Episode 19

Wedding Debt Dilemma

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I've never understood why a couple would start their marriage burdened with debt from a wedding. Equally foolish is for the bride and groom's parents, who are approaching retirement, to help pay for the nuptials. Creating a beautiful memory doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg. You must have some wonderful stories of unique weddings on a budget. Who paid for what on your big day? How did you allocate costs? Tell me your stories. 

Your stories

  1. Great wedding on a small budget

    by Retreadbride
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  1. Cost Unimportant If You Pay in Cash

    by Dani My fiancè and I are getting married in May and have been engaged for a year. Very early into our engagement, we made a deal that would host the wedding we wanted that we could pay cash for. My in-laws are contributing about 1/3 as a gift and my fiancè and I are covering the rest - all in cash. We are getting married in downtown Chicago so the sky was the limit on the quotes we were getting. Ultimately, we settled on an all-inclusive package at a location we love, catered by our favorite restaurant - all for a fraction of the cost of most other venues. It's all about being realistic, sticking to what you can afford and NOT going into debt for it. Also I refuse to become a bridezilla over mundane details. The only aspect I am truly focused on is the ceremony - because that's what we're there for! As long as that goes well and we are married, my evenings a success! Even if the chicken's dried out or someone doesn't like the seating arrangement! :0)
  2. Great wedding on a small budget

    by Retreadbride I don't recommend the courthouse because a friend got married in a JP's office that was covered with taxidermied animals. Get the JP to come to your house! Many will. Generations of people got married in their parents' living room. You can, too. Get a dress if you want one. Check eBay or a consignment store for awesome deals. Cake from the supermarket (they can make a cake that's as beautiful as the specialty bakeries for much less) or a club store. Brew a pot of coffee. Voila! Instant wedding! Mine cost less than a thousand dollars. Dress from the $99 sale at David's Bridal. Silk shirt and suit for him, bought on Christmas clearance. Table and chair rental - $200. Drinks in iced party tubs. Food from a local barbecue restaurant for 50 people, just under $500. A friend took photos. We did DIY invitations with "shoes optional!" on the bottom to show it was casual. We set up the volleyball net and croquet sets, and everyone had a great time. In Debt: lousy way to start a marriage.
  3. Amazing wedding

    by Melodie We decided to get married in the winter just before we moved into our new house. We called a minister and she invited us over to her house to do the ceremony. We went to the city and picked up my parents and took them there just saying we were going out for a drive. We got married and the ceremony was wonderful. We then met our sister along with my parents for supper at a hotel in the city. It ended up being the coldest day of the winter and a snow storm started so we stayed at the hotel and they sent us champagne. It was perfect. My dress was a silk dress I had bought in the USA and had it sitting in my closet. In the summer we had a party for friends and family. It cost us very little but it was perfect.
  4. Not the wedding I wanted!

    by Jane

    I never wanted a huge wedding. I had my vows on the water, and a small reception at a private club, around 50 people, catered by a local grocery store with a cake from a local bakery. My wedding dress was a 50% off prom gown; it was perfect. My veil was a circle of flowers. I did get ripped off from my florist though. On wedding day, I got weeds and a few dead roses. I called the florist and threatened to picket his business, until forever. I then got the flowers I ordered and paid for a week before my wedding. My wedding was 90% paid for by myself and the groom. I wanted the least headaches and hassles that go with weddings. This was not the wedding I had planned, Judge Judy. I intended to marry out on the houseboat where I was living, have a couple family members and friends, a barbecue and swimming. When parents get involved, wedding plans changed. All in all though, it turned out grand; we celebrated our 32nd wedding anniversary this past April.

  5. More Important Things

    by Deanine There is nothing wrong with a big wedding, that just wasn't the right thing for my husband and I. We were married at our small church with one of our pastors doing the ceremony and two witnesses, one being our other pastor. I wore a nice white blouse and skirt and walked down the aisle toward my beautiful husband waiting for me. We exchanged vows we'd each written and our pastor added some Bible scriptures and some lovely words from her own wedding, some thirty years ago. The ceremony was simple and just about us and God. We wanted to focus our time more on our marriage after the wedding than the actual cost and planning of it. I don't at all regret our decision for such a modest wedding. When I looked into my husband's eyes and said, "I do", everything and everyone else disappeared. And all of that other stuff wouldn't have mattered anyway.
  6. Wedding Story

    by Charlotte We were supposed to get married on June 10, 1967 in Las Vegas but my husband's aunt, who was a legal secretary in Las Vegas, knew a famous judge who had married Frank Sinatra and Mia Farrow and his name is Judge Pavlokowski. We thought that we had to wait in the waiting room but when his Aunt Grace arrived, we just walked past everyone and into the Judge's chambers. It was not a shotgun wedding because after being married for 45 years, we couldn't have any children, but boy do we remember the special treatment we got, and we even have a picture taken with him. We didn't want a big wedding because I was nervous and besides I didn't want to put my parents through the expense. So instead, they gave us money for furniture which I think was more practical. Incidentally, all of my friends who got married in Las Vegas are still married -- some that had big church weddings are not.
  7. nice wedding...no debt

    by Pattie When my husband and I got married, we set aside what we could afford for a wedding and stuck to that amount. We had a very nice wedding on our budget. so years later when our daughter was to be married...we relayed our story to her, how we had a nice wedding within our means. Of course, you always want better for your children and the cost of EVERYTHING had gone up since we were married but we told them that we would contrubute X amount of dollars which we thought was more than enough for a VERY nice wedding and if they wanted more then they would be responsible. They wanted what they wanted, both for their wedding and home, so they stayed within their budget except for $50. They had a BEAUTIFUL wedding and didn't go into debt.
  8. Four Weddings

    by Bonnie Áll four of our children got married in a 3-year time span. One had a Cathedral crremony with 300 guests-the next a river cruise with jazz in for 50 in NY-the next a destination wedding in Costa Rica-the last a wedding on San Francisco Bay. Each couple got 5 grand to spend (or not) on their weddings plus we covered travel and lodging to each wedding for all of them. They were all appreciative. The only couple who incurred debt are now divorced. The others are doing well. They were all over 30 when they married. Grown ups!
  9. Our parents were logical and we accepted

    by Eliza When I got engaged to my husband, our parents gave us two options Both are what most people would consider comfortable, not rich comfortable. A big wedding with all the trimmings (I'm an only daughter and my parents wanted to give me a big wedding if I wanted) Or a smaller wedding and money put into a trust of some sort to help us buy a house when we were ready. We chose to have a small beautiful wedding and three years later used the rest of the money to put as a down payment on a nice house.
  10. Every time a bell rings an angel gets their wings!

    by Matthew I started out with that story title, because it came from the movie "It's a Wonderful Life", which is a story about about getting by with a little help from your friends (among other things). Even the angel Clarence received his wings in the end through the help of George Bailey. A wedding is all about a couple's love for each other, and everything else takes a back seat. My wife bought her own wedding gown at half price for around $400 and she was absolutely the most magnificent bride. She refused to spend a lot of money for something she will use only once. I saw it for the first time when she walked down the aisle. We didn't have any money at the time of our engagement, because I was in a lot of debt, so her engagement ring had a very tiny diamond. Our wedding rings were nothing fancy. It wasn't until some years later that we had money to upgrade both of our rings. Both of our churches took care of the reception for a hundred people. We refused to go into debt and wait until later.
  11. Weddings on a Budget

    by Margaret Twenty-eight years ago, my husband and I got married. This was our second marriage for each of us, and we found a nice little chapel with a woman reverend that has the reputation of no one divorcing after she marries them. (This has certainly worked in our case.) I bought my dress at a department store. He wore a suit and sneakers. He bought me a beautiful 1/3 karat diamond ring that I wear to this day. We had friends that took photos, our sister-in-law purchased the small cake from the best bakery in south Seattle at the time. Our wedding wasn't necessarily unique, but our marriage is still strong and we consider ourselves a success story. By the way, I love your show and wouldn't miss it daily. Margaret, Palm Springs, California
  12. Weddings

    by CAROLYNN When I got married, it was sort of rushed, so it wasn't quite what I would've wanted. My folks paid for it, being the parents of the bride. There were tons of 'cuts'. When we renewed our vows six years later overseas, it was the right music. My folks were there, my inlaws were there (it was suPPOSED to be a sort of birthday gift to them because they weren't there for the first time). Small situation, and we had the guests to our house for a little after-wedding sit down. I emphasized the 'don't start out in debt' to my middle son before he got married. It fell on deaf ears. They weren't in debt, per se, but I think they could've been a lot smarter about things. Today however he's got credit, equity, and doing very well. So MAYBE I was wrong. I do think I heard him say that some of what I tried to convey to him previously, he's since learned that he should've listened. Lessons are for learning!
  13. Big Bang, not so much big bucks

