Most people love the thought of a wedding.
Such a happy occasion, bridesmaids, little page boys and flower girls, a chance for distant relatives to get together in celebration and to welcome the latest addition to the family.
It is also a major headache, especially if you are paying for your own and have divided loyalties, divorced parents and estranged siblings.
Researchers have determined that the cost of the average wedding decreased in 2016 from estimated costs in 2014. Brides Magazine reported that today’s average-priced wedding tops out at $26,522, not including the honeymoon. The publication’s study from 2014 put the average cost at $28,202. The average reception cost is $11,380 with the average cake priced at $147, and the average music cost at $1,508. All I can say is ‘Ouch’ to the Father of The Bride. But the tradition of Daddy footing the bill has been modified, and it has become more of a divided affair according to the experts.
I believe every girl dreams of her Big Day with all the trimmings, but I find the escalation of costs totally overwhelming and unrealistic with greed, and that’s not because I’m a cheap skate as my proposed wedding plans included a week-long honeymoon in the Caribbean and our celebratory meal would have set us back around $2500.
No, our guests wouldn’t have had to bring their own sandwiches or a bottle, and I did have a proper wedding cake planned and there were only 25 of us. This was enough to have a wonderful day on our terms without the potential squabbles and disagreements over who should be invited, who shouldn’t, how many bridesmaids and where everyone will sit.
With the Big Dos of forty odd years ago, church services were normally booked for a Saturday between 1 and 3 pm. This was to allow the far away aunts and uncles to make the trip, attend the wedding and reception, and if they weren’t staying over with family or in a hotel, make the trip back home.
It’s very different today as you can have your service or ceremony at a wider choice of venues, practically any time of the day, and posh nosh afterwards isn’t always expected.
Some of the Bride Magazine study’s key findings included an overall trend of shorter guest lists (average of 135 guests) and increased interest in customization, with brides spending nearly $200 more on wedding dresses than they did in 2014. The average wedding dress today costs about $1,517, up from $1,380 in 2014. White and off-white gowns remain the most popular dresses, with 94 percent of brides opting for traditional hues.
“This year’s study shows that, in true millennial style, today’s brides are focused on making both the wedding and the planning process more meaningful and enjoyable for all involved,” Keija Minor, editor in chief of BRIDES, said in a statement. “To that point, brides are moving away from requiring their bridesmaids to wear the exact same dress, with 66 percent asking them to wear only the same color instead.”
The bottom line, literally, is this. Know your budget. Discuss this in advance with your wedding planner. Make sure you are on the same page. And if all else fails, parents are always an option.