DISCLAIMER: If I have or will be potentially participating in any aspect of your wedding festivities, even as a guest, please stop reading this.
Now, since that is out of the way, I can say what we all have been thinking: Those in America’s marriage-eligible demographic have all lost their minds completely.
Yes, we all know that the cost of weddings has become ridiculously exorbitant, at an average cost of $33,391 per wedding (that’s almost $240 per guest). Meanwhile, the median household income in the United States is $59,039. It is so common to see this preposterous amount of money spent that it doesn’t really faze me anymore.
Here is where I think everyone has gone completely bonkers: forcing wedding guests and bridal party members to spend significant amounts of money and time on your big day.
As a wedding guest to an in-town wedding, you need to account for clothing, transportation, gift, and (potentially) booze. That can easily amount to $300. If it is out of town, hold your horses. By adding in travel and accommodation costs, you can easily be up to $700.
While millennials can’t afford to buy homes, pay off student loans or, heaven forbid, have an emergency fund, they are spending overwhelming amounts on their friends’ weddings.
If you are in the wedding, just throw your wallet in the toilet and flush. You have to also go to the bachelor or bachelorette party, paying not only for your own way, but that of the bachelor or bachelorette, many of which are now destination events.
Don’t even get me started on the engagement shower. Elite or not, people are having destination weddings in Hawaii, Europe and sun-drenched, romantic islands in the Caribbean.
The average bridal party member now spends upwards of $1,500 simply for the privilege of being in their friend’s wedding.
Let me tell you a story. I was asked to be in the wedding of a good friend. (If you’re reading this, you are the exception and I had a blast.) I was completely honored and truly excited to do it. I went to the bachelorette party in Nashville. We all had to take Friday off from work, we stayed at an Airbnb, had two dinners, one daytime activity, and one night out. The total cost per person (including travel) was $1,000. Add in the actual wedding, and the shower, and I spent over $2,000.
See ya later, savings account.
Now, yes, I can already hear not only the readers of this column, but my own father, berating me for doing this, but really, what am I supposed to do? Tell my dear friend no? Not be a part of the wedding party, the bachelorette, and not witness the happiest of moments for my dear friend? Of course, I have to do it. I would do it again. But I shouldn’t have to.
As a $72 billion-per-year industry, the wedding gurus have us wrapped around their little ring finger. They’re having us spend exorbitant amounts on cocktail napkins, and they’re dragging the wedding party and guests right along with the bride- or groom-zilla(s).
I forgot to mention that the divorce industry is worth about $50 billion annually. So this whole marriage thing is almost the same in terms of yearly revenue as the alcohol industry and lottery industry combined.
While millennials can’t afford to buy homes, pay off student loans or, heaven forbid, have an emergency fund, they are spending overwhelming amounts on their friends’ weddings. Even worse, they’re asking their friends to spend an enormous amount on their own weddings.
I will make a solemn oath that, for my first (and hopefully only) marriage, I will go to city hall (in my current town), get married, and then throw an open bar party at my favorite dive bar. (Sorry Mom!)