding at a home with a nice big yard, although you'd have to rent chairs and tables for your setup. I know some people who have done that and it was nice, and more cozy.

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H.L.

answers from Los Angeles on

Keep the number small and make it a morning wedding and brunch. The cost is less. Limit drinks to beer and wine-no open bar. Try gunny sax outlets for your dress. I would not elope. A wedding is a chance for people to give you best wishes and gifts to start your new life together. You can do it. Congratulations and good luck on this new phase of your life:)

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D.F.

answers from Los Angeles on

My husband and I were married in Vegas for less than $350 at the same church my parents were married. We of course had our very close friends and family as witness. The money we saved we put a down payment on a house. Husband and I had 5 wedding receptions and we only paid for one; the one for our friends here in the Los Angeles Area. My parents paid for the one for our side of the family since they were mostly lived in the New Mexico Area and had a reception in my home town. His parents paid for the one for his side since his family is from Ohio. We also had a reception after our wedding in Vegas. The last reception was a surprise from some friends from college.

Having a wedding is about celebrating the love between you two. This is about you two so the reception should reflect on what you like and not what your friends and family like. Be as simple as throwing a bbq and later on when you are still married and your economy is well balanced give yourself the wedding you dream of. How fun would it be to renew your vows...

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K.C.

answers from San Diego on

Okay...so...

I was 2 months pregnant when my husband proposed to me. We had known each other for 10 years, and were together for 5 of those years. Our marriage was inevitable, but the finances and time really pinched the size of the ceremony.

Of course, a little girl's dream is to be a princess for a day. Reality settles in as we get older. Let's face it: unless one is already well off, or has saved for years, a big fat Greek wedding is not really feasible. Why get into big debt and cause all sorts of marital termoil?

My husband and I were married after the babies were 3 months old. Our county clerk office (some cities have a justice of the peace) had a little chapel with a few pews. We invited our close friends and family members to witness the signing of our marriage license and the exchange of our vows. We could have had a priest or parishoner marry us at the chapel, but we opted to save that for a later date (i.e. when we have the money for a big hooplah).

After the little ceremony, we had pics taken in the chapel, had intimate congrats from our 40 attending guests, and checked into our hotel for some pics. We were able to stay at a nice place because our wedding only cost us $100. My friend is a great photographer, so she took pics and printed them in an album for our wedding gift. That afternoon, we went to my husband's mom's house to celebrate with hor d'ouvres, wedding cheesecake, and a toast. We were able to invite some more friends and family to this occasion. Since we didn't have all the formalities--save that everyone was dressed a little nicer due to the occasion--we were able to relax and ENJOY this wonderful time in our lives. Less stress. Less hassle. Less money. Still pretty. EVERYONE WAS A PART. I truly believe that this is how weddings USED to be before commercialism took over. We don't have to have all of the frou-frou to make it elegant and special. You can have something very nice for $500--wedding, dress, food, drink.

So happy that your blended family is working out! Hope this helps you. Life is about relationships...that's what we live for! Congrats.

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F.J.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi S.,

My husband & I got married 15 years ago and although we ourselves were on a major budget, the economic times weren't as they are now, how ever, we planned our wedding or our budget and didn't want to over spend on anything that we didn't really need to have.... all the personalized named things, super fancy locale, etc. We spent MAYBE 5 to 7,000 on our wedding and didn't have too much to pay for after it was all said and done (my parents did "gift" us wedding $$) but we planned the minimal stuff - I even decorated (with lots of help) the hall myself. Now, my in-laws got married in church 42 years ago and only had a cake & punch reception, and then I have an acquaintance who pay $50,000 for her wedding and all the fancy stuff you could want and divorced within 5 years.... and was still paying for the wedding. Suzie Orman, a well-known financial advisor has great advice for finances and on an a talk-show she was on said something to the affect that it helps to keep in mind that the wedding is really for the two of you and the union you are choosing to make. The reception is for everyone else. It seems you should be able to book a park location or if you know anyone who is a member of an Elk's Lodge or something you may be able to get something relatively inexpensive. (My friend's mother was a member of the Elk's Lodge I had my reception in and said I was her niece :) We paid a whopping $250, compareed to $2500 at other places we were looking at and finally decided to ask around.) If you know anyone who lives in an apt./condo/townhome complex that has a community room... Remember you can always do something very basic and then have a 1 yr annniversary party down the line or something. It doesn't have to be all or nothing right away. In regards to eloping, I would think that it would take away from the joy of sharing this most important event with your family and friends. Whatever you decide to do, I sincerely wish you the best. Nothing guarantees "forever" but as long as that is your intent - then may you be blessed with happiness!! :)

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R.L.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi S.,

Celebrations don't have to break the bank to be memorable. Here's a couple of thoughts:

Have the service and reception at home. Another option is a community center--most rent for very reasonable prices. Ask friends and family to help you cook for the reception -- sort of an organized potluck. Same thing for tables and chairs. That's how weddings and other life events were celebrated 100 yrs ago--things today have gotten way out of hand!

You can look for second-hand dresses online or at resale shops (some amazing stuff shows up at the American Cancer Society shops, for example), or find a nice ball gown or dress for under $100 at Macy's. Party goods can be purchased online for a fraction of the cost of party stores. Check out places like 123balloons.com and glowworks.com.

Centerpieces can be made from recycled materials and a bit of creativity. I made some great centerpieces for my son's Bar Mitzvah out of 2 liter soda bottles. I filled each about 1/4 full with sand (free at the beach), covered them with metallic tissue paper ($ store), drilled a hole in the cap and inserted mylar shred, sprays and sparkly twisted sticks. Each centerpiece cost about $2-$3. For my daughter's Bat Mitzvah, I bought crystal paperweights with light boxes wholesale, surrounded each with mylar shred, sequins and little candies. The guests munched on the candies and the lightboxes doubled as decorations and party favors.

You can get wholesale flowers at the LA Flower Market (http://www.laflowerdistrict.com/).

Instead of having a professional photographer, place several disposable cameras at each table. You'll get great candid shots! If you want more professional photos, Ask a friend to take some digital photos or try to find a photographer who's trying to establish a business.

BTW, I'll bet your daughter will have a great time helping you out with all of this type of stuff!

Congratulations!

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R.G.

answers from Los Angeles on

Elope $100.00 to $200.oo.
Extra money for a nice downpayment on a new home ....fantastic.
Save the money and when time is right if it is right get the wedding..
The most important thing is that u r together.

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M.M.

answers from Los Angeles on

Dear S.,

I'm so excited for you! What a fairytale! Have you seen the movie Enchanted?... Anyhow, yes, we're in a terrible economic crisis. However, we will eventually prevail. Don't let that deter you from having your dream wedding if yours and your fiance's jobs aren't already being affected. You probably could get some really fantastic deals on things because of the economy being so crappy! That being said, I must say that as wonderful a wedding as mine was, (...and I insisted on having my big wedding that I dreamed of, and I wouldn't change a thing), I now get what people say when they were trying to tell me to go to Hawaii. Planning a wedding is a HUGE stress for lots of reasons, and no matter how perfect you think it's going to be, there will still be things that are going to disappoint you. SO... My suggestion is to go ahead and elope and do something as different and as memorable as your relationship with your fiance is. You'll be talking about it for the rest of your lives!

