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 Post subject: Advice Please: Wedding OR Debt? UPDATE!
PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2008 11:49 am 

Joined: Fri Aug 22, 2008 11:10 am
Posts: 223
Hi all! I've been reading these forums for a long time but this is my first post.
A little background:
My boyfriend and I have been dating almost 3 years. We own a home together. We've just completed Dave Ramsey's course and it helped us get on the same page regarding our finances, budget, and goals.
Currently we have a $1,500 emergency fund, and we've paid off $11k in debt and have $23k in debt left now ($10k car and $13k student loans). Right now we pay about $1,100 a month to the debt, so the plan currently is to be debt-free in 21 months.
Ok... My question... We want to get married. Neither of us want to wait two years before we can begin to save money for a wedding. Neither of our families is in a position to help with it, either. And before you tell me to just go to a courthouse, you must know... I am a Wedding Planner. This is my life, and one of my dreams. (notably, the most shallow.)
We are committed to not go into any debt for anything, and of course I have many contacts so our wedding will be much less expensive than the average.
What are your thoughts? Thanks in advance. And let me know if you need any clarification.


Last edited by Samantha on Tue Jun 29, 2010 8:52 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2008 11:59 am 
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Location: NC
As dreams go, it's stupid. It's essentially a big party. It lasts one day. Nobody honestly cares that it was beautiful, or cost 100K. There is an industry, of which you area part, that perpetuates this absurd tradition which defies any reasonable examination.

Elope. Spend a few grand on a nice party for your 10th anniversary. If you make it ten years, you'll really have something to celebrate. :)

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2008 12:07 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 03, 2008 7:24 pm
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Location: Texas
unfortunately the 'right' thing to do is not what you want to hear. while dtr may be being very much on the blunt side, the response is correct. a wedding in an of itself is just a big party. if you are already in debt and working to get OUT of debt....why would you ADD more debt? pay off your debt, have a civil service and maybe plan an event for even just your 5th anniversary (when you are out of debt), maybe a renewal of vows or something so THEN you can have the ceremony you want to plan.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2008 12:17 pm 

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If you are a wedding planner you should be able to leverage your knowledge and contacts in order to have the wedding of your dreams within a reasonable budget - and a reasonable budget is probably - less than 5k?

There is absolutely no reason why a wedding should be about $150 per plate meals, bands, tons of flowers and other ostentatious things. Its about two people who love each other, and if you focus on that and keep it simple, you can do it.

Personally, I had a destination wedding in the Caribbean. My DH and I paid about 3k for the wedding planner, flowers, photography, site rental, transportation, cake and music.

My parents came up with another 3500 for the food and alcohol for the reception. Granted, people (including my parents and my DH & I) paid to get there and for our hotels there, but we all got a great vacation out of it.

My dress was $500 from the Jcrew catalog.

If you want to do it cheaply, you can. I found the forums at http://www.indiebride.com to be an invaluable resource full of creativity. Don't read the forums at the knot. just MHO.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2008 12:21 pm 

Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2008 3:22 pm
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Location: Northern CA
Samantha:

You say you're a wedding planner, and can do it less expensively than others. My question is: *HOW* much less expensively?

We had a wedding for 75 people that cost ~ $9K. Our budget:

DAVE AND SANDI'S WEDDING BUDGET 10/28/97

Item Est. Cost Cost to Date

Hall Rental $675 $675
Minister $300 $300
Food (76 guests) $1,482 $1,482
Servers (Bartender, 3 servers (4@$15/hr x 6 hrs)) $370 $370
Tax $175 $175
Service & Tip $500 $500
Rentals, 76 guests $400 $400
Champagne, Soda, Water $230 $180
Invitations and Postage $280 $293
Flowers and Bouquet holders $80 $87
Decorations & Centerpieces $300 $310
Cake $125 $125
License $75 $70
DJ and tip $335 $335
Groom's Tux, Tom & Valyrie's apparel $250 $270
Photography $1,700 $1,900
Dress $750 $750
Shoes, Veil, Jewelry $95 $83
Nails for women $170 $95
Hotel for Sandi, MOH, 2 nights each $200 $190
Favors $80 $63
Parking $90 $82
Reh. Dinner (22) & 4 carafes of wine $515 $515


