when I read an article that the average cost of a wedding climbed to a record high of $35,329 last year, I was a bit stupefied and immediately felt the need to discuss it with you.
Now let me assure you, I think you are a big sexy adult who is entirely capable of spending her money the way she sees fit. There are a bunch of ridiculous articles out there telling you that weddings are a waste and stupid, and that you look fat and shouldn’t go to the beach (maybe my magazine pages got stuck together).
I’m not going to do any of that.
I only want you to have a firm understanding of what you are getting for your money.
Your Wedding, Your Money
We think about our wedding costs in a very standard way: $4,000 for wedding venue, $1,500 for flowers, etc. But I want you to look at it instead as the cost of the experience and what the experience actually is.
Experiences are made of of seconds and minutes. So I want you to take the total cost of your wedding, be it $2,000 or $200,000 and divide it by four hours (the length of an average wedding and reception). For the purposes of this post, I’ll be using the national average of $35,329.
A wedding costs $147 dollars a minute or $2.35 cents a second.
What does that mean?
• Taking two six-minute bathroom breaks will cost you $1,764.
• Telling the photographer that you are moving the party outside or to the dining room will cost you $294.
• Getting introduced to your second cousin’s girlfriend and learning that she is a landscaper from Vermont who originally wanted to go to school to be a chemist but just loved being outside so much will cost you $735.
• Dancing the chicken dance will cost you $441.
• Not laughing at your uncle’s racist joke and wrangling one of your bridesmaids to get him some fresh air because you think he may have had too much to drink will cost you $1,029.
Now don’t get me wrong, there’s going to be some great moments: your husband or wife kissing you. Your first dance. Looking out at the sea of faces that love and support you. But overall it’s important to fully understand…
Your wedding as an experience
If you think about it, the order of the day for a wedding is literally people’s worst nightmares. If I told you that today you had to have your picture taken hundreds if not thousands of times, deal with all of your in-laws and extended family members, dance in front of people, then give a public speech wearing a binding outfit, most of us wouldn’t get out of bed let alone spend thirty grand making that shit happen. But call it a wedding and it suddenly goes from nightmare to dream come true.
But does it?
I think this is where the problem of regret arises. If none of the above sounds like a good time to you… well… you may be among those who seriously regret dropping the cash to do the above mentioned. This seems to be the problem with the hoards of brides I encounter every year (I teach couples their first dances for a living). They find themselves stressed, unhappy, and not having any fun because event planning and dancing in public are not their ideas of a good time.
Just because it’s called a wedding doesn’t mean you are going to enjoy it, and you really, really have to like all of the above to spend $147 a minute to do it.
How much do you have to enjoy it?
Instead of having a wedding:
• You could stay in a $500 a night swanky hotel suite anywhere in the world… for seventy days.
• You could get a massage once a week for eleven years.
• You could treat yourself and ten of your closest friends to a $50 a plate swanky dinner fifty-four times.
• You could buy 1,117 live lobsters from Red Lobster and set them all free in the ocean and feel like a really good person.
As you know, I am not into the judgement thing. My reason for writing Damn Girl is to give people a safe space to ask the question, “What do I really want?”
If having the experience is important to you, fuck everybody else. You take out that second mortgage, that credit card. If you are going to go through this life regretting not having that big dream wedding, fuck what anybody has to say. I just want to make sure you realize what the experience costs and what the experience actually is.
For my readers who already dropped those double digits on a wedding and have no regrets, I am from the bottom of my heart thrilled for you. I have friends who will tell me the thirty or forty grand they spent on their wedding was worth the memories, they have no regrets, and they wouldn’t change one expensive second of it.
For my future brides: I just want to make sure you are having $147 a minute worth of fun and not missing out on an opportunity to unleash thousands of lobsters onto your neighbors.