Congrats, and good luck with whatever you choose!
M.

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M.D.

answers from Los Angeles on

The plan is you only get married once, right? Do it up right! We spent a ton on our wedding, but I wouldn't change a thing. It was the third best day of my life after the days my sons were born. The economy will turn around eventually...

-M

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E.S.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi S.,

Go with what you think is right! My husband and I just wanted to elope in Tahoe after seeing my sister and her (now ex) husband spend over $30,000 on their wedding only to be separated within a few months of the marriage (they had been planning the wedding for so long and invested so much into it that even though by the time the wedding rolled along neither one of them wanted it, they decided to go through with it anyway). But, we had family and friends that really wanted to be a part of our special day, so we met in-between. We went to Tahoe on vacation where my family had a time-share and we did a small family and friends affair (I'm talking less than 20 people) and found a pastor for $300 (which included his photographer) and the location was free - right on a beautiful mountain peak overlooking the lake. We threw a big BBQ back at the time share where we were staying and spent $25 on a yummy cake from the local grocery store that we had ordered the day before. We've never regretted it!

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T.A.

answers from Los Angeles on

Congratulations!

You'll only get married once (presumably!), so make it something you'll cherish. If money is an issue, though, downscale a bit. There is a happy medium between eloping and a huge, elaborate wedding.

My husband and I eloped to Vegas and that was wonderful. We plan on doing a vow renewal for our 10-year anniversary, so we can celebrate with family and friends.

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T.F.

answers from San Diego on

I was married on the star ship enterprise in vegas. It was 300 I think for the wedding and my parents did a costco party platter reception in a suite at the las vegas hilton for our reception in Vegas. We also had a reception for everyone that did not come to vegas for the wedding here in town.
My aunt threw us that reception at the Mormon church (free) and did all the food herself. I know from talking with her that she can do a simple cold buffet for under 300 and that would be fancy food that she assembled out of stuff like fancy pre made chicken salad on nice bread and other such stuff that you can get from smart and final or costco.
Both of my receptions had costco cakes that were ordered in advance and we had sparkling cider at both and champagne at the vegas reception for the toast.
I spent less than 500 on vegas and my aunt threw me my reception in SD and I know it was cheep as well. My mom said she spent 200 or so on food and decorations from party city. and I know my friends in Vegas took a lot of food and supplies home with them as we did not use or eat it all.

I am pretty sure that including my dress, flights, food and hotel that we spent well under 1500 and that is being generous. I think it was closer to $1000.

Think Vegas, not only is it nice and cheep but depending on where you are it can be a day trip for some people.
Good luck and congrats,
T.

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T.B.

answers from Santa Barbara on

S.,

If you would be happy eloping, I say go for it. Set the money aside in the event you will need it in this next year and when the economy settles down, through a huge party for everyone else. I have assisted on many weddings and it pains me to see all the stress and money go into a wedding and the true joy and magic of the union of two people gets lost between the caterer and the florist. If you do not feel good about spending the money - dont. Trust me though the economy will turn around, it does everytime, just society forgets that. In regards to your marriage keep the same thing in mind, do not bail when the going gets tough, just buckle down and focus on what is working and fix what is not. Good Luck.

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S.L.

answers from Los Angeles on

Don't let our current financial situation scare you. You are in love and should have the wedding that you always wanted.
Best of luck and congrats!

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M.G.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hello S.!

Do have a wedding. It's your very own day in your own way. No wedding is ever the same and the most intimate ones are the most memorable.

I am a caterer and my husband is an entertainer. We have been in the business for over 25 years. If you need tips or advice, please email me: [email protected]____.com's extra special that you have a new daughter to celebrate with. I am sure she will feel special when you include her in your plans.

Your budget should be in this order...
Your dress
food and entertainment
Photography...

Friday night candelight weddings are romantic
Sunday Mornings are beautiful too.
Most DJ's and Caterers will give big discounts on days other than Saturdays......

Cake and flowers should be last on your list.. and they can be very expensive.

Your cake is made of flour, sugar and eggs. And it can cost up to $800. You can have a friend who decorates cakes or get a small 2-tier cake for show. Purchase a sheet cake to serve for your guests. If this is cut in the kitchen and brought out on plates, nobody will notice and you just saved yourself $500.

Flowers..
I have seen elegant weddings with a single flower held by each attendant. Also, for your bouquet... to make it more meaningful, hand a rose to each person who mentored you through your life. Have a ribbon with a little tag attatched to each one saying why they are special to you. Assign a person to give the rose to each person. And tie the ribbon on their wrist. (this can be in lieu of a corsage) Done with a wide ivory or gold ribbon would be elegant. Have each person stand along the aisle. Then as you walk down, they will hand a rose to you to add to your bouquet. Have your maid of honor tie it with a ribbon when you reach your groom.

Food...
Pasta with 2 sauce choices and choose either meatballs or chicken. You may choose two types of pasta and serve with salad and breadsticks.

Ditch the china... use clear plastic plates. Avoid paper plates.

Serve Iced tea and lemonade instead of sodas and liquor. Or... have a "no host" bar and have guests pay for it. Sodas can be very expensive.

Include friends and neighbors outside of your social circle to help.. that way they can miss the wedding to help with your reception.

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T.M.

answers from Los Angeles on

get married at city hall, then throw a party at a friend or relatives home, the gifts are so much fun to open, plus your loved ones get to enjoy your day still weddings cost so much money these days, to much you could put a down payment on a house or buy a horse for the amount it costs, me & my hubby 20 yrs ago car a vanned to vegas with 20 of our friends & family got married in the little white chappel had a reception at black angus resturant, it costs us a total of $ 2,000 cake included plus two night stay at bally's so much darn fun.

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L.M.

answers from San Diego on

I have been to lots of weddings over the years, and still one of the best I attended was a friend from college who had a backyard wedding. They had just graduated and did not have a lot of money. They had the ceremony and reception in her parent's backyard. She bought a simple dress and had close friends and relatives bring food. They rented a pastor to do the ceremony. About 40 people attended. And, good news, they're still happily married 19 years later. You may have a friend or family member that has a large enough house to do the ceremony. I know it's not what people typically dream of for their wedding, but it can be very special. There's lots of things you can cater, or have friends help, just by purchasing food from Costco. If you can't afford a big, fancy wedding don't go into debt for one day. The marriage is what is important, you can do it simply and inexpensive. Good Luck!

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P.K.

answers from Las Vegas on

Until 6 months ago I lived in Tennessee. My husband and I didn't want to spend a ton of money either. We decided on a Vegas wedding. That way only the people who really wanted to see us get married would come! It was brilliant! We got married at the Venetian and it was more beautiful than anything in our hometown. I'm not sure how far you are from vegas but check out the chapels in the hotels on the strip. They are nothing like the cheesy stuff you see on TV. Just go the their websites. Good luck!

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J.C.

answers from Reno on

If it were me, I would go ahead with the wedding! It doesn't have to cost you a fortune! When me and my husband got married, he also had an ex-wife and two kids, and we didn't have a lot of money, and had no help from our family. So we put on a wedding by ourselves, found a great little location, actually it was inside of a beautiful museum and only cost a couple hundred dollars. We had friends help making the food, had another friend dj with an iPod, and it all turned out great! Wouldn't have skipped it for the world!