    by Cheryl Hello Judge Judy, My first wedding was in 1992. My husband and I decided to pay for it all ourselves and have a wonderful day. It was my birthday which made it extra special. I bought a gown off the rack and had it altered, $400. We went to Holiday Inn and rented a banquet room and they had their own chefs make everyone a chicken cordon bleu and a filet mignon. The engagement ring was his grandmother's ring. Our wedding bands, the dress, the food, the banquet hall, the three-tier wedding cake and the DJ's cost us around $2,000. I got married again in 2011, this time in City Hall, we wore clothes we already owned, paid $79 for each wedding band, my engagement ring is from QVC ($200) cubic zirconia, 2 carats, and went on a honeymoon one state over. Total cost, $800.
  14. Sure Thing

    by Carole My husband's grandmother made my wedding dress. We asked people if they could mostly give us money gifts to travel, to discover where we might want to settle down for wedding gifts. My Maid of Honor and the Best Man wore clothes from their closets, in keeping with my color scheme (an Oct 16th wedding). Worked out perfectly, Was married 36 years until recently he passed away.
  15. Cheap, but effective, wedding

    by Robin My husband and I got married on July 15th of last year. We had originally planned on July 28th at a local park (we rented a picnic shelter and were planning to the ceremony and reception there). Then we found out his brother couldn't make it down from Iowa and then my cousin (matron of honor) and her family (including my flower girl) couldn't make it either. We decided to skip the little bit of hoopla we actually planned and just get married after church on the 15th. In attendance were our pastor, my parents and his other brother (who lives in the same city as us). I wore capri pants and a nice top and my husband wore khaki shorts and a white button down shirt. We then had the reception at the park (catered by a local BBQ company) on the 28th. There were about 20 people in attendance for that. We didn't have the money or feel the need for a giant wedding, expensive gown, etc. Guess what - the result was still the same! We're married!
  16. Wedding #4

    by Andrew My first wedding to my high school sweet heart was a simple judge thing for $300 (that included rings). We were young; it lasted 30 days. #2 also was simple, at the pastor's house, again, CHEAP. it lasted 4+years. #3 was 'till death do we part', she died after 8+ yrs of marriage. It cost us about $1300 (that included the rings) and was nice. #4, well, a different story.. We attempted to keep it under $4K. Her first wedding was 'ALL ABOUT HIM', not the bride. She was devastated. What hurt us, is that after 2 yrs of dating, I lost my job 6 months before we got married. I asked if she still wanted to go thru with it, SHE INSISTED..The cost of the wedding was $7K. $2K for tailored suits for me, and the men in the wedding party(my dad, son, and her son) $1500 for catering, that went to the BBB for arbitration. $1500 for rings, the rest on 'extras'. NEVER AGAIN.!!!! if you love each other, size of the wedding DONT MATTER. if it does, run....whats more imortant, the wedding, or your spouse?
  17. Long engagement

    by Wendie My husband and I dated for 11 years. We had two children but I wouldn't marry him until he proved he could keep a job. When we finally got married, we pooled our money and had a nice church wedding for $300. That includes the dress. Friends helped with flowers and the cake. It was a community effort and was fantastic. We have been together since I was 16 and it isn't the wedding that is important. It is nice to share happiness with others but the most expensive wedding can't replace respect and good communication in a relationship.
  18. Our wedding

    by Tsafi I'm an Israeli, and my hubby is English. We met on a kibbutz in Israel when he was a volunteer over there. We got to know each other, became good friends and gradually fell in love. Then we went to England (London) and started to settle there as it wasn't practicle for Hubby (Stephen) to live in Israel, as he didnt know the language and had a job here. After a while, we decided to get married and had a small wedding party in his partents' garden which included a barbie for the immidiate family and of course a registery office ceremony to make our union official. It was wonderful and didn't leave us with a big debt afterward. We felt that the simplicity of our wedding party reflected the simple and uncomplicated love and commitment we have had for each other. We didnt need the frill and all the extra bits and pieces to celebrate this happy day.
  19. It's not about how much you spend!

    by Teresa My husband and I were both in college when we got married. We were so poor I couldn't even afford a wedding ring for my husband. My father, who is a dentist, made it for me out of dental gold. I guess some people would be horrified and call it tacky. I bought him a new one on our 20th anniversary, but we still keep the old one around and smile every time we see it. I rented my wedding dress because I couldn't see the point in spending more than a thousand dollars on a dress I was only going to wear once. My parents did give us a lovely reception, but even for the time, it was modest. But you know what? That was in 1985, and even now every so often someone who was there will tell me how much fun our reception was. Our goal was to share the day with people we loved and cared about, and for everyone (not just us!) to have a good time.
  20. Wedding

    by Connie My husband and I were together for eight years and eight months before we were married. We both had been married before and I had two children from my first marriage. I promised them that I would not marry again till they were out of school. We were married three months before my youngest graduated with his blessing. He was a volunteer Firefighter/EMT in our township and I worked for the County Sheriff as a correction officer. We planned a small wedding at the firehouse with family and a few friends. The Chiefs of the fire department and the life squad decided that wasn't good enough for us so they took over the planning. They decorated the station, provided music, photographer, and a sit-down dinner to honor us. They told us that they had been waiting a long time for us to marry and this was their contribution. They had six days to plan it. It was the most perfect and funny wedding that I had ever attended. My husbands' family came from New Jersey, mine lived locally, and friends came from KY.
  21. My wedding...I completely agree, Judge Judy...

    by Carrie I spent around $10,000 for my wedding. I am a 100% saver. There are thousands of beautiful wedding dresses for a cheaper price than what is shown on Kleinfields "Say Yes to the Dress!" I spend $200 on my wedding dress and it was the prior year's model. Seriously! I doubt anyone knew it was the "prior year's model!" Furthermore, I made my own thank you for coming gifts. I purchased a box of those square things that you rest your coffee mug or water glass on. The box came with four of them and the words "LOVE" was engraved in them. I separated all them out and wrapped my own bow on them. Easy & cheap! There are many, many websites that can help with making your wedding cheaper and inexpensive! One piece of advice...STICK TO A BUDGET AND DON'T GO OVER!!! Be realistic...it is one measly day that will go by fast and won't be the most memorable if you end up having children! ;-)
  22. The Blushing Bride

    by CHILD SUPPORT COMES FIRST SECOND BRIDES! My ex is a deadbeat dad with tremendous amounts of child support arrears. He had zero shared parenting and is the classic example of a man who does not care about even sending a Christmas nor birthday gift but is seen donating big checks to children's charities to glorify his public image. He continually told me he was broke for years until I read on google about his partnership in his firm and also his wedding registration for the finest china and bling in the world with his new bride to be. On his wedding website, the sparklie 5-carat diamond ring as the happy couple smiled for the camera caught my eye. When prompted to pay the child support, he told me he had new responsibilities and that he was too broke to pay the child support and to go straight to hell. His 250k wedding on google was evidence for a Federal Felony Criminal Non Support Charges, as he had the means but willfully withheld. He was so broke after their wedding, he could not even afford a lawyer for the contempt charges.
  23. 2nd marriage

    by Margie I was divorced for eight years after my first marriage was abusive. I met my soon-to-be husband and my daughter was young. Needless to say, being a single parent, money was very tight. He proposed to me on Christmas eve and also gave my daughter a ring. When we got married I did not want my daughter to be left out - she and I walked down the aisle together and she stayed with us at the altar. After he and I exchanged vows, the priest said that sometimes when two people get married they also take on a new daughter - that was when my husband also put the ring on my daughter's finger and all three of us kissed and walked out of the church as a family. We just had a small (less than 50 people) reception in a small banquet area of a local restaurant. It was wonderful - just close family and friends. No stress over the cost and with it being so small we all got to enjoy each other's company. We are going on our 26th year of our wonderful marriage!!

    by Sue I was working full-time in a solicitor's (lawyers) office, but the pay back then was woefully low. My husband-to-be worked in the construction industry (he too was paid a pittance). Both sets of parents were NOT rich or even comfortably off - in fact it didn't even occur to us to ask for financial help in this direction. Be that as it may we still had a wonderful day .... photographer, flowers, wedding venue, church fees etc etc were all bought on a "shoe string" budget. The only "extravagance" was my wedding dress; I was very tiny and nothing fitted. I found a seamstress who lived locally and she made my dress for £20 (not sure what that is in dollars) and it was gorgeous: but no one seemed to notice that we didn't have all the bells and whistles and it was a wonderful day for all. Best of all we didn't have any debt afterwards.
  25. Bride on a Budget

    by Rebecca My fiancé and I are getting married this year. After we got engaged and I began to talk wedding details with my parents, I had to explain to my (very frugal) father that our wedding ceremony and reception was a gift to us from my parents and that we would only be spending as much money as they felt reasonable. We decided to focus our energy on having good food, drinks, and dancing. We have spent a minimal amount of money on decorations (that all came from yard sales) so far, and plan to buy some bulk flowers (much cheaper than what you get from the florist). We also are doing the ceremony at my fiancés' grandparent's house to save money. A wedding shouldn't break the bank- it should be a celebration and a stepping-off point for the married couple. Spending an amount of money that's equal to the cost of a new car is just silly, let alone going into DEBT for it. Not a good way to start off a marriage.
  26. Best way to do it

