As more and more of my friends are getting engaged and married, rings and weddings have become a constant in my life. As of April 2015, the average cost of a wedding in the United States rose to $32,641. Yo, THIRTY TWO THOUSAND DOLLARS. THIRTY TWO THOUSAND? ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME??? And that's just the average across the country. You know what the average is in a city like New York? $82,299. EIGHTY TWO THOUSAND DOLLARS. 😫
That's a lotta money fam. But where did this come from? And why is there such an obsession to spend so much money on this one weekend?
Traditionally, weddings have always been huge celebrations in many countries. It used to be used as a political tool in uniting powerful families, forming alliances, what have you. But in recent times of course, marriage is no longer that, now people marry for love and all that lovely jazz. But marriage is a huge financial burden for many, and many times no longer even about the couple. I've talked to so many friends who are considering eloping just for the sake of a simple ceremony to avoid the stress of money and planning and invites..
Let's talk about that ring bling first, which isn't even included in the overall wedding costs. That's a tear drop shape for the tears I shed for those who shell out more than they can afford for this. THE DIAMOND IS A SCAM. Diamonds are not rare, their costly value is purely dependent on a restricted amount of supply that is controlled by the incumbent in the industry. It's all a marketing play. Quality diamond are rare yes, but to most, if not 99% of people who will see your ring, there is no difference to the naked eye between a VSII and an IF diamond. Nor is there a hugely visible difference between a G color and a D color.
The exponential increase in prices to obtain higher rated gems are barely noticeable when not under a microscope. I've told my friends that I would much rather spend the additional almost $10K vs a diamond substitute (Amora gem for me) the in what I would want I'm a diamond ring in the down payment for a house, or a nice vacation, and got mixed reviews. I had a few go "oh yea that makes a ton of sense" and others say "mmmm... No.... I still want a diamond". It's just not worth it to me. Do I still want something pretty? Yes. Do I want anyone to spend a huge amount of money on it? Absolutely not.
Now let's talk about the wedding. The venue, the food, the drinks, the flowers, the party favors, the dress, the tux, the cake, the photographer, the rings.. All that costs money. And honestly a happy wedding is seeming more and more like a fairytale than a reality now. The amount of stress I see a couple go through to plan a giant wedding is crazy. Who do you invite? Who's gonna get offended by what, who sits where? What goes on the menu? What happens if your aunt gets shitfaced at the bar, do you really have to make this kid friendly?
In pictures everything looks amazing, but behind the scenes it's so NOT that. I've actually seen two rustic weddings, one on a family owned beautiful farm, the other in an amazing backyard, that are just as beautiful in their own way as as fancy country club or church wedding. Not only are the finances a huge consideration now, I've seen that weddings are barely about the couple anymore. One of my best friends from high school got married recently and out of the almost 7 or 8 hours of the entire party, I actually talked to her for maybe 10 minutes. They have to run around and greet guests, make sure family are taken care of, deal with any emergencies at the venue or with the food. And when I talked to her, I asked "how are you?" and all she could tell me was, "I'm so tired.. But I still have so much to do."
I obviously didn't ask her how much she spent on everything, but I've watched enough Say Yes to the Dress to have an idea. And I still don't think it's worth it. Do I want a beautiful and memorable and happy wedding day? Of course. Will I likely go through everything I criticized just now? Probably. But my wedding will be for me and my husband. It will be our day, but it will not be a competition. My wedding is not going to be about getting the most expensive things and outdoing my friends in a grandiose display of monetary items for an event meant to show the value of my relationship. It's basically just a giant fancy party.
For those people who have the money to spend on this type of stuff, that's amazing and I find no fault in that whatsoever. It's more of the nature of how society now places so much importance on how a ring and a wedding needs to cost thousands and thousands of dollars in order for it to mean anything. Plan a wedding with a budget, don't go over that budget, this day is for you and your partner. Don't let the media or your friends or family convince you that your wedding has to be a certain way. Europeans reportedly spend a few thousand dollars less on their weddings.