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M.W.

answers from Los Angeles on

Congrads, S.!! I just had to write to you and say how refreshing it is to hear your story. How you are embracing this 10 year old girl as your own. I hear alot of steparents having not so nice things to say about their step kids, and to hear that you really care for her brings tears to my eyes. I grew up with a step mom that was really mean (think cinderella) so I have a really bad impression of step parents. I know how she feels when you don't have a relationship with your birth mother. Just be there for her because it's hard when you feel like your own mother doesn't care about you. Your a good person and I hope you guys have a super close relationship even when you have your own baby. Your a great mom already!!

So.....for your wedding......DO IT!!!

you can do it for little money and have your closest friends and family with you. I was married 11 yrs ago and we were very poor and our parents didn't have money to help us either. The most important thing to me was the pictures and the dress. I wanted nice pics to show my kids and I wanted to look amazing. I found A guy who did pics for $150.00 (but this was 11yrs ago) and my dress was $200.00. I went to a discount place ( pebbles bridal in the san fernando valley) it's still there! We got married at a non denominational church for a couple hundred dollars the little brown church in studio city (it's where ronald and nancy regan got married) it's so cute and quaint and intimate. Beautiful for pictures. Have fun and you deserve it. all these great ideas from these great moms. were all here to help!! Good luck and keep us posted!!

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A.P.

answers from San Diego on

OMG-there is a balance to everything and this is one thing that you can do on a budget!! Costco has bulk flowers you can order (100 Cala Lilies for $80.00) decorate with and just carry your flowers all the same type-the look goes further. Tool by the yard makes great wind catchers and bows for chairs, tables etc. Have an outdoor gathering so you don't have to pay for a church and reception hall. Skip the booze and big meal...do punch with appetizers (again Costco has tons of these items).Make it intimate with the ones you love most!

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S.H.

answers from Los Angeles on

Depending on the size of the wedding, you might be looking at a lot of money since the cost of your dress alone can be between $500 and a couple thousand. I think that if you really want one, then do it! If you don't have the money to spend 50,000, then have a ceremony and a small casual party. I know that is more common.

My wedding cost $32,000 two years ago for about 200 people. But we had it at a private home (free) and all the flowers were a gift. Sooo if that weren't the case it would have been a lot more. the problem is that a party is one price and a wedding is automattically 3 times more money for catoring, valet, etc. EVERYTHING was $2,500! the video, the photographer, the dance floor, DJ ...

I am currently helping my aunt plan a Bat Mitzfah for my cousin, and she is having trouble finding a location to keep within a $15,000 budget. Locations are not lowering their prices in this economy since they have to meet costs. But the costs might be lower where you are - Los Angeles is not exactly known for being cheap.

A friend of mine was able to have a wedding in Cancun (destination) for less than $10,000 which included the ceremony, party, open bar, airfare and a couple rooms for her kids and husband. But her guests had to pay their own way.

Good Luck with your decision. I would say consider what you want and then consider what you can aford and then compromise. It should be a time you will never forget or regret. Congradulations!

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J.D.

answers from Los Angeles on

I don't know your economic situation, but if having a large wedding is going to put you into debt I would not do it. You can have a small personal wedding, maybe elope, and when you feel more set financially have a large party, maybe anniversary? A marriage is not a wedding, it's the merging of two people or families, something it sounds like you've already done. I understand the disappointment that you must fell, but maybe you can look at it like you're teaching your new daughter about responsible choices etc. Might make it easier to swallow. Good luck.

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M.F.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hello S.,

Congratulations on the engagement!!! I know the economy is rough, but I would say you could still have a wedding, just make it small.

Get creative with things. If you or someone you know is great with sewing then sew your own wedding dress. Or spend the money on the dress and make your own bouquets. There are several places that you can hold your actual wedding, if you belong to a church they usually only ask from a small fee and you could use the church. Then for the reception there are several options.

First thing is first set a budget!!!!! I'm in to event planning, well that was my business before I had my son, now I just do it for friends and family and sometimes when someone is referred to me. But the budget is first and formost.

If you would like more advice (FREE OF CHARGE OF COURSE) send me a private message and I would love to send you ideas on all the things you can save on. From locations to food to favors and everything in between.

Best of Luck,
M.

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K.M.

answers from Los Angeles on

I guess that all depends on what your budget is (if any) and what is important to the three of you.
You can always set a budget and invite only your immediate families and closest friends and do something very simple. When I got married I paid for a permit to do it at a local park with a gazebo, and we went to a restaurant after that. There were 25 people in total, and we had pre-determined the menu. No reception, but we cut the cake and toasted right at the restaurant. In hind sight it was almost perfect. I should have chosen a restaurant with a dance area and we could have had a first dance....that was the only thing missing!

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C.G.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi Stacy,
Well, a big wedding does leave good memories, but is NOT what marriage is all about. Seems to me, you have all the reasons and the desire to celebrate your wedding, you should go for it, but it doesn't have to be in a big way. My husband and I had a nice little ceremony, and close family and friends were there--that was the most important thing for us. We have so many good memories of our wedding day. But we kept it small, so we could afford the things a newlywed couple needs. We even delayed our honeymoon for a couple of years, and that was all right too. Congratulations and good luck to you.

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D.W.

answers from Los Angeles on

Have a wedding but don't go into debt for it. There are ways to cut costs on everything. Pick a few things to spend money on that are important to you: ie photos or the dress or the location or the music. But cut costs where you can. Have the wedding on a weekday to cut costs on location or have an open house instead of a reception and only provide dessert or appetizers instead of a meal. Buy the dress used or on sale. No alcohol takes a huge chunk out of the budget. Have a smaller wedding with just close family... The list goes on... You can do your wedding for whatever your budget is....

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V.S.

answers from Los Angeles on

Well, when we got married, it was his second and my first. I wanted it special , but not astronomical. A few tips? Friday night weddings are less expensive than weekend days. An evening wedding can be less expensice by serving snacks and finger foods, as it is AFTER dinner time. We had wine and beer, and we put a $ amount on the bar, after that was gone the guests were responsible for their own mixed drinks. My friend and I made center pieces ( that were beautiful, many of my friends still have theirs in their home). We had beautiful invitations that we made ourselves. We had a GREAT wedding! Over 100 guests it was very inexpensive.

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L.E.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi, S.,

I didn't feel comfortable spending a lot of money on my wedding because my husband, who was my fiance at the time, and I spent over $40K on infertility treatment, which fortunately, worked. My husband and I, eloped. A few months later, we held our reception. We felt as though we married each other twice. I felt less stress than a lot of brides and probably grooms because I did not have to plan or coordinate so much at one time. Getting married at a community center in a civil wedding was much cheaper than getting married at a church in a religious wedding. I realize that some people feel compelled to have a religious wedding but as we are atheists, this was the way to go for us.

We had a cheap ($350) honeymoon by camping in the Sierras for a few days. Both my husband and I have traveled around the world and stayed in very expensive hotels, so we didn't feel as though we missed anything by not going somewhere far away and staying someplace luxurious.

You mentioned that you feel terrified. Do you mind me asking you why? If you or your fiance are carrying a lot of debt, then it's probably a good idea to wait until you have discharged the debt or discharged a substantial portion of that debt and have a reasonable plan to eliminate the rest BEFORE you get married.

