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Decisions, Decisions

One hundred married couples* on the wedding choices they made, and what they wish they had done differently.


Did you consider eloping?
Yes... 24
No... 36
We did elope... 4

How big was your wedding?
Fewer than 75 guests... 35
75 to 175... 32
175 to 275.... 18
275+ .... 15

What’s your advice on cutting the guest list without drama?
“Only invite people who remember your birthday.”
“Don’t invite your father’s business associates. They don’t want to go.”
“Have a wedding in a remote location. Only die-hards will go.”

How was your wedding paid for?
Bride’s parents... 20
Groom’s parents... 1
Couple’s parents... 12
Couple... 40
Couple/parent combo... 27

How much was your wedding?
$5,000 or less... 19
$5,000 to $10,000... 13
$10,000 to $25,000... 27
$25,000 to $50,000... 16
$50,000 to $75,000... 8
$75,000 to $100,000... 4
$100,000 to $150,000... 2
$150,000 or more.... 1

What did you splurge on?
“Our band. $22,000.”
“Peter White Studio. $9,400.”
“Our invitations. $6,200.”
“We paid $6,000 for a clambake.”
“Our table linens cost $15,000.”
“I spent $16,000 on my jewelry.”
“A confetti canon. It cost $500.”

Did you hire a wedding planner?
Yes... 13
No... 87

Did you have bridesmaids and groomsmen?
Yes... 80
No... 20

How big was your wedding party?
Most common size: 2 attendants
Second: 12 attendants
Third: 14 attendants

Did you ask for cash from your guests?
Yes... 14
No... 83

How much did you receive?
Average amount: $10,000
Range: $3,000 to $30,000

What was the most stressful moment in the planning process?
“Getting my parents to accept that I wanted to get married.”
“Coming up with the guest list and then cutting it.”
“Waiting for the U.S. Embassy to decide if they would issue my fiancé a visa.”
“Offending her parents because I wanted to pay for more of the wedding.”
“Having to wear a beige suit and tie to appease my mother-in-law.”
“Deciding whether to do a Catholic or Caribbean wedding.”
“Figuring out where to seat our divorced parents.”
“Dealing with our stupid, stupid caterer.”
“Paying for things on time.”
“Writing our vows. We didn’t want to sound lame.”
“Combining our Jewish and Catholic backgrounds.”

Did you get caught up in what was trendy at the time?
Yes... 15
No... 77

Did you fight a lot about the wedding?
Yes... 37
No... 63

About what?
“We fought with our parents over portable toilets. They favored the practical (to have them) over the visionary (not to have them).”
“The bachelorette party.”
“Not having any say because I was broke.”
“The distribution of labor, I guess. I wasn’t carrying my weight, and she would have to yell to get my attention.”
“Everything. We like to bicker.”

Did you make a wedding Website?
Yes... 19
No... 81

What software did you use?
Shutterfly, WeddingChannel, GoLive, Moonfruit, The Knot, eWedding, Wedding Window

Which of these traditions did you have at your wedding?
Cutting of the cake... 80
Bridesmaids and groomsmen... 80
First dance... 66
Bouquet toss... 56
Mother-son and father-daughter dance... 55
Garter toss... 25
Sweetheart table... 24

Did you give a toast at your wedding?
No... 51
We both said something... 27
Groom spoke... 18
Bride spoke... 2
Don’t remember... 2

What went wrong at the wedding?
“Someone stepped on my dress and ripped it.”
“One of my bridesmaids fainted.”
“My wife and I got in a tiff because I was doing the Running Man and the Sprinkler on the dance floor.”
“During her speech, my sister-in-law decided to name my husband’s ex-girlfriends and flings who were present.”
“We printed the wrong directions on the invite.”
“The air-conditioner broke.”
“My brother disappeared with a girl.”
“My cake imploded.”
“My pregnant friend went into labor.”
“The day before the wedding, my fiancée felt light-headed in the shower and made a run for the bedroom to lie down. I discovered her several minutes later lying on the floor in the remains of a shattered table: wet, naked, and with a chipped tooth.”

Did you have sex on your wedding night?
Yes... 76
No... 22
Not Sure.... 2

If you could have done one thing differently at your wedding, what would it be?
“Hired a wedding planner to avoid all the communication problems.”
“I would have invited a smaller group.”
“Extended the reception by two hours.”
“Worn a color that I actually like.”
“An island wedding.”
“Bought a house instead of going on our honeymoon.”
“Invited my parents.”
“Not bothered to invite the two owners of the company I work for. I ended up getting fired from the job four months later.”

* Not all numbers add up to 100 because not everyone answered each question.

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