    by RL When my husband and I got married, we were on a budget because my sister decided to get married a month after we did.We paid everything in cash, kept the guest list down and my mother and I made all the food. We did not owe anyone a dime after our big day and had a great time. I do not understand why anyone puts themselves in debt for a 4-5 hour party. Save your money for a house for goodness sake!
  27. The Costs of a Wedding

    by Cindy It always gets me when I hear of people spending so much on a wedding. My husband and I have been married since Jan. 4th 1986, 27 years. We took out a loan for $2,000 and got married. Paid for all, (even rings), but the food which my parents were happy to buy and make with help of friends. Nothing had to be over the top because the main idea was to be husband and wife in the end, not to be in debt and give our friends something to talk about. I believe if a couple can't pay for the wedding themselves, then don't get married or do it in a way that's practical and smart. Expensive doesn't mean it'll last forever or that you're more in love.
  28. No marriage debt

    by Janice My husband and I saved for our marriage and paid for everything ourselves, mainly because we knew we wanted to make the decisions about our wedding. I made my own wedding dress and so did each girl that was in it. Next we found some older ladies who loved helping us; they provided their beautiful home with a large winding staircase great for pictures. They made our wedding cake which was served with coffee punch and mints. It was a lovely wedding. About 100 people came, and it cost us a total of $450 dollars. My mother insisted we send invitations. I told her it was not in our budget, so she picked them out, mailed them and yes paid for them. Of course, all of this was in 1972, but no one went in debt and three months after our wedding, we put a down payment on a house. Keep sharing your advice, love your books, love your show and wish you would run for president!
  29. The cheaper the better

    by Elizabeth My husband and I went to the courthouse and got married. We were allowed 25 people max. We invited family and friends...the ones closest to us. We bought a couple of the cheapest wedding bands possible. We made the food and rented a conference room of a hotel for $40. All together it was maybe $200 for the whole thing. It was an amazing day, and we are still married seven years later.
  30. Double That!!!!!!!!!!

    by Jackie The wedding bliss scene first started when my step-dad proposed to my mom on Valentine's Day. It was great; my mom was happy and in love again. I was happy and in love too, but hadn't been proposed to yet. Then in June on the day of my birthday, my man proposed to me. Of course I was excited because I was going to get married, my mom was getting married but I really didn't know how my husband and I would pay for it. So being a loving and unselfish mom that she is, she said, "Why don't we have a double wedding?" Who could say no to that, A Double Wedding With Mom! I went as cheap as I could, worked my butt off, found the dress that was meant for me, my bridesmaids offered to pay for their dresses (less than a $100 a piece), got the pastor that was our pastor since I've been a baby to marry us, my step-dad had an extra suit for my husband, had a friend bake the cake and she didn't charge us that much. When the big day came, It was beautiful. And the pictures? Well there were given to us!
  31. Wedding Debt

    by Robyn I so agree with you about how dumb it is to break the bank over a wedding. I am befuddled even by celebrities who can afford to spend a million dollars on a wedding and do so. I have been married twice. Although we planned to stay together forever, it didn't work out that way. Both times, though, the weddings were joyous and on a tight budget. I had a pretty white dress from a thrift shop, handmade vail, silk flowers, and relatives helping out with the food and the wedding cakes. A relative volunteered to take photos to be the official wedding portraits. Instead of going through all that expense of "using professionals", both weddings were turned into family events that everyone participated in, so my husband(s) and I could use our savings for a brief but happy honeymoon. I do not regret not using the big guys to plan a wedding, we enjoyed ourselves just the same. My youngest daughter recently married and we did hers the same way. Just use common sense!
  32. A Fairy tale wedding for under a $1,000.

    by Sandra Well my story can't compare to the previous ones I just read. I loved the story of family chipping in wedding items. For my wedding, we got a permit for a park, Brewster Gardens in Plymouth, rented a trellis and chairs, a justice of the peace, only a best man and maid of honor in the wedding party. We had the reception at Plymouth Yacht Club right across the street from the park, just appetizers, champagne for the toast, and a small wedding cake. We left from there on a boat for a sunset drink with the best man and maid of honor. It was nice. The music was a DJ (friends of my sisters) and for $50 her husband took a ton of photos.
  33. Simple/Fun wedding

    by Jodie My husband and I paid for our own wedding. My parents paid for my wedding dress. I was 29 yrs old, and he was 38. We already bought a house and had been living in it for a year. We were married in our Catholic church and had our reception in a rec hall. We decorated it ourselves and had everything else catered. Since I am Italian and my husband Spanish, we had both kinds of food. In my opinion the food better be good, especially with the Italian family!! I had a D.J. and a florist do simple flower arrangements. My wedding album doesn't have traditional wedding pictures, however there are many pictures of our guests including the bride and groom with sombreros on and playing blow-up instruments. I couldn't have asked for anything more that day. We were blessed with two children soon after....
  34. Got Married With A Bang!

    by Rhonda

    Our wedding took place on the 4th of July. I wore my sister's wedding dress (in memory of her), not my choice, but it made my Mother happy. We only had one attendant (my sister and his brother) and our neighbor who happened to be a seamstress made her dress. I remember friends bringing salads to serve for the meal. We paid for everything ourselves, except for the rehearsal dinner my husband's family paid for. The band played "You Picked a Fine Time to Leave Me Lucille" and "Elvira" over and over again, and the money we made on the dollar dance, we paid the band that night with dollars. Since my mother is now deceased, I am not sure how much money they put out, but am most certain they paid for the ham. I remember how excited I was when I received my engagement ring and when someone asked me where the diamond was I told them we started out cheap and small and for every 5 years we would upgrade. Many upgrades over the 31 years we have been married and NO debt either.

  35. Wedding day debt.

    by Sherry I was married for the second time 10 years ago. I had a budget of $5000 for a small wedding; I spent $4500 and that included the dress, DJ, dinner and alcohol. It was a great wedding and party. It meant more to me spending time with my family before we moved out of state. More couples should spend more time thinking of their future life together and where they want to be in say 10 yrs, than 1 day. Love you Judge Judy. I want to be like you when I grow up!!
  36. Nate and Julie's Wedding

    by Deborah The kids knew each other for over a year. They wanted to get married. No one was rich. We, the groom's parents, gave them $1000 and the bride's father gave her $1000. We paid for her hair. She made the cake. Her man of honor was a great guy and helped us decorate the small local theatre cheaply. Their 70-year-old friend who walked her down the aisle gave them his trailer that was overlooking a lake for a few days for the honeymoon. Friends of the family decorated their car for the trip. Her rings were from my son's great grandmother and his ring was from his Dad. They bought cameras and distributed them to the 100 guests who took pixs as they pleased and then turned the cameras back in. She bought a designer dress and he wore his Dad's suit. A good time was had by all. Nice reverend charged $50.00. They are living happily ever after now for eight years (decided not to have kids or pets). My husband and I just celebrated our 39th wedding anniversary.
  37. Smarter the Second Time Around!

    by Rosemarie My husband and I were both previously married and had big weddings. When we decided to get married, he wore a very nice suit that I joked about him wearing for his funeral. I wore a nice long dress with a jacket, something I could wear to another wedding. My mom was my maid of honor and she had a beautiful blue dress. My son from my first marriage was the ring bearer and my husband's niece was the flower girl We were married in our friends home. Simple, yet elegant. We took our immediate family and close friends (35) people out to dinner at a local restaurant and everyone was able to order off the menu. Our favors were golf balls with our names on them. We enjoyed ourselves so much and didn't break the bank. It is one of the most important days of your life, but it doesn't have to be the most expensive days!
  38. 1000$ Wedding, Ceromony, Ring and Dress included.

    by Mathieu Hi Judge Judy. When I look on tv today and see people who spend thousands of dollars on these ridiculous weddings I ask myself why? Me and my wife were able to have a perfectly beautiful wedding for less then 1000$ Everything included. We got married outside at a experimental farm (25$) for the rental of the grounds. (400$) for set of rings (75$) tux rental (200$) officiant to preform the wedding, (75$) for party favors. The rest was all done by friends and family. Someone took pictures. The bride's grandparents paid for the cake, and the reception was held at a local restaurant facing the Rideau Canal here in Ottawa, Ontario. The restaurant was nice enough to block off half the restaurant at no cost to us and everyone paid for their own meal. I look back now and think to myself, even if I'd made more money back then and if I could, I don't think I would change a thing! Nearly 6 years later we are happier than ever and have amazing memories from our special day! Do it on a budget, spend later.
  39. Simple, but effective

    by Manicarrie When my husband and I got engaged, we agreed we didn't want a massive day. As soon as we applied for the license, we paid up front for the ceremony in the register office. We agreed we didn't want a church wedding, and no matter what, we could get married. My mum paid for the material for my dress as my present and she made it herself. I only had one bouquet and instead of bridesmaid dresses I just asked my bridesmaids to dress in a certain color. The car was cheap as it was off season. We picked a local up-and-coming photographer. My cousin made the cake, so all we had to pay for then was the reception. It may have been a budget day, but we have been married seven years now and have a gorgeous four year old boy.
  40. Marriage on the Cheap

    by Wendy My husband and I were planning to wed "sometime" in 1970. But, November, 1969, we heard Carson City NV was celebrating its new city limits by offering discounted marriage licenses! We lived in Sacramento CA and decided to take advantage of the deal and were married New Year's Eve 1969. Only two family members went along as witnesses. No honeymoon, no bills and a little income tax $$ back in 1970. Six months later we went to Disneyland and a year later I got a diamond ring. :-)
  41. Wedding debt paid off before saying "I Do"

    by Ellen Dear Judge Judy: (First -- I'm a HUGE Fan!!!) When I got married, my parents were both deceased (Dad when I was 12, Mom when I was 20), so the cost of my wedding was on me. At the time I was working at a really nice dinner theater and my boss offered his venue to me at a totally reasonable price ($32/head). It was a buffet-style meal--mostly "snackie"-type food with a carvery station. It was open bar, but the charges were minimal and we kept it open an extra hour for only $100. (I knew all the bartenders and they took care of my guests!) My brother paid for the "house" band, who were great! I paid the wedding off before I ever said "I do"--a lesson my husband taught me well! In the years since we've been married, we have NEVER had a credit card balance-it gets paid in full every month. So, how long have we been married? This coming October, it will be 30 years!!!!! And starting out with no debt -- and keeping it that way--has eliminated one of the biggest arguments couples face today.
  42. NO wedding debt and best financial advice!

