Higher Rock Education - Economics Blog

Monday, August 08, 2016
My wife and I just returned from a terrific wedding. I don't believe any expense was spared. Has the cost of weddings increased as much as it appeared to us? According to the Cost of Wedding website, the average cost of a wedding in the United States is $26,645, and that doesn't even include the honeymoon! (By the way, the Cost of Wedding web site is terrific in helping budget for a wedding.) I know from experience that wedding costs can get a bit out of hand. After all - who can say "No" to their daughter on her big day?

My analysis would not stand the scrutiny of statisticians, but I thought it was interesting. My sample was three brides, who married between 1975 and 1982. We estimated that our average wedding cost was $3,000. That is equal to $8,775.66 in today's dollars. (I used the Bureau of Labor Statistics inflation calculator.) Clearly the price of weddings has increased dramatically even after adjusting for inflation.

Weddings have always been a time when family and friends gather to celebrate. For most of us, it is the largest party (or parties if you pay for more than one) we ever throw. In 1980, a household's median income equaled $33,754 in the United States according to the US Census Bureau. The median household income increased to $53,754 by 2014. In 1980, households spent 9% of their annual income on weddings. Today, families spend closer to half their annual income on the party!

If you are paying for an upcoming wedding, my prayer for you is that you love your child's spouse as much as we love our son-in-law. My advice is set a reasonable budget, and after that don't think of the money you are spending - ENJOY THE CELEBRATION!

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