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The Cost of My Wedding

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I mentioned last week that I was getting married. Now that I'm married and the reception is over, the costs are starting sink in. I should be able to tell you exactly how much I spent. However, I'm not the best budgeter. I've always felt that I could spend 10 hours being meticulous about where every penny went, or I can try to make more pennies. As long as I make sure that I get good value for my money, I consider that "good enough." That might not work for most people, but it's been successful for me.

If I can't tell you exactly how much it cost, the least I can do is give you an estimate. Before I drop the number, I will say that it was around 200 people, which prevents any kind of "value" wedding. It could quite possibly the last time for many, many years that I'll ever see all my friends together in the same room. With many of them starting their own families and with me thousands of miles away from them, it's just not logistically possible.

Have I procrastinated enough? The wedding costs fell somewhere around 22 or 23 thousand dollars. In a lot of places, that's a nice down payment on a house. Still, I look at the experience and realize that it compared with weddings that cost more than 60 thousand dollars. That may sound crazy, but I've been to weddings that cost that much and didn't get the impression that people had more fun at them. Then again I might be a little biased.

This upcoming weekend, we'll spend a lot of time sending thank you notes for the gifts. After that we need to almost immediately develop a financial plan for the next 2-3 years. The good news is that my wife (that phrase hasn't gotten old yet) suggested that we do this. It is definitely a first and I'm really looking forward to it.

I realized that I needed to go into more detail on some points from all the comments, so see The Cost of My Wedding - Part 2 here.

Last updated on July 11, 2007.

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32 Responses to “The Cost of My Wedding”

  1. Smith says:

    Congratulations on your wedding – best wishes and hope many years of happiness are ahead!

  2. mapgirl says:

    I think $22-23K for a 200 person wedding is pretty good. I know folks who’ve spent that much for half the number of people.

  3. Well, congrats!

    As I come up on my 5 year wedding anniversary, I can honestly say that being married(and now children) is the best thing in my life. I couldn’t ever have predicted how much I would appreciate everything that goes along with marriage.
    Just keep trying to change and grow.

    FYI: we paid 10k cash for our 120 person wedding.

  4. Joseph Sangl says:

    Once again I am reminded that my daughter is growing up, and I need to make sure I have saved up what seems to be an unbelievable amount of cash for her wedding.

    By the time she gets married, it looks like the number will be $30K or more!

    Congratulations on your marriage!!!

  5. Lazy,

    I meant to ask…since you just went through a wedding, what do you think of the advice I offered in this piece? Thanks


  6. Moneymonk says:

    22 or 23 thousand dollars!!!! Wow that is a down payment on a house and a used car.

    But the memories are priceless. I hate to ask how much is the honeymoon

  7. dong says:

    Congrats. Was wondering how come there weren’t any new post ;). 22-23k isn’t too bad. I mean in the end it’s about what you can afford. Are you on your honeymoon or are you delaying that?

  8. MoneyNing says:

    Congrats. It sounds like you are almost writing this piece to justify to yourself that there is a need for this kind of money.

    Stop worrying about what other people (read: us) think. Your wedding is an once in a life time event. Don’t crazily overspend but as long it creates a lasting memory, it’s worth all the money in the world.

  9. Congrats! I also agree that I think that sum is fine for the number of people you had. My wife and I had about 175 and spent $18,000. Her parents are very frugal, so I’m sure they didn’t exactly splurge on anything outrageous.

    I know the toughest decision was the open bar, which my parents ended up offering to pay for, as I believe it cost at least several thousand dollars.

    It sounds like you both paid for it on your own though, which I imagine is very difficult. I am glad you decided to spend enough to have a memorable wedding though, as that it definitely something you will remember for a lifetime.

  10. Chuck says:

    I just got married in May and mine was right along there. Just wondering is that number inclusive of the honeymoon or not?

    The honeymoon kicked ours up alot as well because we went on a vacation that was about 4x more expensive than our usual ones. Thankfully it only happens once.

