Weddings Cost Money For Everyone

For the guests and the happy couple.

Judging by the amount of save the dates on my refrigerator, wedding season is here. This year, the wedding load is light — just the one in July, but there will be more soon. Going to a wedding is fun because everyone loves a party but paying for all the things — gifts and travel and hotel rooms and the random $40 you spend on pizza and beer the night before while the rest of your friends are at the rehearsal dinner, maybe — adds up.

As per this blog post from The Cut, a Priceline.com survey found that we’re paying an awful lot of money for weddings and the events surrouding them, like bridal showers, bachelorette parties, engagement parties, gifts, surprise engagement parties, flash mobs, what have you.

Polling data from 1,016 adults over the age of 21 showed that millennial men and women generally spend upwards of $600 per each wedding-related event for a couple’s nuptials — from the wedding itself to bachelorette and bachelor parties, showers, engagement parties, gifts, and, we assume, the subsequent therapy necessary to get over the trauma of it all.

As a result of these costs, which can certainly add up if you have more than one of these events to attend in a year, many people between the ages of 21 and 24 are skipping weddings because they simply can’t afford it. Most weddings I’ve attended have required some form of travel, with events bolstered on either side. A wedding in the same city that you live in is a rare treat. Being able to just hop in the car or on the train in your nice outfit and come home after you’ve had too much white wine and not enough cake feels like a relief. I’ve yet to experience this distinct pleasure but am hopeful that I will be able to do so in the future.

On the flip side, weddings are also tremendously expensive for the people getting married. Everything you see and touch as a wedding guest costs somebody money so this couple came up with their own way to mitigate the cost of an open bar.

“We bought a bunch of [inexpensive wine] at Trader Joe’s,” the bride told CNBC. “Then we soaked the bottles in our bathtub and peeled the labels off.”
A graphic designer by trade, Bishop then created custom wine labels featuring the couple’s monogram and pithy names like “Recession Red” to serve their 150 guests, along with beer.
“None of our guests knew the difference,” she says. The couple was able to spend a mere $500 on alcohol, saving themselves thousands of dollars.

I am by no means an oenophile and prefer my wine white and poured over a large glass of ice but I still think that some of their guests knew the difference — not even because of the taste, but because a wine label that reads “Recession Red” would probably indicate that the Cab Sav you’re drinking isn’t that fancy. Good on them for pulling a fast one saving a shitload of money on the bar tab but your guests will know. They might not care — maybe they’ll just drink beer instead — but they will certainly know.

Is there a Wedding Problem that needs to be solved? People are going to continue to spend money on weddings; guests will continue to seethe in quiet about the money they’re required to pay to see someone else get married. Do away with weddings at once, I say! Or don’t. Get married, have a party, make it fun for you and for your Aunt Diane and the cousin you haven’t spoken to since you were 12.

Cut corners however you can — but just remember that because people aren’t running up to you to tell you that the wine they drank was Two Buck Chuck and not a 2005 Merlot from somewhere French and exquisite doesn’t mean that they don’t know.