Good luck,
Lynne E

Good luck,
Lynne E

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D.M.

answers from Los Angeles on

I have never been married and daydream of the day when I will get to walk down the aisle to the guy who compliments the little family my son and I have built.

But, about three years ago we put on a very short notice wedding for my sister when her entire plan fell through and we had to look for alternate locations. My Mom and I did all the planning and the wedding with location (Hyatt Rose Garden) was only $25,000. A friend of ours higher a wedding planner, and spent over $60,000 on the same location.

There is a lot to be said for working as a team and pooling your resources. We were honest with the Hotel pary planner about our budget, and we were realistic about how many people we could afford to invite and of course by doing the nitty gritty on our own we saved a ton of cash. My parents splurged on the pics for my sis and her hubby, because our parents married in Vegas and didn't have a huge album to share with us as kids...

All in all, there is always hope and if you have friends or family use them as resources!! I got a friend of a friend to DJ for just $250 and he brought ALL his professional gear...it was beautiful and amazing.

Good luck and follow your heart!!

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M.B.

answers from San Diego on

Congratulations on being engaged. Call me a romantic, but I would do a wedding. Just set aside a budget and stick with it. The economy will always be there so don't let that be the sticking point for you. You can do it for $5000 or less if you have family and friends to help and support you 2.

Here are a couple ideas that I did for mine. We had to plan it in 5 weeks, so I did a lot of it myself, with hubby's help or course. We had his brother perform the ceremony. It was $45 for him to become ordained for the day. He had to fill out some paperwork but it was so much more personal for us. We are not very religious and didn't want a church wedding so this was nice. We got married in my parents backyard and got little tealights and surrounded our "alter". I found a wonderful photographer on Craigslist who did the entire ceremony and reception for us for $550! He gave me all the pictures on 2 disks and I printed them out at Costco. He did a beautiful job. We had our reception at the local Elk's club where we had a bartendar for the whole night. The food was part of the deal and we had a wonderful buffet complete with 2 hot entrees and 1 cold and all the sides. They provided the chairs, linens, cultry, everything for $1500, not including the deposit. I had a friend who was a DJ so he gave us an awesome deal. I made my and my maid of honor bouquets with roses and baby's breath from VONS. Our whole wedding was about $5000, including my dress, veil, the guys tuxes, and centerpieces (we did beta fishes with some deco). We had to forgo limo, honeymoon, favors, and other stuff, but we didn't really care. We had a blast. However I do want to renew our vows for our 10 year and do it all over again. There were things i would of changed, such as my dress and do a cake, we did cupcakes. But if you plan and have time, you could have a beautiful wedding for very little. If you need any other ideas, let me know.

* Also, what help us out a lot was www.TheKnot.com. Tons of ideas and most you could implement yourself.

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M.C.

answers from Honolulu on

You can and should have a wedding, just think about ways to be frugal. Don't serve a meal - have the wedding at 2:00 with reception to follow with appetizers. Have the wedding on the beach or in a park. Or have the wedding in a church and the reception in the church greeting hall. Don't invite the world. Ask that presents be minimized. Buy a dress but make your own veil. It can be special and memorable without breaking the bank. Set a budget and stick with it no matter what! Congratulations!

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K.W.

answers from Los Angeles on

Having just gotten married last year, and still paying for it, I would offer this advice: have a wedding but really keep it in budget. Decide what you are willing and comfortable spending, and STAY with that amount. You can get very creative. A friends back yard, a potluck, a brunch celebration, a borrowed dress, etc. Read "bridal bargains" a great book. And keep it intimate. Really only have people you both love. Don't follow anyone else's rules. Just make it simple, special, and about the love you two have found. Good luck!

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J.F.

answers from San Diego on

Weddings to not have to be extravagant... did you watch the Sex in the City movie?? It is about making a special commitment to the one you love. You can make that day special without the fine china, 4 coarse meals, expensive gown, etc. My husband and I "eloped." We got married in Lake Tahoe over-looking Emerald Bay with only our family and best of friends. Then we had dinner at a restaurant. After we came back to our condo that we rented and had cake and hung out. It was great and I think we only spent about $2500 (dress included). Since we didn't live in the area, I found a lady online who plans weddings like this and she arranged everything from getting the paperwork in order to scheduling my hair appointment. And guess what? We didn't have to go into debt! Best wishes!

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C.D.

answers from San Diego on

Hi Stacy,

You have had tons of great responses and good advice so I am just going to add some more as I have hosted 3 weddings in my own backyard. My husband and I got married 15 years ago,
our son and daughter-in law 4 years ago, both in July (which is the best for weather for a late afternoon, evening outdoor wedding) and I just hosted my sisters, sister-in-laws in May. Everybody is right, it is all about your priorities and what you want most.

There are lots of ways to cut cost and it will be all about the presentation you want. If you just want a party you can cut almost everywhere. If you want it to look like a wedding reception then you will spend a little more on centerpieces, linens etc. (talking backyard, cause that's what I know) All 3 we have done, we catered dinner (I have good referral for this also.) First two were mainly Pasta with chicken dinners and the last was steak and fish which really put their budget up there, but that's where the groom wanted to spend his money. If you choose catered, or even ask for family help, pasta and salads definately are cheaper and if your doing it yourself, it keeps it more organize to make it simple. Pasta with red and white sauce some chicken breast of some kind, and cesear or mixed sald and breadstcks and garlic bread. That's all you need. Doing an outdoor wedding in May cost more as they had to rent 6 heaters for the evening even though I alreay had 6. But the yard was very comfortable. All 3 have had a DJ and dance floor and that has made the party way more fun. We use a DJ (same for all 3 weddings) that controls the whole wedding. Keeps it going in the proper order from start to finish.) All 3 weddings; the guest have left telling us it was the best wedding they have ever been too. The bride from the last one found a long evening dress at a bridal store that was a discontinued style so she paid $99. By the time she paid for some alterations she probably had $200 into her dress and it was georgus. The groom and two attendants wore black slacks and off-white Tommy Bahama style shirts. The two bride attendants found black cocktail dresses for under $50. My husband wore cowboy boots with his tux!

You don't need to spend money on table favors. Most people won't even notice. If you have them they think it's nice. (But definately a place to cut cost.)I have never had to do anything to decorate the yard since the rental tables with linens and centerpieces make it so beautiful with just that.

I hired a stranger ordained to do my cermony 15 years ago for probably $100 to $150. When our son got married 4 years ago, his older sister married them since she had already been ordained on-line. That cost nothing. The last bride also used a personal friend who married her.

If you have someone you know with a beautiful yard don't hesitate to ask, they will probably be flattered. The biggest expense is how many people you want to attend because the amount of rentals and food is determined by that. All 3 that I hosted have been between 100 and 130 people. I would estimate they all ran between (10 and 15 thousand, which was including everything even the rings.)

If you know any one with a re-sale business license you can buy flowers at the Wholesale Flower Mart in Carlsbad for even less than Costco. We made the center pieces ourselves for the last wedding.

Another thing, I disagree with all those suggesting Vegas (personal opinion, but the other side...) Our daughter did a Vegas wedding years ago that cost as much for 25 people to give them a dinner reception, and that was just for we as the brides parents paid for) as the other weddings for 100-130 have cost in our backyard. My son and daughter-in-law had to go to a wedding last year in Vegas because he was the best man. They had to spend lots of extra money on gas, hotel, food for the weekend and then my daughter-in-law who had a new 5 moth old baby couldn't do much cause she couldn't hang out in the casinos with the baby. You would be in the same position with a ten year old.

