Weddings – The Cost

They say the average wedding costs on the plus side of $25,000.00. Is that true? Or is that marketing by the wedding industry to prepare us for a major outlay of cash? (A cynical question, I am afraid.)

“The Knot’s 2011 research finds couples averaging more than $12,000 for the reception and $5,000 for the engagement ring, the biggest-ticket items in their breakdown of an average $27,000 wedding (not including the honeymoon) in 2011.”

And in a related story, NBC says that more couples are cohabitating.Is the cost of a wedding making cohabitation more attractive, or is that just incidental?

28 years ago, our wedding cost about $2,000.00. That included doing a lot of ourselves, including helping to preparing the food for the reception. I picked 12 quarts of strawberries on the morning of my wedding. The food was served family style by the some of the ladies in our church. We didn’t need to rent a hall. Members of the church could use the church for the wedding and pay a $50 janitorial fee. We didn’t have dancing or alcohol. I bought a dress off the clearance rack. We used silk flowers for the wedding, and borrowed many things.

I know it would have cost more if we (us and our family and out church) hadn’t worked so hard to keep the cost down. It was a lovely wedding. We did pay for a photographer, which was well worth the cost. (It was a local small business, and we didn’t buy a lot of pictures, but the ones we have are beautiful)


We could not have had such a wonderful low cost wedding without the kindness and mercy shown to us by our family and our church.

If churches want to support the institution of marriage, could low cost weddings be a church ministry? Or a parachurch ministry?

In my more radical moments, I have suggested in the past that receptions could be provided by a potluck of the attenders.



2 thoughts on “Weddings – The Cost

  1. I think the costs we see now are a case of expectations being raised, and raised, and raised again by vendors, and the media, and people’s peer groups. In my job, I watch young girls and their families putting together these enormous productions, and it’s a huge source of stress. It costs them a small fortune in money, and also in time. And in the end … they’re married, just the same as you were with your lovely $2,000 ceremony. The longer I work here, the simpler my vision of the ideal wedding becomes. I love the idea of celebrating someone’s vows in community. But it doesn’t need to be a broadway show!

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