Disagreement Over Wedding Size?

April 30th, 2011

I recently got engaged, and my fiance and I are disagreeing about how big the wedding should be. Because I moved from a different part of the country, most of my friends and family live far away, and I don’t think many of them are in the position to be able to afford to fly out here and stay in a hotel a few nights. While I’m intending to help pay for travel/hotel and dresses for two of my bridesmaids, I cannot afford to pay for accommodations for all of my friends or my entire family. Because of this, and along with the fact that my parents can’t afford to contribute much towards this wedding, I would prefer a small ceremony with immediate family and close friends (or heck, I’d just be happy going to a courthouse or wedding in Vegas, then having a reception/party later).

My fiance, however, lives locally, and he has a lot of friends, so he would prefer to have a large wedding. I would be fine with this if he and/or his family would be able to contribute towards the wedding, but he says he cannot afford much beyond his tuxedo (he isn’t the best saver in the world), and his parents don’t have a lot of money either. So it looks like this wedding (however big or small) will be falling on my shoulders, which is why I would prefer to have a small wedding.

I have no problems with putting part of it (my dress, dresses for the two bridesmaids and their accommodations) on my credit card, but if we go through this huge wedding that my fiance wants, a few thousand of my savings will be going towards this, then the rest would be split between one of my credit cards and one of my fiance’s cards. I had been planning to pay off the wedding over the course of a few months, not a few years!

Can anybody think of a good compromise? I brought up the idea of maybe a medium-sized wedding, but my fiance shot that down, naming many of his friends who would be left out that he didn’t want to leave out. I also brought up the idea of a casual Hawaiian themed wedding, but he wants a nice one. Having the wedding in the midwest (where I grew up) is out of the question because I hate it there, and I know that none of his friends or family would really want to go out there.
Thanks, guys, for the responses. The reason my fiance is insisting on this huge wedding is because we both actually make good money — he just doesn’t know how to save his — and while I don’t mind paying for part of the wedding, or even putting a small amount on a credit card, I think there are more important things than a wedding to spend money on, like retirement, a house, children, and putting stuff into savings. He doesn’t look at the long term, so he doesn’t yet see that as important. I will see if I can convince him of this importance, and if he still doesn’t see it, I may have to reconsider this whole getting married thing.

7 Responses to “Disagreement Over Wedding Size?”

  1. Because I Said So says:

    ok well first, you really have to be careful marrying someone who wants to spend beyond his means. 80% of divorces are over money. if he can’t be practical about money now, he’s not going to get better after the wedding. he’s really going to have to change his expectations because you do NOT go into debt for a wedding. that’s setting your marriage up for total failure- you already said you have credit card debt, if you add to that then right off the bat, the two of you are in financial trouble bigtime. you have to be the sensible one and put your foot down and make sure he starts saving money, and really reign in his ideas on the wedding. keep it small and simple and remember- it’s a party that only lasts a few hours. why incur debt that takes years to pay off?

  2. Minty Me says:

    No big money = no big wedding. Simple as that. There IS NO compromise!

    Why would you marry a man who only has $200 saved up ?? What kind of a “man” expect his woman to fund his ideas for big wedding????
    If you marry him, you will forever be running short and footing the bills because you knew before you got married that he 1-can’t save money and 2-expects others to pay his way. Your money issues now are going to be the cause for divorce later.

  3. Messykatt says:

    I think your fiance’s attitude is a little disturbing. He wants to throw a big party on your dime, and doesn’t mind that you’d be encountering significant debt to do it? Normally I’d say try to compromise, but something is very wrong here that he keeps insisting on the wedding of HIS dreams on YOUR dime.

    Make sure you’re looking at this realistically. At the beginning, you say he’d “prefer” a large wedding. Well, if he won’t even compromise on a medium sized wedding, it’s a lot more than prefer. It’s his plan, and you’re the cash cow.