    by Sheila I came here from Ireland in January of 1950. My aunt paid my fare on an ocean liner. I worked as a nanny for a year, then worked for the N Y telephone company. I paid back my aunt, went back to Ireland by ship in July of 1954 and returned on November 1 and got married on November 27. I paid for everything myself and was married for 53 years, until my husband died. (The best advice my aunt gave me was: every pay day put something in your savings account, even if it's only ten dollars).
  43. My wedding

    by Carol Because I had already left home and had two children I felt that the cost of the wedding was mine and my future husband's bill to pay . My parents offered to pay for some of the costs, but because I dont like to "waste" money on a wedding I knew it wasnt going to cost me a lot of money so I refused their offer. I borrowed the dress; I made the bridesmaids' bouquets and their dresses. The only real expense was the food which wasnt really all that expensive since it was basic, chicken, salad, etc. I really think the expense of a wedding is a silly waste of money. We wanted to keep expenses down so we could keep our savings for a house of our own, which was much more important to us. The day was great, we had our wedding in a garden with close friends and family.  Honestly, we wouldnt have done it any other way.
  44. 2 Ceremonies, No Debt

    by Sarah My husband and I got married at San Francisco City Hall on March 2, 2007. The registration was approximately $145. My mother-in-law sent me a nosegay from Canada. I wore a favorite dress and my husband wore his favorite suit. Six of our closest friends were in attendance. We ate lunch at Bucca De Beppo and our friends picked up the tab. So the total cost of that ceremony was $145. We had a second ceremony for family and friends on September 21, 2007 at the Buddhist meditation center that my husband and I belong to. Shrine Room Rental: $200 Chair rental: $200 Catering (food for 50 people and servers) $1,800. My husband rented a tux $100 I bought a dress to match the tux: $59.95 We saved up for the expenses from March until mid-September. Total Cost: $2,359 We will cherish our memories of both ceremonies for the rest of our lives!
  45. Our Only Son

    by Holly Our son, an only child was marrying a girl with two sisters. One had just gotten married six weeks before and one was not too far from getting engaged. Since he was our only child and they both wanted a pretty big and somewhat expensive wedding, we agreed to pay for much more than what the groom's parents are usually expected to. Once the money we had saved was depleated, I got a credit card offer for 0% interest for 18 months. No brainer.....I applied for the card, used it for the rest of the expenses, then had much longer time frame to pay off the wedding expenses. The kids saved and contributed as much as they could as well. Since it was a pretty big wedding, they received a large amount of money as gifts that more than covered what they had spent. Needless to say.....this was the only wedding our son will get any help from us with.
  46. Sensible Wedding

    by Therese When I was married in 1984, I had a simple wedding, I bargained/shopped around before committing. I picked a dress in a small shop in my home town on the sale rack - paid $290.00; I used my mother's veil piece- had new lace put on - $50.00; My shoes - $25.00. Flower arrangments $400.00 (this included the church and centerpieces at restaurant; I had a band at a cost of $600 (it was a seven man band). Two limos - $200.00 - I made the favors - approx $50.00; I paid for all of the above. I did my own hair and make-up. My parents paid for the restaurant, which at the time we paid $32.50 a plate approx 125 people- $4,062.50 - Total $5,677.00. The guests were talking about my wedding months after - everyone had a great time - I did not want to go into debt and I did not want my parents going into debt - I ended up divorced in 1994 and was very happy that had a sensible wedding.
  47. Big enough to get married? You pay for it then.

    by Tammy My husband and I got married in 2002. We had dated for 5 years and saved a little each year to pay for the wedding. Our total costs, including the honeymoon, right under $3000. My dress was $200. I bought it at the JC Penney Outlet. My sister and I decorated. We bought fresh flower from Kroger and made the bouquets. I thought they turned out gorgeous. A family friend made our cake as a wedding gift. And another family friend gave us a week at her beach house for our honeymoon. Most of the expense came with the food. My sister and I planned the menu. It all turned out great and we were not in the hole. We've continued that same lifestyle of living within out means. We have a mortgage, but we don't owe for any credit cards. If you can't afford it, you shouldn't buy it.
  48. Blended Family

    by Nicole We stayed on a budget and paid cash for everything. I found a cute little chapel up north from our home and they had package deals, we paid 300 for the chapel, vows, sand ceremony, video of ceremony and cd of all the pictures. The chapel was gorgeous and had some great scenery, woods and water. Then we found a small banquet hall across the street, which did not cost us anything just the price of food. We paid around 500, it was a party of 30. Mine and my one daughter's dress we found decently priced at David's Bridal and the flower girls dress found on eBay. The boys tux's were not bad either. All in all...we spent less than 2500 and really it may have been less than that because we used any money we got towards the food. I found all the bridal party gifts on eBay and my mom made the flowers for everyone. I bought stuff here and there. And it worked great for our families because everyone lives out of town but everything was in one area so we all stayed at the same local hotel. NO DEBT!
  49. A Fancy Celebration Can Heal

    by Faith Three days after my now husband I and I became engaged, I was struck by a city bus while crossing the street. I spent the ensuing nine weeks in the hospital while he worked full time and spent every spare second by my side. It being my second marriage, I wanted to elope, but my husband had waited 38 years to meet his Mrs. Right, and he wanted to share his joy with the world. I reluctantly agreed to a small but elegant wedding, with each of our parents contributing about a half share and us picking up the rest - no debt involved. I had expected he would do the planning, as he wanted the big shindig, but much to my surprise, it landed in my lap. Literally. After my release from the hospital, I convalesced on our couch for six months with little to do to occupy my time. So laptop in hand, I threw myself into the planning, setting up all the details via the internet from my couch. While I would not have chosen a fancy celebration, it turned out to be just what the doctor ordered.
  50. Bought a house, not a wedding

    by Les I was raised by two outstanding parents and always knew growing up that I wanted to be a devoted husband and father, just like my dad. I always just assumed that I would be married in a church however my wife as a little girl, always wanted to be a wife & "mommy" but never thought much about a wedding or the whole process that went along with it. We had previously been engaged for approximately a year, split for several months and then decided we should be together and bought a wedding licences; we had 45 days to use it. 21 years ago, I crawled out of bed... got ready for work and started my day as usual... I told my boss I was taking his daughter to lunch and we might be late coming back....I called my parents and listened to a bit of wisdom from my dad and tears of joy from my mom. We came back from lunch late, but I was now married to the love of my life. We bought a house 3 days later; the money we would have spent on a wedding went into the down payment of the house.
  51. Everyone participated and still talks about it....

    by Diana My husband and I did not desire an 'over the top' wedding nor the associated expenses. We were in our late 30's when we married, both established professionals and in no need of gifts. We asked each invited guest to bring a 'dish' and the recipe as their gift. We divided the guests into groups (mains, sides, salads). We hosted the open bar. We also hired wait staff to receive the dishes and rented hot boxes for those dishes that needed to be served warm. The buffet that was created was AMAZING. People outdid themselves. We then created a recipe booklet with the collected recipes and sent this as our Thank You card. Additionally, our wedding party was asked to create centerpieces that reflected their relationship with us. As such...our guests mingled to each and every table to see the results. We also sent a video invitation vs. a printed one. Fifteen years later and we still have people talking about our wedding as they felt they were truly engaged and participating in our day.
  52. Aussie BBQ

    by Gabrielle The best wedding I went to, besides mine, was my hubby's best friend's wedding. They got married on the last day of the year at a small country church, followed by a BBQ on the property belonging to her brother. A caravan with everything needed for a decent meal pulled up. They set up tables, started up the BBQ and set the tables with salads and what-nots needed to feed the guests. When finished, just before midnight, we cheered the new couple off and we saw the year in. The caravan packed up, leaving no washing up or cleaning up. Most relaxed and memorable wedding I have been to, and I have been to many.
  53. Wedding

