Take A Guess What The “Average” Wedding Costs

I’m lucky to be alive. A couple of days ago I thought, for sure, I was about surrender my mortal coil. I was driving on I-35 and came this close to death. It was totally operator error on my part. Yet it wasn’t due to distracted driving because I wasn’t looking at my phone or even talking on it. I was listening to the radio when a news report mentioned that the cost of an average wedding is now 40 grand. 40-flipping-thousand dollars! That statement severely sidetracked my brain so much I almost didn’t notice that traffic was coming to a stand still.

Please everyone try to wrap your brain around that fact that people are spending $40,000 for an AVERAGE wedding. What qualifies as above average – a reception with an open bar and martini station on Mars?

When you do the math that figure becomes even more staggering. Let’s say the average wedding lasts six hours (and that’s being generous by two) so this means you’re spending almost $7,000 an hour on your wedding. Now factor in the fact the 40 to 50 percent of all marriages fail and your return on investment on that forty grand is dismal.

I told myself the radio news report must be flawed with sub par research and that made me feel better for a hot minute. Then local wedding planners started calling in and sharing that $40,000 was a “sort of okay” to “mediumish budget” and that a “decent” reception venue is upwards of $10,000 and that doesn’t include anything extra like food or booze. We’re talking just four walls, tables and chairs.

But wait, it gets worse. It’s not the parents footing the bill for most weddings. It’s the couple. Where are these young people getting that kind of cash and why do they feel the need to fete themselves to the tune of 40 K? (And two words for you – student loans. As in have you paid off your student loans before you drop a couple of years worth of college tuition on your wedding?)

This AMAM (advanced middle-aged mom) has the answer. Okay, not an answer exactly, but I have a theory about why we have this whacked out “average” wedding cost – social media. (Long time readers know that social media is my go to for almost any problem. I suggest you don’t question it and just assume I’m correct.)

I believe, no scratch that, I know that weddings have become an Olympic sport. The competition to be the couple that has the best nuptial celebration is fierce. And the judging happens on social media with the wedding picture palooza throw down.

Lucky for the world at large this problem solving AMAM has a solution. If the wedding is all about the pictorial splendor you’re sharing on social media than I say ditch the reception and rent some green screens. This would allow the couple and their bridal party to stand in front of a green screen and have the photographer digital overlay anything they want.

The love birds exchanging vows in front of a 13th century castle in Scotland– no problem. The bride throwing her bouquet off a yacht in a tropical paradise– done. The reception taking place at the Palace of Versailles – fait accompli.  

 The magic of green screens would allow any couple to have an “vintage” reception in the church fellowship hall with cake, punch and everyone’s favorite wedding candy, pastel Jordan almonds, for a couple of grand. Then for social media accolades they can green screen it up and share their faux wedding. I’ll leave it totally up to the newlyweds if they want to mention that the pictures of them in a gondola in Venice are “digitally enhanced.”

But you know what would be real? You would be legally married and it you wouldn’t have cost you $40,000. That’s the wedding gift that keeps on giving.


8 thoughts on “Take A Guess What The “Average” Wedding Costs

  1. Lana says:

    Totally, F’ing crazy. Unless you’re loaded do not waste all that money on one day!!!! I love Snarky’s idea if you’re that hyped up about the pictures get a green screen.

  2. Former Wedding Planner says:

    As a former wedding planner Pinterest and all the other forms of social media have been a huge financial boon for the business. All a lot of brides care about is one upping their friends in the wedding game. I had one couple charge up 17 credit cards to pay for their “dream wedding.” I tried to talk them out of a lot of stuff but the bride just had to have it. They were divorced in under five years. 😦

  3. Proud Father says:

    My son and his wife had a budget of $500 and they paid for everything themselves. They didn’t spend the whole $500 and they started out their marriage completely debt-free. They’re just as legally married as anybody could be, everything was beautiful and everybody had a good time.

  4. Mary C. Connaghan Danaher says:

    Our daughter was married in November. After Easter that year when the wedding date was pretty much decided I bought the marked down Easter M&M’s and pastel covered almonds and stuck them in heavy duty bags in the freezer. 6 and a half months later they looked and tasted lovely (no one got sick from them) and that set the tone for a pretty wedding that was rather inexpensively done, but not cheap looking. I have a long list of money savers that do not require a green screen, although that’s a great idea if impressing Facebook viewers is the object. The couple has been married over 25 years. We all got our money’s worth on that celebration.

  5. JanetB says:

    I have 3 teenage daughters. Back in 2009 we went to a niece’s wedding that we found out cost them $60,000. For all these years I’ve had to talk to my girls about how not one thing at that wedding was worth that kind of cash. We went to a nephew’s wedding in 2010 that was around $5,000. Now THAT wedding was cool. It was at the brides childhood church, the reception was beautifully decorated in the church rec area and we all had a great time. No big dance like at the other couple’s wedding, but we didn’t care. Lots of love and family. Guess which couple has financial issues and nearly divorced 3 times? Actually amazed they’re still together. They’re still paying off the $60,000 and the other couple are barely in their 30’s and already have a large retirement account! I have lots of talks with my girls about that. Thinking about college expenses and weddings makes me want to curl up in the fetal position. There’s no way $40,000 for an “average wedding” is ok.

  6. kds407 says:

    Wow. No wonder why weddings are something that are taken so seriously. I mean I kind of knew about the cost of them before BUT not like this though! Social media does have its place. Thanks to it, things like this can happen. Hopefully people out there that plan on getting married are doing it in a timely and wise matter that’s for sure!

    Anyways, I did like your article and I hope for the best of you AND everyone out there! Keep posting and inspiring others!

    Kalin W.
    Founder Of KDS

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