Your Wedding, Your Money

A wedding

Uh oh, DGGYST has been reading again. Nothing good can come of that. I get new information and then I pass it on to you like some kind of horrible virus. You didn’t want to know about your giant clitoris, but I found out and just couldn’t help but tell you, so now you must take that information with you to the grave… or to the gynecologist where you will only think, “Zucchini clit, zucchini clit,” over and over and over again.

So when I read an article that the average cost of a wedding climbed to a record high of $35,329 last year, I was a bit stupefied and immediately felt the need to discuss it with you.

Now let me assure you, I think you are a big sexy adult who is entirely capable of spending her money the way she sees fit. There are a bunch of ridiculous articles out there telling you that weddings are a waste and stupid, and that you look fat and shouldn’t go to the beach (maybe my magazine pages got stuck together). I’m not going to do any of that.

I only want you to have a firm understanding of what you are getting for your money.

Your Wedding, Your Money

We think about our wedding costs in a very standard way: $4,000 for wedding venue, $1,500 for flowers, etc. But I want you to look at it instead as the cost of the experience and what the experience actually is.

Experiences are made of of seconds and minutes. So I want you to take the total cost of your wedding, be it $2,000 or $200,000 and divide it by four hours (the length of an average wedding and reception). For the purposes of this post, I’ll be using the national average of $35,329.

A wedding costs $147 dollars a minute or $2.35 cents a second.

What does that mean?

  • Taking two six-minute bathroom breaks will cost you $1,764.
  • Telling the photographer that you are moving the party outside or to the dining room will cost you $294.
  • Getting introduced to your second cousin’s girlfriend and learning that she is a landscaper from Vermont who originally wanted to go to school to be a chemist but just loved being outside so much will cost you $735.
  • Dancing the chicken dance will cost you $441.
  • Not laughing at your uncle’s racist joke and wrangling one of your bridesmaids to get him some fresh air because you think he may have had too much to drink will cost you $1,029.

A bored bride

Now don’t get me wrong, there’s going to be some great moments: your husband or wife kissing you. Your first dance. Looking out at the sea of faces that love and support you. But overall it’s important to fully understand…

Your wedding as an experience

If you think about it, the order of the day for a wedding is literally people’s worst nightmares. If I told you that today you had to have your picture taken hundreds if not thousands of times, deal with all of your in-laws and extended family members, dance in front of people, then give a public speech wearing a binding outfit, most of us wouldn’t get out of bed let alone spend thirty grand making that shit happen. But call it a wedding and it suddenly goes from nightmare to dream come true.

But does it?

I think this is where the problem of regret arises. If none of the above sounds like a good time to you… well… you may be among those who seriously regret dropping the cash to do the above mentioned. This seems to be the problem with the hoards of brides I encounter every year (I teach couples their first dances for a living). They find themselves stressed, unhappy, and not having any fun because event planning and dancing in public are not their ideas of a good time.

Just because it’s called a wedding doesn’t mean you are going to enjoy it, and you really, really have to like all of the above to spend $147 a minute to do it.

How much do you have to enjoy it?

Instead of having a wedding:

  • You could stay in a $500 a night swanky hotel suite anywhere in the world… for seventy days.
  • You could get a massage once a week for eleven years.
  • You could treat yourself and ten of your closest friends to a $50 a plate swanky dinner fifty-four times.
  • You could buy 1,117 live lobsters from Red Lobster and set them all free in the ocean and feel like a really good person.
  • You could buy 1,117 live lobsters from Red Lobster and set them all free in your neighborhood and feel like a really bad person.

Homer Simpson and his lobster

Ultimately

As you know, I am not into the judgement thing. My reason for writing Damn Girl is to give people a safe space to ask the question, “What do I really want?”

If having the experience is important to you, fuck everybody else. You take out that second mortgage, that credit card. If you are going to go through this life regretting not having that big dream wedding, fuck what anybody has to say. I just want to make sure you realize what the experience costs and what the experience actually is.

For my readers who already dropped those double digits on a wedding and have no regrets, I am from the bottom of my heart thrilled for you. I have friends who will tell me the thirty or forty grand they spent on their wedding was worth the memories, they have no regrets, and they wouldn’t change one expensive second of it.

