Weddings: Too Expensive?

The latest numbers from XO Group, Inc:

On March 7, 2013, XO Group Inc. released results of their annual Real Weddings Study, something I stumbled on while doing research for another writing project. This report surveyed over 17,000 brides to find out how much they spent on their weddings.

Here are some highlights:

  • Average Wedding Budget: $28,427 (excludes honeymoon)
  • Most Expensive Place to Get Married: Manhattan, $76,678 average spent
  • Least Expensive Place to Get Married: Alaska, $15,504 average spent
  • Average Spent on a Wedding Dress: $1,211
  • Average Marrying Age: Bride, 29; Groom, 31
  • Average Number of Guests: 139
  • Average Number of Bridesmaids: 4 to 5
  • Average Number of Groomsmen: 4 to 5
  • Percentage of Destination Weddings: 24%
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  • danaames

    This is nuts.

    And I think it has a lot to do with the cultural myth of “finding the one meant for me” and all that implies, with so many unrealistic expectations and weight on marriage as the be-all and end-all of relationships (if a couple even gets married). Christians are also captive to this myth.

    Not to mention that people really do want some kind of “sanctification/blessing” of the important events in their lives, but in a 2-story world – a world in which many Christians also live – we have rejected the very thing that would satisfy that longing. I think in many ways the contemporary wedding is an attempt to construct a kind of individualistic sacrament in the face of rejection of sacramental reality. In addition, I think the “perfect day” and attendant amounts of money spent could be a superstitious hopeful hedge against the specter of divorce that haunts so many.

    As an “old hippie type” I had a very do-it-yourself wedding 35 years ago, with about 40 guests. Neither set of parents could contribute much monetarily. Aside from the honeymoon, we spent less that $1000 (with inflation, less than $4000 today’s money). We paid cash for everything except the tux rentals for the ushers. We had the day we wanted, and it was lovely – and did not break anyone’s bank or cater to any sort of pressure.


  • John Jacobi

    My wife and I have a daughter who is getting married in November of this year. The total cost is capped at $3,500 and our daughter is going to have a great wedding. It helps that it’s all happening at our church and I’m a pastor. Yes, we are having a catered meal ($9.50/person) and the dress came from a resale shop. There are all sorts of options when a person has a firm budget.

  • Juanita_G

    And then we’re surprised that lost of young people prefer to live together instead of marrying…

  • Scott C

    We had two daughters get married this summer (yikes!). Outdoor weddings and receptions in a beautiful garden, 280 guests each. The girls shopped (dress on Ebay), bargained, made things, had craft parties. Our kitchen had a giant calendar/to-do list posted on the wall all summer. Dozens of friends helped. Our whole family sacrificed, worked hard; worked through decisions, conflicts and budgets. It was good old fashioned barn raising, and we are so grateful. Community. And these two men love my daughters and God. $8000 each.

  • JoeyS

    We did ours for under 5k and had a blast. Borrowed a dress (which had a retail price higher than we paid for the whole shebang), had chili with a potato bar, and had a great band play the reception. I wouldn’t change a thing.