One of my most percious momentos from my wedding is the weddding album. I suggest you use a professional photograher if you can afford it. I can reccommend mine here in San Diego that did mine and the last one in May (she was already booked for my sons) She does it part time, so she is much less expensive but wonderful. E-mail me if you would like the referral.

Your concerns about the ecomony would have to do with whether
you can afford to spend money on this wedding because your jobs and income have or have not been effected by what going on, or your afraid it is going to be. And as everyone else says, don't go into debt to do it. Let that guide your decision. Best of luck to you.

C.

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L.C.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi S.,
You can have a wedding and still keep it inexpensive. You can buy a used wedding dress or rent a wedding dress (you don't have to pay thousands for a dress you'll wear once) or you can do what I did and buy a dress at Cache in mall for $200 (it was lavender). If you or a relative or friend have a good size yard - you can do the wedding there instead of a hall or restaurant. You can keep it small by inviting immediate family and a few close friends (I did this and some people were annoyed but you have to do what you have to do). So with a little creativity you can have your wedding and still save money.

I hope this helps.

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K.T.

answers from Los Angeles on

Follow your heart, not your wallet. Besides, you owe it to your new daughter to include her in this.
A nice wedding doesn't have to cost a bundle, and in fact a simple wedding is often the sweetest. I just helped a friend with her wedding. They managed to have a very nice wedding amd reception for very little.
You can buy a lot of nice wedding things at the dollar stores, you can rent a dress, and hold your wedding at a friend's house or public park. If you really want to elope, by all means go for it, but believe me when I say you may regret not having a 'real wedding' later.

If you need some ideas, I'd be happy to help.
[email protected]____.com

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K.M.

answers from San Diego on

I think it's your wedding and your should celebrate it and not run off and elope(unless you want to!) There are a lot of ways for doing a wedding on the cheap side(without making it feel cheap), you don't have to go into debt and spend $10,000 on it. All it takes is careful planning and research and you can have a beautiful wedding for a couple $1000 or less...depending on how many people you invite(which is usually the largest expense at at wedding).

Good luck!

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K.B.

answers from Los Angeles on

Plan on a strict budget!!! My mom said keep the costs down and that was the best advice ever.Our wedding was small but now I wish we had gone smaller.
Do it at your home or at a friends. My girlfriend got married in her parents back yard and that was the best wedding and reception I had ever been to. Forget the fancy hotels and other reception sites. JSYK ... that March is such an off month that you can get so much if you work it right. Stick with flowers that are in season. Fancy favors are a waste, we picked our favorite 2 candies from Sees and wrapped them with a bow and cute little tag. The best favor I ever got at a reception was a potpurri sache for my lingerie drawer.
Please include your fiances daughter in the planning and make sure you do something for her at your ceremony.
Best of luck with your planning and a lifetime of happiness to you all!

K.

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T.M.

answers from Los Angeles on

I'm sure you've got plenty of ideas but id like to throw my 2 cents in. We went to Las Vegas with 8 friends my brother gave me away. Great wedding we payed $150 dollars for the wedding our friends paid for he room the meal and drove us out there. I made my own dress from a vintage skirt. I had an amazing wedding.
but
It would have been nice to share it with my family. My parents got married in the back yard and it was a potluck dinner. Instead of bringing gifts people brought food and decorations. The minister did it for free, because he was a friend. They had like 75 people. And a pinata for the kids

My brother did it at my aunts house with a large family meal after.

Don't spend the money but do spend they time planning. Your step daughter would proubably love to heIp and I am sure your friends would rather bring food or decorations then gifts. (This is also cheaper for them and more heart felt.)

Good Luck and CONGRADULATIONS!!!!

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A.H.

answers from San Diego on

I did my own wedding and it didn't cost as much as if I had payed someone else. If you enlist help from friends and family and give yourself enough time it won't be stressful.

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S.Z.

answers from Reno on

I am a wedding photographer, so I've seen a lot of weddings! It is possible to have a beautiful wedding on a budget!

The most important thing to remember is that the whole point is to be married. Some people forget that, especially when they spend over a year and thousands of dollars planning for the WEDDING, not the MARRIAGE. My niece said it best - "The wedding is 15 minutes, and the marriage is the rest of our lives." Remember that while you're planning. It's lovely to have a beautiful wedding day, but the marriage is where most of your focus should be.

Do not worry about what anyone will think or what everyone else has done!!! Make the day about the 3 of you. I've seen weddings at country clubs, temples and cathedrals, and in back yards, trailer parks and even fast food restaurants. I've seen themes from fairy tales to Disney to motorcycles. Do not obsess about whether to serve chocolates or mints, or whether to have fresh or silk flowers - think of something that makes you happy and go with it!

If you want an inexpensive place for the ceremony, consider homes of friends or family, parks, restaurants (most have private rooms) or university campuses. Having your ceremony on a weekday instead of a weekend is also cheaper, since businesses and officiants tend to be less busy during the week. Often, there is a way for a friend or family member to be certified to perform your ceremony, and that can cost less than paying a judge or clergy. Check with your county or state about regulations.

You don't have to serve a meal, but if you do, there are ways to do it inexpensively. Pasta and salad makes a great meal. So do cold sandwiches with fruit and veggies on the side. I photographed one very elegant reception where the meal was soup and homemade bread. Lunches are generally cheaper if you're booking a restaurant or hiring a caterer.
Don't be afraid to do a potluck meal. Maybe you could provide the main dish and ask guests to bring a salad or side dish. I once worked a fun reception with a dessert theme - the couple bought punch and a small cake for the ceremonial cake cutting, and asked every guest to bring their favorite dessert.

It's also cheaper to buy a small wedding cake and serve the guests sliced sheet cakes. Or, you can do a tower of cupcakes or donuts instead of a wedding cake. Or, order regular cakes with flowers in your colors, and put them on stands of different heights. You can buy styrofoam stands at party stores and wrap them in netting and Christmas lights. Or, you can use serving dishes, stemware glasses or candlesticks as stands. I photographed a wedding last summer with ice cream round cakes, placed on heirloom silver pieces as the stands.

Centerpices, table decorations and favors can be candles from the dollar store, or things from nature that you can gather on your own - pine cones, sea shells or stones.

It's cheaper to buy a white or ivory formal or party dress, even if it's identical to one called a wedding dress in a wedding shop. Prom shops and department stores are a good alternative to wedding shops. Some wedding shops have good deals on a few styles they've put on special - David's Bridal is famous for their $99 specials.

It's no longer considered necessary, or even stylish, to have your wedding party wear matching outfits. I recently shot a wedding in which the bride asked all the men to wear black pants and a white shirt, and the bridesmaids to wear black dresses, any style, that they already owned, and then provided them with ties and sashes in her colors.

Don't let uncertain times frighten you too much! Plan a wedding that reflects the three of you, and plan for a long life together!