For my future brides: I just want to make sure you are having $147 a minute worth of fun and not missing out on an opportunity to unleash thousands of lobsters onto your neighbors.


Stay tuned every Thursday for more advice on shit you didn’t know you were doing wrong and be sure to subscribe! Also, follow me on… Pinterest? (I’m fucking determined to learn how to Pinterest.)

107 thoughts on “Your Wedding, Your Money

  1. My husband and I spent approximately $300 on our wedding, including the rings. We went down to city hall by ourselves, signed the papers, then went out to lunch together. We’d saved up about $3000 for the whole thing, and we used the other $2700 on a fabulous honeymoon in Vegas. I’ve never regretted it for a second.

    Liked by 9 people

      1. Haha the $300 also included the material to make my own dress ^_^ A white sundress with little blue flowers on it.
        It’s awesome you wore black! We should be able to wear what we want. I love non-traditional weddings.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I’m DYING lmfaoooo I WOULD SO WEAR BLACK TO A WEDDING and white to a funeral…. I mean… why DONT people wear white to funerals to represent the HEAVEN OUR LOVED ONES ARE GOING TO?! So Fucking Stupid! Fuck Rituals!!!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I never realized how expensive lobsters are… it seems like 35 gs should get you more than a measly 1117 lobsters! I’ll take the swanky hotel stay for 35 days and use the rest to eat lobster in my in-room Jacuzzi while I’m there.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. To be fair, I never really thought of spending that much on a wedding let alone anything at this moment. Another great post and my parents are planning with just my sibling and them two as it’s cheaper and they don’t want to make a big fuss. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I bought a simple $100 dress. We cancelled the venue and limo and catering and had a house party with homecooked food. I think the best parties are always casual. I’m not spending thousands for people to complain the chicken is too dry- which it always is! People spend so much and then can’t afford to go out to dinner for the first year of their marriage. I hope everyone reads this!

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I think the big thing to remember with weddings is that it is entirely up to you, and to try not and let expectations of family, friends, or even society tell you what you can/cannot do. My husband and I had been together a long time before we got engaged, and then had another 2 years before we got married, so there was a lot of build up and we knew we kinda wanted to mark the occasion with a celebration, on our terms. We still managed to come out around $11,000, but that took care of everything we needed/wanted plus some extras! No regrets, we stayed mostly within budget, no debt, and 3 years later our family and friends still talk about our wedding and how much fun it was! And in the end, that’s all we wanted 😊

    Liked by 3 people

  6. I am nowhere near wedding planning but this was so much fun to read! Lobster unleashing should be an actual thing. Also I’m learning to Pinterest too, glad I’m not the only one!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Ahhh, I love this post so much. It’s hilarious and and creative. I love all of the scenarios. I’m getting married next year and weighing the pros/cons of every single decision. We haven’t even picked a venue yet (omg) and I’m stressing.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha, I will! It’s going to be intense. My partner is from England, so his whole family will be coming over here to the US (most of our family members haven’t met each other yet). And anytime! I always enjoy your posts. x

        (Also, you should add an about page! Tbh, I’m not even sure what to call you. <3)

        Liked by 1 person

  8. You are spot on again! My daughter is planning her wedding and I fear it’s already morphing beyond her original plans. As for myself, I did it twice. The second time was just me and the groom in a sailboat in Key West. Barefoot, simple dress and lots of giggles. It was the best wedding I ever went to.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. When the missus and I renewed our wedding vows last month, after 20 years, we spent about $7500 on the whole affair.

    … but …

    We were joined in Las Vegas by 30 of our closest friends and family, and the party lasted for 5 days. When I minus out sleep and travel I’d estimate about a 75-hour event.

    That equates to $100/hour, or a bit over 1/100th the cost of a typical wedding.

    Plus, we had 30 people in Vegas for 5 days. 😏

    The memories will last a lifetime, and nobody unleashed lobsters on the neighbors.

    My knees buckled when Mrs C started down the aisle but, beyond that, there was no real stress or pressure.

