Are You Sure You Want to Spend $27000 on Your Wedding?

Today we are featuring a guest post from Edward Antrobus as part of this month’s Yakezie Blog Swap – click over to his blog to check out my participating post.  Edward is a blogger, home cook, and construction worker.  Enjoy!

 

The cost of the average wedding is over $25,000. That number doesn’t even include the cost of the dress! (I’ve never understood that. Isn’t the wedding dress a wedding-related cost? Why wouldn’t you include it in the cost of the wedding?) A number of couples go into debt just to afford their ceremony. While us personal finance bloggers like to go back and forth over whether things like student loans and mortgages can be considered good debt, I think borrowing to pay for some memories of a single day is definitely bad debt.

 

Why is it so expensive, anyway? Apparently it costs more to rent chairs than to buy them. The word “wedding” seems to add a surcharge to everything. And of course, it’s hard to keep costs low when you are throwing a party for 100+ of your closest friends.

 

While I understand how wedding costs can escalate quite easily, I fail to understand why anyone would spend almost three-quarters of the median household income on a single event.

a photo from Edward's wedding

My wife and I spent under $200 on our wedding. It was probably the best financial decision we made in that first year. Especially since that $25,000 price tag was actually an entire year’s income for us at the time. It was actually pretty easy once we abandoned the idea of a storybook wedding.

 

I think that is the single biggest cause of expensive weddings: the fairytale image that people have of what a wedding and reception looks like. Of course, THAT is going to be expensive. And what are you buying, when you think about it? You get an hour of most of your guests being bored at the ceremony, and then an adult version of the senior prom with alcohol. Basically you spend thousands of dollars on a couple of hours just so your wedding looks like everyone else’s and could have been confused for high school dance.

 

Is that what you really want? We didn’t. For the ceremony itself, we only invited 5 people-our parents and siblings. Then in-lieu of a prom, we had a barbecue at the park. Because we were at the park, there was no alcohol, which always seems to cause drama. From the drunken maid-of-honor threatening to kill the groom if he ever hurts the bride, to some venues not allowing minors if alcohol is going to be served.

 

So the question you would have to ask yourself is what do I really want to do to celebrate this occasion? Do you want years of paying off credit cards run up with wedding expenses? Or dipping into your (or your parents’) retirement fund?

 

How much did you spend on your wedding? Did you do anything unique to keep the costs down?

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22 Responses to "Are You Sure You Want to Spend $27000 on Your Wedding?"

  1. We spent about $8-9k. It was fairly expensive but I was making good money at the time and it really didn’t bother me.

    There are a lot of issues we have with weddings. They’re so boring and we hate dancing too, so ours wasn’t like most weddings at all. Most of our costs were the photographer and the reception. We paid for all of the groomsmen tuxes and bridesmaids dresses so that set us back a bit.

    We originally considered getting married at the courthouse but we decided our families wouldn’t be too happy with us. The day was great and I enjoy the memories but I would have rather just spent a few hundo at the local courthouse!
    Jason @ WorkSaveLive recently posted..Why We Didn’t Sell Our Car on Craigslist

    1. There were only half a dozen people that we invited that actually cared about the wedding ceremony itself, so that’s all we invited to that part!
      Edward Antrobus recently posted..3 Tips For Staging Your Home For Sale On A Limited Budget

    2. Emily says:

      I find wedding receptions boring sometimes, too, if I don’t know too many people. We didn’t want anyone else to have that experience, hence the museum. And I love dancing at other people’s weddings but we didn’t want that to be the major focus of ours – I don’t like the spotlight!

      1. I have a pretty firm rule: if there’s alcohol, I’m dancing. If there isn’t, then I’m not!
        Edward Antrobus recently posted..The Pricetag We Put on a Priceless Experience

        1. Emily says:

          Haha I don’t drink any more so I’m dancing whether or not there’s alcohol! Although I can’t remember attending another dry wedding that DID have a dancing option other than ours (and it was minor in one reception and absent at the other).

