The Cost Of Weddings Today Is Too Damn High

March 12, 2013  |  

According to this press release, a survey conducted by two websites, The Knot.com and WeddingChannel.com, revealed that the average cost of a wedding in the United States has gone up significantly, even as the nation still struggles in the recovery phase from the economic downturn.

The survey, plainly titled “Real Weddings Study,” asked more than 17,500 US brides, married in 2012, about their wedding budgets and sizes, honeymoon locations and other style preferences related to the big day. They have concluded that the average wedding budget (excluding honeymoon) is around $28,427, which is the highest level seen since 2008. Although that is the average, there are areas in the United States where some couples will gleefully spend more on their nuptials. The top five being: Manhattan, where a couple saying I Do will on average fork over $76,687; in Chicago, IL: $49,810; in the greater New York Metro (Long Island, Hudson Valley and NYC Outer Boroughs): between $49,002, $46,300 and $39,602 respectively; in Northern/Central New Jersey and Southern New Jersey: $48,496 and $35,375; and in Rhode Island: $47,399.

According to the press release, “In this vein, fewer brides (26%) say the economy affected their wedding spending– a statistic that has continually decreased year over year, from 29% in 2011, 31% in 2010 and 34% in 2009. Wedding standards also continue to rise, as the average cost per guest increased to $204, as compared to $196 in 2011 and even $194 in 2009. In fact, about 1 in 8 brides (13%) are spending more than $40,000 on their nuptials, and nearly 1 in 4 (23%) didn’t even have a budget.

And this is why I hate weddings.

Call me crazy but the idea of spending that kind of money on a wedding ceremony, which for some folks equates to a livable annual salary – and in some places in the world is enough to purchase a damn house – makes no sense to me. Yeah I know, some of you all (y’all for my Ebonic-friendly readers) have been planning the large and lavish Disney Princess wedding since the time you were little ladies, playing Bridezillas with your Barbie dolls. Me, not so much. In fact, not at all. The pomp, the circumstance, the foo-foo bridal and bridesmaids gowns, the garish wedding reception —complete with a choreographed routine and a badly lip synced melody of Beyonce tunes — all seems a little financially irresponsible. In comparison, my ideal wedding involves standing in front of the to the Justice of the Peace in a pair of jeans and sneakers, saying a couple of “I Dos,” – or “We ain’t gettin’ no younger, so we might as well do this” or whatever it is you are supposed to say to signify that you are married – putting our John Hancocks to the necessary paperwork and getting us home in time for latest episode of “Scandal” – because obviously a man hoping to put a ring on this third finger has to be a fan of ratchet television.

A few years ago, when the first Sex and the City movie came out, I remember co-signing the trepidation and anxiety that Mr. Big felt over Carrie’s ever-growing wedding nuptials. Although they had originally planned to do a simple vow exchange at City Hall, Carrie, who had been compelled by her girlfriends to ditch the label-less wedding gown she had planned on wearing and go full-fledge Bradshaw on that bish, started planning this elaborate affair, complete with a flower covered winding staircases (inside of the New York Public Library, I might add), stretch limousines and a very expensive looking feather and Swarovski crystal bedazzled head veil. According to the website Racked, in real world dollars that wedding would have cost in upwards of $200 thousand dollars. It’s no wonder that Mr. Big ditched Carrie at the alter – at least temporarily. I mean, who wants to begin their marriage off under a mountain of debt?

And why do we do it anyway? Perhaps because of traditions but more than likely, it is the “it” factor. A chance to show-off in front of your family, friends, frenemies and a whole host of people you haven’t spoken to since the first grade. Also there is the anxiety element behind these ostentatious wedding ceremonies, or as stated in this article from the UK Daily Mail, ‘A recent study hypothesised that lavish wedding displays make the couple feel more secure…Researchers tested the theory among 572 couples whose uncertainties included fears about the partner they’d chosen, whether or not to get married at all and what their life will be like afterwards. By impressing an audience with large expenditure, these fears may be diminished.’

Maybe I’ll feel differently when I meet the special someone with gobs of disposable income. Even still, I think I would prefer that money be spent on a honeymoon trip around the globe – or better yet on making a comfortable home for our newly formed partnership, which has been sanctioned by God and by state. But that’s just me and I know most folks ain’t about that understated life, which is why more and more young folks are finding themselves in more debt than they can pay off. Still at a time where the divorce rate has doubled for some segments of society, it probably would make more sense to focus all that energy used in planning the big day on making sure that your actual long-term union is a viable one.

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