    by Amanda We had a very small, beautiful wedding, well under $5000, which included all of our clothing, food, decorations, invitations, bridal party gifts, DJ, Hall rental, minister and hotel for our trip afterwards, now 7 years and 2 children later we wouldnt change a thing :)
  54. Wedding rings - a symbol

    by Dianne My husband barely had enough money for lot rent when we got married, so expensive rings seemed like a really bad idea. I've seen so many young women with huge engagement rocks on their fingers over the years. But I refuse to retire or replace my original rings. The entire engagement ring, wedding band, and wedding band for my husband cost us $300.00. This still seemed huge even as my best friends were getting $3,000 engagement rings alone. Twenty four years later, my rings still fit, I still wear them every day, and I refuse to replace them. The rings are a symbol to me, the symbol of hardship, teamwork, and love to work together as a married couple to EARN something worthwhile that cannot easily be replaced by something bigger and shinier. I'm only forty-five years old, chose marriage over living together, planned the birth of our child, and am proud to have these symbols on my finger.
  55. Our Wedding Expenses

    by Kara We got married at 19 (me) and 20 (him) years of age. We are still on our honeymoon 20 wonderful years later. A lot we did ourselves. One thing was, we did not have a photographer. We told everyone so, and everyone brought cameras and videotaped/photographed for us. With so many doing it, we had a very nice selection. We also had unique centerpeices. We drove to Hershey, PA and got giant Hershey kisses. Cheap, unique, and people fought over them. My parents paid for the reception, DJ, flowers but put price caps on what they were willing to spend (I was one of 4 daughters). We paid for the dress and cake ourselves from our jobs. In all, it cost around $1,500 and everyone said how beautiful it was and how much fun they had. The only thing we put on debt was the honeymon which was about $800. We took a trip of the East Coast amusement parks and had a BLAST. Trick is, think outside the box and see where you can cut corners at every step.
  56. All About The Mums

    by Lydia My husband and I married in the Fall of 2002. He had the most beautiful purple mums in his yard that bloomed every fall. (We lived separately in our own homes before we were married.) He proposed, I accepted: two gold bands $35; marriage license $40; the Judge was free; rented the hall $350; DJ with tip $167. My Dad paid the caterers: $1200 fab food! Me and hubby made the cake for $16. Booze was $150, A lovely dress was bought at the Salvation Army with tags still on for $4.99. My hubby rented his tux for $60. Sister-in-law bought large bouqet of babys breath for $5. All of us took the pics, and I picked all those mums and we decorated the hall with Christmas lights long reams of lace and krenlin that belonged to my mother. The mums, babys breath, lace and pink ribbon tied together was beautiful. Everyone loved those mums. Over 75 guests, it was a fun and unforgetable wedding reception. No debt. 11 years and still in love! +
  57. Little Money Needed But A Whole Lotta Love !

    by Cathy I think I can say we had the cheapest wedding ever. I bought my hubby a plain gold band, he bought me a beautiful solitaire diamond and gold band. I borrowed my dress from a friend as well as a dress for my maid of honor. No bridesmaids. My husband and Best Man wore suits that were already in their closets. My parents bought the flowers. The three-tier cake was made by a family friend who charged only the cost to her. My Mom and Grandmother did the grooms cake.The invitations were word of mouth..."we're getting married Friday night and would love it if you were there". The photographer was a family friend who did it for the cost of developing the films. The reception was held at my parents home. We proved it is not about the amount of money that is spent but the love shared by the two people being married. We were married for 40 years and 7 months when my beloved husband died in my arms after a lengthly illness. I miss him every day, but I have wonderful memories of our life together.
  58. DiY Wedding Saved Us A Truckload of Money

    by Denise At age 42 I became engaged for the first time, but the timing was terrible, as i was unemployed and had just filed for bankruptcy. I gave myself 14 months to plan my wedding and with a lot of research, creativity, and bargain hunting, I was able to pull off a casual, fun beach wedding in Sarasota, Florida. I designed my own invites, centerpieces, favors and gift card box, bought my wedding dress on ebay, searched for the cheapest vendors... saved everywhere I could. I paid cash for everything and my parents were able to contribute about half of the costs, which was a great help. All in all, it cost about $10K and it was everything I wanted in a wedding. I wouldn't have changed a thing about it. And, we were debt free afterwards! I guess certain things come with age...like saving money on a day that will come and go in the blink of an eye. No regrets here!
  59. Cheapskates!

    by Amanda S. My husband and I were very aware of debt and tried to stay out of debt. We do not and will never own a credit card so when it came time to get married, we were very careful about money. Our parents decided to split the cost, but saying that, we shopped discounts and made things ourselves for our wedding and made it close family only. My dress was only $300.00 brand new and altered because it was the floor model. We made sure that we set reasonable budgets for all items that had to be made like the cake so that it did not break the bank. We made many of the food items ahead of time and did not have services such as catering, Djs, or wedding planners. I enlisted very trustworthy and close family to help with all of these things.We also did away with what we considered outdated parts of weddings such as rehearsal dinners and lavish receptions. We just had a small eating party after the wedding. It was a great memory and no one had to go into debt to make it happen.
  60. Wedding debt

    by Paula My first marrage was by a Justice of the Peace in the backyard at my ex-husband's Grandparent's home. It was beautiful, with a potluck brought by our families (maybe $100 total). My second marrage after 9/11 was to my husband Michael. It was also a Justice of the Peace affair. We will be married 12 years this year, and after 3 deployments, 15 total years together I have NEVER regretted not spending the money for my wedding. I looked lovely in my dresses both times (both from the discount rack) and my current husband had his class "A" uniform on. My daughters want the same as Mom, and I am proud of them for that!
  61. Cheap (Happy) Wedding!

    by Robert Back on the evening of September 10th 1964, I married the love of my life. I was wise at the ripe old age of 17, and I was going to marry my beautiful bride just in time to save her from becoming an "Old Maid" at 15! The problem was I didn't have any shoes, so my oldest brother loaned me his pair. Of course it never occured to me that he'd want them back before we moved in with her widowed father for the first year (as agreed for him to sign the License). Well, that night was the first time in my life that I knew what true happiness actually feels like as my sweetheart whispered " Goodnight Darling-I Love You" and it's been a dream of a life ever since as we celebrate our Golden Anniversary next year!
  62. Weddings don't make the marriage.

    by Deb Twenty-nine years ago my husband and I married. It was a 2nd marriage for both of us, and we quietly met at the local Justice of the Peace, paid for the service and the witnesses. We followed up this 'wedding' with a trip to the New York City Auto Show (we met at a Datsun dealership six years earlier.) The whole 'wedding day' cost less than $100 and I wouldn't trade this memory for ALL the money in the world. His first wedding was a big, expensive affair. Mine was not as big or expensive; but, obviously money that could/should have been used elsewhere. We've shared our lives through years of much laughter, a few tears, building many wonderful memories. And we will continue this great love affair as long as we live. Surely this is evidence that a big, expensive wedding doesn't a marriage make.
  63. Wedding debt

    by Jane When I was single and in the "mood" to buy a wedding dress, I went on the hunt for one. I found exactly what I wanted to get married in. Only problem was I wasn't even engaged or dating anyone special. The dress was beautiful and fit like it was made for me. Also, it was on sale as it was a display and it had hung for several weeks in the window of the bridal shop. I decided to get it and just stash it for the Big Day, whenever that might be. The dress was originally well over $300 but because I was willing to take it "as is" the consultant cut me a deal for $25. I didn't need it to be altered or pressed or cleaned or anything to store it away for awhile. It was a few years later I needed it and then I got it cleaned and pressed and it still fit and the whole deal was under $75.00.
  64. One Expensive Day

    by Kathryn I spent $25,000 I didn't have on a "small" wedding for about 150 people. No matter how well you plan, things will go wrong. We had uninvited guests, no-shows, and drama. The worst part was, I let my future in-laws talk me into all kinds of extras, with the promise they would pay me back for it later; an open bar, horse and carriage rides, extra guests. Well, sure enough they stiffed me for those extra bills, to the tune of $5,000. A year later, crushed by debit and married to someone who was barely pulling their weight financially, I'd had enough. We have now been divorced for three years and I am STILL paying for that disaster. Be very careful when planning. Even a $25,000 day can be a disaster. Don't listen to other people's complaints and don't believe that anyone will pay you back later. There is no "perfect" day.
  65. Thank you to our wonderful daughter!

    by Jeri Our daughter was married last month. When I asked what I could do to help with the wedding plans, my only assignment was to get a list of names and addresses together so she would know how many announcements to have printed for our friends and family. The wedding was an absolute joy and the most wonderful experience we could ever have imagined. The only invitees were the bride and groom's siblings, parents, grandparents, and a few close friends. Her wedding dress (which she designed, patterned, and sewed herself) was simple and elegant. She and the groom were married at 5:00 p.m. in the evening and after taking a few pictures, we all enjoyed a delicious meal with great conversation and then sent them on their way to a wonderful life together. We happily gave our daughter the money a reception would have cost to help them get started because the wedding day was simply a delight!
  66. We REALLY Kept It Simple!

