Tuesday morning, we aired a story about the cost of weddings since the 2008 recession. Apparently, couples are spending more than they have since the downturn.
According to wedding website TheKnot.com, the average cost of a wedding last year was $28,400, down from $29,334 in 2008. My co-anchor jokingly replied, “Have boys!” I shot him “the look”. Now, I know for a fact that my co-anchor was really only kidding, but his ‘joke’ speaks to the tradition that families have followed for eons. I believe it’s antiquated and unfair for a bride’s family to shoulder the lion’s share of wedding costs—and those costs are considerable.
According to TheKnot.com, the bride’s family traditionally pays for the invitations, the engagement party and wedding reception including food, drinks, decorations, and music. Oh, and don’t forget the wedding photos, video and transportation to and from the wedding for the bridal party! The groom’s family pays a much smaller portion. They’re traditionally responsible for the rehearsal dinner and the honeymoon, which can be pricey for sure! But let’s be serious… really?
Why shouldn't both families split the cost of the wedding down the middle? That’s right! Plus, the bride and groom should most certainly pay for some, if not all of the wedding. Is that shocking? Here’s my rationale: today’s newlyweds are older and more likely to be financially established than they were when my parents got married. The average age of a bride today is 29 and 31 for a groom. They’re most likely working and can afford to pay for the ice sculpture that doubles as a shrimp cocktail tray or the dove release at the moment they kiss at the altar. And, many couples do kick in some cash to pay for it all! On my Facebook page most of those who commented on this story said they happily paid for a portion of their weddings and didn’t expect their parents to do so!
I’m certain there are those out there for whom paying for their daughter’s wedding is a honor, a source of pride and something they’ve saved for. Good for you! But in the absence of the means to lavish your child on their wedding day—get real about it. If you have to take a second mortgage out on your house or take out a huge loan to pay for a wedding, there’s a seriously problem. “But it’s tradition!” Well, I say, let “tradition” pay for the wedding singer.