NYT: What 5 Couples Paid For Their Weddings

Gifted: What Six Married Women Paid for Their Weddings - The New York Times

Haven’t read all through this but will. Wasn’t sure if I should just link the article in the wedding planning thread or give it a thread of it’s own. I know we have lots of wedding related threads! Maybe we need a “WEDDING” page - lol. But they all seem to get action, so, read and have at it with thoughts.

(No one needs to reveal what you spent on a wedding unless it helps you make your point or you just want to share. More $ is not better. The least $ is not better. All personal choices and in the end, all end in a wedding/marriage - whether for better or worse! :wink:


Interesting that the most expensive wedding ($200k) was in 2016! Shoot, nearly double those fees now! And in the end, the bride at least would NOT do all that they did again.

Also interesting…one couple’s bar costs exceeded the food cost - is that typical (obviously I’m a non drinker…) ??


It’s just so hard for me to swallow the large amounts some will pay for weddings. I assume that these couples/families can easily afford these amounts, and I don’t believe anyone should judge anyone else for what they spend their money on, but I can never get over thinking that it’s only one day and some of these sums just seem so out of proportion to what that day should be about.

I’m just being honest that I can’t wrap my head around the $$$$ when there are so many longer lasting/durable uses for that money. I know, I know, that IS a judgment…


We think similarly.

With my 2nd child, first daughter engaged - and who doesn’t have ridiculous wedding desires/plans - I find myself saying things as she asks for advice like “it’s one day - you will have wonderful memories at any venue”, “it’s one day - the dress will be beautiful on beautiful you no matter what and still land in a preserved box the next day”, “it’s one day - it will be made special to you/fiance because all the people you love and love you will be in that room regardless of the # of flowers or how fancy your dessert is!”

Our/her-fiance means is NOT in the $50K (or higher or lower!) ballpark. Many people have these means. For some a lavish or very embellished wedding is truly a dream of a lifetime. And fulfilling that is important to them. I try not to judge it even if I don’t feel it.


If this had been a WSJ article, the $200K would have been the “budget” wedding and it would have gone up from there. $1M probably would have been the mid-priced, LOL.


My take is that couples should be able to have the day of their dreams but not put themselves or their families in debt to do it (my daughter has a friend who took out a “wedding loan” to finance her fancy wedding). If a family can afford a $200,000 wedding and not think twice about it, then God bless.

There are many ways to save on the costs of a wedding (like the NC couple in the article did). Some couples are willing to make compromises to save money (like having a day wedding or a Sunday wedding) and some want what they want. For my wedding, my husband’s aunt did the silk flower bouquets as a wedding gift and another family friend with a limo business, let us use a limo at no charge.

Every couple has the parts of the wedding that are important to them. We gave my older daughter a check for the amount that we were willing to contribute and anything above that amount, they paid for themselves. I never micromanaged how she spent the money - the amount was the amount, whatever she used it for was up to her. They wanted a kick-a$$ band, which was pricey and an open bar - so they paid out of their pockets for the overages on those things, and they also paid for the welcome party. They also wanted to invite 180 guests, understanding that if they only invited 100, the money would go much further. In the end, they were happy with everything and didn’t have any resentment over having to pay for extras themselves - they were both 4 years post-college and have high paying jobs.

My younger daughter, I predict, will have a much lower-key, smaller affair, as she does not like to be in the spotlight and is very low maintenance. I don’t think she’ll even want an engagement party. I will be just as thrilled to celebrate whatever day she envisions.


We gave each daughter a budget and said they could keep whatever they didn’t spend. D2 had a VERY modest affair, took the money, and used it toward buying a new home.

D2 spent every penny on the wedding and had to chip in some of her own money.

Neither DH nor I were at all surprised by how the two weddings played out. :blush:


I’m seeing this article was from August now…maybe it’s already been posted! Apologies, maybe should have just skipped it. :thinking:

Did not intend for it to be a focus on what we all paid for weddings - more a focus on how couples can curate their day to be as they want it in a variety of ways.

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Is it typical for parents to help pay for a wedding if the wedding couple both have high-paying jobs? I assumed not…but my kids are younger and we are nowhere near that stage yet, so really don’t know.

Interesting article, thanks for sharing.

I notice The NY Times does this and it’s one of my pet peeves. If the bride or the groom is a medical doctor, they are named as Dr. So and So. Everyone else is First Name Last Name.

