Our wedding budgeting is about to get a whole lot easier. My parents have decided to give me $10,000 cash as a gift for my wedding.
A 2009 New York Times Bucks column asked readers what they would do with cash from parents – use it as a wedding contribution or save it for a vacation or a down payment on their first home. Most people said that they would of course take the cash. I had an inkling that my parents may give me some money (my mom had mentioned something offhand a few months earlier), but I was still pleasantly surprised. My mom and I were chatting on the phone when she brought up the wedding gift topic again and reaffirmed that the money will come before the wedding next summer. When I was growing up, the topic of weddings never came up much and although we knew that historically, the bride’s family paid for the wedding, such things were never assumed – or even discussed – in my household. After I got engaged, CB and I planned our wedding according to what we felt comfortable spending without any parental help, so this money is a boon indeed.
When I told CB about the cash, he couldn’t believe what a generous gift it is. We are both so grateful. It made me feel 100% better about splurging on my wedding dress and helped us make the decision to expand the guest list from 25 to 35-40. The great thing is that the cash is a no-strings-attached gift. My parents have no special requests for how we should spend the money, who we should invite, or how to conduct the wedding. After reading some stories on blogs and wedding websites (and watching family spats on Say Yes To The Dress), I’ve realized that such easy-going parents are not to be taken for granted. Bottom line, the money is ours to spend as we wish.
How does the extra money change our wedding planning? It doesn’t – much. It’s not so much my discipline or frugality as it is the sheer logistics of planning. In many ways, I am glad my mom didn’t tell me about the gift until our venue has been selected and the photographer has been booked. If I had taken the $10,000 into account, it would’ve been much easier to choose more expensive venues, menus, photographer. I probably would have had dancing instead of a dance-free lunch reception. Instead of searching for our photographer on Craigslist, I would have signed with a more established person for double the price. (But I love our photographer, so maybe things worked out for the best). I might have gotten these $200 Badgley Mischka shoes. I suppose now we can hire a professional wedding videographer if we want. All those options are tempting.
If we maintain our current budget, we expect our total wedding expenses to clock in around $6,500-$7,000. Sometimes I wish I can be the type of bride who’d be perfectly happy eloping. Think about the type of vacation we can take for $7,000. But I know myself, and I know I’d want something. Despite all the anti-wedding sentiments that seem to percolate in the blogosphere (if you ever want to see a collective vehemence for spending, just read the comments of some wedding blogs), I do want a wedding, complete with a long white dress, a walk down the aisle, and celebration with friends and family. CB’s family has also generously gifted us $1,000 that we have put into our joint savings account / Galapagos fund, which stands at $9,000+. With our savings and parental contributions, the wedding is paid for twice over.
So here is what we have decided to do: we are going to stick with our sub-$7,000 budget, and then save the rest. Perhaps we CAN start our married lives with a little house fund.