    And now I’m in the honeymoon phase all over again. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Damn Girl, you nailed that one! A dance teacher? That is maybe one expense I should’ve OKed, but we had no DJ, and that would’ve been the one thing I would have done over. I wish I would have gotten a damn DJ!!! Otherwise, I’m going with the swanky hotel stays, my total wedding was around $1200.! And it was a damn nice outdoor wedding with good food! And a bonfire and smores! Who needs a wedding cake?~Kim

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Dance Instructor? Dude, you are so super cool! You keep surprising me with all your awesomeness and you never ceases to impress and inspire me. Now back to other business. What in the actual fuck? You broke this down in such a way it made me throw up in my mouth a little. Like why in the Sam Hell is getting married so ridiculously expensive?! I am totally blown away. Makes me thankful I don’t want to get married because I think the stress would fucking kill me! WOW! I enjoyed the hell out of this post because, as usual, it made me laugh my ass off and also because I love the places your brain goes. I choose the lobsters all day every day – brace yourselves neighbours!!! Love you, girl! xo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My Tanya, I felt so bad for pressuring you the other day! I just get so passionate and then a little carried away and I’m like “SHOW ME YOUR DIARY!” Lol but this nonsense about not getting married, I thought we were on the same path, my mother will be so disappointed!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Umm, I was trying to keep it on the down low after outing us a couple blogs ago! Babes, I already have the muffins and corn dogs picked out for our big day. Hope you like ice cream cakes! AND…you didn’t pressure me AT ALL!! So you just stop feeling bad. I will surprise your inbox one day, promise! 😘

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Givin my social anxiety, procrastination, and my constantly overdrawn bank account it’s safe to say we may never have a wedding either way. This post was amazing and I’m so jealous of your blogging skills! hahahaha love it and love you!!!

    Liked by 2 people

  13. You could save some money by having everyone take selfies. Eliminating the photographer. I recently went to a wedding that easily cost what you mentioned above . I was just enjoying a great party on someone else’s nickel so it was fun. I am sure the father of the bride covered the expense, but he had fun anyway.

    Like

  14. 4 hours? Man you guys do it right! As someone who attended TWELVE weddings in the same year (don’t even get me started on how much that all cost!) I wish they only lasted four hours here. You’re looking at more like ten from go to woah and usually with long breaks between food opportunities. Seriously if you’re an out of towner prone to hanger coming to a British wedding bring snacks. Put some goldfish crackers in your handbag or an entire picnic in the boot of your car. You’ll need it.

    Liked by 3 people

  15. We were big believers in the philosophy of it’s our wedding, we will do what we want.

    My wife and I both make a decent wedding, so our financial decisions were not based on whether or not we could afford it. They were based on what we wanted and how we wanted to spend our money. My wife wore a dress that she had picked up at a rummage sale a few months before for $.50 with no idea that she would later be wearing it to get married in. We each invited our IMMEDIATE family and one friend. We gave everyone one week notice that we were getting married, so if anyone couldn’t make it that quickly, it was understood.

    It took place in her parents’ back yard. There were 18 guests (six of those were the minister and his many kids). We used paper plates and cups and ordered pizzas to feed the guests.

    Wedding dress, marriage license, and all expenses for the day were just a few dollars under $100.

    We did this partly because we felt we couldn’t justify a big expense, but mainly it was done to keep the stress-level of the day to a minimum. The bigger and more complex something is, the more difficult it is to manage. And it also stresses out the other people involved. Parents and the wedding party. We just wanted a fun and relaxed day.

    Plus, the days leading up to the big day, we got to shut anyone down who started to suggest ANYTHING about the day. This part was fun.

    SISTER-IN-LAW: Hey, on Saturday, how about we…
    WIFE: Nope.
    SIL: You didn’t even hear my idea
    WIFE: Don’t care. Not doing it. Don’t suggest anything else.

    Once everyone really understood they didn’t need to worry about anything, it was great. We loved it.

    I wrote about the day here.