    by Linda When my husband and I decided to get married, we tried to plan a simple wedding. He was away at school and I was a young teacher. Once family and friends got into the plans, however, things began to get more complicated that we wanted. How did we solve it? On Christmas vacation, he came home from school, and we were married in a small ceremony unbeknownst to anyone but our two attendants, a friend who was a photographer, and a priest! Then he and I treated the others to a very nice lunch at a good restaurant, spent the night at a beautiful hotel, and began calling people. We were afraid they might be angry, but everyone was so excited and happy for us that they ended up throwing us a big party about a week later. I am shocked at what a young couple will pay these days for a wedding that's more like a three-ring circus. The fact is, simple or elaborate, you end up just as married! And that's what really matters....
  67. Our Small Wedding

    by Sandy My husband and I have been married for 48 years. At the time of our wedding, I had just graduated from college and had no money to speak of. My father's business was not doing well, and we decided on a small wedding. A distant relative loaned me a wedding gown, and I bought a cheap pair of white shoes. We had a wedding for about 20 relatives and friends in an inexpensive hotel. There was a nice dinner and a pretty wedding cake. I can't quite remember if we had anything hard to drink, since my new husband and I are not drinkers. Our photographer was a neighbor, so the photos weren't costly. My husband paid for the flowers, thank goodness, for the rest was all my parents could afford. Sometimes I wish we could have had a large, splashy affair, but we were on a budget and made do. We have never been in debt, and we are happy to live this way.
  68. Wedding debt dilemma

    by Maggie I think it's ridiculous to go into debt or spend retirement money to fund a wedding. Think about it, people! One day - $25,000??? It may be a very nice day, but is one day out of a lifetime worth that much? What about a downpayment on a house? What about next month, when the bills come due? What about all the furnishings, gifts to one another, and new things you're going to want to buy for your new life together? What about when you've been with your spouse for several years, having been laden with wedding debt which leads to arguments and unhappiness? You might regret having spent so much money on one day.
  69. It's gonna be inexpensive

    by Stephnie Hi Judge Judy! I watch your show all the time! My fiancé and I live in Australia, and the cost of a wedding here is $43 thousand dollars for a basic wedding. We are budgeting for a $15,000, which is what we worked out: what we could save up and based on what the parents offered to give. It's a themed wedding, which is offbeat, but it means we can do alot of DIY to keep costs down. We also have very amazing friends who offered their creative services, like dress making and cake making. I've also uses Scoopons a fair bit to cover bits and pieces, and am always asking for bulk discounts. But don't worry, I've watched your show alot, so I'm keeping all my texts, emails and receipts in case there is an issue! Thank you Your Honer!
  70. No dilemma wedding

    by Blanche My husband and I got married after work one day. We left work an hour early, met at the courthouse and did the deed there, in front of a Judge that knew my husband well. He told my husband he had better not see him in court again after getting married. He has not seen that Judge again, LOL! In total we spent maybe $300.00, would have only been $200.00, but the Judge freaked out my husband and he tipped him $100.00 LOL! It will be 29 years this year, we have had all the problems of a relationship that most do, but we still love each other and our two kids and wouldn't change a minute of how our lives went or turned out!
  71. Small wedding that lasted

    by Bonita We were still in college, and my mother and aunts planned the whole wedding. I wanted it small, and I wanted the reception at home. All I had to do was pick out a dress--not a hugely expensive one--and something to wear going away. My aunt made the bridesmaids' dresses. My mother-in-law (to be) arranged a rehearsal dinner. My cousin took some pictures. We had about forty guests for cold meat and wedding cake. The church was tiny. When we came out, it was snowing gently. 46 years and counting...
  72. A Family Event

    by Catherine Our wedding was perfect, including the eccentric photographer who ran to the bookstore to buy cookbooks for everyone in attendance. We married older so the first thing we did was set the budget at $5,000. The approach we took was to ask each other the five most important things we wanted from that day. He wanted to be married, have a small ceremony, to have barbeque, a cake that actually tasted good and for it not to last all day. I wanted to be married, I wanted a priest, I wanted it to be a family gathering and I wanted a group photo of us and everyone in attendance. With our wants listed we set about the chores. I asked my brother if we could use his home for the wedding since his backyard is wonderful, but the inside is also nice and had the look I love; he said yes so long as we paid for the finish on his deck; done. We then found the photographer, a non-corporate florist who did beautiful work, my sister in law made my dress from duchess satin and lace from France.
  73. I paid, now I'd elope.

    by Laura Now that I realize the myth "this is the biggest day of your life" is so far fetched, I wish I would have just eloped with my husband, perhaps sent out an announcement card, and kept the money in my savings account for our future. We didn't even have that big of a wedding, but it still was a waste of money. What matters is the commitment you make to God, not the fancifulness.
  74. It's not the material things that matter...

    by Lori D I had the big wedding, the beautiful pictures, flowers, food, drinks and dress but, I realized quickly after the wedding nice things are not really that important. Take some advice from Judge Judy, if he's abusive, leave. There isn't a wedding big enough, a house beautiful enough or money enough to stay with someone that would hurt you. I know, i was an abused wife for almost 6 years. Don't ever think you can change him because, it will only bring you more pain. I couldn't tell you how many times in that 6 years I watched Judge Judy and herd her talk to women who said their boyfriend hurt them and and they stayed and she said, she didn't reward stupid. When I ran away, I heard Judge Judy's advice in the back of my mind every time he wanted me to come back, I would hear her say, don't be stupid. Now I'm dirt poor living in a tiny house, but I have the love of another that doesn't hurt me and that's worth more then any dollar amount in the world.
  75. An Historical Event!

    by Susan Although this was not my experience, it was the budget wedding of people I know. The unique venue was outstanding and had guests talking about it for a very long time. The couple did not have much money but wanted to get married and have a celebration where they could invite friends and family. Most of the wedding venues where they live were incredibly expensive and the couple would have had to go into quite a bit of debt just to hallmark their day. Instead the had their wedding and reception at a local historical barn! The barn is used primarily for historical society events and dances and the cost to rent it was minimal. Because one of the guests played in a traditional music group the music was free but ordinarily would have been very affordable. The food was a combination of catering and home made which was very tasty. They decided to make it more fun by asking guests to come dressed in historical clothing as an option! The guests all had fun, the food great as was the cost!
  76. Wedding Debt

    by Debra I believe that spending thousands of dollars on a wedding and going into debt for what I feel is just a big party is a very bad idea. Most young couples will have many bills when first getting married. I believe the money should be put to better use, I remember when my husband and I got married. My father refused to spend thousands on a big reception. I was very young only 16 years old at the time. He said he did not want to be stuck with the bills for a wedding for me. He was still paying for my sister's wedding (who also married at 16) even after her divorce. I married my husband because he was drafted and I wanted to be with him. Long story short: my wedding was held in my living room at home. It was very small and very nice. I just wanted to marry my now husband. The party was not that important to me. That was in 1971. Ours was one of the few marriages that actually made it. We are still married today! 41 years later, Still I am glad it was debt free. My dad was too!
  77. An Unforgettable Wedding

    by Michelle Both my husband and myself came from a prior marriage. We spent two years paying off our old marriage debt, then one day all the kids were at home at the same time, along with my husband's parents and then a knock at the door. My husband's good friend, a Justice of the Peace. SURPRISE! We were married in our house with just family and a few close friends. I will never forget how I felt that day because 10 years later I still feel the same way.
  78. Saved Money

    by Marsha My daughter had been given a certain amount of money that I had been saving for her big day. She wasn't to go over the amount and if she went under it, she got the rest in cash. She was awesome-no Bridezilla for me!!! In fact, she came in under and refused to take the rest of the money allotted!!! God Bless her!!! Love you Judge Judy!!
  79. Backyard Wedding

    by Cheryle I had my wedding in my parents' backyard and a female justice of the peace married us. We were on a very limited budget so I became creative and went to party stores and had friends assist me. It was a small wedding but it was all worthwhile. The people that meant the most to us were there and that's all that mattered. My dad and brothers BBQed and a friend made a beautiful cake. My then sister-in-law let me borrow her wedding dress. You can have a nice wedding on a limited budget with friends and family volunteering and being creative. The nice thing about all this was when we moved over 200 miles away, these same friends and family came through for me when I became pregnant. They had a baby shower for me and videotaped it! When I had my daughter, my family brought all the gifts and I was so surprised. I not only had wonderful memories on tape but my family was there when I opened them.
  80. Beograd 1986

    by Augustina I got married to a Nigerian diplomat in April of 1986. I was 21 and just graduated with a BS in Sociology. All we knew was that we were in love (it was also a short courtship.....3 months). We planned on inviting only a 100 guests and that was it! We immediately left for Italy on a blissful 2-week honeymoon, no stress, no debt. We are blessed with 4 wonderful boys and currently looking forward to celebrating our 27 th wedding anniversary.. Oh by the way, we are proud grandparents of an awesome grandson!