We get it. They are a physician, but since you give everyone’s profession, we can figure it out.

My silly pet peeve


We divided wedding costs for my older D–we paid 60%, D/SIL paid 20%, the groom’s parents (they’re divorced) each paid 10%. In addition, the two of them also paid for a very nice rehearsal dinner/welcoming party for all the guests. My son-in-law said it was the first time they’d had a civil conversation in years. My D and son-in-law also paid for their honeymoon (later in the year). D and SIL were out of college for three years and just starting careers.


I don’t think anything is “typical” when it comes to weddings anymore. We were in a position to give them an amount of money for their wedding without thinking twice about it (which was nowhere near $200k or even $100k). We didn’t think about whether they should be penalized for having high paying jobs, but when it came to them having to pay above and beyond what we gave them, for additional things that they wanted, they didn’t have think twice about it.

Maybe I would have felt differently if they were 40 years old, instead of 26 :woman_shrugging:


Every situation is different. I do think with people marrying later it is more typical for parents of bride (and groom) to offer a set amount… let the couple plan how to use it, supplement as desired.


My husband and I got married at 23. We had NO money (I was between jobs). If our parents hadn’t been able to throw us a wedding, it wouldn’t have happened (or maybe it would have happened on the courthouse steps). His parent’s guest list was much longer than my parent’s, so they contributed money for the difference, and gave my husband the money to take me to Disney for our honeymoon :blush:


$2k, $12k, $60k, $75k, $200k.

Also, 5 (not 6) couples’ wedding costs are described. The headline refers to 6 women, but 2 of them married each other.


I agree. MOB parents are giving a very healthy sum and so did we. I think it’s ridiculous. Our portion could pay for a very nice wedding by itself.

That money could have been used for a wonderful payment towards a house, which I know they want. But I guess since it’s not their money, they think why not?! I do think there is a bit of “keeping up with the Jones’” even at this age.


When the daughter of the next door neighbor got married about 12 years ago, It was an expensive and lavish affair (at least for our town). Well over $60K. I asked D1 of she’d rather have me put aside $X for her wedding or use it to help pay her med school tuition. She looked at me like I was stupid or something. She said, “Education lasts forever; marriages don’t.” She took the money and went to med school.

Five years later when she got married during her residency, she had a small, very modest wedding that she and her fiancé paid for themselves. They got married in my (newly landscaped) backyard in mid- September when all the flowers were in bloom.

Her sister also took the money for med school. When she got married last year, she & fiancé also paid for their own wedding. She too was a resident and her fiancé was a full time professional school student–so not a lot of money to spend. But the wedding at the ‘Church of Dirt’ above Park City, UT, was lovely. Gorgeous late September weather.


Holy cow! I am out of touch because I think even the $2000 microwedding was expensive. But I guess not, because I did an inflation conversion to see what my wedding in the late 90’s would have cost: around $11,000. I thought we had a modest wedding. We paid for it all ourselves.

We chose budget friendly because we didn’t see a need to overspend.

We used the venue’s sound system and made music tapes. A friend did the photography for a very low price. I went to the flower market in the morning with a girlfriend and chose flowers. Our wedding cake was a croquembouche and was very reasonable, much more so than a wedding cake, plus it looked amazing. We bought all the alcohol ourselves and the caterer provided a bartender to serve.

We only invited 60 people, including my sib’s children (I hired a babysitter to watch them for several hours.)

We went to a wedding a couple of years ago and I was blown away by what seemed extravagant extras: a pizza truck after a large dinner, a huge dessert and candy station after that. A live band and a disco afterwards. Lots of printed stuff that must have been pricey, as well as wedding favors, etc…

This couple are not rich at all. However, they had booked and paid for the wedding well before the pandemic and it was on a Tuesday. They figured anyone they really cared about would take time off to come to the wedding, and they were right. So they saved a LOT of money by planning two years ahead. Maybe that’s the smart way to go if marriage is definitely on the cards.


Some of this is obviously relative to where you live. In NYC, it would be extremely easy to spend six-figures on a wedding. I know people who spend that decades ago and the cost has only gone up.


However, the example couples in the linked page who got married in NYC spent four or five figures instead of six figures ($2k in Brooklyn and $60k in Brooklyn). Another couple who lives in NYC spent $75k in New Jersey. The six figure wedding was $200k in Georgia.

Another thing to note is that the bride with the $2k wedding had been married before in a wedding that was a large production.