    For the people who spent a fortune, more power to you. To each their own. It just wasn’t for us.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Girl, I can tell you, as the wife of a wedding photographer, I have seen allll this! But I figure, to each his own! Some will just have more expensive wedding memories than others. On our budget, it may have cost us $2.50 to pee…just sayin’.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Pleeaeassee post your link to your post of wedding! My readers would love it! lol Yea, it’s being on the service industry side of all of this that you see some not so pleasant shit, it gives you a different perspective. lol

      Like

  17. After reading this post I turned to my SO and told him were we to ever wed, we’d be eloping. He agreed, on the condition his family could tag along, which I couldn’t really say no to. However, at least the savings for our next holiday have had a significant boost!
    xx

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh, but you delight me! 😊
        Alas, there’s no Red Lobster here in Scotland!
        I suppose I could buy 425 Scottish salmon and set them free upon the streets on a particularly rainy day? Might be a wee bit smelly though 😕

        Liked by 1 person

  18. YESSS! *applauds* I love this post. Mainly because it’s so unjudgemental.

    I think it’s really important with weddings (and with life on the whole, really) to work out what’s actually important to you, and then focus on that.

    I had an excellent wedding and it came to less than £300, and most of that was spent on absolute necessities (like hiring the registry office and driving over there).

    – We got married at a registry office (here in the UK, that’s the cheapest way to do it). Luckily, the local one happened to be beautiful, with oak-panelled walls and a pretty garden.
    – My best friend made my dress. Her boyfriend took the pictures.
    – Rather than hen / bachelor parties, all our friends came over the night before. The guys partied with my husband in the living room, the gals and I sat in the study making bouquets and watching chick flicks. Dipping in and out of the other person’s party was encouraged.
    – We had the reception in our garden. We were lucky enough to have a big garden at that point, and the next-door neighbours happened to have a marquee which they brought out and put in their garden, so it ended up as a multi-garden event.
    – Instead of presents (we already had *way* too much crap), we asked people to bring food for themselves and have a giant picnic. Predictably, everyone brought a huge amount of food and we ended up eating it for weeks. Next door’s dog was very happy that he ended up with a giant supply of sausages for days afterwards.
    – So many of our friends were musicians that instead of hiring a band, we just encouraged them to bring their instruments, and there were jamming sessions throughout the event.
    – A couple of our friends who are a bit… um… disorganised turned up two days early, and lots of people stayed over on the night of the wedding, so it turned into a four-day party.

    In summary, it was fucking excellent and very cheap, but most of all it was in line with what both of us wanted: nothing huge, but very focused on the experience of hanging out with our nearest and dearest, rather than making a giant statement.

    Sorry for writing an essay in your comments section 😉 haha

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Not at all! I appreciate it! Your wedding sounds so intimate and special and lovely. I love that I am not yet so disorganized that I am showing up days early to events haha! To write an essay of my own, lol, in real life I’m not judgy, I’m that person going ” Ooooohh, you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do” when someone is stresed out to the max, which, dealing with 30- 40 brides a week is my whole job haha!

      Liked by 1 person

  19. :):) hehe I was so hoping you had done the math on how much that first kiss and first dance would cost 😉 I feel everyone should do what they want, and have what they want, like you said. I also think that you probably helped a few people, quite a few, who might never have thought, or broke it down this way. I bet 50% will give it more thought. I didn’t have a big wedding, I didn’t have any wedding. Down to the court house it was 🙂 That was 15 years ago this past May. So, big wedding, or trip to the courthouse, if it’s “love” the $ will have no part in the matter, in the long run.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think the kiss is only like 6 dollars haha! Yea, I did the courthouse thing and then a champagne toast. I agree that if it’s love, money will have no part of the matter. Thank you so much for your support!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My pleasure 🙂 You got a champagne toast? hehehe We were headed straight off to work. I was working 7 days a week then, so a big fancy wedding was possible, but time wise was impossible. Plus I am just too cheap to spend that kind of money unless it’s for a down payment on a house. :):) I am a math person hehehe 😉 I see weddings and they are soooo beautiful though. Quite tempting, then I think, oh my, all those people, all those details, all the planning, all the stress and anxiety, AND I have to pay for it hahaha :):)

        Liked by 1 person

  20. FOUR HOURS. ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME.

    What kind of weddings are you going to because every one I’ve gone to so far has been at least nine hours long, with most of them racking up thirteen hours of dress discomfort. I freaking wish I only had to spend four hours in brutally uncomfortable shoes. That is not the way here! You’ll arrive at 1pm and you’ll still be there at 2pm looking like you’ve been on a week long bender, probably dancing on a table, potentially setting yourself on fire by mistake.

    Four hours.