    by Marcia I, just want to say I agree with judge Judy about the being in debt after the wedding is said and done. I am over 50 closer to 60 and me and my husband just married two years ago. We were engaged for 20 years so to speak. I can't image having debt after this union. We didn't decide on this union, God did. After many years of back and forth, I am glad we did eventually marry. We fit well after 20 years of dating. We really do know each other well..
  82. Wedding Bells

    by Julia For our special day, 13 years ago this August, we wanted a celebration that brought our friends and family together so we could share our committment to each other. We had all of the trimmings on a budget, a nice car that took us to the registry office in Bath, UK, the car cost about £100, it was an old vintage model. The reception was in our garden, we had the best weather day of the year, we bought a marquee which cost about £35.00(!), but looked the part. Tables, chairs, tablecloths & cutlery were all hired for around £120 - £150. We bought food which was collected the day before which included a variety of unusual salads, stuffed vine leaves etc. Wine was bought by the case full. All food & drink cost around £300. My dress was made for £200 (friend). My husband wore a vintage suit - £50. My ring belonged to my gran, we bought his from an antique shop, 22carat for £50. Altogether it cost less than £1,000, we paid for our day together and didn't think our parents should be asked to help.
  83. Married by the judge

    by Jessica I regret that I never had a real wedding party but nonetheless our story is "our story". My boyfriend was here on a tourist visa that was about to expire and I was determined to either marry him or go home to South America with him. My pastor refused to marry us without lengthy premarital counseling so we went to the courthouse. We had no money and my parents didnt offer any belp. I spent my last $100 on a dress and he charged two plain gold bands. No honeymoon for us till 4 years later. The bonus was his parents paid off his credit card as their wedding gift. So, even though I have sometimes felt I missed something, I certainly am glad I didn't go into debt for a two-hour event.
  84. Never Had A Wedding

    by September I've been with my man for 12 years already and we're still together. Marriage is just putting it on paper in his eyes and mine. If I were to have a wedding, I would have it in my back yard with friends and family. We've already made the commitment to each other till death do us part. A big wedding is not worth the debut on yourself and the parents.
  85. Simple and meaningful, not for show.

    by Jo I married the love of my life in 1971. The most important thing to us was our love for each other and the idea of our commitment to each other for life rather than a showy wedding. We got married in a retired vicar's house because the new Vancouver law courts had been booked solid for marriages that June. The vicar couldn't find the civil service sheet so we had the religious one but that didn't matter to us. Our witnesses were my future husband's parents. Afterwards the four of us ate dinner at a restaurant atop one of the tallest buildings in Vancouver, BC. I remember looking out of the window at the most beautiful sunset over the Strait of Georgia and thinking that life can't get any better than this . . . It did.
  86. Just Married: Plain and Simple

    by Aimey Dear Judge Judy, when my husband and I were married, we really had no money to spare at all. I was fresh out of a failed marriage of 18 years and was carrying a substantial amount of debt from the divorce and time leading up to it and he came into the relationship with no money to contribute. Both of us were eager to love, honor and cherish one another and did not see any reason why money should stop that, and being that our intentions were clear and simple, we chose to go to the justice of the peace and be married. We had no honeymoon. After the wedding ceremony, we simply collected his possessions and moved him in with me. We have been married now for going on three years in June and have a baby girl, one year old and a new baby on the way. We are currently making very good progress on digging out of my debt hole together. In my opinion, an expensive wedding would have only added guilt and burden to an already tough situation.
  87. Wedding day

    by Rubie My husband and I knocked on a pastor's door in our neighborhood, and told him we would like to get married. His wife was my husband's witness and their daughter was mine. He was 18 and I was 16 and that was 40 years ago and we still laugh about it today.
  88. The cost of a wedding really doesn't matter.

    by James I'm in my 20's and have been married for almost two years. Neither my wife or I come from families with much money. We both felt very strongly that we didn't want to burden our parents or start our lives together with debt. It wasn't the most glamorous wedding you've every seen but with some creativity it turned out to be very nice. My very wise mother told us as we were planning, "No matter what happens good or bad on your wedding day the important thing is that at the end of the day you're married. Nothing else is really important."
  89. Our Marriage

    by Sgt.George (Police Chaplin) Well Annie and myself got in touch with our pastor, got married in our church with God's blessings, and that was 51 years ago. Total cost $6.00. We have been happy ever since!
  90. Wedding on a tiny budget

    by Patricia We didn't have well paid jobs and decided to just invite the people who had been 'significant' friends and family for our day. I did the catering myself and a very good friend made a wonderful wedding cake which they transported 200 miles by bus! It was a lovely location with swans gliding past on a lake within the grounds. Perfect for photos...my two daughters and I spent many happy hours choosing our outfits for the day and we all looked amazing! Following the ceremony, everyone made their own way back to our home where we'd laid out a buffet. It was also my mother-in -Law's birthday so I'd bought a mini cake which she was given before we cut our own. The whole day was relaxed and those who wanted to, found the TV to watch a big match and my brother in law fell asleep on our bed. No arguments, no huge bills for limos and we were sent on our way by our guests who cleared up and left the place spotless for our return. It was a great day and neither of us felt that we'd 'lost out' .
  91. Wow - Debt from a Wedding - Not

    by Hazen I had never heard of the concept of debt from a wedding before watching Judge Judy. Perhaps because I was born to Depression-era parents, perhaps because of my ethnicity/social class, debt has only been created by student loans and/or a mortgage on a home. At my wedding, we bartered the food. We bought the wine by the case directly from the vinter and put it on the table ourselves. The hotel provided the room free with the expectation of lodging of out of town guests. We rented a nice car for the weekend at less than a three-hour limo ride. A friend sang for us. The dj was a buddy from my part time radio gig. The clothing was created by a friend in lieu of a gift.
  92. Why Spend So Much?

    by Ingrid Why do people use the money spent on their wedding as a barometer for gauging how much they love each other? I told my significant other that if he loves me, he won't bother with flowers, candy, cards, etc., and that I expect little or nothing to be spent on the wedding. Same thing with the ring...it is about people's vanity and their desire to "keep up with the Jones's'" which I find utterly ridiculous. In the current economy, I can find a ton of worthy causes in which to donate money, or I'll just save it in case I need it in the future. Use common sense, people! Your guests are not admiring what a beautiful wedding you put on, they're laughing at how much money you wasted!
  93. Stick to a budget!

    by Jennifer My husband and I paid cash for our own wedding. We set an affordable budget that would not incur any debt. Then decided where we wanted to splurge. Our choice was to splurge on the cake. Then everything else was either homemade or simple, yet tastefully inexpensive. We had a great time and our guests were very happy. In fact, they loved the idea the decorations were not outrageous, the food was simple, and members of the family each donated time and talent as their gifts.
  94. Middle-Eastern Approach - Reducing Wedding Debt

    by Nahrain In the Middle Eastern culture, we do not give gifts during a wedding. Each person(s) attending pays for their plate at the wedding. In addition to this, close relatives also give more money than distant relatives to help the newlyweds with their wedding debt. I believe this is something most cultures should adapt to.
  95. Can't You Elope?

    by Dawn Our daughter is getting married this year. It has been over a year now that she has been engaged. She received her Doctorate in Physical Therapy, in June. She was also the Graduate Award Winner, with a 4.0 average, in the DPT program at Stony Brook University. It was a long and expensive haul for her to acquire her degree for us all. She is and always has been a very hard and diligent worker. She would work 35-40 hours a week on her breaks from college. She was a great coupon gatherer and would cook meals in college, and tell you the cost of each serving. She was and is an extraordinary economist. However, she intends to spend a small fortune on her wedding. We have pledged to contribute $10,000.00, which is more daddy's idea than mine, but then I thought she should work her way through grad school as her father did. NOT!!!! My husband's thinking was that she was/is such a great kid and student that we should foot the bill for her entire education. I agree to a point.
  96. Elegant without debt

    by Valerie My wife and I always dreamed of an intimate, elegant wedding. We didn't want to elope or have a courthouse wedding. Our plan: off season! By booking off season (March 27th) we got some really great deals. We each had some $ in savings and swore to use only that. My wife bought a designer gown online and from the previous season for a fraction of the original price. I had my tux designed and made by a friend. We booked a gorgeous venue where we were married on the ground floor in front of a fireplace, had a cocktail hour, and then started the reception upstairs. I had some musical connections and got a terrific band for a discounted price. I'm running out of characters, but booking off season allowed to have a wedding that appeared to have cost 50K for 15K. I know it seems like a lot of money compared to the other stories here, but we were able to afford an elegant wedding without going into debt. Our guests continue to tell us that it was the best wedding they ever attended!
  97. Lovely wedding on a budget

    by Katrina Our parents from each side gave us $10,000 to pay for our wedding. So we had $20,000. We had a beautiful wedding at the Mona Vale Golf Club Sydney with 65 guests. Our whole wedding, absolutely everything including my dress came to about $12,000. We had a lovely honeymoon in the Greek Islands with the remaining $8,000. So no debt for us. Unless money is not an issue, we do not understand why people spend $50,000 or silly amounts of money like that on their weddings only to end up in debt. We have been to some over the top weddings recently with fireworks displays & the like & we can't imagine how much debt they must be in now as these are people who obviously don't have a lot of money.
  98. Elegantly cheap!

