Thinking about tying the knot? How to wed or dread the high costs of matri(money)

Staying single may become the new conventional way to avoid the inflationary additions to planning a wedding.

 

Harry Winston

When Jim and I took our vows on October 6th 1984 we had a beautiful wedding. The ceremony and reception  was held at the Hotel Bel Air in Los Angeles California. My father paid for the wedding and my mother bought my dress. (read Editor’s Notes below)

Hotel Bel Air Swan Lake

We anticipated out of 150 invited guests we would be host to no less than 125 and we were right. Our wedding, which included the hotel’s Swan Garden, plus the food, liquor, flowers and cake cost $10,000. My dress, veil and shoes added another $1400. to expenses. Looking back on that exquisite and precious time in our lives it was worth every penny; money well spent to preserve a memory which lasts a lifetime.

But that was then. Becoming a bride today can be somewhat overwhelming in today’s economy. As Boomer’s reach retirement and cling to their hard earned savings they may soon discover a dip in their Keo accounts when interests earned are used to cover the expenses of their daughter’s wedding.
Marriage is not for everyone. Some prefer to stay single while others yearn, even dream for conventional matrimony.
One of my favorite films of all time is the movie Gigi which stars Leslie Caron and french icon, Maurice Chevallier. Take a moment to watch this wonderful scene in the movie below.
The french have always had a way with words especially the ones in our language. As romantic as it sounds getting married today comes with a lot more extra baggage and less trousseau.
Here are some sobering statistics:
BRIDES, the #1 brand in the world for reaching engaged women, has once again conducted the American Wedding Study, the quintessential analysis of spending and behaviors around wedding planning that provides key insights to the emerging and established trends surrounding this economically charged life phase.Results of the 2011 BRIDES American Wedding Study show couples doing more with less; overall wedding spending has decreased slightly but there are more events surrounding weddings (double digit increases for wedding weekends, destination weddings, engagement parties, and bachelorette parties) and the wedding itself incorporates more elements and more personalization than ever before.

Vintage Wedding Gown by Decade

Couples are blending old with new, utilizing LuxEcoliving’s philosophy of (resplendent repurposed) by preserving select traditions like the first dance and cake-cutting but bidding farewell to sit-down dinners and buffets in favor of cocktail hours and passed hors d’oeuvres. Nearly 10% of all weddings feature a “man of honor” or “best woman”, 14% of couples are married by a friend or family member ordained for the occasion and 11% of couples make charitable donations on behalf of their guests.

If you have more than one daughter you had better get a grip on costs. The average wedding cost is $26,501, slightly more than a 5% decrease from 2009 when the average cost was $28,082 but up $8,000 since 2002.

Two brides for two brothers

The reception accounts for 36% of wedding costs, with an average price tag of $13,367. Outside of the reception, the largest chunks of money are going to photography/videography ($3,367), wedding rings ($1,495) and flowers ($1,426).

What’s in the cake? Some cakes cost a fortune. It’s hard to imagine what Prince William and Kate’s must of cost. The average wedding cake costs $480. And what about the Harry Winston engagement ring? The current average cost of an engagement ring is $4,647, a 27% decrease from 2009’s average engagement ring cost of $6,348.

The Royal Wedding Cake

And the dress? Average wedding dress cost is $1,289, which a 20% increase since 2009 when the average cost was $1,072. And throw in the bridesmaids dresses and you better think twice about how many hurt feelings may arise. The average bridesmaids dress costs $134.

The good news is that today 68% of brides and grooms are paying for their honeymoons. And there’s more to that split of expenses. The groom’s parents are paying for the majority of the rehearsal dinner (60%).

And you’ve got to have friends! Luckily statistics have proven that friends take charge of the bridal showers (72%) and bachelor/bachelorette parties (88%).

So what’s a girl to do? According to BRIDES, December is still the most popular month of the year to get engaged (18%). And if you have any doubts, at all, you have time to change your mind. The length of engagement has increased from 14 months in 2009 to 15.4 months in 2011.

 

 

Editor’s Notes:

Jim and I were married on October 6, 1984 at the Hotel Bel Air in Los Angeles. And the memories are worth every penny spent!

Nancy and James Chuda- photo credit Michael Jacobs

My step-father Gerald Breslauer gave me away-photo credit Michael Jacobs

My mother Lenore Breslauer bought my dress-photo credit Michael Jacobs

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