It’s Time For Americans to Stop Spending $39,000 on the Average Wedding

It’s Time For Americans to Stop Spending $39,000 on the Average Wedding

In a world where people waste money on $5 cups of coffee, $67,000 2nd electric cars just to impress the neighbors and $1,000 cell phones that give them no benefit whatsoever other than being slightly newer than their last working cell phone, there is no bigger waste of money than a huge wedding.

Keep in mind that the AVERAGE cost of a wedding today is $39,000 and there are actually people taking out loans of $11,000 at loan-shark level interest rates of up to 36% to pay for the “big day.” Does this make sense? I’ll grant you that I think engagement rings are also big wastes of money, but at least you get a ring to wear on your finger. The wedding is over after a day.

I know, I know. Women spend their whole lives dreaming of elaborate weddings, but why is that actually? Could it be because weddings are marketed to them from the time they’re young? “Oh, it’s your special day….” — what’s so special about it exactly? It’s an expensive ceremony that almost every married person in America participates in. If anything, it’s ordinary, common, pedestrian — the opposite of special.

Oh, but what if you didn’t have a big wedding? Then what? Do you really think anyone would even notice other than maybe your parents, siblings and a handful of friends? Do you think anyone is going to judge you for not spending more than you can afford on a wedding? If anything, they would probably silently envy you for saving all that money and not conforming to peer pressure.

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I had a friend that went to Las Vegas with her fiance and got married by a midget Elvis. That’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s kind of goofy and fun; so it worked for them. They spent a few hundred bucks on the wedding, got some really unique pictures and enjoyed the honeymoon in “Sin City.” Personally, I thought it was extremely cool. It also stood out a lot more than the endless, “Here is my unique wedding that looks like every other wedding ever despite the fact that I spent months planning it.” We get people spending ever more money and coming up with ever more elaborate ideas for their weddings just so they can stand out from all the other weddings and 99 times out of 100, it doesn’t work. This is one of those cases when the real way to be unique is not to play the game at all.

But, what if you don’t play? What if you just elope or alternately do a tiny wedding with your parents and a handful of friends? You’ll save yourself months of planning and stressing about what type of hors d’oeuvres you’ll be serving. You won’t be hyperventilating because the caterer is late or the florist brought the wrong kind of flowers. Secretly, most of your friends will be happy that they didn’t waste an afternoon sitting on hard chairs and wondering if they can get away with sneaking out early. You think the groom is going to be heartbroken if there’s no big wedding? Have you met men before? What are you really missing?

If you’re a woman, you’re missing having a spotlight on you for one day. But, how big of a deal is that really in a world where (statistics vary), but your marriage probably has at least a 40% chance of ending in divorce? “It was such a beautiful day, but it doesn’t seem as exciting after our ugly divorce and child custody battle.” Yeah, I bet. Let me also add, there would probably be fewer divorces if so many couples didn’t create money problems for themselves right out of the gate by blowing enough money for a down payment on a house or alternately, year-old used his and her cars on a ceremony that is over in a day. When you’re in year three of your marriage and yelling at each other over bills, would you rather have the precious memory of blowing $39,000 in a day or the $39,000 in the bank?

So forget about the ceremony and focus on the marriage instead. Don’t worry about that big wedding, buck tradition and have a small wedding, elope or go find yourself a midget Elvis to marry you in Vegas instead. There are a lot of women that regret those big weddings, but I doubt you are going to find a lot of people that regret skipping one.

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