That’s It, I’m Eloping

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So getting married within the next couple of years is on my radar, and though I’m not planning a wedding right now, the possibility has crossed my mind. That’s why when my favorite talk show podcast brought up a new study on the average cost of the American wedding, my ears perked up.

The Knot recently released the numbers on study surveyed from close to 13,000 couples from around the U.S. The study found that the national average cost of getting hitched is $35,329.

Thirty-five. Thousand dollars.

And that doesn’t have a down payment on a mortgage loaded into it. That doesn’t even include honeymoon costs. Nope. One $35k party for one day.

I don’t personally know anyone who can afford that kind of party.

At least that price tag includes the ring, although I’d actually be terrified to wear a $6,163 (national average) piece of jewelry. Does the national average know how good I am at losing rings? And the idea of shelling out $16 thousand for the venue after paying more than $2 grand for the ceremony site makes a pretty compelling argument for a boho beach wedding, in my opinion.

I was also astounded to learn that, according to The Washington Post, 44 percent of those wedding costs are paid by the bride’s parents. I can’t imagine asking my parents to contribute $15 thousand to my wedding. Or rather, I can imagine, and I can also imagine their reaction: they’d laugh heartily. Everyone in my family lives pretty comfortably, but that doesn’t mean they have the spare cash to pay over $5000 for music.

The thing is, this isn’t just me and my parents. My friends and extended family don’t have that kind of money either. Especially millennials like myself, most of who are in college or recent graduates with student loans coming due. Young professionals, for the most part, don’t start out making six figures. That $35 thousand might represent a year’s wages for some. And when the high cost of living makes it hard for some people to make rent, it’s hard to justify spending half that amount. When it’s all over and the honeymoon begins, does it really matter if you had the national average of $2,534 worth of flowers and décor?

All this stuff gets thrown away. And there’s nothing wrong with these things, but if you can’t afford them, why work so hard to pay for them? I know couples who’ve said they’re postponing their weddings till they can afford it. But why should they have to wait to live up to some arbitrary societal standard of what a wedding should look like?

I told my family there was no way I could spend that much on a wedding. Then I told them the number I expected to spend in the eventuality I get married. Let’s say your average $2000 wedding planner didn’t make the budget. More precisely, it would have been the budget.

I got some laughs. One person told me that I couldn’t expect to feed everyone on that, let alone get a dress or a venue. I guess I’ll have to make a fashion statement and walk in my blue jeans, because I can’t expect thousands of dollars to fall into my lap.

“I’ll be rich by the time you get married. I’ll send you money,” my brother told me.

Thanks for the confidence, bro. If family reactions are any indication of what everybody else will expect, I’m in trouble. Looks like it’s trading hopes of buying a house for monogrammed napkins to impress my eighth cousins.

On second thought, I’ll just elope.

I'm a lover of words in all forms, sweatshirts in all conditions, and God in all circumstances. I particularly enjoy working collaboratively on the written word and wearing microfiber robes (preferably at the same time). Most of the time I don't get enough sleep, but I make a valiant effort.

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