  4. moonzombie says:

    If it’s not obvious already, starting off the first years of marriage in a big credit card debt is not any fun. Talk about having a disagreement now, one or both of you will seriously be resenting the other. Plus, putting it on the cards is going to add quite a bit of interest, so you’re not even just paying for the wedding.
    Sounds like the man and woman have switched roles in this case. Usually it’s the girl wanting that ginormous wedding with all the bells and whistles. It doesn’t make good sense if he can’t fork up the cash to keep insisting on this. It’s very childish. He wants you to help make it happen, and can’t see the reality and long term effects of being in debt.
    The idea to have a nice little ceremony just the two of you in Vegas or similar, that’s a great plan. Then you can do the downsized “reception” without all the professional florist, photographer, and catering that jacks up a “real” reception bill. Or you could even still have a party catered, just don’t tell the caterers or florist it’s wedding related. Because anytime it’s for a wedding, they inflate all the cost.
    You can also get a video taken of your private ceremony and play that during your post-date reception party. I had friends that got married in Vegas, then did the home reception at a relatives lake house. Nice catered barbecue buffet, plenty of alcohol with a couple friends taking turns doing the bartending. It was great, especially without all the formality, and the “going through the motions” that take so much time for a real wedding & reception. (professional photos, cake cutting, bouqet throwing, garter removing, on and on). It was just straight to the partying.
    If you haven’t made any deposits yet for a venue, or other vendors, I’d just keep working on his conceding to rational behavior. After everything is all over with and you still have some money to speak for, he’ll probably thank you. Just as soon as he’s done having his whiny little tantrum.

  5. nova_queen_28 says:

    You simply need to ask him how he is going to come up with the money to pay for this large wedding that he wants.
    These days weddings are paid for by the couple – and he should not be relying on you to come up with the money for a wedding for tons of his friends & family.
    If he can come up with the funds, do the big wedding, extend the invite to your family — those who can make it will. Don’t worry about those who can’t make it.

  6. CC says:

    If he can’t afford a big wedding, he can’t have a BIG wedding. End of story.

    Tell him how much it will cost to have a big wedding…how many guests?..say 150?
    Sit him down and say “to feed 150 people at $18 per person will cost $2700” and $18 per person is a LOW price…the price per person could be well over $25, even up to $40 per person.
    To rent tables and chairs for 150 people will cost $550
    to book a venue big enough $200-$300 if not more.

    Just from the prices I gave will be $3500

    plus music/dj
    $1000 for a photographer
    drinks
    alcohol
    decorations
    several hundred for a cake

    Does he have the money for all this? No? Then he can’t have this wedding. End of story. Tell him you will not cary this wedding all on your shoulders.

  7. truefirstedition says:

    I think you’ll get further with him if you approach the issue from a standpoint of “this is what we can afford” versus “this is how many people I think we should have.” Because the issue here is really how things are going to get paid for, who has financial responsibility for your future together, and how money should be spent. These are bigger issues than “what kind of wedding should we have.”

    If you haven’t had some pretty serious financial conversations yet, do so. It’s clear that you have different spending/saving habits and different attitudes toward money. You should talk about that. You should talk about your long-term financial goals, and how you’re going to achieve them. How will the money be managed in your family after you are married? There’s no right or wrong answer, but you should both be on the same page. It might be helpful to speak with a financial planner/advisor, who can offer you some objective opinions on meeting your goals.

    As far as the wedding goes, come up with a dollar amount that makes sense based on what you can BOTH save specifically for the wedding (keeping in mind that you’ll still want to put $ in savings for your other goals like a house, etc) between now and your wedding date. Then do a little internet research and give him three broad-strokes scenarios using that budget:

    – the small wedding that you want (either in the town where you live or Vegas/whatever)
    – the enormous wedding that he wants in the town where you live
    – some medium-sized compromise situation

    It’s possible that when he sees what guests “cost”, he will be more willing to scale down and meet you halfway. For example, if it comes down to offering a full meal and open bar to a wedding of 70 guests, or cake and soda only to a wedding that includes all 200 of his “closest” friends and family, he might be more inclined to start crossing people off the list.

    And be totally honest about how much you are willing to put in (either on your credit card or of your income/savings), and don’t yield a dollar more. “Spenders” like him have no problem trying to justify going over budget, but you’re right that you will have financial responsibilities beyond the wedding. If he’s not willing to contribute some amount that you both consider fair, then how do you think he’s going to contribute during your marriage?

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