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T.S.

answers from Los Angeles on

We wanted a nice wedding and the first act as a married couple to give to a charity that we supported but being young and on a tight budget we had to be creative. We took our Flower Budget and our Donation Budget and combined them. I held a bouquet we had made up at Vons Floral Department of all places, they worked with our budget, the bridesmaids had simple bouquets and the men had flowers for their jackets. For the centerpieces we bought canned goods, baskets, cellophane and ribbons and made pretty, festive centerpieces and then donated them to the emergency food bank we volunteer with. We have friends that bought Lego sets, let the guests play with the Legos and build cool centerpieces and then donated the toys to a homeless shelter they supported. It takes creativity and a willingness to be yourselves.

Please do not skimp on the photographer, get references and make sure that you have someone who will capture these precious memories so you can treasure them.

Good Luck and Make it your own.

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C.S.

answers from Reno on

You can plan a really nice wedding on a very small budget. Although my parents payed for most of my wedding, we were able to do it on a very small budget. We shopped around for churches in our area and found one for about $150, all of my flowers for decorations came from both Walmart and Dollar Tree, and put those together myself. Most of our decorations also came from Dollar Tree. If you have a friend or family member with a nice home/yard, see about using that for the wedding and reception. If you have a friend or family member who is good with computers/electronics, have them dj for you. If you have a tight budget for food, nothing wrong with a pot luck either. You can make your own invitations on the computer also. I had my maid of honor and brides maids look for blue dresses, they were all different but looked good. For the tuxes.. we found a place that was cheaper to buy than rent, but you can still find cheap rentals. I know I am rambling :) Depending on when you are planning for your wedding, start picking things up here and there along the way so you aren't buying everything at once. We didn't have a photographer, but I had about 4 different people taking pictures for me and they all turned out nice, and with the right computer program, you can make them look professional too. Congratulations, and good luck with the wedding planning!!! ~ C. ~

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M.N.

answers from Los Angeles on

I am in the same situation. Here is my take on it...a wedding is really expensive. However, it is something that I want since I have waited so long and something my family wants. I have cut back in every other area of my life...including my waxing;) Anyway, they always say to put money back into the economy and I am doing that with our wedding. I am not out shopping or buying stuff for the house that I would normally do. All extra money is for the wedding and it gets spent in lumps at a time.

However, looking at the other side. My fiance and I do have money in the bank in case something happens and we also have 3 houses between the two of us, our house and our rentals. Therefore, we don't need to save money to buy a house. I make car payments on my car, but he doesn't. We haven't been going out to dinner.

I am also not asking my fiance for any money for the wedding. He had one already...this is something I want to do and my mother wants. Therefore, her and I are splitting the costs. And the costs keep going up. My only advice,which I am worried about, is to seek reputable vendors who will be around when your wedding comes. Also, put things on a credit card so if something happens you can go back to dispute it.

Good Luck!!

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T.D.

answers from Los Angeles on

There are lots of ways to cut costs at a wedding. Don't let money keep you from getting married if that's what you really want to do. Here are some of the things my husband and I did. We spent our money on the location and the food and the rest we basically did ourselves or with the help of friends:

Flowers: We went to the LA flower market the morning of the wedding to buy all the flowers. Total cost: $200 for 7 bouquets, 10 centerpieces (including vases), 10 boutineers (sp?), 4 corsages, etc. Since our wedding was in the afternoon, the bridesmaids came to my hotel room that morning to put together the flowers - it was really fun!

Cake: our minister happened to own a bakery so she did the cake for us.

Music: We had some friends who are in a cover band and another friend who is a DJ take care of this. They all did it for free as a wedding gift to us.

Dress: I bought an off-the-rack dress that was just perfect for me and only cost about $400.

Anyone looking at our wedding from the outside would never imagine all the ways we cut corners. The only thing we splurged on was the location (a fancy hotel on the water) and the food (had to use the hotel's food - which was phenomenal!). Our wedding coordinator (provided by the hotel for free) said at the time that the average cost of a wedding at that location was $30K - $40K. Our wedding came in at $10K - including everything.

It can be done!

Best of luck to you!!!

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J.N.

answers from Honolulu on

It's not about how big or how much you spend on the ceremony that will ensure lasting good memories or success of your relationship. Get married at the court house, maybe splurge on a nice honeymoon and save the rest for a rainy day. Maybe 5 years down the road and you have the money renew your vows and make it a big to do.

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E.M.

answers from Los Angeles on

Plan it yourself and just do what you can afford. You know your pocket book better than anyone else. Maybe you can hold it in a back yard with the reception following. If you or someone you know has a large enough yard to hold a few guest-make it intimate. Your biggest expense will be food.

Everyone has cameras these days or you can purchase disposable cameras at walmart and give them to a few friends speaded about the yard. Then develope them, enlarge the ones you want large and "wa la" Photos. Disposible cameras make great pictures.

As far as music goes you can use your/someones ipod that is already loaded with a good selection of songs, add speakers, "music"

You need flowers, dress. Your man sit can be rented; there are shops all over.

You don't have to go to a wedding shop for the perfect dress. Target has a wonderful selection of gowns beginning at $29.00. Check out Target. The wedding party pays for their own clothes. Keep it simple and it will still be beautiful.

I can go on and on, but I,m sure you get the idea of where I'm going.

Congrats and good luck!!!

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J.W.

answers from Reno on

Eloping would be fine, but you would regret your decision later.

The best way to plan for a wedding is figure out how much you would like to pay out. You can rent a hall, and have a pot luck instead of having someone cater the event.

Once you figure out how much you want to spend, start saving up for it. You don't have to spend everything all at once. If you know someone who sews, you might have a dress made cheaper than buying one.

Have your family and friends help you with the table arangements, and bouquets. There are classes on how to make them and they come out professional.

If you want pictures, have a close friend who knows about photography do them instead of hiring a professional. Or, have disposable cameras on the tables, and have your guests take the pictures themselves. You will get a wide variety of pictures of friends, family and group photos. If they want copies, there are cheap was of making them online.

J.

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D.L.

answers from Los Angeles on

My ex and I had a great wedding!!! Saturday we had a small family wedding---probably 20 people. It was catered as a buffet very simply by a friend for her gift to us.

Then Sunday we reserved a part of a public park and had a potluck all day for all our friends and their families. (We provided the usual BarBQue meats and such but everyone pitched in with great food.)

The wonderful thing was that EVERYONE we wanted to come could come and the cost was minimal. (Under $500!!!) We had people volunteer to lead football, volleyball games, etc... and everyone LOVED it!!!!! All your daughter's friends from school can come and their families too!! Who cares, there is room for all!!

Never regretted it for a second!!! It is sharing the love that counts, not all the fancy trimmings!!!

CONGRATS!!!

Deb

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C.D.

answers from Los Angeles on

I had a small, but beautiful wedding. My husband and I didn't want to have a huge wedding with lots of people there. We only invited immediate family and had a small ceremony on the beach in Santa Barbara. It only cost about $200, because we didn't have to pay for the venue. It was truly beautiful and was perfect for what we wanted. We didn't follow it up with a lavish reception. We just had a nice dinner afterward with all our family and had a big party the following weekend for all of our friends and family who didn't go to the ceremony. I loved it, and wouldn't have done anything different. Good luck!

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B.H.

answers from Los Angeles on

My husband and I married 20 years ago. I was against a "big wedding" that my mom wanted. So this is what we did.

