Chain of Wealth

E177 – Wedding Budget Update

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Denis O’Brien [0:38]
Hey Money Clan, a very warm welcome to the Chain of Wealth podcast. I’m your host, Denis O’Brien.

Katie Welsh [1:47]
And I’m Katie Welsh.

Denis O’Brien [0:50]
So Katie, just to give everyone a quick update this episode is dedicated to diving into our wedding budgets.

Katie Welsh [0:56]
Yeah. So right around the corner.

Denis O’Brien [0:59]
Yes. So our actual date of the wedding is July 20. And or super pumped.

Katie Welsh [1:6]
We had our wedding shower over the weekend, which was a complete surprise for us. And now I feel like it’s actually like the real deal. Like it’s coming. They had a countdown.

Denis O’Brien [1:47]
Yeah, we have less than 60 days to go until we will be tying the knot. So really, really exciting. And on a money front, we thought we’d give you guys a nice update and we’ll really dive into some of the numbers. And let you know exactly where we’re at in our budget. All right, Kate, well before we dive on into today’s episode, if you guys haven’t already, head on over to -]you can join our Facebook community and come and say hi.

Okay, Kate, you ready to dive right in? Y

Katie Welsh [1:47]

Denis O’Brien [1:48]
Let’s do it.

Unknown Speaker]1:20]
Welcome to chain of wealth. here’s your host, Dennis inspiring you to begin your journey of financial freedom.

Denis O’Brien [2:3]
Okay, so diving into our budget- what do you think’s been some of the most interesting things that we’ve been dealing with when it comes to figuring out our finances for the wedding?

Katie Welsh [2:12]
Well, I am going to start out with we have been doing something a little bit different because we are planning our wedding on the other side of the world. We are not really able to cut costs where a lot of people typically would like making our centerpieces or, you know, kind of haggling around finding different areas and different things that we know. Because we don’t know the area super great.

Denis O’Brien [2:40]
Right, yeah, so for those of you who don’t know, we’re getting married in South Africa. That’s my home country. And yeah, it’s gonna be really, really fun. We’re actually getting married on safari. So we’re going to be out there like in the wilderness. They are free roaming big 5 animals

Katie Welsh [2:55]
Hopefully we don’t get run over by a herd of elephants.

Denis O’Brien [2:58]
Yeah, so there’s gonna be there’s all kinds of animals that could come into the area. Everything from lion cheetah, what leopard, elephant, like, it’s crazy any of the Big Five can come into the area where we are actually having our ceremony..

Katie Welsh [3:15]
Or zebra will be pretty cool.

Denis O’Brien [3:17]
Zebra would be cool.

Yeah, so in addition to having our wedding costs, we also have to pay for flights. And for our honeymoon. We’re actually doing Family moon, well what we like to call a family moon. And so we’re not doing a traditional honeymoon, what we’re doing is we’re saying, hey, all of this family’s going to be together. Let’s go and take everyone down to Cape Town. And let’s go have a really cool time with doing a cool trip. We’ve planned out almost every day. And there’s a ton of activities and it’ll really explain us to two families to sort of get to know each other a lot better.

Katie Welsh [3:53]
Yeah, and I know that is pretty different. When I’ve told people about the family moon idea. I get a lot of strange looks.

Denis O’Brien [4:1]
Yeah, you get like the “Oh!”

Katie Welsh [4:2]
Yeah, like, oh, because everybody’s like, Oh, are you going on your honeymoon? I’m like, Oh, I’m going to Cape Town with my mom and my in laws and everything. And they’re just like, what? And but to me, in my heart, it felt like the right thing to do, mainly because we don’t get to see your family very often. And I didn’t want to ask my family to fly so far. And only be there for a week. It’s not enough time.

Denis O’Brien [4:31]
Yeah, it’s not really fair. So we thought that this was the best alternative to really try and get the most out of both families being there together. And, you know, in addition to that, we saw budgeted that into our total wedding. So we kind of know exactly where we’re at. And at this point, you know, a lot of the deposits have been paid. We haven’t got final numbers on everything yet, but we’ve got a pretty good idea as to how much it is going to cost us.

Katie Welsh [4:56]
Yeah, well, we’re doing with most weddings. And I’m not a complete expert, because I’ve only planned this one. But there’s the typical things that you need to pay for obviously, everybody says you need to spend a decent amount of money on a photographer, that’s like the most important part that people have told me.

Denis O’Brien [5:15]
I would have to say the most consistent thing we’ve heard is spend money on the photographer.

Katie Welsh [5:19]
And then after that, which I never even thought about before. There’s somebody who’s like you need to pay money for your makeup. And I don’t want to sound like I’m a super plain Jane or anything, but I’m not a huge makeup wearer like I will put on eyeliner and like mascara and everything, but somebody had a really good point that you’re paying all this money photographer. Why would you risk not having your makeup look okay with the pictures. So we’re getting you know, hair and makeup and the photographer and of course a cake and a DJ and stuff like that. The one place that I kind of always envisioned myself being able to save a few dollars is, you know, the centerpieces and the decorations and stuff like that either borrow from my friends or make at home with my mom and my bridesmaids and because South Africa is so far away, and from my own past experiences, everything in Africa is harder for me. We are hiring everything. I’m hiring somebody to do their centerpieces because the last thing I want to worry about is flying there for 24 hours and then opening my suitcase and a vase is broken, or they’ve lost luggage or something like that. So I have opted to get that done for us. So that’s also been a little bit of an extra cost. And we’ve really done a lot of shopping around for it.