Wedding Total: $9,177 $9,250

Notes to save money: We got married on a Monday - the cost of hall rental, food, DJ and photography were all MUCH less expensive as a result. Our "bridal hotel" - Motel 6. Invitations were mail ordered, at a big savings. We had a three layer cake, made by a lady out of her home. We did our flowers ourselves, and bought them wholesale. The favors were chocolate squares in lucite boxes, wrapped with curling ribbon - cute but inexpensive. The centerpieces were silk flowers, glue gunned to golden doilies, surrounding pillar candles. The decorations were silk ficus trees with white lights in them, and some plaster columns that I'd painted, and rested plants on. We bought our own alcohol - champagne only, no open bar. We had a daytime/lunchtime wedding.

We splurged on the food (fantastic! but the caterer let us provide our own wine!) and on the photographer (unbelievable wedding photos that we still love and display, nearly 11 years later).

To pay for it, we "paid as we went" for many things - the flowers, the invitations and postage, the decorations, the favors. They came from income in the year leading up to the wedding. The wedding became our "hobby", so we spent less on other things as we focused on preparing for the wedding. For example, I bought the invitations ~ 6 months in advance. The silk ficus and pillar candles ~ 8 months in advance. We bought 4-6 bottles of champagne a month, and stashed it in the basement until the wedding. We also set aside $100 each month apiece, and used that as the "wedding fund" to pay for the larger items, such as the hall rental, the photographer, and the caterer.

Realistically, you will probably need to put some of this on a credit card. I would do it just for consumer protection - what if you pay 50% deposits to the photographer or the caterer, and they go out of business before the wedding date? If you write a check, you're up the creek with no paddle. With a Credit Card, you have a hope of a charge-back.

Finally, there may be people who will give you cash. We received ~ $2K in cash gifts, surprisingly. We paid off the last of the wedding and honeymoon costs ($1450 for 6 days in Mexico), and set the rest aside in a "furniture fund." Then, post-wedding we continued the $200 per month into a savings fund, earmarked for furniture.

It was a great way to start saving for joint goals, stretching current income, and MINIMIZING debt. I wanted a wedding too, because we'd spent 16 years together first, and it was a great way to celebrate. But I wasn't gonna take out a loan against the house to have one. :)

Good luck! You can do this sensibly, and get what you both want.

Sandi

As a result, ALMOST all of this was paid without debt. And it was a wonderful, beautiful day that I am happy to remember, because we didn't bury ourselves with debt.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2008 12:24 pm 

Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2008 3:22 pm
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Location: Northern CA
OK, so the column formatting just bit the dust - sorry! I hope it's readable...

Sandi


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2008 12:35 pm 

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Samantha, Based only on your post (I didn't read the other comments b/c I'm sure I know what they all say - no debt) I vote wedding. Weddings are important, yes its a big party but its also a big party celebrating a big moment in life.

Now for the practical questions. What are the interest rates on your car and student loan debt. How much would you budget for your wedding? When would you get married? You say you don't want to wait 2 years to start saving for weddings but could you wait a year? Could you or your boyfriend get a second job to fund the wedding fund?

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2008 12:49 pm 

Joined: Fri Aug 22, 2008 11:10 am
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Thanks a million to those of you with the practical advice! (but not the jerk who said "your dreams are stupid").
The interest rate on the car is 5% at a credit union. We are currently throwing all extra money toward that.
The interest rate on the federal student loan is only 2%. We will pay on it after the car.
We are hoping to be married in about 2 years. That would mean one year from now getting engaged.
I currently have two jobs. My boyfriend works alot of overtime, as well as working on rehabbing our house. We bought a fixer-upper at a deep deep discount, and he can do most of the work himself.
Anyway... the budget for ENTIRE wedding, and I mean diamond rings, food flowers, honeymoon, etc. I am estimating right now at $15,000. If we had no debt, we could easily save that amount in one year.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2008 1:19 pm 
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Location: Colorado
I think you're on the right track. I'd pay off the 10k at 5% (~9 months at $1100/month). I'd then start putting money towards the wedding. To save your 15k at $1100/month then takes about 14 months. The interest you'll pay on the 2% loan in that time is about $325. To me, that would be worth it to move forward with my wedding plans in a timely fashion.