    by Betsy I believe it's all in the values you give your children and your own ego. Ours always knew we only spent under 1000.00 for our wedding, reception and honeymoon in 1978. We told them unless they wanted to pay for it themselves it would be done the same way ours was. If you raise them to be vain it's your own fault. Ours received 1200.00 a piece (200 extra than ours, with inflation) and could do with it what they wanted. One had hers in a park with family doing all the food, paying for 3 bridesmaids, 3 flower girls & under budget by buying dresses online. The next was on the steps of a court house with a weekend trip to New Orleans. The latter daughter graciously invited us on her honeymoon. Where, I might add, I won enough cash to pay 4 both weddings AND our trip to see her married in another state. Both were equally beautiful. Our son on the other hand went 10 grand in debt for marrying a spoiled ex-cheerleader / only child and ended up divorced...LOL It's all in how you raise them.
  99. 1996 Wedding

    by Roberta It was my second wedding but my husband's first. We went traditional and had a small church wedding. We were in our 30's and so we paid for it ourselves. We spent about $3,000. It was simple yet lovely. I bought a dress, made the flowers, had one attendant, a small cake along with cupcakes for the guests, a nice chicken dinner a DJ and an open bar. Spent a fair amount of money on the photographer, minimal on decorations but focused on providing a good meal and entertainment for our guests. Now fast forward to my son who will be 30 this year. He met a woman that he wanted to marry. My son was thinking that he would have to take out a loan for over $20,000. Not a good idea I told him! Needless to say they broke up before the wedding took place. It's never a good thing to go in debt for a one day event! It's bound to haunt you later!
  100. A Past Generation's Creativity

    by Grace My Mom often told me about her wedding and how it cost about $25. This was many years ago, but still shows the creativity of the human mind. Her dress was handmade by her mother from another wedding dress and it was beautiful. The reception was held at her parents home where the neighbors and church ladies came and cooked the entire dinner, including the wedding cake. The liquor and root beer was home-brewed by my grandfather. Her husband, my father, played in a band, so that group provided the entertainment at the local dance hall. It truly was a group effort. They had no debt to wake up to the next day and their marriage lasted 67 years. They passed those values to my generation but somehow they have been lost in the following generation. The couples now plan their weddings and then fight over who is to pay for it,causing a lot of hurt and pain by the time the day arrives. Live within your means and this includes your wedding.
  101. Wedding Debt

    by Marketta My husband and I were planning for a wedding and it seemed that everyone and their brother wanted to input and add or change things. It was getting out of hand so, one Saturday morning my fiance called me and said "Do you wanna get married today?" I said "Why not." So I told my Mamma today is the day, if you want you can go or you can miss out. My fiance did the same with his father. So we all loaded in the car and went to the Judge in Springfield, TN. We stood in the Judge's office with just our family, as the Judge said to me "Are you sure you want to do this, you look like your not sure." (I was scared to death and nervous) "Do you take this Character as your husband? I call him a Character because looking at him, I'm sure he's been called worse. That was 33 years ago and we still laugh about his comment. But we also only spent $35.00 and were able to start out our life together without debt. We may have worn just casual clothes but we were happy and have wonderful memories.
  102. Not for everyone...

    by Christina Well, I would not recommend this for everyone but we could not agree on the church or the cost so we eloped. It did help on the cost and we have no debt. It is never good to spend what you do not have!
  103. No big wedding for us

    by Jan T Way back in 1969, my hubby and I had an immediate family only wedding in the chapel of my church with my S-I-L and his best friend as attendants. We had an informal gathering at my parent's home immediately following the ceremony and served everyone home-made food and drink. We had a neighbor who managed a restaurant make our wedding cake. The money we would have spent on a wedding bought our furniture. We didn't take a honeymoon, preferring to save the money for a down payment on a house, that we still live in today, almost 44 years later. The party lasted until the wee hours of the morning and people still talk about how much fun they had today. I can't think of a bigger waste of money than a big expensive wedding that no one will remember years later.
  104. The Non-Traditional Wedding

    by Lori I married my best friend. This is the picture of our wedding day: We made our own invitations on the computer for the price of card paper. I paid $360 for a stunning yellow, open-back cocktail dress. It actually had a small trane :O) Our greatest expense, the venue, was only $1200 and included a separate kitchen. We had a private ceromony by the fountain which was surrounded with fall flowers. Our band, friends of ours, let me surprise my new groom by performing a few songs just for him. I rented large pots of mums, high-tops, and love seats. Tall cocktail glasses with floating candles...bags of jewel-like stones thrown about so the tables would glisten. All from a dollar store. We did hot and cold hor dourves. No seating arrangements. No wedding party. A friend made a simple cake, just for the 'cake smashing' photos. My groom supplied the bar that a friend tended. I am a salon owner....free hair and nails! Our 'no gifts' request resulted in checks. Those checks paid for our wedding. Sweet!
  105. No Gifts Please

    by Caroline When my brother got married he had been living with his partner for a while and they were busy paying off debt and thinking about starting a family. When he and his partner planned their wedding it was a "No Gift" weddingl. Instead, each of the guest (couples) were asked to pay for their meal at the restaurant which was a set menu and price and equal to what you might normally spend on a gift for that occasion. The restaurant was lovely the food fantastic and at the end of their special day left them with no debt but great memories.
  106. No wedding debt

    by Elana We got married by a judge at the courthouse. Way cheap and still got the job done. Sometimes I wonder what it would have been like if we had an actual wedding but we didn't have money for that and it is not a necessity. And here we are 24 years later. Even without a "wedding".
  107. Keep it Simple

    by D I have been married for 32 years and my wedding cost a total of $600. Off the rack dress, family/friends made the food, no bridesmaids very simple. Today I see young people spending huge amounts of money on a wedding(or just a giant party) to please family members(cant leave anyone out) or to impress someone. I see them try to do over the top food items, host bar, expensive wedding cakes and you know they cannot afford it, but they dont want to make someone mad!! I work for a catering business and see it all the time. My motto..if you cant afford it..dont do it!! Its one day, the "REAL WEDDING" starts the next day!! Like my mom would say "it's not how you start, it's how you finish!!"
  108. Wedding debt

    by Denise My first wedding was performed at the church, with only close immediate family. The reception followed at my mother's friend's house with just a few more family members and friends. We then took our honeymoon to the Bahamas. The total cost was approximately $6,000. Our parents gave approximately $300. We paid the rest. Remember I said my first wedding. My second wedding was not as elaborate, no honeymoon. We've been married 26 years and counting.
  109. Beat This! A Family Wedding

    by Debby I must say this topic took me right back to when I got married. We were not rich people just ordinary people with humdrum jobs, We wanted to get married but knew it would have to be very low cost. Then my brother had the craziest idea, in which instead of my folks paying for the wedding, as my partner had no parents alive that he suggested we all bought or paid for something to go for the wedding So we did it this way, my parents paid for the ceremony, my brother paid for the rings. My sister bought my wedding dress and shoes second hand. We only had flowers for me to hold, no bridesmaids, or etc, just a best man and maid of honour. They in turn instead of gifts for each of the partners to get something to set our household up. We got sheets from my folks. Then we went to an old fashoned farm auction and bought pots and etc for the kitchen. We went to old shops and bought furniture and did it up with paint. The total cost for this weddding was only $300, now come on beat that.
  110. A wedding is for a day; marriage for a lifetime!

    by M. I've been a Dave Ramsey fan for a long time, so when our son told us he was getting married, I immediately feared for the worst--an over the top, expensive wedding. Turns out that my now daughter-in-law and her Mom were the best at doing things economically from making decorations for the reception and actually doing some of the cooking (her Mom makes great food). In the end, it was my son who was a bit too elaborate with not being able to pair down his list of groomsmen. Work together, share expenses and talk about it are my advice. My son started married life with no wedding debt and a paid off college degree. Thanks to people like you and Dave Ramsey that remind us a wedding is an event of a day and a marriage is a lifetime commitment.
  111. Hogwash!

    by tj I've never been a big weeding buff. The preparations, people, food and gifts...hogwash. To me, I believe the wedding is for the guests, not the bride and groom. I think the couple really gets lost in transition. And let's not forget the EXPENSE! The money spent on a wedding could be spent on a 2 week honeymoon married somewhere. Then come back home and have a ceremony/get together with friends and family...show them videos of where I got married.
  112. In-Disney-pendent!

    by Joy Two things about our relationship: my husband and I are Disney fans and independent people! We paid for everything in our own wedding which had simple one-page invitations, no reception (we wanted a cake-punch one but it didn't work out), had a free travel agency arrange our flight, and minimal decorations. Our three biggest expenses were the honeymoon, wedding bands, and photography- three things that would last far longer than a couple of hours! We spent much more time on marriage counseling than wedding ceremony. Keep the wedding simple and go elaborate on a vow renewal to celebrate your success! <3
  113. My Wedding Budget

    by Denise Hi JJ! I got married in downtown Manhattan with my husband's sister as a witness, and his mom and mine. The whole prcoess was less then $75, and we were happily married for 11 years until his passing last year. I feel at times that the people whom spend thousands on that day are focusing on something very insignificant in a marriage, just my thought. I adore you by the way and watch/tape you daily ; )

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