Denis O’Brien [6:47]
Yeah. So I think most people sort of listening will be like, oh, wow, you guys are doing this overseas wedding, you know, it sounds be costing a ton of money.

Katie Welsh [6:55]
But oh, contraire!

Denis O’Brien [6:58]
Yeah, so it’s actually going to be a little bit quite a lot cheaper than what the average wedding in America costs. And there’s a number of reasons for that. So the general purchasing power of the dollar is much stronger than that of the South African Rand. So your money goes much further there. And even with paying for flights, we still are pretty much getting to save a bit of money doing it overseas.

Katie Welsh [7:23]
Right. So basically, I want to say that the typical wedding in America run anywhere between $20,000 and $40,000

Denis O’Brien [7:33]
Yeah, I think the national I’m just pulling up Google here the national average is $33,931. So that’s quite a sizable chunk of change Kate.

Katie Welsh [7:43]
That is, like a down payment on a house. Not even joking.

Denis O’Brien [7:47]
Yeah, it really is. And that’s a lot of money. So the question is, well, how do we compared to the average?

Well, to be honest, black, after calculating, all of our budget costs, we’re looking to spend about $19,000 on our wedding and that’s all inclusive that a great venue hire food, drinks, decor, photography, cake, hair, makeup, DJ, flights, food and meals, flowers, your wedding dress suits, the wedding band, it literally is an all inclusive price. And you know, sort of, we’ve managed to achieve such a nice break by shopping around and also not inviting too many people to the wedding as well.

Katie Welsh [8:31]
Well, on that is quite a commitment for people to fly from America to South Africa. So we have invited family and friends and but it’s a long time and it’s a minimum of at least a week we’re, you know, we were getting married in Florida, it could be like a nice long weekend. Not a big deal. But the extra time off and the extra expense and everything. And we totally get it. If it’s too much, it’s too much no harm, no foul. But that has cut down a lot of the our guests numbers because people like that we casually work with our people that we kind of know. You know, they’re not able to make it and with that it’s been able to keep our wedding more intimate and people who are really, really important in our lives are able to come.

Denis O’Brien [9:26]
Yeah, and I think that’s going to be nice and sweet. We’re looking at about 45 to 50 people total wedding. So you know, like, it’s going to be really nice and small and intimate. But another thing as well as just the cost per guest is also so much less than what we would have paid on in the States.

Katie Welsh [9:42]

Denis O’Brien [9:43]
So we’re looking roughly at about a cost per head of about $43 for food, and versus the US and I think you look at an average of about $100 per guest, which, you know, like, it’s a significant saving that we have, however, it’s still going to be really beautiful, you know, it isn’t like you think of Africa and its people walking around and like literally tribal clothing, and stuff like that.

Katie Welsh [10:8]
Although you can hire that.

Denis O’Brien [10:10]
Although you can hire that. That’s not what we’re going for.

Yeah, but we’re staying in a four star resort so we’re not compromising on a being up a very nice wedding. You know, but by the same token because of that purchasing power difference, our money does go a little bit further. And, you know, Kate, the most important thing is we budgeted for this and were able to sort of build in this cushion, that, you know, if we did go over in one departments within another department, we would still be okay. And I think with any large purchase, this is something that you really have to do.

Katie Welsh [10:13]
We will be wearing regular clothes and eating wedding cake and everything like that, that goes along with a traditional wedding.

Well and to spend back and talk about how food was not nearly as expensive. The other big banger for a wedding I feel like would be cocktails and alcohol. And in South Africa, alcohol is significantly cheaper than it is in America.

Denis O’Brien [11:7]
Yeah, that’s really true. Well, before we dive into anything else, we’re just going to take a quick break and say a big thanks to our sponsor.

Katie Welsh [11:15]
So I recently started the Great Courses Plus to learn all about different kinds of topics, but my favorite so far has been the money management skill. I found it particularly useful learning about their psychology of money. Now that I’ve paid off my student loan, and now that we’re paying for our wedding.

Denis O’Brien [11:34]
Yeah, Kate, I’ve really gotten a ton of value from the Great Courses Plus, I’ve absolutely loved diving into the library of over 11,000 videos, which in itself is a huge number. But I have to say that the quality of the courses is really, really good. They’ve got all sorts of things from experts from National Geographic, to people that work in the Smithsonian, some of the best professors around the world. And that money management skills course is really one that resonated with me, because it teaches so many the fundamentals that, you know, you really need to get in place to get your building blocks in order and be able to really get your money under control. So we’ve actually got a really special offer for our podcast listeners, you can get a free month of access to their entire library, you can claim that free offer by heading on over to

Kate, I think another really big topic points that a lot of people start asking themselves is what do you do about gifts that people stop giving you Oh, when people stop offering to pay for the wedding

Katie Welsh [12:43]
Urgh the gift!