I hope as a wedding planner you are better at estimating wedding costs than the layperson. I've seen very few weddings that didn't go over-budget (including my own), and I'm sure you've seen first-hand how the emotional strings get pulled by the various players to convince you buy more and more expensive products and services. Set your budget and then stick to it aggressively.

Oh yeah, congratulations :)

cheers,
Zulu


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2008 1:20 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 03, 2008 1:03 pm
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I would recommend that you go to the courthouse first, but, if you are determined to have a cost wedding, you should have a modest one. I would consider it your current snowball and get it over with.

I like what I am hearing from you as far as getting a good financial plan in place, be careful that you do not keep finding detours along the way. Congrats.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2008 1:26 pm 

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and for what its worth, having student loan debt is not terrible. If you are under a certain income limit, you should be able to deduct the interest you pay on your taxes. I did not pay of my student loan debt until i had been married 18 months.

The priority you should have is your car debt. Pay that off asap, get engaged, then get married (making sure you don't enter into any MORE debt) then pay off your student loans.

And congratulations!


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2008 3:45 pm 

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maybe I'm misreading the OP...it was my impression from the post that the choices are get married now and acquire additional debt or have to wait out paying off current debt, then START savings for a wedding, thus my suggestion to hold off on the 'party'. Sorry if I'm misreading that.

One thing that I should have offered as well would be wedding assistance in lieu of wedding gifts. You said your families can't help, but could they maybe pool together and have their 'gift' to you be the wedding itself?

I am getting married in Nov, and I am fortunate enough that many people in my family and close friends are in occupations that allow them to provide things for the wedding that we are accepting instead of gifts...ie my mom's best friend is a professional cake designer=free cake, stepfather does autocad for a mining company and has full use of any printing style and types paper=free invitations(even vellum emossing :) ), uncle's best freind is a minister=no charge for service, stepfather's sister is a florist=free flowers, other sister is a tailor/seamstress for a place that does tuxedos=free tuxes(rentals obviously), cousin owns a limo service=free limo, etc etc. Now these are all people that would have been invited to the wedding anyway and some are in the actual party, so when they offered services we told them that we would gladly accept but insisted that we would consider it their gift to us and asked for no 'bought gifts'. Most of them, like many people, are having tight times right now, so we get to have a fairly large wedding for next to nothing. Rings aside, our wedding is costing us less than $400 (approx 200 people planned for attendence) and that includes $150 for my fiance's dress which she got on clearence (normally $1200) when the 'fashion season' was changing. I had to put a $100 security deposit down on the hall for insurance purposes but I get it back (also no actual charge for the hall since the owner is another of my mom's best friends) just had to pay a deposit for insurance reasons. $67 for marriage license. The rest is for paper samples to give to my stepfather for duplicating and printing, and some meltaway chocolate and molds for table candies that my fiance and I are making ourselves.

Now the honeymoon is a different finalcial story altogether :P


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2008 3:52 pm 
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To the OP,

Right here I have an article I wrote for GRS:

http://www.getrichslowly.org/blog/2007/ ... u-can-too/

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2008 6:05 pm 
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Samantha wrote:
Thanks a million to those of you with the practical advice! (but not the jerk who said "your dreams are stupid").
.


Oh, I don't think all your dreams are stupid. Just the wedding one. And it has nothing to do with you having it. Don't take it personal, it's not meant to be. I've been married for 10 years, and the wedding day was the least important of them all. The only day more important than today is tomorrow. Weddings add no value to the marriage. It's not the "getting" you should focus on, it's the "being".

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2008 11:08 pm 

Joined: Sat Aug 09, 2008 8:59 pm
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You can do it nice on the cheap. I wouldn't go crazy on a wedding if you don't have the dough. You'll regret it later. The debt will put a strain on your marriage.

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