Let me start this out with the fact that I have been dreaming about my wedding day since I was little. In a little girl’s mind, it’s the day you get to dress up like a princess and the entire day is about you and what you want. I remember even having in depth discussions in high school with my best friend about how our days would go. Spoiler alert: neither of us will be have those weddings. 😉
During college I took Principles of Christian Marriage. It taught you what marriage was really like. I quickly realize that what I had dreamed of as a child was merely a wedding, not a marriage. And what is the wedding the celebration and start of?
Ding. Ding. Ding. A Marriage!
A few fun facts:
- The average cost of a wedding in the United States is $27,000 – You could almost buy 2 Honda Civics with that!
- The average cost of a wedding dress is $1,099
- 69% of people get married on a Saturday
- Over $50 Billion is spent on weddings annually in the US
When did weddings become a giant event?
So I was wondering, when did wedding become this big giant show that got away from what it is, the joining of two families, two people, and two hearts (cheesy but true). It’s the beginning of a new family. And should you really go into debt for one days worth of extravagance? I’ll leave that answer up to you.
To answer my question, I went to the most trusted, the most valued place on the internet: Wikipedia. According to wikipedia..
During the 19th Century in America, weddings were usually small family gatherings at the home of either the parents of the bride or the parents of the groom. The ceremonies were intimate and not elaborate. Weddings did not become elaborate until the 1820s and 1830s, when upper class couples would have wedding ceremonies similar to what is common today.
But the 1820s version of elaborate meant the bride owned her own dress, there was a floral arrangement and a wedding cake. Prettyyy elaborate if you ask me (sarcasm much)!
Today’s elaborate includes a variety of 30 chandeliers to pick from with different price brackets, destination bachelorette parties with VIP seating at “da club,” and floral arrangements costing the amount of a new ford focus. With TV shows like “Say Yes to the Dress” and “Brideszilla,” can you blame me for being irked by these nuances. Is this all really necessary?
The other problems
These extravagant affairs are held by the rich and the famous but then posted to places like Pinterest for the rest of us to drool at. I mean look at this:
How can the rest of us compare with this? And the bigger question should be… do we need to? I decided a while ago that no, I won’t.
If you are planning a wedding…I bet you have noticed these things…
- The moment you mention your planning a wedding, the price increases 200%.
- You realize you aren’t getting out of this for under $10,000 and you equate that to the number of iPhones you could buy.
- Wedding planners are expensive but seem 100% necessary
A few moments so far that have caught me off guard with wedding planning.
- The dress shop I went to, the woman looked at me like I was crazy when I told her my budget was $500. Like I should basically leave because they can’t help me. Pretty Woman style.
- The fact that a venue ALONE could cost upwards of $15,000 before food and beverage. I mean…really?
- Flowers cost a lot. And I mean a lot. The arrangements above would make you pee your pants a bit!
Maybe I think this way because I can’t afford to choose between 30 chandeliers, heck I can’t even afford to rent one chandelier. But does that make my wedding less cool? Does it make it less likely to be attended?
Where is she going with this?
Honestly, parts of me would love to be the host of the photos above but I realize that it’s extravagant and I would rather spend it on a kick-ass house or vacation that will last longer than 24 hours. I have to remind myself that those events should be left to those who won’t go into extreme debt.
But…I am NOT telling you or anyone that you shouldn’t have a luxury wedding because if that’s your dream and it will make you happy…then you should.
If you are on the fence…
My unsolicited advice is to ask yourself how important it is to have certain elements in your wedding. If you are like me, you’ll figure out two things you MUST HAVE and then you’ll have a lot of LIKE-TO-HAVES. Once you know these things, you can prioritize based on your budget. Because it’s easy to get lost in the endless abyss known as Pinterest.
When we are little girls, we play “wedding”…
As you grow up, you see stuff like…
And so you think that is what you get!
But in the end what really matters is…LOVE
- The Budget-Friendly Bride
- A Practical Wedding
- Ways to Cut Wedding Costs Without Looking Cheap
- Research Finds Vendors Charge Less if You Don’t Call Your Big Day a Wedding
Quick note: I am not saying people that have elaborate and extravagant weddings don’t love each other. But for those of us that can’t afford it and try to talk ourselves into expensive things…take this as a reminder what a wedding is really about. And please don’t hate me. This is just one opinion.