No. of Recommendations: 18
My son recently took his parents up on a promise that transferred wealth between generations without wasting any on extravagant celebrations. What this means is:

1. Mom long ago said to all the children - I will pay 10K to each child by the age of 30. You can spend it on a wedding, down payment on a house, or just rent - but that's all you are getting.

2. Dad said, at older son's wedding (after a glass of wine or 2) - "I'd give anything not to go through this again." Younger son listened.

Younger son eloped in situ and recently had a wedding celebration. He also reminded parents of former promises.

So, over the last weekend, we had my version of the perfect wedding celebration. Well, they were just darn lucky with the weather - 70 degrees, sun shining. Anyway - in a park gazebo - burgers (chicken and hot dogs) on the fire. Potluck - so waay too much food. People moving from this group to that. Families and friends on both sides mixing. Very casual (both of the celebrants' mothers were wearing jeans). Grandmother was wearing her all-cotton outfit from COSTCO. It was fun! It wasn't stressful - even for all us introverts (and there were quite a few). Started at about 12:30 - ended about 4 pm. Everybody helped with the cleanup. It was neat! And the cost was no more than any other "picnic". All that money saved for a down payment on a house. Plenty of memories - in fact, just as many as you would have if you had spent $50K - but no credit card bills.

So mom is proud - and the young'uns don't have wedding debt. And well on their way to RE - becoming a family tradition.

arrete - and to all you guys reading this that hang out across the street from the "Big House" with my son (and I know you read this board) - take this as a lesson as a way to get that down payment. Of course, you've got to get the "girl" first. And if you were there Saturday (I lost count of where people were from) - didn't we have fun?

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Arrete: What a great idea. I'm forwarding this to my youngest sister immediately. She's planning a wedding and has no money. Plus, I have no desire to be a bridesmaid...again!

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Our wedding was hell to plan (we lived hundreds of miles from the site), but it was great. I have to say it was worth every penny. It was not "extravagant," but it was expensive, even though it was "beneath the means" of the people who contributed (which included bride, groom, and both families).

We had the best of some things (groom, families, friends, location), went middle-of-the-road on other things (food, flowers, music, invitations) and chose to be frugal on other things (gowns/wedding attire, rehearsal dinner, etc.). And with any luck, we WILL retire early. It CAN be done, folks. If you want tips, I've got 'em!

I don't disparage anyone's choice of hot dogs for a wedding banquet, but it was not our choice. And I bet we will ALL still retire early. My congratulations to the happy couple and their families! Cheers!

--AF : )
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I personally agree, and a big, fancy wedding meant little to us. Ours was more minimalist and probably cost a total of about $500.

But certainly, if some people want one badly enough that they'll have a lifetime of spectacular memories to cherish, well...if that's worth the cost to them, more power to them.

If you value the lifetime of memories highly enough, it's hard to put a price tag on the event. Personally I'm not in that camp, but I can understand how some might be.

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I suggested a pig roast at the rod and gun club but my mother in law vetoed it. So my wife and I tried to cut down on things but it was easier to go with the flow. Fancy "Long Island" reception. We had to tell our friends that the appetizers were not diner.

my father in law said he would give us $5000 if we would elope then said "Nah his wife would kill him if she found out"

who wanted to duck out on the reception
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So, over the last weekend, we had my version of the perfect wedding celebration.

It sounds wonderful!!!

Weddings are definitely a 'to each his own' kind of thing.

Mine was small and simple - approx 80 guests (ex-dh had a larger family), ceremony at the Army base, reception at my parents house, no sit down dinner stuff, just everyone up and talking and lots of appetizer type stuff to munch on. (Big advantage to doing our own "catering" - I got to have *tons* of Chex mix!!)

I think the entire thing, alcohol, food, flowers, dress, cake, came in under $2000. Not too bad. And even though I am divorced now, it was still a great wedding and party - only thing I'd change is more shrimp and less veggie plates! :)

Biggest obstacle was convincing my dad to have the reception at the house. My mom finally pointed out to him that it really was no different from the squadron parties that they had hosted when he was in the Navy. Once she got him in the 'it's just a party' frame of mind, he was on board. And he was very happy that it didn't cost an arm and a leg - and so was I.

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No. of Recommendations: 4
My husband and I had a big wedding date planned for this coming May 12th. The planning started to become like a second job. I got stressed about it, as everyone said, "Do what you want," but then provided veiled insistence that we do it their way. The final straw came when I took on a new freelance project that would take up all the wedding planning time.

We very nearly eloped but finally decided to share the celebration with family and close friends over the New Year. Very short notice, and some people are still mad, but that kept it simple, and perhaps relieved out of town family and friends from any perceived obligation.

It was fabulous. I got to wear a lovely gown that cost me very little but was PERFECT. We were surrounded by people we loved and we had time to talk with them at the party after the ceremony, which was held at my husband's parents' home (VERY generous of them). Several of our friends got together to coordinate the menu and bring desserts. I bought a few cases of wine and beer.

We ordered our wedding flowers the week before... just a few nice blossoms to add a little fresh beauty to the event.

We had a friend take pictures... he happens to be a world class photographer. I did all the film processing and made my own album/scrapbook, framed my own photos.

I had attendants but they each wore their own simple, elegant black dress in a style that suited each one.

We had a very nice honeymoon the week afterwards, and we came home to no debt whatsoever. In fact, I'd paid all the bills I could ahead of time so we'd have that extra feeling of contentment upon coming home to our new status as a married couple.

I wouldn't have done it any other way. People seemed comfortable... no stilted ceremony rituals were involved, the company was friendly and at ease, and we have the best memories ever.

And for the Woulda Been wedding date? We can afford to splurge on a nice weekend away, just the two of us. Maybe we'll daydream by the fire of retiring early. Heck, what would average stockmarket returns on the originally budgeted amount add up to in the next 20 to 30 years? (And yes, I DID invest it.)

It doesn't have to cost a bundle to be one of the best days of your life.


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