Wedding bills: $28,427 to get hitched
That's a 5.2% price hike over last year, which may mean increased confidence in the economy. But do we need to spend so much?
According to TheKnot.com's annual "Real Weddings Study," the average couple spent $28,427 to get hitched in 2012.
This amount does not include the cost of a honeymoon, by the way.
That's a 5.2% increase from the previous year, which isn't surprising: The cost of just about everything has gone up.
But site co-founder Carley Roney thinks there's another reason.
"Couples are increasingly less concerned with the economy and are comfortable investing more than ever in the once-in-a-lifetime experience of planning their wedding and making it a fabulous experience for their guests," Roney said in a press release that accompanied the study results.
The study also notes that the average wedding budget did not increase between 2008 and 2010. Anybody but me remember what was happening during those years? And what's still happening to plenty of Americans?
Some startling numbers
A site called The Wedding Report came up with a slightly lower figure: $25,656 excluding honeymoon, an increase of less than 1% over its previous year's amount. However, that site surveyed only 5,650 women versus TheKnot.com's more than 17,500 brides.
I suppose I should be delighted that consumer confidence may be on the rise. However, I think that spending so much could smack of overconfidence -- the feeling that things will always go your way.
Maybe they will. But you could certainly help them along by being intentional about your spending. The wedding-cost breakdown from TheKnot.com includes items like:
- Engagement ring, $5,431; wedding gown, $1,211.
- Wedding planner: $1,847.
- Ceremony site, $1,711; reception venue: $12,905.
- Rehearsal dinner, $1,135; catering, $63 per person; wedding cake, $560.
- Ceremony musicians, $554; reception band, $3,084; reception DJ, $988.
- Photographer: $2,379; videographer, $1,619.
- Flowers/decor: $1,997.
Some couples skip the band and/or disc-spinner in favor of smartphone apps like "Wedding DJ." More and more people are using e-vites (some of which are free) instead of paper invitations.
And remember, the job of "wedding planner" is a fairly recent invention. People were getting married long before someone was willing to charge money to help you obsess over just the right color for the save-the-date cards.
Fairy tales cost money
I can hear the entitled wails now:
But it's my special daaaaay!
It has to be perfect!
I want the fairy tale!
Isn't that how we got ourselves in trouble in the first place -- by willing and total immersion into a consumeristic mentality? By coveting more than we could cover?
Put another way: The average U.S. income is $39,959, according to the Social Security Administration. That average citizen would have to spend 71% of a year's pay on an "average" wedding.
Obviously it's up to you to decide whether the fairy tale is worth it. But letting the wedding industry decide what you "need" for your nuptials is like asking the barber if you need a haircut.
How many months (or years) do you want to spend paying for one day? And couldn't that $28,427 have bought you something a little more lasting?
After all, you'd still be married even if you spent just one-fourth of that amount. Would you willingly pay more than $21,000 for a wedding DVD and a few albums of photographs?
Readers: Got any tips for keeping wedding costs at a reasonable level?
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Wedding + dress + dinner + honeymoon = $3500. Got married at a butterfly sanctuary, so plenty of flowers. Didn't get a wedding cake, as I've noticed they look better than they taste. All the guests could pick their own dessert. No DJ, just a nice little dinner in a private room. Far less stress than what my sister went through (for $30k and it lasted 2 years), and we had money to put down on something more permanent than a few hours' worth of party and food - a house.
When I got married in 2007, we spent under $2000. And half of that was for a professional wedding DJ. We had an outside wedding in a park and paid very little for a reception hall. Our families made the food, so we didn't have to pay for catering. That also allowed us to have a far greater selection of food than a catered wedding has, so everyone could get food they would enjoy. The rerhearsal dinner was pizza. All of our guests had a blast and so did we. You don't need to waste money to have a great wedding and reception.
A low cost wedding is usually far more enjoyable for guests than a super expensive wedding. When you spend so much on a wedding, you lose the relaxed atmoshere. It loses the friendly and fun feeling and becomes more rigid. That doesn't make for much enjoyment. Sure, there will be the few who just love all the glamour without caring about anything else, but most people just feel that it becomes stuffy when you go all out.
"Couples are increasingly less concerned with the economy and are comfortable investing more than ever in the once-in-a-lifetime experience of planning their wedding "
By "couples" he means "women"
I especially like this part:
"I can hear the entitled wails now."
I refuse to spend that much on a wedding, but my June wedding will be classy and fun!
I would much rather focus on my marriage and having fun with family and friends.
-I'm my own planner.
Unless you are wealthy its wrong to have a large wedding where the couple have to go into debt. I have heard of weddings where the couples divorced within a few months of their expensive weddings. They still had to payoff this debt.
The most important thing after the wedding is that the couple learn to live together happily.
My husband and I have been married 18 years, we had a vey simple, simple wedding. Held in my in laws back yard, with a 100 guest, everyone brought a dish, friend of my brother in law provided a keg of beer, $300 for bride, groom and flower girls attire, $ 300 for the cake and $200 for the band and $200 for the honeymoon, lol.
There is no reason to spend thousands and thousands of dollars, that does not make your marriage matter or successful, and no debt to anyone.
Star t a marriage in debt? Silly! No wonder divorce rates are so high. Not only that but most people that go to weddings dont even want to go. They feel obligated. I recommend getting married on a cruise. Invite guests on a 3 day cruise at their expense. Any family members or close friends who truly cant afford it, you can help. Easiest way to weed out those that dont want to be a part of it. At the end of the weekend send them all home happy and then continue on your own honeymoon. I'm sure you will have saved a fortune, and you havent hurt the feelings of those that didnt go because the option was there for them.
For inlanders, you can substitute a cruise for something closer.
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