  11. pfodyssey says:

    The amount spent does not seem unreasonable. However, I don’t think we are talking net expense here, are we? I’m guessing you may have received as much as $15,000 in gifts?

  12. Congrats! Although $22k is a lot, I have heard of people spending quite a bit more. And that is a lot of guests.

  13. David says:

    Congrats on your wedding Lazy Man, hope it was everything you wanted it to be!

  14. beeRad says:

    Congratulations! I’ve enjoyed being married these last 2 years even more than I thought I would.

  15. KMC says:

    You weren’t trying hard enough. The average wedding is $28K. :)
    Seriously, though, congratulations and good luck.

  16. Susanna says:


    The cost of a wedding depends not only on how many guests you have, but where you have it. Ours cost about $16K in 2000, and we tried to be cost-conscious. We live in SC, where a lot of stuff costs less. Creative family members helped with flowers, invitations, programs, bridesmaid dresses. Even so, it cost as much as a new car.

    But when am I ever again going to have the chance to throw a fancy party like that for our far-flung relatives and friends? My only regret is the amount we spent on photography because the photgrapher turned out to be a crook who absconded with our money.

  17. J2R says:

    oh boy… sorry to hear you got married :)

    Don’t worry.. The second one is much easier
    Welcome to the club

  18. The Div Guy says:

    Congrats! What are you doing blogging? Shouldn’t you be on your honeymoon.

    I’ve been married for 12 years and I have to say that is the best decision I ever made. We got married in a small town in Germany and paid about $9K for 90 people including a trip to Barvaria.

  19. Congratulations on your wedding. What you spent on it is your business. FYI: $22,500 is 11.66% of your total net worth. Whether or not you consider that to be a good use of your money is also your business.

    My wedding cost $2,000 23 years ago. We were so poor, it was WAY more than 11.66% of our net worth!(Thanks again, Dad, for picking up the tab.)

  20. Brip Blap says:

    Yeah, congrats! 23K is a lot of money – A LOT – but don’t worry about it. You won’t regret it, and you won’t regret the peace of mind that it gives you and your wife down the road. The trick is to only get married once :) We spent less than that on our wedding but made it up in the honeymoon. Don’t regret for a minute – enjoy!

  21. Contratulation on your wedding!
    The best wishes to you and your lovely wife!

    by the way, 22K for 200 is pretty good. I managed to get mine around 15K and I had 125 people at my wedding. So you are not such a bad budgeter after all ;-)


  22. ispf says:

    Congratulations on your wedding and best wishes for the future!

  23. plonkee says:

    Congratulations and best of luck with your marriage.

    $23K that you can afford isn’t too much for a wedding as long as you all had a good time. And you ended up married.

  24. Golbguru says:

    First, congratulations on your marriage! sorry about the late wishes.

    Second, why are you writing blog posts when you should be on your honeymoon ;)

  25. Ben says:

    Welcome to the world of marital bliss! Congrats on the big day. Golb has a good point, honeymoons are more fun than blogging :)

  26. Him says:

    Congrats! We’re still planning our so the numbers are still being added on.


    I got married a month and a half ago for $880 because Husband and I were on the same page in terms of what we wanted for a wedding (cheap, low-key, BBQ, small ceremony short of just signing the papers). But to each his/her own, I hope everyone had a great time and you have lots of memories that will last forever.

  28. Jim says:

    Congratulations! My wife and I had a large wedding and I think your figure is right on track for the number of people. Figure if you’re going to do this once in your life, it’s one of the most important things you’ll ever do, the money is worth it.

  29. […] Just a few weeks ago, Lazy Man of Lazy Man and Money got married and gave us some details about what it costs to cover a 200 guest wedding in the Bay Area these days. His number came up to between $22,000 and $23,000. This brings to mind my own wedding […]

  30. […] LazyMan wrote about the cost of his wedding. […]

  31. heaps! says:

    Congratulations on your wedding, I am sorry to hear that you and your partner are now struggling with debt. Here is a post you may find useful, it’s about how to discuss finances with your partner and how to plan how to manage your money (and paying off your debt):


    Hope it helps! Good luck!

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