    I’m still numb with shock.

    Ps engaged and not planning and wish I could elope with €50 in my back pocket on a beach somewhere in a pair of jeans, then blow that wad of money on a honeymoon for the ages.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. I am so glad that I have finally found someone who shares my thoughts when it comes to the price of a wedding. My fiancé and I do not want to have a wedding; instead, we want to want to use that money to travel or something along those lines. We should not have to pay that much money in order to spend a day with our families
    .

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes! Travel, lobsters, whatever floats your boat lol! Its great your fiance is on the same page! Can you imagine how stressful it would be if your partner wanted to drop 35 G’s and you were like ” Paris! Rome!…..Reno…?” lol

      Like

  22. OMG I am so glad that I found this blog. I’m not even engaged or getting married or anything, I just love your writing and sense of humor and relate to your story. Thank you! Can’t wait to read more.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. One tip I learned is don’t tell venues, or hotels, or any other place you have to book, that it is for a wedding. There are different price points for different events, and weddings are at the top of the expense list. Just say it’s for a party or reunion, you’ll save money.

    Like

    1. Oh god yes! That is a great tip! ” We aren’t having a wedding, it’s just a party for a two people…who love each other…in formalwear..” hahahaha! Really though that is the way to go!

      Like

  24. Great article! I like your style of writing! It’s so lively and down to earth! Those well chosen examples and figures make your article alive! Also admire your guts in challenging a lot of traditional beliefs which people have for subscribed to for decades but really do need to be questioned. Weddings are one of them. Who said that when two people get married they must have a grand wedding? Sure if you have that kinda money to spend but personally don’t understand the people who get themselves into debt in order to pay for big wedding. Also I’m so skeptical of marketing ideas telling us that we have to get facials, have to do this, have to buy that in order to look “perfect” on our “big day”.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Great post.

    The hubby and I got married for free (The Minister was from his family so she did it for free) Or maybe you don’t pay for those things? I don’t effing know. I just know I was never those girls who dreamed of big weddings, in fact I grew up with this believe I don’t need to even get married to be with someone for the rest of my life, but if it happens it happens and that would be awesome too. we didn’t get married in a church or a courthouse. We got married outside in this beautiful town at like this rose garden place. Free to use. The most we paid was the gas to drive (was like an hour drive) but was paid for by his parents who we drove with. Lunch was paid for by his parents as a treat. And the restaurant gave us a complementary free wedding cake.

    I have no regrets mainly because big or small (Although with my anxiety I could never do a big wedding or a crowd) costly or cheap, or what have you I am not a big marriage supporter, like I was happy to get married because I know I will spend the rest of my life with this man (No matter how hard or bad it can get) I made that vow. But people say vows now and get divorced a year later. I meet people and they be like “I have been married 4 times” and I am like the fuck? Why not just date then….Like clearly you need to make better life choices. Marriage is not a joke. And the whole I don’t need a ring around my finger or a stupid certificate to prove my love for someone. Like marriage is cool and all, but I think now adays with common law getting more popular and so fourth, that high divorce rate etc it is kinda like meh… Then you add on what you said here…spending 35,000 plus on one effing day. Your marriage should be celebrated yes, but maybe I am one of those believers where it should be celebrated everyday, and your prize is you get to spend the rest of your life with the one you love and not some fucking shin dig you may be in debt for later, regret, or sure you had a great day full of memories but I could just see my money being spent elsewhere on better things with more memories and continued memories. As for being the center of attention…NOT FOR ME. Sharing your big day with loved ones, I get that part. Maybe that is the only part I get. xD

    Wow do I sound bitter. Haha

    “You could buy 1,117 live lobsters from Red Lobster and set them all free in the ocean and feel like a really good person.” HAHAHAHA

    You just gained yourself a new follower. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  26. I literally just got engaged on Friday!!!! Obviously I’m excited out of my mind to marry my best friend, but we are the last of our friends to go. Which means every single one of the people that included us, we have to include. From my 3 days on the god awful journey of wedding planning, I have found this shit is crazy expensive. I’m quite sure for the next how ever many months I’ll be planning and spending fuck tons of money the number $147 per minute is going be in the back of my mind!

    This is an awesome post. Thanks for the perspective 🙂

    Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

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