Weddings: What the Hell Are You People Buying?

I overheard a friend describing the several weddings that she’s been attending this summer, and the financial strain that they’ve placed on her. “One of my friends is having her bachelorette’s party in the Hamptons,” she said. “I can’t afford to party in the Hamptons! I’ll be there sipping water that probably still costs $10.”

When I got married twelve years ago, I’d be surprised if the entire thing cost most than $1500. The rings cost $300. We got married in my mother-in-law’s living room. We bought our matching outfits from Sears. The cake came from Stop and Shop. There was a justice of the peace. Including all of our family and friends, there were maybe fifteen people present. The reception afterwards was held at City Steam, and everyone we invited was told that we were a young, pregnant, broke married couple and that they’d have to pay for their own meals. A few people who weren’t invited came anyway and didn’t get the memo, ordering food and drinks on an imaginary tab. Those people were the bulk of the cost of that day.

And it was a wonderful day. Yeah, we got divorced a few years later, but my wedding day is still one of my favorite memories because I got to spend it with my family and friends on one of the most important, yet laid-back, days of my life. I plan on getting married again someday, but I don’t plan on changing much from the first wedding. Finances were a major constraint the first time, but even if money weren’t an object I can’t imagine spending $30,000 on a wedding. For what? Does it come with matching Happy Endings for the newlyweds? Are you given a treasure map at the end? I don’t even know enough people that I actually like to invite to a $30,000 wedding.

So don’t take it personally if you don’t get an invite, I’m just trying to keep costs down (also weddings require a partner, and I should probably work on that first). In the meantime, I’ll keep pinning “cheap wedding reception bowling alleys” to my board.

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2 Comments to "Weddings: What the Hell Are You People Buying?"

  1. August 16, 2018 - 12:52 pm | Permalink

    Thank you!

    My wedding years ago was probably in the same range as yours, and that includes renting a very modest hall and doing ceremony in a park. Food was potluck-style.

    If I ever marry again I’d opt to do some things different and better (besides not marrying a jerk!) but couldn’t imagine spending significantly more. Decorations just aren’t important to me.

  2. Fionnuala Darby-Hudgens's Gravatar Fionnuala Darby-Hudgens
    August 16, 2018 - 6:23 pm | Permalink

    I think an important aspect that is missing from this is piece (although I agree the wedding industry is nuts) is the importance for some couples and families to embrace their cultural traditions and religious ceremonies. I had an enormous wedding, and in full disclosure the cost was divided into thirds. Myself and future husband, my in-laws, and my parents all split the roughly $25k bill. (No we aren’t wealthy, we saved and work because it was one of our values to have a big wedding.) I belong to a large Irish Catholic family, and it was extremely important for me to include our traditions into my wedding, which means you invite everyone. My mom is one of 12, and everyone was invited. I have over 100 cousins The celebration lasted days. And like you, I still look back on that weekend as one of my most joyous experiences, but so much of resonated in my Irish heritage, and what that means. Family from 4 countries and 13 states traveled to our weddding. We didn’t honeymoon, because all of our loved ones came to us, and we spent a week enjoying everyone’s company. For large global families weddings bring us together, and they are an important piece of honoring our faith, and heritage.

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