Here Comes the Bill

Written by Dan Seaborn on . Posted in Local

dan seabornSummer is a big season for weddings and it seems like our society has lost perspective on the price of nuptials. I recently learned that couples in New York are spending as much money on their wedding day as they would to buy a small house in the Midwest. That's what a survey by the website revealed. The average wedding in New York costs around $77,000, while the cheapest place to get married is Alaska at an average cost of $15,000. Brides spend around $1,200 on a wedding dress while grooms only pay about $230 for their tux. The average cost of a wedding cake is about $560. It's no wonder that the cost of weddings has skyrocketed and why weddings are a 50 billion dollar a year industry.

What's interesting is that while spending continues to go up, the average size of the guest list went down. This means that those attending weddings were pampered. According to the survey, couples were spending extra money on items in order to please their guests. This includes things like having photo booths and hiring caricature artists. The survey revealed these items pushed the average cost per guest to $204. A photo booth is a fun idea, but I'm guessing many of the pictures that are taken are found on the floor of the reception hall the morning after the event.

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With all this money changing hands, the question arises as to whether the wedding gift should cover the expense the couple is spending on each guest. Most bridal-etiquette experts say no. The amount someone should spend on a wedding gift should be based on their relationship to the couple like whether they a relative, co-worker, or close friend and then weigh that against their personal budget.

Having experienced this type of planning for my daughter's wedding a few years ago, I understand how difficult it is to spend wisely. While it's fine for couples to save money up and celebrate their love with the wedding of the century, I think couples should first examine their heart and the motivation behind these grand ideas.

In today's society, only 10% of weddings are fully paid for by the bride's parents. That's down from 20% reported in 2003. Parents generally make some type of financial contribution and in some cases aunts and uncles pitch in, but for many betrothed couples, the financial burden for the nuptials falls completely on them. That's why couples need to carefully weigh the benefits of spending a large amount of money on throwing a big party or consider doing something less costly and saving money for their future. Plus, when parents contribute financially, they think their investment buys them the right to make decisions about the wedding. This can then lead to problems between the couple and it makes the planning process miserable.

In my opinion, the most important part of the wedding, is just that—the wedding. I would like to see couples spend more time focusing on the ceremony and spend less money making guests happy. Most couples look forward to purchasing a home someday. That's why it seems to make more sense to spend less money on the reception and save more money for a down payment on a home.

It's great to recall memories from your reception of Grandma doing the Macarena and your best friend catching the bouquet, but starting out your life together with a large sum of money in your bank account, instead of a large amount of debt, will gain you unforgettable peace.
Author Information
Dan Seaborn
Dan Seaborn is the founder of Winning At Home, Inc., an organization designed to assist and encourage people of all ages and stages of family development. As a featured speaker at churches and large-scale events such as marriage conferences, corporate functions, and university assemblies, Dan Seaborn has earned recognition as a powerful and passionate communicator. Through practical illustrations and memorable real-life examples, he encourages individuals and families to lead Christ-centered homes.

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