Denis O’Brien [12:43]
Well, let’s be honest, like, so we’re late 20s, early 30s. And you know, at this point, we are kind of able to pay for the cost of our wedding ourselves. But that doesn’t mean our parents just you know, left us stranded.


You know, like both your mom and my parents as well. I’ve also said to us, you know, we want to help out. And we want to, you know, like do something for you guys and help, like ease the burden of paying for this.

Katie Welsh [13:10]
Right, yeah, well, let’s start off with parental help. I told my mom, my mom and I were speaking about I said, whatever you want to help with is great. But I do not want to put any kind of extra strain on you, we are very fortunate that we don’t really need the help for the wedding. But of course, any extra help would be nice, because whatever we don’t have to pay for we can put that money towards something else, like buying a house later down the road. But that is how I took the approach with my mom, because I didn’t want her to feel like she was going to have to be out thousands and thousands of dollars, just pay what you would like. And I know my mom, my whole life has probably not probably most definitely thought about paying for certain things for my wedding. So I’m letting her pay for those things, but not really letting her stress about the rest.

Denis O’Brien [14:8]
Yeah, I hear what you’re saying and I definitely, see both sides of the coin. You know, on the one side, you know, at our age, we were trying to be independent. So we’re trying to do one thing. That being said, it’s a huge chunk of change. And let’s be real being in the personal finance space, we know the impacts of taking that money and sort of investing it instead of you know, spending it on something like a wedding

Well, not that should look at a wedding as a big expense. But realistically, the power of compounding means that that money is actually worth significantly more later on,

Katie Welsh [14:42]

Denis O’Brien [14:43]
And you know, whether you are going to be getting your inheritance when your parents sadly passed away, or whether you get the money up front now, you should sort of look at it as one bucket.

Katie Welsh [14:51]

Denis O’Brien [14:52]
You know, so just like putting all that said earlier, you don’t want to put your parents out. But by the same token, it’s really going to help you a lot if they do give any kind of help. So what I think your approach should be is try and you know, pay for as much as what you can. But also, don’t put any pressure on your parents and sort of see what they will suggest. And also like, Look, you know, the position of your parents probably better than anyone else in the world. You know, you grew up with them, you knew the last thought they had you knew more or less what job they were holding, you can kind of high level know how much they probably can and can’t afford, to put down, you know, like, they will probably speak to you about retirement and stuff like this, depending on how old you are, when you do get married or engaged or whatever. And you know, based on that you can kind of make a quick assessment and think whether or not they are trying to extend themselves too much, or whether they’re being fair and how much they’re trying to contribute.

Katie Welsh [15:46]
Right, well and Den I also want to point out the fact that you and I have cut back significantly, if you listen to the podcast at all, you would know we live right in the middle of DC, there are a million restaurants to go out to, and places to shop and everything. And even though we’re not big shoppers, we are very big foodies.

Denis O’Brien [16:9]
Yes, we are.

Katie Welsh [16:9]
And we have been going to the grocery store and meal prepping every week and really trying hard to eat at home because it’s so much cheaper. And we have cut down our cocktailing on the weekend, dramatically, which has been great for the wedding diet and also for our wedding budget.

Denis O’Brien [16:29]
Yeah, hundred percent. And the other thing is as well, when you do get engaged or like any kind of big purchase, the sooner you start planning for it the better. You know, we’ve known about this for several months now. And you know, sort of knowing that there’s a big expense coming, we’re able to sort of start putting money into a pot and really start building up almost like that reserve that you can stop pulling off because let’s be honest, like, obviously you guys are not looking at our budget, but everything basically is within two weeks, of the wedding so a lot of the money, we still have paid deposits now but the bulk of the payments are going to be due right before the wedding. And if you’re not prepared for that,

Katie Welsh [17:7]
it’s very stressful.

Denis O’Brien [17:9]
Yeah. Out comes the plastic and it’s swipe, swipe, swipe. And before you know it, you’re in $20,000 of credit card debt. And that’s something you don’t want to be and you really don’t want to be in that situation.

Katie Welsh [17:21]
Yano for sure. That was one thing going into the wedding that thankfully, we agreed we were not going into debt for the wedding. I just got done. It feels like yesterday paying off my student loan. And the last thing that I was going to do is go back into debt for the wedding.

Denis O’Brien [17:39]
Yeah, I totally agree. The nice thing is, if you are able to sort of plan for this and get your money in order, you can literally start your lives together as being debt free. And that is a great position to be in, you know, like we now will be able to put a lot of our money in towards investments instead of paying off interest and debt.

Katie Welsh [17:58]
Yeah, definitely. And it’s a really nice feeling to have to be able to do that.

Denis O’Brien [18:3]
Cool. Well, we’d love if you guys could join our Facebook community head on over to We’d love if you joined and comments below us your story. Catch on the flip side!

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Chain of Wealth

Chain of Wealth

The Chain of Wealth podcast is a biweekly podcast boasting over 500,000 downloads. We interview inspirational guests about money topics. You can learn more about us here.

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