  2. My wedding budget is $7,000. I’m really hoping to come in nicely under budget. I love your line about the storybook wedding. You know who created that image? Marketers! Some people can be so easily conned. That said, I have an awesome family and I can’t wait to share the celebration with them.
    Jordann @ My Alternate Life recently posted..How Long Will You Drive Your Car?

    1. It really is a shame. Shows like Say Yes to the Dress don’t help when they create the image that spending $15,000 on a dress is normal.
      Edward Antrobus recently posted..Using a Sandbox Checking Account to Pay Debt

  3. Just found your blog by way of Crystal at Budgeting in the Fun Stuff. Adaptu has a great infographic about the average American wedding. Check it out here: https://www.adaptu.com/community/infographics/infographic/2011/04/25/regular-vs-royal

    1. Speaking as someone who used to work in floriculture, $1800 for flowers seems pretty high. I’m surprised people spend that much on just the flowers.
      Edward Antrobus recently posted..3 Preventative Steps to Recover from Being Hacked

  4. Nick says:

    Wow! Under $200 on your wedding. That’s AMAZING! Way to go. Ours was considerably more expensive…
    Nick recently posted..Saving Money On a Wedding (Even If You Don’t Pay For It)

    1. We were given the cake as a wedding present, so that helped a bit.
      Edward Antrobus recently posted..Why I Bought a Mobile Home

  5. I’m trying to plan a sane and stress-free wedding for 40 people on $6,000-$7,000. What I’ve realized is that there are no prizes – there is no prize for getting married for $500 and there is no prize for getting married for $50,000. At the end of the day you are still married and still have all those memories of the day. So spend what you will and enjoy it. 🙂
    Well Heeled Blog recently posted..Tell Me I Should Not

    1. I would maybe amend that to spend what you can afford. At the time, that $200 was a stretch.
      Edward Antrobus recently posted..Portrait of the Average American Debt

  6. renee says:

    You two look wonderfully happy on your wedding day! Congratulations!!

  7. We’re getting married in October, and have made choices in line with our smaller budget and our general values/priorities. No alcohol, no dancing, only 20ish people, writing our own ceremony. I certainly hope it doesn’t bore anyone! (Wouldn’t want to invite people who aren’t happy to be there and supportive of us.)
    Remy @MLISunderstanding recently posted..Bargain-Basement Prices for a Thrifty Wedding

    1. Emily says:

      I think intimate weddings sound lovely. I haven’t been to many but I assume most of the entertainment would come from just catching up with/spending time with/getting to know the other guests and swapping stories about the couple!

  8. My wife and I have five kids and we’re definitely hoping they choose a simple, affordable wedding. We had about 100 people at our wedding in 1992. For the reception, we served finger food sandwiches, veggie trays, fruit, etc., plus cake and punch. It was simple, yet beautiful, and everyone had a great time.
    [email protected] recently posted..How Magic Jack Works and Saves Me $500 a Year on Home Phone Service

  9. Carly says:

    I cannot believe how much some people spend on their weddings, its scary. Basically the average wedding costs more than a deposit on a house!
    Carly recently posted..Internet TV Software

  10. Yeah, those costs are way high. Not everything needs to be storybook, but, at least for the bride, it shouldn’t be something you’ll look back on with regret. Spending a little bit of money on something that monumental isn’t necessarily a bad thing…as long as you can afford it. (25k=not a little bit of money)
    femmefrugality recently posted..Mend Your Clothes–Save Money

    1. Emily says:

      This plays into what my post was about – priorities. Our priority was being able to celebrate with many of our friends and family, and that resulted in double catering costs/rentals in our case. It wasn’t that we set out to spend a lot of money, but that we knew we would regret not having people special to us present. Some people’s “no regrets” lists are more expensive than others!

  11. […] The blog swap was on the $27,000 average pricetag for weddings. My post went up on Evolving PF. […]

  12. […] This week I participated in my first blog swap!  Jacob at My Personal Finance Journey organized the swap and the topic was wedding costs.  (He also said my post was his favorite!)  I really enjoyed reading and commenting on all the posts.  You can find my post on Edward Antrobus’s blog and Edward’s post on our blog. […]

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