There have been a bunch of news stories recently about Bridal Brokerage, a new business that buys and sells canceled weddings. If a wedding falls through, the (unlucky) couple sells the location, vendor contracts, and so forth to Bridal Brokerage...which then tries to sell them (at bargain prices) to another (hopefully luckier) couple. It's an ingenious idea—but the thing that really stopped me in my tracks reading about it was an off-hand statistic I saw in the linked article. That statistic being: American weddings, cost, on average $27,000.
I think I've seen a similar figure elsewhere. But no matter how often I come across it, it still makes my jaw drop. The median US household income is only about $45,000, after all. You look at those numbers, and it's clear that there have to be some not inconsequential number of people who are spending more than six-to-nine months worth of income on their weddings—and undoubtedly starting their married life in hock for a $6,000 gown or a $10,000 reception or I don't even know what.
A big part of my sticker shock probably has to do with the fact that my wife and I didn't have a wedding. I certainly didn't want one myself—but my not-wanting was nowhere near her level of adamant apocalyptic not-wanting. Even the hint of a mention of guest lists made the anxiety come off her in waves. She actually moved the date up four months because she was sick of her boss talking to her about it at work, and figured doing the deed would shut her up. And if none of that sounds very romantic—well that's my wife. (She proposed to me in her parent's bathroom. We'd come in to find her some Advil, and she turned around and said, "I think I'm ready to get married now." I suggested that maybe we could talk about it later, and she said that that was fine as long as I said "yes." So I did. )