The Cost of Our Weddings
Meghan Nesmith

Holy [expletive of your choice]! I cannot even imagine spending $20–30k!

I thought of my wife and I as neither super-frugal nor very spendy on our wedding (I’d call it mid-sized at 90 guests), and IIRC, it came in at $7.4k, out the door (14 years ago, but still…) (This does not include the rehearsal dinner, which my parents covered.)

Catering (fancy buffet lunch from a local Italian place) was $42/head (by far the biggest expense), no bar (wife’s family largely doesn’t drink.) Reception was in the church’s multi-purpose hall. Music was the guy that played piano in the evenings at the caterer’s restaurant, so he was a steal at $400. Mom and her best friend did the cake. (Which while not exactly decorated like something on the cover of a bridal magazine, had the advantage of not tasting like Styrofoam with fondant on top.) We got ceremony flowers from a local florist (who did a mediocre job; not thrilled there), Grandma arranged the centerpieces for the reception. Photos were by a legit pro (not a student or something; I’ve seen too many disasters by Friends-of-a-Friend), who was the low-bidder and also did a spectacular job.

Was it fancy? No. But absent having your wedding in Tahiti or something, few of your guests will remember much about the reception hall, what food you served, what the venue looked like, the flowers, how the cake was decorated, etc. You won’t remember much of it either, because you’ll be too lost-in-the-moment…

Heck, we barely remember the wedding 14 years later (“a happy blur” is how we usually describe it). If I have one piece of advice, it would be to make sure you have a good photographer (and/or videographer, I suppose), because that’s the only way you are going to remember any of it years later.