INVITATIONS: ($100) I made my own, remember this was WAY before the fancy materials we have for our home computers. I recently received an EMAIL invite for a wedding, it was beautiful AND it did not hurt the environment!
CEREMONY: ($75) we married in one of the most beautiful parks in our city with a JP.
WEDDING DRESS: ($250) I found a pattern and I enlisted the ladies at the fabric store to help me. We actually made it together.
WEDDING DINNER: FREE - my entire wedding party was comped becaseu of the size of our reserveation. We reserved my favourite retaurant and anyone who wanted to come paid $20 for their own dinner. We had invited 150 people, 75 came to the dinner.
RECEPTION: we booked a hall, $250 and had Costco make a "late lunch" for about $300.
LIQUOR: $2 a drink paid for all the mix and everything.
Our honeymoon was paid for by our guests. We sent out a note in our invitations that we didn't "need" anything house wise (we already had 2 of everything) so we asked to give us more love or a donation to our dream honeymoon vacation. About 80% of the people sent my mom money to put toward our Jamaican honeymoon.

Total cost: just over $1000.

Weddings DO NOT have to cost a bunch. Remember this, many people spend more time planning their wedding day than the actual marriage...they go into debt...the stress level is high AND 50% of all marriages end up in divorce.

I had a small, intimate, very romantic day and we have been together 20 years. Coincidence? Maybe. Maybe I was jsut more focused on the marriage than the wedding day.

Think about it, where are your priorites? What is most important to you? What do you want to put your attention to?

B.

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J.L.

answers from San Diego on

Hi stacy, this is what i think, if you and your fiance have had a pure dating relationship, I say have a wedding, but if you guys hve not had a pure dating relationship then i say do the justice of the peace ceremony, just my opinion. J. L.

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J.L.

answers from Los Angeles on

S.,

Think about the things that you really want. If you really want a wedding, have a wedding. Just remember to keep things in check and dont go into major debt. With everything being digital these days, a lot of the cost of a wedding can be greatly deminished. For my wedding we did a lot ourselves. We went to a paper supply wholesaler and got invites really cheap and went to a printshop to have them printed. We went to the flower wholesaler in santa ana for the flowers. I lucked out b/c I had a cousin who took a floral design class so she made all the boutineers and corsages, but we got ALL of those flowers for around $50. The boquets for me and my 6 bridesmaids plus flower girl were about $250. These are only a few examples. A wedding is a special time. Of course you CAN always have 5,10,15, years etc. anniversary parties. All in all my wedding for about 300 guests only cost us about $4000. that was our budget and we did it. If you do decide to have a wedding and you would like good ideas to keep your costs down I would be happy to help. just send me a message. Good luck.

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V.B.

answers from Los Angeles on

Elope! It worked for us. We've been married for 9 years. The wedding is for friends and family to enjoy, but the marriage is for you and your spouse. Don't spend a lot of money on 1 day when you have a family to support. Focus on building your home and college tuition for your children...good luck!

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D.C.

answers from Los Angeles on

S.;
My son is getting married in Feb this year. His 3rd her 1st.
So, I hear you.
I suggest simple. Consider the park, someones home in the yard, who is a friend. your local rec center for the reception, or again at someones home. Though it will be very work intensive, look into fam and friends assisting in the prep for a meal. Lunch time would be the easiset with a lighter meal.
Don't forgo the wedding cause of the economy. Your wedding day is important. You will discover lots or creative ways to get around.
My daughter married 4 yrs ago in a hurry. Teh wedding and reception was at The Reef in San Pedro. Went to Mrs. M's for flowers in Whittier on Greenleaf. Everything came to about 9000.00. This is not alot for a wedding. We had a meal and a DJ. Hang in there. Also, City Hall in Norwalk has a room, very, very simple you can get married in. Not my choice as well as Vegas. Vegas can cost just as much as our wedding at the Reef and even more, depending on choices.
Also, keep your guest list simple. Just some ideas.
Go on line and look too!

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B.S.

answers from Reno on

NO! Don't elope! Set a small budget...something you can afford, without using credit cards and what not...even a wedding with close friends, and maybe a potluck style reception instead of gifts....but this is a special day, a special occasion and you will regret skiping it! Set aside what you can afford and stick with it! There are a lot of ways around costs....public parks with flowers...etc...Best of luck

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A.A.

answers from Los Angeles on

CONGRATULATIONS S.,

Celebrate, Celebrate, Celebrate. No one knows if they will be married forever but if yor're like me your thinking "you only get married once." So celebrate . Don't Elope. I my self had a beautilful wedding but me and my husband saved for 14 months to have a Wedding, and we spent every pennie by our wedding night, And i don't regret it one bit. However, We were still on a bubget and stuck to it.
The worst thing you can do is rack up credit cards that will only bring problems in the marriage. I have also been to several weddings on smaller budgets that were beutiful and unforgetable. I don't know how much you have to work with but my friend just had the most woderful wedding for under 5,000 in Orage, CA
http://www.thefrenchestate.com/ in that place if you have 50 guests you can have a wedding and reception for $1200.00 and you bring your own food and drinks the pictures on the web site dont do it ANY JUSTICE. if you are interested I can shoot you some pictures so you can see how amazing that place really is. I can even give you some ideas on inexpensive photographers, cateres, and stuff. feel free to e-mail me.
GOOD LUCK
You, Your fiance and Your step daughter deserve a CELEBRATION. Let me know if you need to see pictures.

PS. Im not a wedding planner just been to about 15 weddings in with in 2 years.

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E.S.

answers from Los Angeles on

S., congratulations on your engagement and on your relationship with your new 10 year old girl. Weddings can be expensive but they don't have to be. Celebrate your day for you and your new daughter. You will love the memories and the pictures.

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J.M.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi S., for goodness sake have a wedding...it is to be one of the most defining moments in a gals life!!!! I tell you what, we had a Dec 8 wedding, and I did everthing myself, I was 28 when I got married. With Christmas right around the corner, we used decorations really cheap, and I still use them today at Christmas time....tasteful ones of course, poinsettes, christmas tree, greenery, etc...oh and lots of small twinkle lights. I was lucky enough to have a mom that sews, so together we made my dress, very simple, yet beautiful. I figure I spent MAYBE $400-$500 for the entire wedding (cake came free from a friend), and we used my church. Sooo, if you want a wedding, have one...its not really something you can go back and re-do, the first time with the right man is always the best, and the 10 year old girl...well alot of memories will be made with her, as she helps make you her mom. Good luck, and any questions on how we used the Decorations, just mail me! J.

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L.C.

answers from Los Angeles on

My beloved and I just celebrated our 25th wedding anniversay. When we wed, he was 33 and I 26; he just starting a new career and me struggling to keep my small business afloat. We had a limited amount of funds, and wanted to spend at least 5 days in Mexico for honeymoon, so we made choices based on what was important to us:
*Family and Friends to share the day
*A Rabbi we both liked
*Flowers
*Champagne for a toast
So, here's what we did: We asked a very close friend who had a nice backyard if we could use his backyard for the ceremony, (we then converted his garage into a dance floor). Since we both loved carrot cake we ordered a simple sheet cake from our favorite bakery and then augmented the iced roses on the cake with fresh ones from a wholesale flowershop (they also did my bouquet and the flowers for the guys and moms). We made our own "D.J." music by making some tapes of our favorite music. We asked everyone with a camera to bring it and help with photos so between the 10 or so amateurs we had enough great shots to make an album. I come from a large family, so I asked my family to contribute home made hors devours - which we served with the champagne and cake. No, it wasn't extravagant or showy, but people who were there still tell us it was the most fun wedding they had ever attended - because it was about the two of us and our committment to one another.

