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GloPro's avatar

Are weddings a waste of money?

Asked by GloPro (8248 points ) May 11th, 2014 from iPhone

I know there are ways to have a dirt cheap wedding. But in a typical, traditional wedding, everything is so expensive!

The average cost of a wedding is $25,000.

Is it worth it? Why or why not? How much was your wedding? What was the biggest expense? What did you cut corners on?

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23 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

I was married in a full blown wedding with 200 guests, sit down lunch, band and the works back in 1990. And while it was expensive, it was also a milestone event in my life and the lives of my parents and in laws. So in many ways, I found it to be worth it.

The one aspect that was way overblown as to cost versus value? The photographer and the video. We never really looked at the wedding album after the first month we got it back, and we showed the kids the video once or twice, but now don’t know where it is (plus it’s on VHS, not disk.)

hearkat's avatar

We paid $20 for the license, and $20 for the officiant in 1990. We went on a road-trip over the weekend to the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia.

When my fiancé and I get married, we will have a gathering of our closest friends and relatives, but not a big shebang. Not only do we not have that kind of money, but we are both introverts and not fans of the show-off mentality that these big events seem fueled by (not just weddings, but coming-of-age galas, graduation parties, etc.). If I had that kind of money to spend, it would be spent on the honeymoon, not on the wedding.

syz's avatar

Yep.

Pachy's avatar

I had one elopement and one fancy-schmantzy wedding. Both marriages ended in divorce. No plans to get married again but if I ever did, elopement would be my one and only choice. I think weddings are a waste of money, especially since 40 to 50 percent of married couples in the U.S. divorce, with the divorce rate for subsequent marriages even higher.

Judi's avatar

I think it depends in the individual’s values. We gave both of our daughters a budget. Anything over they had to pay for, anything under they could keep.
One chose the big wedding. She was so stressed I think she regrets it but that wedding served to heal a lot if wounds in both families.
The other went to Vegas and bought a truck.

marinelife's avatar

I loved our wedding. We were married at the Hill-Physick-Keith House in Society Hill (Philadelphia) outdoors in the garden. We paid for the wedding ourselves. My husband’s father, a minister, married us. We had catered hors d-oevres. It was lovely and very worth it.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I guess it depends on the people. Rick and I got married at the lake. Had friends and family and had a barbque. We furnished all the food. It still cost about $600 which was too much, IMO. The biggest problem was his daughter who insisted on being our “Wedding Planner,” and kept buying fooh fah shit that I had to pay her back for. No matter how many times I said, “Remember, we’re trying to go cheap cheap here,” she’d splurge on something. And I’d have to pay her back. She was a cake decorator by hobby so she offered to make the cake. I was a little shocked, though, when all was said and done and she said I owed her $150 for it, labor and supplies. Sheet.

I got my “wedding dress” at a garage sale. It was black with a flower print. It was pretty.

muppetish's avatar

My parents were married on my mother’s front lawn. It was very do-it-yourself. My grandmother even made the cake herself. The most expensive item, the dress, was still far less expensive than what most of my newlywed friends have dropped. The photographs show how happy and joyous everyone was together.

I knew that if I were to have a wedding ceremony then that would serve as my inspiration: inexpensive, intimate, and memorable.

However, do to shaky relationships with the family, my fiance and I are not going to have a ceremony. We are going to court, signing the paperwork, and saving up for an adventurous, extended honeymoon instead. I’m sure that our family members will be disappointed, but I’m frugal and hate gatherings. Besides, this is our marriage, our union, and our vows. I love the idea of sharing it with just the two of us and keeping it as private as possible. We’ll be able to smile in the photos this way.

A big ceremony has never appealed to me. My family has never had much money, and the pressure of our conflicting families would just kill the both of us.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

Is the cost of the honeymoon a part of the overall cost of the wedding?

GloPro's avatar

Not in the link I provided, no. Can you believe that?
The majority of cost appears to be venue, catering, and jewelry.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

Wow! So average $25,000 and honeymoon is additional?!!?!!

Would you say a typical honeymoon for a $25,000 wedded couple is in the $10,000 range?

flip86's avatar

Yes. Marriage is an outdated tradition. You don’t need marriage to be in a long term, committed relationship. Anyone who says otherwise is fooling themselves.

wildpotato's avatar

My mom has offered my fiance and I the same choice @Judi offered her kids – wedding versus large elopement gift. We are pretty torn – our friends have thrown some really good ones in the past few years and it’s kind of turned into a rotating and periodic way to get the old gang, now scattered throughout the US, back together. That is worth a good deal of money to us, though I tend to think of a budget over about $5000 (the folks have left this part up to us; no cap) as getting into my sense of the ridiculous range. But I think we could totally get everyone we want – only about 200 people – and have a great ceremony and reception for that amount. Don’t laugh; I really have looked up some prices On the other hand the money and the lack of planning stress do sound pretty nice…

I’ll be following this thread with interest.

GloPro's avatar

@wildpotato The link I provided says each guest added can add around $180 to the tab. That seems crazy.

I asked a new question because I’m sure people have ideas about ways to lower the cost or have a great time…

Judi's avatar

Ten years ago my daughters wedding was right around 20K

Dutchess_III's avatar

Holy crap @Judi. I can NOT even imagine. That’s the down payment for a new house!

Dutchess_III's avatar

My son was married at a Nature Trail place. I had the meat catered, but I made a ton of mashed potatoes and baked beans. Other than that, it was pot luck. It was pretty cool! Inexpensive, too.

JLeslie's avatar

My wedding was about $15k 21 years ago. I don’t think it was a waste, but I think going into debt for a wedding is not a good idea. My parents gave me $10k to spend on my wedding. My dad thought I should do a destination wedding, or elope and vacation, and pocket any leftover money. I chose the typical wedding and reception and paid the extra myself.

Only the couple and the people paying can decide if it is a waste for themselves. A wedding is reason for the family to come together. A day to remember. There are all sorts of pros and cons regarding having a wedding and reception.

Judi's avatar

@Dutchess, she worked as the youth director of a church at the time so it was hard to exclude people. She also married into a large Hispanic family and they had a habit of all inviting more people. An invitation would invite two people and on their reply they would say they were bringing six!

josie's avatar

Not for you nor me to say

LornaLove's avatar

Really it is about a persons budget. The sad part is, many cannot afford the fancy weddings they have. If one is incredibly wealthy, then they know the wedding is paid for plus:

They can start a life together not in debt
They can buy the things they need for their new home and life.
They can finance the daily things they need
Pay for insurance policies
If planning to have children, they can start a deposit on a college fund

Sharing with friends is really priceless, the settings need not be expensive. Or, as I said if you are wealthy then they can be. Some get to be princesses with gold crowns other’s with tin foil crowns, life is just that way.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

It basically is a waste. Small intimate gatherings with close family and friends is much better.

ibstubro's avatar

I think it’s mostly the bride’s decision. If she’s always dreamed of the traditional, Barbie doll, wedding, then that’s probably what she should have. Even then, there are ways of cutting corners and $25,000 is just insane unless you’re wealthy enough that you can spend $25,000 as easily as $2,500.

I recently threw a 50th birthday party for 32 people. Food and drink (alcoholic if they liked) was $225.

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