So my advice is to decide what is really important to YOU! If it's having the dreammy white dress, then dedicate your funds to that. If it is the surroundings, spend the money that way, (my sister was married in a grove of redwoods in Armstrong Forrest and no one will ever forget the sight of her walking a path of redwood chips in her beautiful white gown).

Weddings have become a competition of Bridezillas rather than a public declaration of intent to form a partnership within a community that loves and supports the new couple.

So, you don't have to compromise having a dream wedding - you just have to work a little harder and be creative.

Our children, family and friends kid us that we are still on the honeymoon we took those many years ago......

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J.C.

answers from San Diego on

Congratulations on your engagement and upcoming marriage. The wedding plans are your decision, but if you do decide to elope, you deny your family the pleasure of seeing you get married. We were married about 5 1/2 years ago and did the whole wedding for about $3000; it can be done for less perhaps, not sure. I think you are wise to worry about the economy. Maybe just a very small wedding with a reception that is not too elaborate. Then you can save your money for household items you need. Best of luck to you. The important thing is not the wedding ceremony itself, but the marriage and life afterward. Too many people make the mistake of thinking otherwise.

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B.N.

answers from Los Angeles on

I eloped and regreted it as I did not include my family. If you want a wedding have one! Give yourself a budget and stick to it. Keep it to close friends and family. Have it at someone's home. Ask your family for help with food (do a basic buffet), have a limited bar and and get a basic white cake & spruce it up with some fresh flowers! If you want a BIG wedding, I would say have a civil ceremony now and then when you CAN afford it, have a big wedding and/or reception.

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L.A.

answers from San Diego on

There are other options. Your choice does not have to be either a big expensive wedding, or eloping. You are both over 30, and you must realize that the marriage is what counts, not the wedding. Do not go into any kind of debt for a wedding. That is putting the focus where it does not belong. Why not plan a long weekend trip to Vegas? Cliched, yes, but relatively inexpensive and fun. Almost all of the hotel-casinos offer wedding packages. And many are very nice. Flowers, a beautiful setting, a lovely ceremony. Any friends or family are welcome to join you at their own expense. Go, tie the knot, then have some fun in Vegas for a day or two - it is a much more kid-friendly place than it used to be - and it is done. You are married, you had a fun mini-vacation, you did not overextend yourselves financially, and you put the emphasis on the marriage and not the wedding. What better example could you set for a young girl?

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M.E.

answers from Los Angeles on

Find a pretty park or a friend's backyard where you can get married. You can have some light hors d'euvres afterward, punch, champagne and cake. You'll spend less than 1000 dollars. David's Bridal has dresses for $99.00 and they are beautiful! Good luck!

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S.M.

answers from San Diego on

If you have famiily and friends that you would like to include in your wedding, don't elope. You don't have to have a big elaborate wedding for it to be beautiful and memorable. You can be married in your home, someone else's home, at the beach or in a park. You don't have to have 200 people. You can just invite your family and close friends. If you belong to a church, the minister may be willing to marry you in the church or chapel with just a few people present for only a small fee, or maybe in his office. You don't have to serve a full meal at your reception. You can just serve cake and beverages. (Just don't have the reception at a meal time). I think you will be sorry if you don't include those people who are the closest to you in your ceremony. You can always get married at the County Clerk's office and that doesn't cost much at all and your friends can come too, if there aren't too many. It can be done without spending a fortune. Good luck to both of you.

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S.F.

answers from Reno on

Hi S.,

Are you worried about being married in a bad economy or just paying for the wedding itself?

Marriage in an economic downturn requires that both people be on the same page when it comes to money managemen: earnings, savings, how to deal with a job loss. If you and your fiance cannot discuss this and come to a mutually satisfactory plan, I wouldn't go through with the marriage. Nothing stresses a marriage more than money (except maybe kids and in-laws <g>).

If you're worried about paying for a wedding, there are many ways to cut corners. I got married on a shoestring budget and it was fantastic. First, I made my own wedding dress. If you're not into sewing, find a pretty, affordable outfit and wear that. It doesn't have to be a wedding dress, just something you feel fabulous in. Second, seriously downsize or cut out flowers. Single stem red and white roses were special to me and my husband, so I carried a single red rose and my attendants carried single white roses. Ok, the single stem rose doesn't "toss" very well, but after a few tries we got it to work! <g> Third, and this was just a fluke, the cake I really wanted was an anniversary cake, not a wedding cake. It was gorgeous and half the price. You could even go with a plain sheet cake to save money. Fourth, do you have friends who are into photography or music? Maybe they could donate their services as a wedding gift? (Remember, though, tough times hit every one and even the photographers and DJs need to earn a living, so don't be hurt if they decline.) Last but not least, plan your wedding when you don't have to serve a meal, just snacks. That can save a bundle, too.

Focus on what's important to you and hubby-to-be. For me and my husband, it was good food and good photographs, so that's where we spent the money we had. If we were to go back and do it again, we both agree we'd get married at a local park, in jeans, and have a bar-be-que.

As for eloping, that's a fine idea, too. My dad offered my husband a tidy lump sum of cash if we would spare him the agony of wearing a tuxedo. After the jeans & BBQ idea, that was the runner-up idea. We went with the whole traditional (yet inexpensive) wedding to please my mom...who hated the whole thing anyway because we cut so many corners.

Make a budget and stick with it...good advice for either a wedding or a marriage!

Good luck!

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C.S.

answers from San Diego on

Hi S.,
The most important thing is your marriage and having a solid marriage, so don't worry if you have the fanciest decorations, etc. I kept our marriage quite inexpensive compared to many, but it was incredibly beautiful. We were married in Canada. We also didn't serve liquor, as my parents are missionaries and my side weren't drinkers and are Christian, and as they paid the reception, it didn't seem fair to them. I'm sure some on my husband's side weren't happy, but oh well.
But I can offer you a free makeover. I do great makeovers using Mary Kay products. One of my clients won a beauty contest with my makeover. Our microdermabrasion and mineral makeup are amazing. I could get you looking your best for your special day, and also your bridesmaids. And if you want the products, they are very reasonable and you could also give some as bridesmaids gifts. But the makeover is free and there's no obligation to buy anything. I'm in San Diego, so hope you are too. YOu can contact me at [email protected]____.com. Thanks, C.

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J.M.

answers from Los Angeles on

no, it is not better to elope. The tradition and witnesses and all that happens in a marriage is very important.
You can have a wedding at any cost...............You can get married in your house or yard or park and have pot luck dinner or cake and coffee only at the church. A wedding does not have to be expensive and still it can be a joyous remembrance and great happening. The guests will be supportive of whatever you do.
Remember: A WEDDING IS JUST A WEDDING, A MARRIAGE IS SOMETHING ELSE AND IS THE IMPOTANT THING. A wedding does set the tone somewhat in that you need family and friends present..............
Saying that, I was married 47 yrs ago in a chapel in Las Vegas with just family and a few select friends present and it had not much to do with the marriage being successful.
The economy is no reason to put off a wedding either.
Good luck.

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